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Wisdom Healing Arts Blog

Welcome to AstroDharma – my (Kirby Moore’s) dynamic musings about a journey through the embodiment process and psycho-spiritual Health. Thank you for visiting!

Our deepest gifts arise out of our darkest places. We need a skillful guide to support us in remembering who we are: Light, Love, Life, Joyful Creativity and Health

I have been training, practicing and giving treatments professionally since 2005 in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Working with the Polyvagal System (Vagus Nerve resourcing, building nervous system resiliency), Somatic Experiencing, Birth Process Work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) and Spiritual Astrology. I offer sessions in-person (in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA) and long distance sessions in Somatic Experiencing and Spiritual Astrology. Let me know if you want to sign up for an appointment!

Kirby offering Craniosacral Therapy Sept 2019

Here in the blog you will discover posts about the fusion of healing modalities, in addition to the above modalities, you will also find posts about Chinese Medicine – Acupressure, Qigong and Shiatsu. You will also discover posts about various Tibetan Buddhist rituals, retreats and teachings. I was raised Christian, so I work with Jesus (as Bodhisattva) in addition to a mandala of healing wisdom company from the Tibetan tradition. You will find quite a bit about Spiritual Astrology as well – with ingredients from Psychological, Karmic, Evolutionary and Western Astrology. Please leave a comment – I would love to hear from you!

Pour out that which no longer serves you. Lean into your heart’s deepest longings. Mother Earth yearns for your shadowy afflicted emotions. That is compost which creates the most vivid of flowers!

The exotic Passion flower

Astrology Video on Yods

Hello Dear Readers,

Thank you for visiting! To cover the cost of hosting this site and to possibly pay me a tiny sum for my time and energy, I am making this page subscription only. However, you can Pay-What-You-Can, even as low as 50 cents / month to get access to my videos and other Premium Content.

So become a member today and enjoy access to this video and much more to come!

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Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

The Yod is a unique aspect formed by two 150 degree “Inconjunct” aspects where the two base planets are in a sextile aspect (60 degrees). The Yod is sometimes referred to as the “Hand of Fate” or the “Finger of God.” Hyperbole? Maybe, but the Yod is a very potent and complex aspect. In this video I am covering maybe half of what I have gleaned (about Yods) from working with the charts of about 400 clients professionally.

Of course, let me know if you have any questions about this video.

May all beings develop greater clarity and compassion!

Thanks for watching and reading,

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Parnashavari

In this day of pandemics, is there a spiritual practice which is very efficacious for repelling epidemics and plagues? Other than hand washing, hand-sanitizer rubbing, mask wearing behavior? Or Chi-increasing (life-force-energy increasing) activities like Qigong, Tai Chi, yoga, getting out in nature, eating fresh local organic food, etc?

According to my Tibetan Buddhist teachers, there is such a practice! And it can be found in an obscure, less-well-known practice of Deity Yoga called Parnashavari.

Drikung Kagyu Parnashavari painting

Who or what is Parnashavari? She is one of the 21 Taras… and she has a most interesting story.

Here is a link to the 84,000 project’s version of her short Dharani (with accompanying notes and introduction): https://read.84000.co/translation/toh736.html

Parnashavari, which basically translates to “leaf-clad mountain woman” was a Pishatsi, or a semi-divine being (wild woman) who lived in the forests of southern Asia and the Himalayas. Whenever she showed herself, horrible things happened – plagues swept through the lands, epidemics spread throughout the region and she might even take some people with her and devour them. She was basically a demoness (according to the story or myth). But there is a happy ending of sorts…

After she showed herself multiple times and caused widespread fear and terror among any who lived near her forests, they prayed fervently that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would save them from her wrath and hunger. No one could help them until Bodhisattvas pleaded with Vajrayogini to intercede. She did, converting Parnashavari to the Dharma.

Then Parnashavari practiced the Buddha-Dharma day and night for hundreds and even thousands of years, purifying her negative karma and her mind-stream. Eventually she became fully enlightened, becoming the twentieth of the twenty-one Taras. As a Buddha, she came forth, and people were horrified again, as she still looked like a Pishatsi, a wild demon woman. But at that point, as a fully enlightened being, even if she had wanted to cause harm, she couldn’t because of her vows to benefit beings.

A highly realized teacher saw this in her wisdom eye, and told people that Parnashavari was now able to cure diseases (which she formerly caused) and prevent epidemics. And if the people prayed to her with faith and devotion, Parnashavari would even prevent harm and remove obstacles.

Recently, at least prior to January 2020, very few Buddhist practitioners did Parnashavari practice (deity yoga). But then the Corona Virus took the planet by storm, an epidemic turned pandemic. And suddenly, today most Holiness’ (heads of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages) are recommending that their followers accumulate Parnashavari practice.

It is a beautiful practice. If you are an individual with high acumen, it is worth getting the transmission or empowerment from an appropriate Tibetan Lama or teacher. Then there are several versions of the text available (not hard to find). Parnashavari really can help to remove obstacles – inner or outer and prevent disease.

Of course, keep up the mask wearing, hand washing and hand sanitizer use! We don’t want to create circumstantial karma – don’t give the virus the causes or conditions to take root.

Thank you for reading and may we all stay healthy and safe!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Body Scan meditation

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them quite annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

I want to emphasize the long distance sessions I offer. Somatic Experiencing is a powerful modality! It allows the practitioner (me) to track the client’s nervous system (autonomic, polyvagal system) and then to apply techniques which build resilience and keep the client close to their regulated functional range (or window of presence). I call it Somatic Processing because I also include Zapchen Somatic exercises, Biodynamic Craniosacral wisdom, Birth Process work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) when appropriate. Let me know if you are interested in having extra support!

Below is a Body Scan meditation I recorded for a Gentle Somatics class I just completed. (By the way, I intend to start a new Gentle Somatics class soon. We are deciding on a good evening time to offer it. Let me know if you might be interested!)

This is a good meditation to do if you feel anxious, nervous, stuck in your head, irritable, having difficulty sleeping or if you need to blow off some steam.

Enjoy!

Let us move gently toward embodiment and well-being!

Thank you for visiting and let me know what you think!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Become a Member

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them quite annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

I want to emphasize the long distance sessions I offer. Somatic Experiencing is a powerful modality! It allows the practitioner (me) to track the client’s nervous system (autonomic, polyvagal system) and then to apply techniques which build resilience and keep the client close to their regulated functional range (or window of presence). I call it Somatic Processing because I also include Zapchen Somatic exercises, Biodynamic Craniosacral wisdom, Birth Process work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) when appropriate. Let me know if you are interested in having extra support!

Hello Dear Readers,

I am writing posts about my experiences and insights from a recent 90-day meditation retreat I completed in May. These posts, for the most part, will be available to subscribers only. I repeat – only members will have access to most of the posts over the next two months. In addition, I will also post astrology videos to the member only section of my blog. So sign up today!

Also (bonus!) I won’t be constantly asking for donations if you become a member. Hooray!

Also, if you choose this $5 monthly plan, you can choose what you pay – as low as 50 cents I believe! What a deal – pay what you can (if you need to).

I will be posting teasers for these Retreat Insights posts, so there will be more opportunities to become a member. But you can always support my blogging efforts and light that (wisdom) fire under me to blog more frequently!

Thank you, thank you and thank you again for visiting, reading and supporting my efforts!

With Metta,

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Summer Solstice (Eclipse) 2020 Impressions

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them quite annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

I want to emphasize the long distance sessions I offer. Somatic Experiencing is a powerful modality! It allows the practitioner (me) to track the client’s nervous system (autonomic, polyvagal system) and then to apply techniques which build resilience and keep the client close to their regulated functional range (or window of presence). I call it Somatic Processing because I also include Zapchen Somatic exercises, Biodynamic Craniosacral wisdom, Birth Process work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) when appropriate. Let me know if you are interested in having extra support!

What does the current summer solstice in June 2020 mean? What are some themes that we should pay attention to at this time?

First we have the Summer Solstice as the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer, meaning the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (shortest day for Southern Hemisphere folk). This alone is pretty big. The height of yang energy. From here on, for the next 6 months, yin energy is gradually emerging. What seeds have we planted in the past 6 months? They are coming to fruition now. What seeds do we want to plant now for the Fall or the Winter? Now is the time! Today is a great day if you have rituals for manifesting or working with the seasons and cycles of time (but then, you know that).

Which brings me to an important ritual today – setting intentions. It is a great day to reflect, to contemplate, and meditate on what we want to bring into manifestation in the next 3, 6 or 12 months. This is amplified as we have a New Moon (annular) solar eclipse tomorrow! What is/are my intention(s) for the summer, the rest of this year, for the next full year? Take some time to jot down notes and form a clear intention (realistic, kind, do-able) for the next 6 to 12 months. What is my intention for the next year?

Kirby Moore (and others) on last day of 90-day meditation retreat May 2020

As I mentioned, we have this powerful eclipse in the beginning of the sign of Cancer. Summer Solstice eclipse. Wow! This is another reason to take some time to peer within – pausing, doing a body-scan meditation or a breathing meditation. Here is a link for a great body-scan meditation by one of my teachers (Myrna Martin): http://myrnamartin.net/meditations

What does the sign of Cancer tell us? To me it is about attachment and aversion. Whether we think of Cancer the Crab or the Turtle (older symbolism), many who know strong Cancerian people know how hard they can hold onto friends, possessions, heirlooms, etc. So when I say attachment, I’m talking grasping, clinging, hoarding. We are now looking at a choice point – individually and as a global phenomenon. Do we go with the old patterns of greed, industry and getting ahead in the world (only protecting our friends and loved ones)? Or are we willing to move into more intuitive, collaborative, in-touch-with-Mother-Earth paradigms?

When we create something new, how hard do we grasp onto it? Do we hold it tightly to our chest, not allowing anyone else to benefit from our creative acumen? Or can we let go just a little bit more, allowing, surrendering, practicing generosity?

The sign of Cancer is all about nurturance and nourishment. How easily do we receive nurturance from others? Of course our history (developmental) will play a big role here. And also how easily do we nurture others? Can we both give and receive nourishment? Can I truly nourish myself? (This is a profound question by the way…)

The sign of Cancer is associated with Ceres or Demeter – the great Earth mother in the Hellenistic Greek pantheon of gods. When we act as mother to someone else (or to our own projects), can we give love and caring and then let go? Can we allow our babies (or our creations) to have some autonomy, some independence, more freedom? Or do we cling tightly to how we want things to be? (yet another profound question…)

How can we change this if we find patterns of tension, clinging and rigidity? First of all, patience – go slow, press pause, take some deep breaths. There is no rush. Softening old deeply engrained patterns (think deeply entrenched grooves in the mind – obviously they are not going to change overnight) takes time. And kindness. And a willingness to know what is true.

We need to start by being gentle with ourselves. If I have an area where I am harsh to myself, then just notice that. “There are those harsh thoughts again, oh boy!” And I can notice my breath, I can wiggle my toes, feel my sits bones on my seat, noticing gravity working its magic on my body. Be gentle, go slow, take a break, we can invite in some kindness to self. And we can lean into support – is there a good somatic therapist in my area? Right now, therapists are working online – we can get support from someone a thousand miles away! We just have to take that first step – to realize “no one is an island” meaning we are social creatures, we require, we are fed by connections with others. If we try to go it alone for too long, our well will dry up. The contours of harshness so pervasive in our society and culture will creep in and we might find ourselves with tight, stuck shoulders, back pain and/or other ailments. Lean into support today!

Also naming, “This is hard!” or saying, “This is overwhelming…” or “I am having a really tough time right now.” Etc. It is so important to be honest about this – then we can start to have more coherence in the nervous system rather than more over-riding overwhelm, over-riding exhaustion, etc. Be honest about what you need (as appropriate of course) – if we are parenting night and day, then seek out support. Seek support anyway.

Just a reminder, I also offer Somatic Experiencing sessions online. Leave a comment or visit my site to sign up for a session – www.mkirbymoore.com

And this is all happening in the context of the Corona virus crisis (which is still a crisis here in the United States). We are literally stewing (sitting, abiding, resting, living) in an environment of fear and uncertainty. Most of our friends or loved ones are extra strained and stressed right now. Anyone with kids who have been parenting full time, 24/7 since all the schools and day care centers were closed for two+ months, is going to be running on fumes. So self care is extremely important. Can I make time to do some Yin Yoga? Relaxing, restorative yoga? Or Chi Gong / Tai Chi? Or Vipassana meditation? Or just going for a nice 30-minute walk in nature? It is so important that we find alignment and regulation in ourselves. Then maybe we can consider helping others!

And just so you know I am attempting to walk my talk… I joined a group of advanced Qigong practitioners this morning and we did a potent hour together. We set our intentions for the upcoming year. And then chatted about how things are going. Qigong support group! Yay! And I am wrapping up a Gentle Somatics group in the next couple of weeks – leading that has been great! Assisting others to come down out of their heads and to gently and playfully come down into the body is something very precious, very special.

In addition, if you want to attend some (free or by donation) classes – Jay DeMaio is an awesome Qigong teacher – https://www.jaydemaio.com/qigong Inquire with him about where you should start. I believe he is teaching three separate classes / week!

Thank you for reading and good luck with this potent and transformative planetary configuration! May we all rest in ease and confidence!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Astrological Chiron and the Polyvagal System: Part Two

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them quite annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

I want to emphasize the long distance sessions I offer. Somatic Experiencing is a powerful modality! It allows the practitioner (me) to track the client’s nervous system (autonomic, polyvagal system) and then to apply techniques which build resilience and keep the client close to their regulated functional range (or window of presence). I call it Somatic Processing because I also include Zapchen Somatic exercises, Biodynamic Craniosacral wisdom, Birth Process work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) when appropriate. Let me know if you are interested in having extra support!

This post is a continuation from the previous post about Chiron and the Polyvagal System. If you have not read that yet, I would encourage you to go back and read that first as it provides context for this post.

Astrological Chiron was identified in late 1977. It was the first of many new solar system bodies which would come to be known as the centaurs – asteroids or comet fragments orbiting between the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt. As mythological Chiron was one of the most powerful (and immortalized) of the centaurs, this first object got his name. It has a very eccentric orbit – in how it occasionally (when in Aries and Taurus) drifts out near Uranus’ orbit, but also spends time close to Saturn’s orbit (in Libra and Scorpio). Meaning it spends close to 7 years in two signs, and only 3 years in the two opposite signs.

In a similar manner, the Vagus nerve (getting back to the Polyvagal System) has its two main branches – the ventral branch (underside / front of body) and the dorsal branch (back / upper side of body). Remember, the Vagus nerve is one of the primary regulators of our autonomic nervous system. What state is my system in right now? Am I alert and vigilant having just heard a novel sound? Am I feeling safe and comfortable after eating a big meal, and now I am digesting it with ease? Am I comfortable interacting with friends and loved ones, smiling when appropriate, expressing objection if needed? These questions show are we in a sympathetic state (sympathetic to threat)? Are we in parasympathetic rest and digest? And if we are really regulated, are we (also) able to be in a healthy, resilient social engagement state as well? This is over simplified, but these examples start to get the picture across.

Speaking about how Chiron has a slow phase (in Aries and Taurus) and a quicker phase (in Libra and Scorpio), a fascinating fact about the Vagus nerve is that the ventral branch is myelinated and the dorsal branch is not myelinated. Why is this important? Myelin is a lipid (connective tissue) coating of nerves which greatly speed up their transmission time. So the ventral branch of the Vagus nerve can send and receive nerve impulses at least 5x as fast as the dorsal branch. As the ventral Vagus nerve innervates the heart and the lungs, this is very important – if we are extremely amped up, adrenaline pumping, in a strong fight response, we want the ventral Vagus nerve to “hit” the Vagal brake and slow the heart (quickly if need be). However, the dorsal branch, transmitting nerve impulses slower, is responsible for rest, digest and deeper states of freeze – and if things are really bad, the dorsal branch can even put us in a state of deep shock that looks like feigning death. All of these dorsal branch needs do not require split second transmission times, and hence are slower.

As we can see, there is a curious correlation between Chiron’s faster (closer to the Sun) years and its distant slower years, with the Vagus nerve’s different branches. Myelination of neurons is very important for timing impulses. And the ventral Vagus branch is much faster in action potential (nerve impulses) transmission than the dorsal Vagus branch. The myelinated ventral branch is closer to the heart and head (it has the connections to the ears and our ability to hear sounds with ease), just as when Chiron is closer to the Sun and moving faster. At this time Chiron is also closer to Saturn, which has to do with boundaries, structure and limitation (among other traits) – and the ventral Vagus branch has more to do with the sympathetic system (of fight-flight-or-freeze – this would be a lighter version of freeze, like the rabbit which has “frozen” as it waits to see what the eagle flying overhead will do).

When Chiron is moving slower (further from the Sun), it is more similar to the dorsal branch of the Vagus nerve. At this point, Chiron is closer to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto’s orbits. Likewise, a deep dorsal freeze state (or shock) can also have strong elements of dissociation, which can lead to substance abuse and addiction. When the nervous system is stuck in certain phases of the threat response, we can have erratic, challenging behaviors (Uranus) as the adrenal glands are running in dysregulation. It takes working with a skillful practitioner to start the healing process, and usually at least 3 sessions (if more acute issue) and sometimes more like 10 – 20 sessions (if it is a chronic issue or a developmental trauma / attachment issue).

Also, certain types of trauma (see below for some links to the Adverse Childhood Experience studies, A.C.E. for short) lead to inflammation. In fact, much of the ACE research shows that individuals who had very challenging childhoods (if their ACE score is a 4 or higher) are much more likely to develop an inflammatory disease – and these diseases take many forms, from diabetes, to auto-immune problems, to digestive inflammation, the obvious arthritis and even nervous system issues. And this last piece, inflammation in the nervous system usually has to do with inflammation and disruption of the myelinated neurons – which has serious and often times painful results.

The good news is that if we are willing to put in the work, whether we work with a body-psychotherapist, a Somatic Experiencing practitioner, a Birth Process work practitioner, Hakomi, a well-trained Craniosacral Therapist, etc, there are ways to get at these deeply held emotions / patterns. We can identify where a person is stuck in their threat response and apply appropriate techniques and tools (like mythological Chiron) to get them to allow flow and openness to move through old hardened tissue and constricted patterns.

A high ACE score is not a guaranteed sentence for inflammation and suffering, if we are willing to put in the work. We can start with meditation, work with a skillful practitioner (or support group) and begin to ply apart any tangled parts of ourselves. It is possible. I have done it. It takes time and dedication. See below for links to the ACE studies.

I will continue this discussion of Chiron and the Polyvagal System in the next post.

And by the way, if you or someone you know is in the publishing industry, maybe pass along these posts as a potential topic that could easily be expanded into a book!

Nonetheless, thank you for visiting and reading!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Adverse Childhood Experience study links:

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/index.html

https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ACE-and-Illicit-Drug-Use-Pediatrics-2003.pdf

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.555.7921&rep=rep1&type=pdf

https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_Childhood_Experiences_Study

Astrological Chiron and the Polyvagal System: Part One

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them quite annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

I want to emphasize the long distance sessions I offer. Somatic Experiencing is a powerful modality! It allows the practitioner (me) to track the client’s nervous system (autonomic, polyvagal system) and then to apply techniques which build resilience and keep the client close to their regulated functional range (or window of presence). I call it Somatic Processing because I also include Zapchen Somatic exercises, Biodynamic Craniosacral wisdom, Birth Process work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) when appropriate. Let me know if you are interested in having extra support!

In this post, I plan to elucidate the connection between astrological Chiron and the modern (last 20 years of) research on the Autonomic Nervous System and the Polyvagal System. I suspect it will take several posts to get all of my ideas out coherently!

I am uniquely placed to be able to discuss this topic. As a healing facilitator utilizing Somatic Experiencing, Craniosacral Therapy and Pre- and Perinatal Psychology (along with Polyvagal techniques), plus having spent the past 15 years studying and practicing Spiritual Astrology, I can easily bridge the gap between experiential learning (understanding, repairing, and healing my own and others’ Polyvagal Systems) and cognitive understanding. Also, having my personal astrological Chiron conjunct the MidHeaven in my own chart, I have spent a lot of time researching this dynamic asteroid.

So let’s get started!

Who or what is Chiron in the astrology chart? Not to reinvent the wheel each time I write about a previous topic… you can go back to some of my previous posts about Chiron here: https://astrodharma.me/2010/09/02/chirons-curse/ or here: https://astrodharma.me/2012/01/11/astrological-chiron-spiritual-barometer-or-errant-asteroid/

In addition, if you type in Chiron into the search function here on my blog, you will discover about a dozen other posts which mention Chiron’s attributes or aspect interpretations etc.

Next, to get a primer on Somatic Experiencing or Polyvagal Theory (in Therapy), here are more links: Somatic Experiencing (SE): https://traumahealing.org/about-us/ Or for a technical (very scientific) approach to the Polyvagal Theory: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108032/ And a general description on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvagal_theory Also using Polyvagal Theory in Therapy (Deb Dana is a well-known researcher and therapist using it): http://www.debdanalcsw.com/the-rhythm-of-regulation.php and finally from Counseling Today, a psychologists take on using the Polyvagal Theory in practice: https://ct.counseling.org/2016/06/polyvagal-theory-practice/#:~:text=Polyvagal%20theory%20identifies%20a%20third,out%20of%20unique%20nerve%20influence.&text=When%20the%20dorsal%20vagal%20nerve,us%20into%20immobility%20or%20dissociation.

In a nut shell, Stephen Porges (the scientist did the lion’s share of research on and who coined the term: “Polyvagal Theory”) revolutionized the previous paradigm of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in the late 90’s when he discovered several new differences from the classical dual Fight-or-Flight (sympathetic system) and Rest-and-Digest (parasympathetic system) view of the ANS. In other words, most people who take a college level science class have heard of the Fight-or-Flight sympathetic response, which is usually paired with the parasympathetic Rest-and-Digest response. Prior to 1997, that was where the ANS story ended. Porges added more pieces to this picture:

1) He discerned that first of all, the Vagus Nerve – which is one of the primary regulators of the ANS – comes out of the brain stem in two different places. Meaning there is a dorsal branch (upper side) and a ventral branch (under side) and each of these branches controls different functions in the body. In general, the ventral branch is more associated with the sympathetic nervous system (and the social engagement system, which I will discuss below), where as the dorsal branch is more about rest-and-digest functions and the parasympathetic system.

2) Second he also noticed that when there is good regulation (which requires safety, support, caring, protection, etc) in the organism, then their nervous system can come up out of sympathetic or parasympathetic behaviors into what he termed the Social Engagement System (a.k.a. the 3rd branch of the Polyvagal System). When we are well-regulated, which requires repair and healing for those of us stuck in old trauma-based patterns, we can rest easily in our body, we can interact with others without bracing, without assuming the worst, without worry. This is what being in the Social Engagement System is all about – we can be social with others with ease. We can smile and speak our truth and expect to get most of our needs met. Wow! (For some of us who are stuck in old challenging patterns, this might seem impossible. But with a skillful practitioner or well-trained support team, we can repair and re-pattern these stuck, braced, twisted, tangled parts of ourselves! It does take time however.)

3) Third, Porges and other researchers noted that there are many connections between Cranial Nerves – for instance, the Vagus nerve (the 10th cranial nerve) is intertwined with the 11th cranial nerve, the Accessory nerve. Sometimes damage to the Vagus nerve also affects functions of the Accessory nerve and vice versa. Also, the Vagus nerve (ventral branch) has a number of connections to the facial nerves – the Facial nerve, Trigeminal nerve, etc, which play a significant role in the Social Engagement System functions. Can we smile with ease and authenticity for instance? Does it feel safe to smile and express joy? If I object to something, can I express that with relative ease? In addition, the ventral branch of the Vagus nerve plays a significant role in our hearing – one of the reasons that trauma can lead to hearing loss or loss of hearing certain tones.

In the 80’s and 90’s, and up to the present moment, along with Porges’ groundbreaking work, a researcher (PhD) named Peter Levine was doing work with trauma – in particular looking at why animals in the wild do not experience traumatic reactions to overwhelming events but animals in captivity (and humans) do experience trauma responses to the same events. This is a very crucial area of research! Levine’s innovative research eventually led to his creating a modality for trauma resolution called Somatic Experiencing (SE). SE works to track the nervous system, to see which stage of the stress response the system is stuck in and then to apply specific techniques to skillfully move the system back toward regulation and resilience. (See the link above for a clearer, more elaborate description.)

In the next post, I will begin to describe how Astrological Chiron can be woven into this beautiful tapestry of contemporary research and progress in working with the Autonomic Nervous System, the Polyvagal System and Trauma Resolution.

Thank you for reading!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Retreat Theme: the Eagle and the Condor

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

I want to emphasize the long distance sessions I offer. Somatic Experiencing is a powerful modality! It allows the practitioner (me) to track the client’s nervous system (autonomic, polyvagal system) and then to apply techniques which build resilience and keep the client close to their regulated functional range (or window of presence). I call it Somatic Processing because I also include Zapchen Somatic exercises, Biodynamic Craniosacral wisdom, Birth Process work (Pre- and Perinatal Psychology) when appropriate. Let me know if you are interested in having extra support!

In the 90-day meditation retreat that I took part in, from Feb 9th – May 9th of this year, there was a man from Ecuador, and the couple who were running the retreat (which happened here in Charlottesville Virginia) both speak Spanish and go back to visit Ecuador once or twice a year – supporting an incredible, dynamic school in Quito Ecuador. For more on this amazing holistic school visit Inepe sites here: https://www.janetevergreen.com/inepe/ and http://inepe.net/

So it was like I was the North American representative, the couple were the bridge between North and South America (they were both born and raised in the U.S. but had many connections with South America) and then the Ecuadorian man was from South America and has strong indigenous connections down there.

I am not a typical American in the least – regular readers of my blog would know this. But I still have some subconscious prejudices and certainly have hidden biases. I got to see some of these on this retreat. I learned a great deal about the plight of the Indigenous people of Ecuador despite being in a noble silence setting (we did talk during the Zapchen Somatics session daily and twice a week we spoke more during the Dream Time session). I would even say that I am more in touch with my effeminate side (and I don’t mean that in any derogatory manner) than most American men. I have a tiny bit of Indigenous blood in my veins from a great-great-grandmother and I have at least a felt sense of a connection with the Indigenous people of Hawai’i (where I was born and raised) and Tibetans (my spiritual path). I mention all this because of the prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle. I was / am ripe for an education about social justice, social activism and increased awareness about colored people on this planet.

The prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle comes from the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle and its Indigenous shamans / medicine woman. The prophecy states that from 1490 or so until 1990 or so (about 500 years), the people of the Eagle – they are more logical, industrial and mentally inclined – would dominate and nearly wipe out the people of the Condor – more intuitive, more feminine and more in touch with their hearts. Obviously this has come to pass. The Indigenous people of the planet have had harrowing histories wherever they are located – whether South America, North America, Australia or the Phillipines, etc. The People of the Eagle have threatened devastation to the land, to the forests and the climate of the People of the Condor.

In the prophecy, the two Peoples – both the Eagle and the Condor – are potentially able to fly wing-tip to wing-tip in the 21st century (that would be now). They can unite their wisdom, intuition and their technologies to benefit the planet and Mother Earth. But this is just a potential, a possibility. This is why we have organizations like the Pachamama Alliance – organizations that work to keep big oil out of the Amazon among other vital, sustainable goals. http://www.pachamama.org.

It is time for us to wake up as a species. To wake up as a united people. To wake up to the devastation we are causing the planet. To wake up as Americans to the way in which we use South / Central American labor to stay one of the wealthiest nations on Earth – they harvest our roses, our bananas, our medicines for pennies – being subjected to chemicals and harsh unprotected terrifying conditions. And most Americans just take cheap flowers or cheap fruit for granted. And when the Indigenous people or the social activists of South America protest, the U.S. supports their violent subjugation. Putting down their protests with impunity. We must wake up to the global situation. We must take responsibility and move to be more in our hearts. Now.

We are one people. We are all brothers and sisters. There is no shame and no blame (except where corporations are influencing the government to commit evil deeds). We have done the best we can as a people. We were most likely kept in the dark about how our groceries are so cheap – being able to purchase foods from all over the globe for just a few dollars each. We all share the same fate along with Mother Earth. When one of us suffers, we all suffer.

I pray that this awakening happens swiftly (and with the virus-imposed isolation, we have all gotten the chance to look in the mirror and say, “what is it that I really want to change today? what have I really wanted to do differently?” Now is our chance!). May we choose fair trade items in our stores. May we become educated about the plight of the Amazonian people, about Indigenous people here in the U.S., in Canada, in Asia, etc.

May we live simply so that we all may continue to live on this beautiful, Eagle and Condor people supporting planet!

Thank you for reading!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Playful Somatics Group

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

Dear readers, I got to lead a Somatics group yesterday on Zoom, and it went quite well! After completing a 90-day meditation retreat, I love how swiftly my body comes back into alignment and remembers what it is like to be comfortably in my head, heart and pelvis – in my clarity, compassion and potency! I say “comes back into alignment” because I am in the midst of moving… and due to unforeseen circumstances, I only had two weeks to get everything done. So that was a bit jarring. And now I am remembering who I truly am.

I can put down roots (anywhere – Qigong training), I can notice the resource of gravity – whether sitting or standing or lying down. Feeling the effects of gravity on the body is a grounding resource. My breath is always with me (until it is not). And I have many tools at my disposal to open my breath, to get in touch with my mediastinum (the fascia around the inside of the ribs, surrounding the heart and lungs and even going up into the throat) and to scan my body. I can be present as a body, as energy and as awareness itself. Rejoice! Because even in the midst of stagnant conditions, we can do something, we can gradually move toward well-being!

It is so beneficial and comforting to lean into a group for support. As the leader, I am more holding space and offering support, however I get to remember my humanity as my heart opens to what is being shared. Compassion springs from interacting with others, noticing other’s suffering and having empathy and desiring to benefit those who are having difficulty.

We did a grounding bodyscan meditation to start. Followed up with some Zapchen – Yawning and Egg Laying Breath, along with discussing how our relationship to resistance can change and shift for the better. We also did some creative opposition and we ended with a beautiful Mother Earth / Father Sky meditation. Wow that last one really shifted the energetic field – so much more settling and ease in spite of everything!

Thank you for the opportunity to teach Zapchen Somatics and other techniques from Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Somatic Experiencing! (Yes, it is a dynamic group.) I love feeling into the heart of the group to see what the Field says is needed for that day. I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us!

By the way, you can join us if you want. The class is on Tuesdays at 11 AM EDT (Washington DC time). You can join our Zoom group by going to this site and clicking the link to join a live class: https://www.jaydemaio.com/qigong

Also Jay’s other Qigong classes are awesome! He is a fantastic teacher! If you are new to qigong, start with his Sunday class. Maybe I will see you there!

May all sentient beings find inner resources for stability, kindness and clarity. May we be willing to look at the truth, to own what is ours and to lean into support to repair, release and heal old stuff.

Thank you for reading!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen

Retreat themes: Introduction

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to make a donation, that would be most appreciated as I have almost entirely disabled the ads (I found them annoying). Even just $2, $5 or $10 goes a long way – helps me pay for tea to keep the ideas flowing: click here – paypal

You can also visit my site here: http://www.mkirbymoore.com to see what else I offer as far as Western Astrology interpretations, Somatic Processing work (in-person or long distance sessions) and other bodywork options.

As my followers and regular readers may know, I recently completed a 90-day meditation retreat. It was a rich, rewarding, insight filled, stretching-to-grow and increasing-one’s-potency type of retreat. On the retreat, we did Qigong daily, along with prostrations, purification practice (one of the Tibetan Buddhist preliminary practices), metta loving kindness, somatic processing and vipassana. Plus twice a week we did dream play (will explain in a future post). Four sessions / day. It was awesome! And it has now been over two weeks since re-emerging. I had a good week to process and integrate and digest and continue to do daily practice and self-care.

With that said, I am gearing up to move residences, which is a bit inconvenient. Not moving far, I am glad for this change. I am excited to be moving in with my girlfriend; we had been seeing each other for a while prior to retreat, and we stayed in touch via letters during retreat. This feels good in my heart. She has a 5 year old daughter, who I have also grown close to over the past year. And on reflection, the retreat was preparing me for this move. It had some gritty days – once or twice a week (for a month or so) I was forced to grind away at self-grasping and the resulting resistance.

Can we sit in the fiery cauldron of transformation for weeks on end and allow ourselves to be touched, to be changed, to be transformed? I think most of us were forced to do this! Can we hatch from a potential (baby) dragon into a fledging teacher, community-builder and social justice advocate? Can we peer deeply into the inner machinations of our nervous systems and realize that our meditation success is intimately woven together with the state of our autonomic nervous system? Can I use this newly realized refined innate wisdom (not a lot mind you! It was only 3 months) to benefit others – whether through process-oriented bodywork, or Western Astrology or Somatic Experiencing sessions?

And just to share, we were receiving weekly updates on the Covid 19 response, progress and stay-at-home requirements, not to mention learning news about deaths and numbers of cases both in the U.S. and internationally. This helped me for a number of reasons. First, it increases our compassion if we hear about other’s suffering, or at least there is certainly that opportunity! Second, it helped me (us) know what kind of world we would be re-emerging into. I realized that most of my post-retreat plans would have to be re-evaluated and if nothing else, the timing would have to be changed. We came out of retreat and were forced to stay at a relatively slow pace – which is just fine with me!

For at least two weeks in the retreat, I was a little numb to the news though. I don’t think it really hit home until April how bad certain parts of the world had been affected. It was difficult to process so much inner stuff with this overwhelming news (about Italy or India or Ecuador, etc).

In upcoming posts, I will be reflecting on thoughts / themes from retreat. Maybe these themes were actually apart of retreat, or perhaps I reflected on wisdom I brought into the retreat, and got to deepen and appreciate more fully. I plan to publish at least ten theme posts over the next couple of months – no rush. Get settled, continue moving slow, connecting with the health (within) which is never lost, appreciating the beauty of spring around us, spending quality time with family and when possible (social distancing) with friends, leaning into support, and continuing to keep my foot dipped in the deep well of healing wisdom – practicing Dharma and self care on a regular daily basis!

Thank you for reading!

Kirby Moore

konchog chakchen