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Photos from Angela Harkavy’s collection (Drikung Kagyu photographer).
This is a post about working with the Heart, with an astrological slant thrown in for good measure. In my astrological practice, I conduct choice-centered, frequency-based interpretations. What this means is that I am open to the infinite possibilities around people’s choices and the consequent results. I like to tell people that nearly everything in the astrology chart is tendencies and habits – which, with practice, discipline and over time, can be changed and re-patterned. Anything is possible if we have the karma for it – even when the astrological sky is looking a little overcast.
So, for any fatalistic astrologers who may be reading this, I offer a counter to the “certain challenging aspects are going to be that way, period” philosophy. Here is why:
In my chart, I have a Leo Rising (meaning the chart is ruled by the Sun) which is associated with the Heart – think lion and courage, bravery, pride, occasional arrogance. No “problems yet,” from a fatalistic perspective. However, the Sun is the ruler of the sign of Leo, making the Sun in my chart personalized, e.g. slightly more important than normal. My natal Sun is in the 8th house, the first, “ugh..” might come from the antiquated fatalistic crowd. The 8th house is associated with many things, being one of the more complicated “psychic” houses of the horoscope – some of these characteristics are: transformation, magic, personal harrowing journey through the inner underworld, death, sex, psychological insights, dealing with other’s money etc. It is not the greatest placement for an energized, enthusiastic, extroverted Sun. In some traditions it would be interpreted as the shaman, the medicine woman or maybe a good investment adviser (but definitely a background power – not the chief or executive per se).
Recently, the chart ruler – the Sun in my chart has been undergoing a bit of a titanic tug of war. If you have been keeping up with my posts, you may have read about the planet Saturn crossing through the late stages of Virgo (opposite my Sun), or you may already know that Uranus is sitting in Retrograde, slowly backtracking through the late stages of Pisces (exactly conjunct my Sun and opposite Saturn). This is one configuration most traditional astrologers would rather not see their clients (and especially not themselves) have to struggle through. However, I want to discuss a differing argument.
If someone is involved in a transformative modality for a long period of time – sustains dedicated Buddhist practice, receives many treatments of Biodynamic Cranio Sacral therapy, maintains a daily Metta practice, works with a qualified meditation teacher, sees a body-oriented psychotherapist for several years, etc etc – any modality that leads to a gentle, kind and gradual deepening in self understanding and heart-warming, then someone could potentially “purify” or come to grips with the shadows lurking under the surface (in the un/subconscious). And then, they are not as likely to be hit with an “Oh my god, you want me to deal with what!?!?” In other words, a major obstacle to the previous status quo (event, catastrophe, tragedy, etc).
One book that I use sparingly for reference because of its fatalistic trend, is “Predictive Astrology.” Oh – as a tangent – I want to add that when I analyze my own chart, I always like to experience life first and then later, get an understanding of what I went through from an astrological perspective, if warranted. That way, there is no way I am “being ruled by my stars” as Nietzsche so eloquently put it. So, back to the Predictive Astrology book, one line I recently read in the section on Transiting Uranus crossing the Natal Sun, is that one can go through temporary heart arrhythmia that is so slight, that medical tests do not pick up on it. Well, guess what. Over the past nine months or more, I have noticed that if I am under a lot of stress, once a month (or less), my heart slightly changes a beat. And of course, during my last physical (a few months ago) my heart was fine. Actually my heart is fine, it is just a matter of listening deeply and providing it with the space it needs to process old “stuff.” And to make gradual changes when I encounter old, limiting patterns of fear and / or contraction.
I have been feeling my heart more and more over the past few years. In speaking with one of my teachers, Julie Henderson (the creator of Zapchen Somatics), I got a fresh perspective on what the heart needs to unwind. Gentle-kindness, space, safety, patience (often a very slow, gradual process). As layers begin to come alive, I thank them and I try not to have any judgment toward the new tentative layers underneath. [Note to reader – this is a challenging, fascinating, rewarding and difficult journey, please do not try to undertake it without a person-to-person, qualified spiritual teacher! Seriously. And I am just an objective observer and reporter, not a teacher.]
As Garchen Rinpoche says, (and I paraphrase), “allow the ice of self-grasping around your heart to melt.” The lamas have been saying this all along, it just took a Western teacher (Julie) to explain it in a fashion I could easily and comfortably grok.
What is one way to truly get in touch with your heart? Well, I will present several, take your pick, not in any particular order: 1) be in an appropriate, well-defined-boundaries, inspiring, comfortable, direct-communications-are-okay intimate relationship – and when you notice resistance arising, name it, notice it and be present with it rather than reacting negatively or suppressing it; 2)start training in a healing-hands modality as the hands are a direct link to the heart (Reiki, Rolfing, Osteopathy, Craniosacral Therapy, Zero Balancing, Massage and many more, etc); 3)if you are not maintaining a daily meditation practice, this is another method to come in contact with your heart space; 4) maintain discipline and right conduct (positive morals and ethics) in attempting to live life from a kindhearted perspective; 5) if you have the resources, adopt, cherish and open your heart to a child; 6)if you have the resources, adopt and be kind to an animal; 7) find a qualified teacher to help lead you into deeper realization of your heart.
So… in conclusion, don’t believe everything you hear. (Don’t trust everything you read here on this blog either for that matter.) Especially if the person is a fatalistic diviner (astrologer, tarot reader, I Ching practitioner, etc). Know that another possibility exists for you besides what you read in any number of well-written astrology books – not to mention the poorly written ones (joke joke). And take a deep breath… right now… seriously… breathe… it’s going to be okay.
As an aside, regarding these photos, when I see such an incredible line of teachers gathered in the same place, especially in the U.S., I am filled with a deep yearning aspiration to attend them. I also realize that I am not practicing enough. I know – be kind and gentle – yes, but up to a point. When a Tibetan Lama makes a suggestion based on your asking them multiple times about a situation, you should probably try to put their advice into practice. As an example, I asked Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen, what would be the best practice for me? What would help me benefit the most sentient beings? Well he said, “practice / study Dharma, and finish school.” So that is what I am trying to do, slowly, slowly. Maybe I am being hard on myself, or maybe I am leaning too heavily on gentle self care. The middle way is good.