HAPPY EQUINOX!The Fall Equinox brings us a balance of light and dark. The dark increases as we move into the Autumn. The image of the Taoist symbol of the yin/yang captures the dynamic dance between the dark and light polarities. In this image, a dot black is contained in the larger body of white and a dot of white is contained in the larger body of black. Together they comprise the circle of life. The darker energy is called yin and represents receptive energy; the light represents yang and describes outgoing energy.
Life is a dance of these two energies-the male/female, hot/cold, in/out, up/down, sound and silence. We are reminded that although we are about to begin our journey into the dark and cold, (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), we carry the light within us. After we reach our maximum exposure to the dark at the Winter Solstice we will begin our ascent into the light once more.
Balance is the keynote of Libra and is an essential key in understanding our relationship to ourselves and to the larger community of life on planet Earth. Earlier in the Summer, I had the privilege of attending a talk by Thom Hartmann.** He recounted an experience that he had while participating in a circle of Native American elders. I don't recall the details of the experience but I hope never to forget the lesson which he learned and imparted to us:
Thom learned that in this particular Native American culture, when a person displays behavior which is offensive, inappropriate, disrespectful or too aggressive, there is an immediate recognition that the person is out of balance. The community then proceeds to take steps to help correct the imbalance. They recognize that it is the lack of balance that is responsible for irresponsible behavior and instead of trying to correct the behavior through condemnation or punishment they seek to correct the problem by helping the person regain balance.
As I heard this story my heart went out to the countless people, young and old, who make mistakes and instead of being embraced with loving discipline and healing, are treated with contempt, incarcerated, and basically "written off." The majority of prisoners in our land are young men of African or Latino origins. This reflects an imbalance in our economic, political and societal systems.
Dominance of a small group of human beings over the rest of the human population and now the entire planet with all of its diverse species is very much a relationship that is now out of balance. Thom Hartmann's answer to this challenge echos and agrees with the voices of Eastern sages and indigenous medicine people: The solution lies with each of us realizing and re-connecting to our Oneness with each other; our Oneness with the Divine or Great Spirit ; and our Oneness with all of the natural community of life which is the body of the One Great Spirit.
Libra also is associated with beauty, symbolized by Venus. The extravagant spectacle provided by the turning of the leaves is a testament to this correlation. Libra is symbolized by the scales and speak not only of balance but of the law. Cosmic law is implicit in the idea of karma and the "Golden Rule:" "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Marriage, partnership, counseling and human law are also represented by the sign of Libra.
I invite you to explore the power of beauty to heal. If you are able give yourself the gift of an excursion to a place of great natural beauty. If you are unable to go in the physical realm, imagine being at a place of great beauty. Give the issues, stresses, or decisions to be made to the place. Give yourself the freedom to let go to the beauty, forgetting whatever you may feel is weighing down your spirit. When you feel ready and refreshed, see if you have new perspective, insight or intuition that will assist you with whatever needed healing. Thank the place, yourself and your experience and remember the ability of beauty to bring back balance, joy and appreciation of the great gift of Life.
Peace is not passive. In order to restore balance we sometimes need to tap into the spirit of the warrior archetype. A healthy warrior has no desire to stir up conflict or aggression. Rather, the challenge is to take a stand, defend and speak up for what ever is being taken advantage of.
Aries Earth compliments Libra Sun because even in our personal, one to one relationships, we need to cultivate the courage to speak out our truth, and to honor our own integrity. Aries in the energy of red. Aries calls us to action. All activists for the environment, oppressed peoples, children who can't speak for themselves and elders who can no longer provide for themselves are representatives of the Aries warrior archetype. It is the archetype (universal pattern) of "the Brave," one who is willing to put their own comfort on the line for the sake of truth or injustice.
I believe that much of the teenage violence is the result of young men not knowing where to focus their "warrior energy." Muddied, it becomes violent and strikes our indiscriminately. Ironically, while the human presence on Earth is becoming tenuous due to our own actions, many of the youth feel they have no power to effect change. I'd love them to be able to connect their yearning to "act out" to the many situations calling out for protection. We see this happening in the growing segment of environmental activists. I particularly would like to salute Julia Butterfly, who refused to abandon Luna, a giant, ancient redwood, whose life was threatened by loggers who were prepared to take down a whole grove of these magnificent and irreplaceable trees. Julia lived in the tree for over two years. Julia Butterfly is a great example of the courage of Aries Earth acting to preserve the beauty and value of her relations (Libra Sun) the trees.
I invite you can to see how you can be part of changing the planetary dream by visiting the site of the Dream Change Coalition. Here you will come into contact with the wisdom of indigenous people.
I also honor Greenpeace for its activation of "Aries Earth energy" in its courageous stand to protect the Earth and the whales, dolphins and seals. You can learn more about them at www.greenpeaceusa.org.
Balance & Blessings, Esther
It's harvest time!Within an eco-astrological framework it's time to shift gears, and intersperse the high play of Leo with practical steps that insure the "fruits of Summer" don't wither on the vine. Agrarian time tells us our days are numbered and it is in our best interest to engage our "inner squirrels" in order to prepare for the upcoming Winter.
I grew up in "South Jersey." Almost all the families I knew would can or freeze tomatoes, corn, and lima beans to hold them over the Winter. Farmers cut hay and grains once more; herbs were dried, potatoes and apples were put in cold storage to prolong their availability.
In modern times many of us have become split from the wisdom of people's who have maintained connection to Nature's cycles. We are now at a time then our collective behavior acts as if we were separate from Nature (Virgo). We are now beginning to recognize this notion as a mistaken idea. The effects of this delusion are destroying our forests, rivers, air and soil. Pisces Earth reminds us that despite the multitude of individual shapes and species, all of Life is One--unified and inter-connected. Cosmologist Brian Swimme puts it this way: "The Universe is the context for all texts." The Universe is a whole embracing all of its parts.
Why then have we become so blind to the Oneness which both modern physics and sages throughout all traditions, times and parts of the world tell us is so?
When we become overly identified with form and lose or forget the practices and wisdom teachings which provide an intellectual and experiential bridge to inner knowing, we see the world as composed of separate parts. Science has come to find that what we see and perceive is not an accurate representation of what is. Their findings substantiate what mystics have revealed. Karl Pribam, the neurophysicist associated with the holographic model of reality, puts it this way in The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot:
It isn't that the world of appearance is wrong; it isn't that there aren't objects out there at one level of reality. It's that if you penetrate through and look at the universe with a holographic system, you arrive at a different view, a different reality. And that other reality can explain things that have hitherto remained inexplicable scientifically: paranormal phenomena, synchronicities, the apparently meaningful coincidence of events.
In other words, what appears to be a miracle from the assumption that we are separate from each other and separate from Nature, makes perfect sense and is even logical from the point of view that everything is part of and related to everything else. Physicist David Bohm, also came to the conclusion that the Universe is a manifestation of a holographic reality. He sees external events as "explicate" or "unfolded" reality, which is an expression of a primary level of reality which is non-separate, which he call the "implicate" or " enfolded" dimension of reality.
A poem I composed puts it like this:
(Copyright 1993 Esther Frances)
What we see outside of what or who we consider ourselves to be isn't other that us, but instead is another image of us. Pisces and Neptune symbolize the end of the spectrum where unity consciousness prevails. Reality is dream-like or holographic in its essence. Any of the disciplines which help us to experience this oneness, such as music, dance, meditation, mythology, poetry, theater, film (a deliberate illusion) are represented by Neptune or Pisces. Imagination, psychic ability, extra-sensitivity and compassion and forgiveness, which emerge from the awareness of Oneness, are also symbolized by Pisces and Neptune.
Virgo and Mercury represent the particularized array of forms, the parts that comprise the whole and the idea that in holographic reality the part contains the whole. Virgo illustrates the Buddhist insight that form (Virgo) is Emptyness (Pisces) and that "Emptyness (Pisces) is Form.(Virgo)" When we grasp this perspective, I believe the human attempts to "mono-polize" the planet, eliminate species, cultural diversity, and differences will cease. Monotony results from excess uniformity.
Our attempts to make the exterior world the same may be a distorted manifestation of our longing to experience the Oneness that we are already are but have forgotten! Once we recognize the myriad array of forms as expressions of the one, essential reality, we can accept, encourage, and celebrate diversity of expression.
Thomas Berry in his great book "The Dream of the Earth" and Don Miguel Ruiz in his Toltec Wisdom Book " The Four Agreements" help us to appreciate the dreamlike nature of reality and indicate how we can consciously change our dreams or stories in order to change our personal reality and the planetary dream. Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the first yogis to introduce the West to yogic philosophy, says "The world [is] nothing but an objectified dream." "Whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely instantly comes to pass." (Quote from The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot)
I invite you can to see how you can be part of changing the planetary dream by visiting the site of the Dream Change Coalition. Here you will come into contact with the wisdom of indigenous people. A Shuar tribal elder from the Amazon tells us "The world is as you dream it. Stop destroying nature. Stop the nightmare, Come, learn to dream of beauty."
Let's learn to navigate our boats down the stream, merrily, in a dream of respect and love for all!
The Sun is source of all life and creativity on Earth. It brings to life the magical realm of the Earth, bestowing the energy needed to activate all the potentialities of the Earth: the elements, plants, flowers, bugs, animals, and humans. Aquarian Earth reminds us of our kinship with the entire community of life. It provides the ecological feedback that shows the impact of one species upon another.
The human population has become the dominant species on the planet. Humans now effect the quality of the water, soil, air and temperature. Our presence has diminished the habitats of many species. We now see if we don't honor the whole Earth community we may wipe out the very conditions on which we depend for our own lives.
We also see the widening gap between the humans of privilege and the folks worldwide struggling for the basics of a satisfying existence. "Off balance Leo" creates a craving for luxury, control and an inability to relate to the less privileged populace. History provides us with abundant examples of revolutions (Aquarius) that seek to correct imbalance and redistribute the goodies greedily held by those at the center of society.
We are again at a time when a very few control and benefit from the mass marketed products circulated throughout the world. The shadow side of Aquarian Earth is indifference to the plight of people and Mother Earth. Detachment (healthy Aquarian energy) becomes monstrous when it becomes an excuse for perpetuating political, societal, and environmental injustice.
Automated information services are symptoms of a distorted Leo/Aquarian polarity. Personal service (Virgo), by real, caring people (Cancer), is sacrificed so that more profits can go to the modern day royalty.
What if the VIPs were to recognize their responsibility toward the whole? An opening of heart could bring big time healing. What would happen if the populace were to unify and refuse to let the corporations call all the shots? Many Shamanic teachers tell us that reality takes the shape of our dreams. Check out www.dreamchange.org to find out how your dreams can transform the planet.
LEO SUN / AQUARIUS EARTH & AQUARIUS SUN / LEO EARTH:When the Astrological Sun is in Leo it is "home turf." It meets with all the conditions the Sun needs to be itself. Leo, like its totem the lion, has its pride and loves to be recognized for its power and majesty. The Sun in Leo is at home being at the center of any activity, whether performing, directing, managing or pitching. Leos like to be visible and expressive. Leos bring warmth and dynamic energy into the environment. It's a great time for you to enjoy creative expression. Play and delight in love!
Aquarian Earth shows the need to complement the need to shine with the need to share. We can support the other members of the community and insure that they also receive benefits and have the opportunity to express their creativity.
Aquarian Sun folks: remember that the key people in your life also need to feel the warmth of your love and affection. Take heart and dare to show them your love. We all need and thrive on acknowledgment. The greatest generosity is when we open ourselves and truly give our presence and attention to another. Your Leo Earth indicates that if ever you feel disconnected, the antidote is to remember someone you care about and then let them know how much you appreciate them. Be the friend that you are looking to find and see what magic awaits!
VIRGO SUN / PISCES EARTH & PISCES SUN/ VIRGO EARTH:Summer may be a favorite time of year for you. You may find that a garden or secluded spot in nature provides you with the solitude that restores your soul and reconnects you to the whole. Never underestimate your genius. Yes, as humble as you may be, don't underestimate your vast capability to notice where attention is needed and to devise a way of coming up with the solution. You are a very complex and sometimes underestimated sign. This month try balancing your work with mini-vacations or retreats, if your schedule doesn't allow for a more extensive getaway. I think you will find the combination to be a powerful elixir!
LIBRA SUN/ARIES EARTH & ARIES SUN / LIBRA EARTH:Theater, workshops, museums, or concerts could be wonderfully ways of socializing with friends and getting a healthy dose of beauty and inspiration. You may be feeling more expansive, ready to explore new terrain literally or metaphorically. Get in synch with Summer and don't forget to offer your creative fruits! We are enhanced and renewed by celebration. Song and dance rejuvenate your soul as well as your body.
Sports have gained great followings as spectator events. Remember the joy of catch, tag, basketball, or badminton. Play is a fabulous way to get back into simplicity and the joy of the moment. Swimming is another great way of allowing the body and mind to relax. Let enjoyment be your guru this month!
SCORPIO SUN/TAURUS EARTH & TAURUS SUN / SCORPIO EARTH:Scorpios need the grounding energy of their Taurus Earth to keep them from getting waterlogged by the deep emotional currents they hang out in. Taurus needs Scorpio's deep waters to keep them from being completely engulfed in the physical-pleasure-security spectrum. By honoring both feelings and senses a harmony is achieved. Likewise, balancing your need for home, privacy and family with your professional life helps give you the stability and depth you desire.
SAGITTARIUS SUN /GEMINI EARTH & GEMINI SUN / SAGITTARIUS EARTH:You may be riding of a wave of renewed confidence in yourself. A feeling of exuberance regarding a present relationship or a desire to be free from a relationship that no longer satisfies you could also arise. Communication and the "quest for truth," receive more energy than usual this month. Try to write a story to illustrate a new understanding or explore a new place or idea.
CANCER SUN / CAPRICORN EARTH & CAPRICORN SUN / CANCER EARTH:Finances and values- yours and theirs- could be in the spotlight this month. Benefit could arrive in the form of generosity from others or as a result of personal gain. It's a good time to reassess your talents. Take stock of your storehouse of abilities. Remember resources include spiritual understanding, mental clarity, emotional tranquility and artistic creativity. Greater abundance is experienced when you remember and are grateful for the gifts that already bless your life.
Happy Solstice!I'm convinced that folks are attracted to amusement rides like the ferris wheel because it recapitulates the basic cycles in our lives. Every year the light culminates in the longest day and begins the return to the opposite polarity. "What goes up must come down, spinning wheel got to go 'round," as said by David Clayton Thomas of Three Dog Night. Nature shows us that "one extreme eventually leads to another! We find extreme growth in population leads to starvation or plagues. Extreme devastation ushers in abundant regeneration. Forests devastated by forest fires have built in "back-ups" that stimulate the re-growth of trees and brush.
We are part of this circle of Life, defined by the four natural turning points which we celebrate as the Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox. This cycle forms the universal symbol of the cross, signifying matter, or Earth, in many esoteric traditions. We celebrate the great turnings of Mother Earth as universal holidays because they symbolize the turning points in our lives also. Cancer brings in a time of growth when fruit and vegetables ripen. Cancer represents the archetypal Mother and the nurturing actions which provide food and express love.
Planet Earth is in great need of the compassionate, caring, healing energy of Cancer. On July 1st we have a Solar Eclipse at the 11th degree of Cancer. On July 16th, at 9:35 am EST, we will experience a Lunar Eclipse especially effecting the 25th degrees of Cancer and Capricorn. These days give us an opportunity to "re-program" our past and invite our visions and dreams of a planet "awakened to care" for the whole, fragile, eco-system. This month's Lunar eclipse is particularly interesting because it also makes aspects with the Moons "nodes" which also are associated with past patterns and future direction. A double whammy! Attention is focused on the Cancer/Capricorn polarity. One of the primary keys to planetary peace and health is restoring the balance between the male and female energies. Outmoded hierarchical models must give way to structures which honor the whole circle of Life and discontinue the patterns which benefit the few at the cost of the many!
The keynotes are compassion, caring and empathy. We are called on to open our hearts and to allow our feelings to unite us in the awareness that "we are a part of... not apart from... the great tapestry of life-death-life." Another matter symbolized by the Capricorn-Cancer polarity is the issue of the human right to have food (Cancer) that is free from poison, bioengineering and deceptive labeling. Agribusiness (Capricorn) is destroying family farms (Cancer), and monarch butterflies by genetic manipulation of corn. Food that is designed for profit at the expense of health must be outlawed. Corporations (Capricorn) have used and raped Mother Earth (Cancer) and the future well being of nature as we know it is dependent on our waking up to the sacred dimension of life. It is time for preservation to replace destruction.
There are many wonderful sites on the internet that allow you to become better informed and to take action that protects the rain forests, feeds the hungry, and empowers those groups that are working to protect the planet. I invite you to visit the Worldwatch Institute. Your click will translate into direct action to save the rainforests when you visit Rainforest Care and you can help get food to the hungry at The Hunger Site
As I go through the signs, I will indicate the areas of your life where you have the potentiality to make needed changes in attitude and action that will contribute to the restoration of personal and planetary balance. We are all inter-connected and as the ancients said: "When you touch a leaf, you stir a star."
CANCER SUN / CAPRICORN EARTH & CAPRICORN SUN / CANCER EARTH:You have front row seats in this month's festivities. As the fireworks paint the skies you can celebrate an end to old patterns that imprison and welcome new beginnings! Love others with the same level of respect that you would like to receive. Love yourself with the understanding and care that you extend to others. The key is balance. Remember the boomerang theory of life: What ever you send out always come back to you! The key is balance: Extreme emphasis on self or others creates "sand traps" in the "golf of relationships!"
LEO SUN / AQUARIUS EARTH & AQUARIUS SUN / LEO EARTH:Even toys and sports equipment need to be cared for in order to function at their best. Your own body also needs maintenance in order to deliver optimum performance. While you're at it, take time out for "time in." You can benefit from some "cave time" where you kick back from the outer world and tune into your spiritual moorings. Renew yourself with rest, meditation or prayer. Nurture both body and soul.
VIRGO SUN / PISCES EARTH & PISCES SUN/ VIRGO EARTH:Many of you take your pleasures very seriously; others derive great joy from seeing your children, plants or creative projects blossom from your care. Now is the time for new friendships, group activities, or to fertilize your dreams. You may realize your kids or projects are at a new stage of growth and that it is time to acknowledge their new developments. Change is a constant in Life. When we go with the flow we can ride the currents with greater ease!
LIBRA SUN/ARIES EARTH & ARIES SUN / LIBRA EARTH:You have the opportunity to change or renew family connections or reinvent family patterns or rituals. Compassion can dissolve old wounds and forgiveness can pave the way for reunions that remind you of why families are so important.
Your goals may be revised as you re-evaluate what you wish to accomplish. Your role in the world or at home may change to reflect your new clarity. It's a good time to regard any change as a necessary step in your evolution.
SCORPIO SUN/TAURUS EARTH & TAURUS SUN / SCORPIO EARTH:You have an opportunity to express your caring in new ways. If you knew you only had one more day on Earth, what would you need to say, so that you could leave without the regret that something was left unspoken? Why wait? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Why not live so, that if today was your last, you could take solace in the fact that you said what you needed to say.
New insight could arise that allow you to see old situations from a new perspective, much the way a valley takes on a different appearance when viewed from a mountain peak. Share your new understanding. If the old modalities don't seem adequate, try new ways to reach out: hold a hand, share a hug, look someone in the eyes and let your eyes tell them how much you appreciate them.
SAGITTARIUS SUN /GEMINI EARTH & GEMINI SUN / SAGITTARIUS EARTH:You may find a shift in what you hold "near and dear." Sometimes we need to learn to let down our guard so that the closeness that we desire has a chance to be experienced. Or, we may need to learn how to create boundaries, so that our feelings don't run all over the place. Water needs earth to contain it. Earth needs water to keep it from drying out. Your challenge is to take whatever steps are needed to allow yourself the deep intimacy that reflects, expands and enhances your values.