Astrology, Dreaming, Magick, Personal Growth

Personal Dream Lexicons

With regard to western mystery traditions, someone asked the group: why do we start by studying symbols?

I answered “because it trains your brain to think differently.” In truth, learning how to speak the language of symbols trains your consciousness to think differently. All other parts of the brain (and body!!) ALREADY communicate symbolically. Words are a learned construct, but symbolic thought is native.

In that metaphysics class I took in 1991, in response to a query I relayed that thought without words is entirely possible – but after a lifetime of learning to communicate with words, that we then have to re-learn how to think without words. My exercise was to watch the sunset and think specific ideas without using words. That was a much harder exercise than I expected, but when it was finally mastered … oh, boy. The world opened up!

So when going into a Western Hermetic practice, learning about the elements, astrology, the Tree of Life, etc, is all about learning to master the symbolic language. Unfortunately, for most people it stays here, at the surface level with words in our brains. When a symbolic language has “sunk in” and you can say something like “she’s so earth” and that statement has a visceral feeling and set of concepts attached to it, that’s when the language has gone deeper.

But I had a thought while listening to this. It’s great and wonderful to adopt a set of symbols which have been in active use for thousands of years, but what about the internally meaningful symbolic language that we already speak? Why learn a second language without recognizing that we already speak a language? By this, I mean dreams. My brain has a rather rich set of symbols that it uses to attempt to communicate with me. As soon as I’ve finally figured out one symbol, it’s like the subconscious breaths a sigh of relief and starts upping the details.

I likened this process to the subconscious playing a game of charades with the conscious mind. “3 words, first word….” I got it! “next word” …. Oh.

In this beginner level, so far I’m seeing nothing about learning your own symbolic language, about learning how to listen first. Instead I hear a lot of words which translate to “control the outcome by stuffing the conscious agenda down the subconscious’ throat until we get what we want.” … Of course that is NOT how it’s stated, at all. But in order to be a fully conscious person I first have to listen to my own symbol set and learn to read them. For example, I’ve studied astrology for decades and speak the language quite fluently. So much so that it does speak to me when I look at charts. But my subconscious has never once used that symbol set to communicate with me in dreams… Ok. I take that back. I had a dream about a kitten being backed into a corner and harassed by a crab and scorpion — which knowing that cats are me, I was able to realize the crab and scorpion were my Cancer and Scorpio ex-in-laws. But that’s it. Just one dream, and the symbols were used to convey identity.

So what is your personal symbolic language? I’ve learned that mine is very animal centric. Not particularly surprising since I love animals so. What was surprising is that different animals are used to represent different levels of myself.

PotI’s Truncated Dream Lexicon:

Cat or kittens are my waking self, more specifically my concept of myself. Until I figured this out, all the cats in my dreams were sick, dying, mangy or otherwise unhealthy. Once I realized what was being shown to me, I was able to address it. The representation then immediately changed to healthy cats, but now they are adults or babies in varying degrees.

Dragons are often my spiritual self. The most dramatic dream was of an earth dragon trapped half-in half-out of the ground. It caught my attention, then scooped up a cat and deliberately crushed the cat to death in front of my face. The message was clear – if my spiritual self remained stuck in a half-birthed condition, the waking self will suffer. Well I addressed that one and now the dragons fly free in the sky in my dreams, present but not an actor.

Horses are very, very common in my dreams and when I finally realized that they represented my raw emotional self, that was a major turning point. They stopped being left to die in train cars to being willing to carry me to safety when I needed it. One even tried repeatedly to kill me by running at me, so I had to learn to deal with him in a constructive rather than combative way. He is now my ally when I need rage to see me through something.

Hamsters and rats are the other common dream animals, and I haven’t yet figured out what they mean but I know that they too represent some aspect of myself. I used to raise hamsters and think rats are awesome, so I know it’s positive. … It suddenly occurred to me that hamsters are solitary and rats are communal. Perhaps they are different aspects of my social self?

Here’s a non-animal one. Houses change their meaning depending on the circumstance. If I dream of a house that is being broken into or I have to defend, that’s literally a warning from my immune system that the body is under attack. I’ve successfully used this warning system to minimize or bypass many health issues. I’ve even used these dreams to track down and destroy issues, waking up on the mend. Sweet! But houses under construction usually mean something in my psyche is changing. Where the construction is and the scope of it can tell me what is happening to my internal landscape. Lastly, when I go to attics or basements in dreams, this is an attempt to call my attention to hidden aspects of myself which haven’t yet come to light but I’m ready or need to find them.

PotI’s Interpretation Approach:

Robert Moss loves the phrase “if it were my dream, I’d interpret it as…”. I’ve tried that. Doesn’t really work for me. I tend to say something like “have you thought about X interpretation?” or “do you think it might mean Y?”. I try to never say “Oh clearly it means L” because your dream lexicon is YOURS. That said, if I hear something come up repeatedly, that means something. I’ll call that out, and then try rephrasing the dream without specifics. One recent example: So an underground conduit needed repair and that’s when you discovered it was full of coyote puppies?

Once it’s rephrased like that, essentially distilled, often a meaning will just leap out at me. While it can be much easier to do that with other people’s dreams, every now and then I can do with my own and it’s very much a forehead smack moment. Duh!

So yes, study symbolism. It’s the language of the mind and the spirit. But in the study, include your own symbol set. I maintain that your subconscious will be far more likely to work with you (conscious self) if it sees that you’re willing to work with it too. Indeed, that’s what opens the doorway to random flashes of insight!


About the Featured Image: It’s a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where Richard Dreyfus’ character uses potatoes to try to unlock a subconscious hidden message.

Astrology, Spirituality

When Tarot Readings Are Good…

Last year I signed up for a Tarot class at the newly established local occult bookstore. I did it more to support the store than because I had a burning desire to revisit tarot. I went to a few classes and then life happened, so we decided to “bank” the remaining classes. A year later, I cashed in a class credit for a reading. Never had a tarot reading from a professional before.

Overall, I got the reply to “stay the course” and all of the cards were either major arcana or aces, just a single numerical card! Cool. Definitely not a “this is a routine, run-of-the-mill question we’re answering” type of spread. One of the cards was the Magician reversed, and within the reading she said something to effect of this aspect of my character was cut off in the past. We revisited that later on and she ended up saying that she saw me as a transformation facilitator – specifically through the realms of death and loss.

Considering that my “go to” god of choice is Anubis, I had to laugh at that one.

If I had a small animal sanctuary, it would be dedicated to the elderly and dying. It would be an animal hospice. My husband was horrified by this idea, thinking it was emotional cruelty to love something only to watch it die. I rather figure “isn’t that life?” If I were to have a therapy dog, which I plan to have, I will focus on the hospices, especially those people without family. No one should have to face their own mortality alone. Just the thought of it makes me cry.

I was home alone one Saturday when I got up, picked up my keys and walked out the door. Halfway down the stairs, I asked myself ‘where am I going?’ and was told ‘We’re going to McDonalds to get an ice cream cone.’ ‘But I don’t want a cone…’ I replied but my feet took me resolutely to the car. ‘Ok, I could use a cone.’ When I got there, it was just starting to drizzle. In the middle of the drive-up was this tiny calico kitten sitting all sphinx-like, sleeping. I got out and picked this little gal up by the scruff of the neck, at which point she awoke hissing and spitting. It concerned me that this feral kitten didn’t wake up sooner when being approached in the open. I tried to feed her when I got home, but noticed that it appeared food literally went straight through her system. This baby kitten, less than 9 weeks old, died the next day due to a birth defect which bypassed all the digestive tract. But she died warm, loved and purring, rather than cold, wet and alone. While saddened by the loss, I also know I did exactly what I was asked to do, challenged to do. And that act felt very right to me.

So maybe I am a gatekeeper of sorts between life and death, the Sun and Pluto? Astrologically, my Sun does opposition my Pluto almost to the second and I have yet to figure out how to make this work for me. Transition gatekeeper? Who knows?


About the featured image: I have no freakin’ idea what this anime is, but I plan to find it and watch it! Apparently, this is a character from Death Parade.

Astrology, Earth, Personal Growth

Earth School and Communication

I tend to have a different perspective on things. I have no idea why, but I do know that perhaps the only person who has easily come to similar types of conclusions that I do is actually the spiritual guide Robert Ohotto – whom I adore and can’t say enough good things about. The number of times he’s said something that I responded to with a “thank GOD someone else sees that” or “oh, yeah, I forgot, thanks for the reminder” is actually too numerous to count. That said, there’s plenty of times he’s come out with something that has me reeling because I hadn’t thought of it that way, or at all.

Every now and again, he’ll say something that I feel slightly differently than. This post is going to be the explanation of one such thing. Oh yes, and everything I mention will be wildly generalized with regards to timeline.

The scenario: Listening to Ohotto’s “Saturn in Sagittarius” series. Brilliant, by the way. Go get it if you’re serious about any sort of spiritual or personal growth. Task 3, I think, is getting rid of the distractions. Specifically, he’s targeting social media as a source of distraction which we use to deflect attention away from what we should be working on.

Social media as a distraction. Hell, yes, it is. But guess what? It’s a seriously stepped up training ground, is what it is. Being a student of human history, I see things that most don’t. I look at timelines that are hundreds and sometimes even thousands of years long. As a society, “western culture” has been marching slowly toward the very real fact that “all is one”. Not like a Borg “all is one, resistance is futile” but more of a cohesive unit made up many different parts … like a body.

The internet as a whole is the latest incarnation of speeding up communication to more closely mimic the speed of thought. This process began with the introduction of the printing press. Suddenly now books could be produced at speeds before unheard of. Flash forward a few centuries and newspapers slowly began to develop. Another century, now add a more reliable mail system. Each of these steps is about evolving the ability to communicate over more distance with greater speed and reliability. Well now we need public schools, because how can you join in this without knowing how to read/write?? Then comes the telegraph, the telephone, radio, TV … The internet. Blogging, which gave birth to social media.

Now anyone can write whatever they want and put it out there. Immediately. No filters. No oversight. Just … BAM. There it is. Each of the steps listed above has made the world just a hair smaller, until the internet means I can communicate real time with someone on the other side of the world. That’s staggering.

Ohotto has a phrase that I love – Earth School. Perfect. I’m so swiping that.

By and large, I’m not really a fan of channeled works (yes, this relates. bear with me) with the notable exception of Seth. That one blew me away. Literally. While reading that set of books I had THE most profound, amazing, awe inspiring, humbling dreams ever. From having multi-dimensional beings composed of light and dark giving me one-on-one lessons to having a download about the story behind Genesis. Holy crap! I still adore Seth, but he’s definitely not for the faint of heart or even the average spiritualist. 99% of the people I hear trying to pull from Seth sound like that song by Crash Test Dummies. Where the people are sitting down to a picnic with God, GOD, and ask if they need to get their hair cut in heaven. *doh!* Not saying I get every thing he talks about, but still. So anyway, one of the statements that Seth made which really resonated as Truth to me is that part of the lesson of Earth School is to learn how to manage the power of our thoughts.

Imagine if everything single thing you thought, no matter how silly, dangerous, innocuous or fun, happened immediately … if there was no barrier with thought and reality. In short, Earth School is like a set of training wheels when it comes to learning how to manage this ability. The density is a requirement, slowing down the chain of manifestation to that which is actually intentionally acted on and worked toward – thank you Saturn!

So back to social media. We’ve had about 6 centuries of speeding up communication to the point of now instantaneous, globe encompassing capacity to speak to each other, thoughts are now being traded at a phenomenally rapid rate. But right now, it’s largely just communication. While our ability to travel has also increased rapidly since horses became common (they weren’t common to the average farmer class until about 3 centuries ago, give or take), we still have the lag required to get on a plane and travel somewhere. Granted, some people have access to buttons which can “send a message” of an explosive sort immediately, but not the average person. I can’t hear something someone said, teleport to them to punch them in the face or give them a hug. Nope, there’s still some lag there. Thank god! *shudders at the thought of teleportation right now*

So we have all this in the mish-mash of what I see. I also see that humans are actually telepathic by nature, and that Earth School is doing a mighty fine job of putting a nicely dense layer of insulation between me and the rest of the world. But if I’m here to learn how to manage my own thoughts and the power related thereto, then I also need to learn to deal with you and your thoughts. Human history has hundreds of thousands of years of that particular aspect to pull from, so it’s time to step it up.

And this is where social media comes into play. I now have the training opportunity to learn how to manage what flows in to my psychic field. Again, Earth School style – where the denser element of this reality means that I’m fortunately NOT simultaneous bombarded by every one’s reality in addition pictures of their dinner. So I get to manage not only what I post, to whom and how often, I also have to learn to filter that which is flowing through my various feeds. It’s literally telepathy with training wheels! Brilliant!!!

Do I think social media is a distraction? Oh heck yes. I spend far too many hours playing around on FaceBook, if for no other reason then to feel a little less alone in this crowded, noisy world. Of course, I also reach for FaceBook and literally think “entertain me”, so yes, it’s a distraction. But like all forms of play, it’s a distraction that serves the greater purpose. And that greater purpose is something that  has been unfolding for centuries, eons even, in a slow, Earth School march that we all agreed to partake in.

Astrology, Hermetic, Magick

Basic Astrology for the Magician – PotI style

I tuned into the day’s Golden Dawn video broadcast (7/23/16) on Basic Astrology for the Magician. Overall, a very simplistic review but she did only have an hour and a WHOLE lot to cover so it HAD to be simplistic. No choice really. Given that, I thought it was pretty good, but it’s not the approach I would have taken.

It’s easy to poke at the work others do without making any contributions, so rather than go that route I thought I’d ask myself “if I were going to create a class on this topic, how would I do it?” Granted, I’ve studied astrology for several decades, even taught some classes on it, but I’ve not gone the route of getting certified or anything. I’m not even a full initiated member of the GD order at this point. So take everything with a grain of salt here. I’m not pretending to be an expert, but I’m not a novice either.

Well, first off, astrology itself is a massive subject. Trying to use one hour to give people a working foundation is just unrealistic. I’d pass on that temptation. Instead, I’d ask the question “how is astrology used by the magician? What do you need to know so when you start studying it, you’re paying attention to the right things?” Astrology as a whole has been used as a predictor since its inception. The goal was to bring predictability out of chaos – and recognizing that the stars were the seasonal guideposts which let folks know “hey, 3/4 of the way to winter, better have your stores in order!” was kinda vital. Like “Me and my family will live through winter” level of VITAL. Because the early perception was one of harmonics, on which the entire magic system was based, the focus being on trying to bring the energies of a complimentary thing into the equation, it wasn’t a particularly difficult stretch to look to the stars and say “oh Sun, you burn hot and bring life with you, so I want to invoke your energy as I try to bring heat and life into this goal”.

Here’s an example of what I mean about the harmonic or sympathetic magical view. I’ve lost the use of a hand to some farming accident. I want to restore function to that hand. Well, I know that lizards can grow back their tails, so clearly a lizard has some regrowth energy locked within it. To help bring that energy into my own system, I’m going to wear a tailless lizard in a small jar around my neck. As its tail regenerates, my hand will be exposed to these energies and sympathetically align, thus aiding in the healing of my hand. Give Agrippa a read and you’ll see this mindset played out over and over again, then turn to ancient Greek writings and you’ll likewise see it there too. Now I look at how astrology is used in magic and there it is as well. It’s a basic, foundational aspect of magic and it’s been there for millennia.

So the emphasis for the magician is that astrology is a harmonic tool that aids in bringing out the energies that the magician is trying to harness for their use, turning chaos into predictability. If I’m trying to craft a love spell, perhaps the energies of Venus will aid me, or perhaps Libra would do a better job given the goal of my spell. If I really want to punch it up, I should wait until Venus is in Libra in the house of relationships. If I as the magician don’t really understand the energetic difference between the planet and the sign, or the house or the dignity or the element, then my capacity to work those energies is reduced. And for every single limiting belief about the aspect I’m working with, for every single “either or” in my paradigm, then the power that is available to me is cut off.

What launched my entire Earth series rant was listening to a magi diss earth. Today was no different. This professional astrologer had nothing nice to say about Earth as a symbolic element. Huh. If that’s my mindset, then when I’m trying to bring the grounded, practical, strategic capacity of earth to bear on my business goal spells, I’m de facto dragging in all of the subconscious dominant associations of “plodding, dour, lazy, slow” along with it. *beats head on desk* Every element has a plus and a minus. Caveat: See the whole picture, not just pieces.

In essence, a good, solid and practical foundation in the symbology and archetypes that exist within the tropical astrological model is what a practicing magician should be looking to put into their tool belt if they want to add that potential harmonic resonance to their arsenal.

I’d also spend a bit of time talking about the differences between the energies of planet, sign, house, dignity and element. The more complete the understanding is, the more the magician can bring the power of all of these pieces to bear on their work. The timing of a spell should take this into consideration. Indeed, in the old grimoires some spells took weeks/months/years to build up to because the astrological timing called for it. If the perfect time was at 3am or 2pm, then that’s when the magician did the final spell. Some spells call for components to be prepared under this sign, that planet, this moon phase, while the final working of the spell was completely different. I don’t imagine there was a very codified or rigid system per se — every spell is different, every intention is different, and the energy that the magi brings to the table is also likewise GOING to affect the spell. As a water sign, my earth spells will never be as effective as an earth sign’s. If I know that, I can prepare and work to align the energies optimally for myself and my goal.

Oh yes, that was something I don’t really recall in the talk — phases of the moon and how that can be included. She mentioned the moon, but only as a ruling planet for a sign. Phases were not really talked about, but all of the planets have a waxing/waning/full/new phase to them to some degree or other. Just as the planets have a retrograde motion which needs to be factored in as well.

So there. If I were to put together a basic astrology for the magician this would be the tack that I would take. Leave all the specifics for a more in-depth study which can be obtained in all manner of locations and ways, but if the budding magician doesn’t really know what they need to understand and why, then I’m just throwing a bunch of info at their heads which may or may not stick. Astrology is such a massive subject, it’s easy to overwhelm and discourage a student. I encourage starting with basics – that is working with the elements first, then adding in the aspects, then adding in the signs, then adding in the ruling planets, and so forth. Build the foundation super strong so that when new layers are added the resulting intellectual understanding is enriched, not weakened.

All that said, the talk was pretty good. A very rudimentary by necessity covering of a broad topic, and considering the time constraints she had to work with I think she did a good job overall for the approach she took. *thumbs up* I love the video tutorials! I need to watch more of these. Agree or not, they are excellent fuel for rumination!


Astrological Magic

I’ve studied astrology for close to 30 years by this point. I don’t get too caught up in the minutiae, and there’s a LOT of minutiae, preferring to stick to the archetypal side of interpretation. I know that astrological magic is one of the key tri-components of Hermetic studies; I just never really understood exactly what was meant by this.

Until today.

Driving to work listening to a podcast from Dan Attrell talk about the Picatrix. As my mind often does, he mentioned performing a specific spell on the correct day to invoke the correct spirits, and my mind grabs hold of this idea and runs off like an excited child with a kite.

My brain is running through which planets go with which days, and like a series of dominoes I start seeing it.

Wait a second … there are 7 days.

And there are 7 classical planets. One planet, one day. So then…

7 as a key spiritually significant number most likely refers to the visible heavenly bodies. Tying together earth, heaven and time.

In that moment it was like BAM … of course! Duh. Now I understand what astrological magic is and a bit more about how it fits into the larger paradigm.

And I then felt like a moron for not being able to see this before. I had all the pieces; they were just scattered around and I never saw they made a picture. Well. I’ve seen it now. heh. I’m also sure there’s much more to see still. Looking forward to it.

Astrology, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

Personal Growth. Ugh

This is not a story post. I’ll leave that for another day. As I tend to do, I do a lot of soul searching. Usually it’s not particularly effective unless something happens which brings me up short and makes me look at something anew. I’ve talked about my Hall of Mirrors concept and how useful this has been to help me see things a bit more clearly. Another tool I use extensively is astrology. I actually even teach astrology basics. It’s a massive subject, and I’ve found that those who are seriously educated tend to forget that for the new student it’s an entirely new language and an entirely new way of perceiving the world, and thus it’s entirely too easy to overwhelm and intimidate people just getting into it. That’s where my class comes in. I teach all the bare bones basics and it takes a total of 10 weeks – 1 2-hour class per week. So far, excellent feedback!

I enjoy teaching something because it gives me the opportunity and challenge of figuring out ways to convey ideas in a manner that allows my audience to connect to it. If I’m explaining something and I get a blank look, I need to try again. I do reasonably well and I’ve been told I’m an excellent teacher. *buffs nails* But I also like teaching because it forces me to revisit the content, and I’ve learned that you can NEVER know the basics of ANYTHING too well. Since I ride horses, this is illustrated exceedingly well also. A constant review and expansion of the basics is always a good thing. Which leads me into what has been on my mind.

Caution: this post will feature heavy astrological archetypal language. If you’re not into astrology, it likely will be confusing.

In my birth chart, I have the Sun/12th/Pisces in Opposition to Pluto/6th/Virgo almost to the second — that means this is a really powerful aspect and indeed a very dominant theme. Pluto is a major powerhouse planet, and not one to take lightly. I particularly love thinking of Pluto as indeed the God of the Underworld, the dark lord of the deepest subconscious self where all the aspects of ourselves we wish were dead and gone … really aren’t. I’ve been struggling with how to manage these Sun/Pluto combined but opposing energies. Pluto is so damn powerful that I want to make it my ally, and I’ve been stumped as to how to do that.  To help give me insights, I’ve turned to the wonderful Interwebs and read what other astrologers more steeped in this paradigm than I am have to say on the subject. The single most helpful verbiage that I found was written by Jean Marion.

Now I have a few … shall I say “personality quirks” that I’m not overly fond of. One of them she flat out boldly stated: “prone to inner tension and negative, self-destructive behavior. When things are going well, they suffer from fears that something will come along to change that.” Ooooh, so guilty. This awareness is not new to me, though. Using the Hall of Mirrors techniques, I identified this one and when I catch myself starting to think something along the lines of “why did he say it  with that tone? am I about to get fired??” then I know my innate paranoia is starting to take root.

There’s a book I’m reading right now called “Come As You Are” by Emily Nagoski, and boy will I be talking about THIS book later but the chapter I’m on right now is talking about meta-emotions — or rather, how we feel about how we feel. Now my Hall of Mirrors is about identification and observation of emotion and motivations, or essentially it’s about mindfulness. I started to use the observations of myself as a means of bullying myself into behavior I wanted to express, as another means of shoving the unwanted stuff down into the Underworld for Pluto to manage for me. Not a great idea!! So until I read that chapter in Emily’s book, when I noticed my paranoia starting to run amok which essentially is a self-sabotaging behavior set, I judged this “bad” and began to verbally abuse myself to force the behavior to stop. I’m choosing now to use words which illustrate the violence I’ve been doing to myself in an effort to control behavior. It doesn’t work. In me, it serves to entrench my position and incites rebellion. Now, meta-emotions. Nagoski does a great job of illustrating that how I feel about what I’m feeling has far impact on the situation than anything else. Mindfulness? Useful, but not the means to an end that I had ascribed to it. I put this to the test. Next time I started to feel something and then feel something else about that feeling, I addressed the meta-emotion and let the base emotion run its course.

“Run its course?? Are you crazy?” I’ve learned long time ago, though it’s easy to forget, that base emotions are usually trying to be helpful. They are survival tools. How I feel about those emotions, not so much. So if my paranoia is starting to kick in, instead of doing violence to myself in repudiation of the base-emotion my experiment has been to listen to it.

Remember in my story when I talked about the reaction our first sexual questions get from our authority figures is what sets the tone for our life long attitude towards sex? Well, guess what? That works for my base emotions too. So I’m getting paranoid. My inner monitor sees something that I don’t see and is trying to raise a flag. Perhaps the flag it’s waving is not the most useful, but that’s for my conscious mind to deal with. Let me turn this into a story.



Paranoia is all nervous, feeling edgy and unsafe. Nail biting commences. “I think they don’t like me. I think they think I’m not pulling my weight. They are thinking about firing me.” As she speaks, her entire demeanor is one of defeat and doubt, shoulders bowed in as if to protect herself.

Conscious mind looks at Paranoia and for the first time actually sees the fear driving this mindset. Before I would have berated Paranoia in an effort to shut her up, but shutting her up doesn’t make her concern lessen. In fact, it makes her feel even more unsafe. Like beating a scared child to make them toughen up. Completely inappropriate response! I choose a different response this time, though asking ‘Why do you think that’ will only invite further sinking into the abyss. No, I need to stop the cycle but in a constructive way. Quickly, I analyze the situation before I speak.

She’s afraid of something. The language she’s using are words associated with survival: firing means a loss of stability and safety provided by the income; not being liked is a threat to our safety within the tribe, within the social dynamic; not pulling my weight is likewise a threat to social position but also a concern with self-worth. So the motivation for these concerns is actually deeper than the words, it’s essentially feeling unsafe. Something is triggering this feeling. Paranoia is a bit hypersensitive, which is both good and bad. Good in that she’s very sensitive to the subtext of any and every situation; bad in that she takes everything to the darkest extreme she can. So Paranoia is picking up on some vibes in the area that are triggering UNSAFE! feelings. Being paranoid, she is the center of the world and every emotion others have is entirely because of and about her. That’s not a judgment, it’s just an Is that I need to be aware of. Now it’s time to engage in a supportive, constructive manner. My goal is to positively stop the negative spiral while honoring the base emotion that was triggered.

“What would make you feel safe?” She stops chewing her nails and looks at me confused. This is not the response she expected and she doesn’t trust it. Fair enough. Her mouth works for a bit as she tries to formulate a response, still a bit stunned that I’m taking her concerns seriously. “Knowing I’m not going to get fired, reassured that they like me.”

“Those won’t really address the sources. What if they need to let us go because the work load can’t support an additional employee? That has nothing to do with our worth or likability, yet we’re still fired. So what would make you feel safe?”

Now Paranoia is almost starting to panic. And here’s where the answer from Jean Marion really gives me the painful insight I need to work with this base emotion. Here’s the magic line: the root of this is an intense fear of change that would threaten to make them vulnerable. Before Paranoia can slide into a full-blown panic attack, I gently but firmly take hold of her hands. “You are afraid of being vulnerable.” She stops abruptly and stares again, though this time her eyes start to fill with tears. Nailed it! “What can we do to become comfortable with being vulnerable? Life will change, always. Stressing about uncontrollable changes will only make our hair fall out. But we can learn that we can manage our vulnerabilities, and we can learn exactly how to go about doing that.” Having her root fear identified and called out so matter of factly, no condemnation or judgment, while also reminding her this is something we can control, has her shoulders starting to straighten out, her eyes to brighten.

And now I return to normal headspace, or rather what passes for normal headspace for me. This is the crux of the Sun/Pluto issues that I’m having. Paranoia is a mouthpiece, but really it’s all about control in effort to stave of vulnerability. Now I have a rather strong, in fact often overwhelming, personality. I can be loud, abrasive controlling and overly enthusiastic. I am aware of this, and so I rein it in quite fiercely. I always thought it was to protect others from me. Turning myself from bold and expressive into mousy and silent was to enable others to be around me. I don’t like being alone!

Jean states: They fear being exposed or invaded. Again, this is an expression of their dissatisfaction with the self they are projecting. Ouch! Direct hit. I am actually intensely dissatisfied with who I see myself as, so I lock it down to keep others from seeing it, to keep me from seeing it.  …intense need for privacy… Another fear response. Control what is seen about me, control how others think of me. But I tend to pull back, literally not letting anyone see or know anything of substance about me. Even my own husband doesn’t know how I think or feel about most things. That is … a problem for us. …their fear of being exposed is really about a fear of being vulnerable… *cringe*

I write this blog and others, but my name isn’t attached. My family doesn’t know anything about this blog. I can express and explore and perhaps a random stranger will see it, but I don’t care. It’s not like you know me, or I you. Not really. It’s the safety of overwhelming anonymity while still having the ability to say “this is my truth” in the center of a busy, noisy, crowded train station where no one stops long enough to hear the entirety of any single thought. And yet, it got said. That’s what’s important.

One of the other challenges I’ve had is my own business. Being an intensely private person who tends to undervalue my own creative expression makes it REALLY freaking hard to market myself. I used to try to bully myself into tooting my own horn, but that never worked. It, predictably, had the opposite effect and I’d clam up even more. But if I could get Paranoia to consider things constructively, perhaps I can work with Vulnerability in the same way?

We all have a dark, irrational side, but people with Sun-Pluto in hard aspect are forced to confront it and integrate it into their personalities. I think a keyword for this particular planetary aspect is “transformation”, and not in the airy-fairy way. I mean by walking into the crucible, over and over again. DarkAstrology adds this nugget to my Sun/Pluto exploration: Until they are able to accept themselves they remain feeling bad, unattractive, unworthy and unlovable at their core.

Yeesh. I know that I have the capacity for tremendous work. I’ve not encountered many who can work as hard, as long, as fast or as effectively as I can – my husband being one who can. But money and status don’t motivate me. Passion motivates me. Engage my passions and I will literally move a mountain. No passion? No drive — what’s the point? But I have passions, and the work I do within my business touches of many of them. So why have I been a lump for 4 years now? I sabotage myself at every turn, rebelling constantly. “You can’t MAKE me!” my childish Rebel shouts in defiance. What the hell gives?? I kept saying “this isn’t me”, but a few days ago I realized … it is. I can be lazy like nobodies business! If I work hard, I can work REALLY hard at doing nothing. So yes, I’m a lazy, lump with paranoid, secretive tendencies and a chronic sense of no-self-worth who will go to the moon and back in an effort to sabotage myself and destroy everything good in my life. That is me! I’m ALSO a really smart, driven, kind, hard-working, broad-minded person with deep insights and a capacity for stupid levels of compassion and empathy. That is me!

Boy was that hard to admit to the first time. But now that I have? I can work to integrate all the dark with all the light. Not easy, and not fun. Anyone who thinks this personal growth business is a cute or fun way to pass the time really needs to wake up the shit they are shoveling. It’s dirty, dark and painful but the result is a degree of emotional intelligence and awareness and wisdom that is impossible to match. Mainly, the result is being comfortable with who I am.

Astrology, Personal Growth

On the Importance of Being Honest

Since I’ve been listening to one podcast, I figured I’d find some others. There are plenty of things I’m curious about but have never tried. I say, that when you’re curious about something learn more about it. And that’s exactly what I did.

I shall digress a little bit here. I adore Astrology, and find the symbolic language is uses to be damn useful when it comes to conveying ideas or understanding myself. I have the planet Uranus (question authority, ignore boundaries, rules are made to be broken) as the most active planet in my chart. That means even in my base mode, I’m pretty unconventional, and I’m fine with that. I love the different and unique, and I’m fine with marching to my own drummer. Combine that with Venus (planet of relationship) in Aquarius (the sign ruled by Uranus). Now I never really knew how to interpret this one. When I tried writing a story featuring this energy, it showed up as a marvelously dressed trim young gay man sitting in a floating chair. Huh. Wasn’t expecting that one.

I have 2 interpretations. One is that I relate to others mostly through friendship. Being intimate with someone I’m not friends with first is a deal breaker for me. Ain’t gonna happen. Because of this, I’ve long despaired and thought myself “broken”. I had all these shoulds floating around in my head, but continued to forge my own path, just condemning myself along the way. The second interpretation is that Venus in Aquarius has the potential to be pretty darn non-judgmental when it comes to relationships and other people. When I ran across this one, it brought me up short. I had to think about it. Yup. I’ve never had a problem with anything any of my friends ever told me they were into. I had a lesbian roommate in the early 90s. Her best friend was a transvestite. Looked great in his alter too. I’ve known gay, poly, Dom, sub, slave, vanilla, fundamentalists, and all manner of people in between. The ONLY ones I ever had any problems with were those who actively judged and condemned others. That one gets me upset. I avoid those people. But I have known fundamentalists of a variety of flavors who kept their opinions to themselves and lived their faith, rather than spouting off at the mouth. Those folks? No problem with at all. I say: live your own damn life, and be a good person. That’s it. There’s no magic formula for ‘be a good person’ and there’s no prerequisite which says this or that must be met before ‘good person’ status is reached.

So yeah, by and large, I’m pretty fucking open minded … when it comes to other people. When it comes to myself? Oooof. I’ve been a damn harsh critic. And that’s what I’m working on now. Judging myself has not done me any favors.

I was teaching a class and a student asked me about how I would interpret past lives and birth charts. She framed her question in the “punishment and reward” paradigm. I’m not a fan of that approach, personally. It’s very … childish. Children need punishments and rewards, not souls. In speaking to her, I revealed something I have thought since I was 17 and had an epiphany moment but have never shared out of fear. So I shared it. I told her that God had such a high level view of everything going on that the very concept of punishment and reward was meaningless. That we are the ones who assign such values to an experience. That we judge ourselves, because “not even God judges you.” She literally did a full body shake when those words entered her system. Aaaah, and that’s what Truth feels like.

And here I am judging myself. As one friend put it, “you’re shoulding all over yourself. Stop it.” Hehehe. I love that phrase. I’ve been working hard to let go of my self-judgements and learn who I actually am. Not who I think I should be, or who I want to be, or who my mom/dad/friends/husband wants me to be. But who I actually really am.

And that means owning some things about myself. Now some things I already own, and have no problems with it but I’ve never really shouted them out there because well, society can make life difficult. For example, I’ve truly never really understood monogamy. I have no emotional attachment to the concept at all. I actually cried when I briefly considered getting married in my early 30s when I thought “do I want to just have sex with this one man for the rest of my life?” If I cried, clearly the answer was “no.” And not because I didn’t like or want him, but because the idea of ‘sexually exclusive’ is not native to my framework. It makes no biological or evolutionary sense to me. I’ve worked hard to honor my word in monogamous relationships, but still, it never made sense and I’ve never asked or expected that of anybody else.

Since I’ve known this about myself, yet had never really done more than catalog and shelve that part of me, I figured I’d start this aspect of my Path of the Individual by exploring non-monogamous concepts and just find out what’s out there. Education. Education. Education!

Boy was it liberating to start listening to Life on the Swingset and in the  introductory Episode Zero they asked me to remember that moment when I first realized conclusively that I was not monogamous by nature. I remembered all too clearly the moment of crying. In listening further, still not sure this is something I actually might consider acting on, it’s still an aspect of me in which I would be better served to recognize, acknowledge and own. Now I can continue to explore and look in new directions.

And this is what I mean by exploring. I don’t mean ‘run right out and push past every single personal taboo or limit you have’. I mean: have an open mind and look around to learn about what’s there. This is the age of the internet baby, not the dark ages. The information is RIGHT THERE – just a Google search away. No excuses for being uninformed (though you can OWN it and say “nah, I’m not ready to explore that about myself yet.” Fuck yeah! You say that and instant respect.) And if you do go exploring, give it an honest hearing. If I had decided that this show was full of shit before I even hit the first play button, I would have missed out on knowing a facet of something about myself.

Caroline Myss once said that judging something locks it into stasis, freezes it into that moment of judgment. When something is locked down, it can’t move, let alone breath and friggin’ forget growing. I’m going to add that when some aspect of myself get judged and therefore locked down, it will definitely continue to grow — but it’ll shoot tendrils into the darkness. It’ll find destructive ways to express itself. Judging myself didn’t make those aspects of me go anywhere, but they did have to go underground. And this meant that my ability to articulate what I wanted or needed also evaporated. I refused to acknowledge it, how the heck was I supposed to language it??

So. Question Authority. Be open with YOURSELF about Who You Are and What You Want. Never stop learning and being curious. Respect yourself enough to honor your own truths. Know your truths are not necessarily the truths of others. Communicate your needs/wants to those important in your life, and listen to/honor theirs. Have fun. Be a good person.

There you go. That’s the sum of this ramble.

…. And let me just say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone combine as many different disparate sources as I do. How many times will you find “Life on the Swingset” and “Caroline Myss” and a pun inspired by Oscar Wilde all in the same post?? heh. I’m diverse that way. 😉