Yoga Therapy & Astrology Posts

“Meet this world with neither grasping nor fear.  Trust the unfolding of life and you will attain true serenity.” 

~Bhagavad Gita

 

Another way to think about Yoga is as a neurological cleansing where the effects of past actions are released, not on the basis of meaning, but neurologically dissolved from the inside by the pure bliss consciousness inherent within us.  We do this in meditation and yoga nidra.  This is not a matter of belief or analysis.  It is a mechanical process. It will work for anyone who does the practices, skeptics & atheists alike.

Gurudev Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga & Amrit Yoga Institute, says, “Every time you withdraw from your reactions and move beyond your pre-programmed past there is the possibility for the resurrection of that part of you that lies beyond the ego.”

Western psychology likes to analyze, diagnose, and ‘fix’…ie psychoanalysis.  Most of the time they stay on the level of the mind and rarely do anything other than talk.  This is very helpful but not necessarily healing.  IMHO   Western psychology is like analyzing the waves coming up on the surface of the ocean.  Whereas Yoga Nidra & Meditation especially, are like cleaning the ocean from the bottom up, at levels where analysis is not possible.   Amrit explains obstructions as energy, and thinking is energy.  Yoga deals with the root issues by going beyond the ‘energy’ to pure bliss consciousness.  Meaning is a less fundamental form of neurological energy and it’s found near the surface of the mind.  Meaning is the tail on the dog of thought energy.  Using the tail to wag the dog is not very effective.

Of course, you don’t need to know any of this to experience the benefits…….   Yoga Nidra at The Sanctuary – April 28, 1-4pm

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When an outer planet (Uranus/Neptune/Pluto) moves into a new sign or a new house it can be a momentous occasion and often manifests in some kind of (symbolic) event (major or minor) to announce the ‘new’ energy pattern that is about to unfold.

Of course, leaving behind the old sign, or old house also has it’s own significant events that sum up the lesson(s) of what’s being left behind, for now or for however long it takes until the cycle repeats again.  Such is the ‘wheel’ of Karma.

Neptune entered Pisces in 2012 and slid into my ninth house in the spring of 2013.  Neptune can deliver some frightening experiences if left unnoticed so its always best to find healthy ways to experience it.  Such is the gift of astrology, to make one aware of what is possible.  But, back to me, it’ll take until 2029  before it  connects with my midheaven and enters my 10th house.

Neptune in the 9th for 11 years will slowly dissolve what was before and invisibly recreate all ninth house affairs.  In doing that it will also send some *shade* onto the 3rd house, and any other natal placements it aspects.  (Astrological dictionary here)

Some ninth house  affairs include:  long distance travel,  foreign or distant places, aliens, immigrants, as well as Judges, Religious Authority figures, philosophers and athletes.  Travels need not be physical, but could be intellectual or spiritual .  Our personal philosophy is described in the ninth house and with Neptune here I expect I’ll think about things quite differently before it’s over.   (some Neptune keywords here)

In order to understand a transiting planet in one’s personal horoscope, you must first investigate the natal placement of that planet first.  And that’s where it gets impossibly ridiculous for me.  Because, you see, I was born in Neptune, NJ, and lived from 0-8yrs in Neptune City, NJ.  Natal Neptune is in my 4th house of home, real estate, and early childhood.  I have no choice but to pay attention to *neptune*.

Obviously, as the current colloquialism goes, “you can’t make this stuff up”.

Today, Neptune is only minutes away from a trine to Natal Sun, midway thru Pisces, and midway thru my ninth house.   The landscape of my life has certainly changed since I began writing this post in 2015 and I’m happy that I kept the draft.  It helps to mark certain time-periods.

I can say this, we do create our own reality, and with Neptune time is fluid.  It helps to have *spiritual* practices that connect you to *the present moment*

Om Shanti.  May all beings be peaceful.  May all beings be kind.  May all beings be happy.

Do More Yoga.

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Chiron enters Aries.

This is a big deal.   The asteroid named Chiron was discovered in the mid-seventies and I believe he was in Aries at that same time.  Some   senior astrologers out there might remember quite well what was happening during that time.  It was similar to now in ways we are about to find out as Chiron returned to Aries on Feb 19.   A Chiron Return is in place.

Click for related post.

For a richer *understanding*  of what this upcoming cycle might yield I turn to the Sabien Symbols as interpreted by  Dane Rudyhar..   I’ve written about them in past posts.

Rudyhar writes: “1° ARIES is the “first of the 360 phases of a universal and multi-level cyclic process which aims at the actualization of a particular set of potentialities.”  This 360 phase process is described symbolically thru out the book.   Specifically the first degree of Aries is the Sabian Symbol: “A WOMAN JUST RISEN FROM THE SEA.  A SEAL IS EMBRACING HER.”

Rudyhar goes on with the keynote:  Emergence of new forms and of the potentiality of consciousness.

There’s a lot to unpack there.

….more later

 

 

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According to Indian Mythology, Lord Visnu had decided to make the Deities (the seven planets) immortal.  Visnu had churned up the sea in order to extract a sacred nectar called amrita, with the intention of making the planetary Gods immortal. Visnu had all of the planetary deities lined up in order to receive the nectar potion. However, a demon called Rakshasha, who was dragon-like in appearance had sneaked in and disguised itself as a deity, in order to become immortal. Once Visnu had realised that he had been fooled into giving the nectar to the demon he took out his sword and chopped the demon in half. The head of the dragon became Rahu and the tail became Ketu, but now they could not be killed, as they had received the nectar. When the nodes, Rahu and Ketu saw how angry they had made Visnu, they did penance to him and were eventually given planetary status.  The symbol of Rahu represents the dragon’s head and Ketu represents its tail.

 

….to be continued.

 

 

Yoga

Last year I stumbled upon an online course teaching the basics of Islamic Geometry as an art form.  With joy I dug into the box that held my old drafting tools from college. I found my compass, triangles, and even some old architectural drawings from my classes.

I’ve been fascinated with the Sri Yantra  for years.  During some of our  yoga workshops we spent some time coloring it in, being mindful and present and watching our thoughts/feelings/sensations during the practice. Everyone enjoyed it.  It is a good way to practice dharana and dhyana, concentration and absorption.

 

The Sri Yantra, is considered the Mother of all Yantras, and there are many of them.  Together they, and many other geometric forms and patterns make up the library of sacred geometry, a science that has fascinated me since my teens.  As I attempted to recreate this ancient pattern I was reminded of the rich symbolism that permeates all  the Vedic sciences, including geometry & mathematics.   As I painted it. layer by layer, I once again recognized impatience., my yearning for perfection, and my struggle with ‘is it enough?’.

Sri Yantra is composed of 9 interlocking triangles, four point up representing the masculine principle and 5 point down representing the feminine.  Everything begins at the Bindu point  The circle represents cosmic rhythms.  The 8 and 16 lotus petals represent on-going creation and expansion.  The four gates representing the directions within a square representing earth, manifestation, and stability.

The Sri Yantra is sacred geometry, meaning that meditation upon it leads to expanded consciousness, enlightenment, or, as some report, extremely good fortune.

All that said, it has been amazingly pleasant to paint the Sri Yantra and I’m on my 4th one.  My patience is growing and I feel serene at completion.   Spiritual practice and meditation can come in many forms.

 

Geometric Art Meditation Yoga

I was running late to class and hobbling still on my sore ankle.  I’ll remember Mars turning retrograde at 4 degrees Aquarius (ruling  zodiac sign of ankles) for a long time!  As soon as I got to the top stair and turned the corner to the studio I saw it, a large white shopping bag with a big pink post-it to Ida…and a heart drawn with red markers.  It was sitting on the chair in the hall by the door to The Sanctuary.  I looked in the bag and saw a bunch of books with a piece of paper on top.  There was no note or card or any clue at all as to the giver of this gift.  I grabbed the bag and hobbled some more into the studio.

 

My curiosity was stoked!  The bag held a delightful assortment of astrology books, most very old, but well kept and well read with pages dogeared and jacket covers marking pages.  I already had a few of them but some I’d never seen before.

In addition to the books was a piece of paper with what might be a natal chart but there’s no name or birthday or birthplace or any personal data at all.  It didn’t look like any other natal chart or chart form I’d ever seen before, and I’ve been seeing charts since 1970 something.

The other item in the bag was an aspectarian, and that item lit me up like a firecracker!  But, that’s another story.

Students began to arrive and I put the books away holding aside Dane Rudyhar’s, An Astrological Mandala – 360 Symbolic Phases.  I have a yellowed paperback held together with a rubber band at home.  I can use this hardcover one for sure.  Usefulness is important when you have Mars and Saturn in Virgo like I.

Another Solar Eclipse was due on Aug 11 at 19 degrees of Leo.  I look up that degree in Rudyhar’s book thinking it would be a good reading for the class and might offer some timely discourse.

Class begins.  It’s a struggle, at first, to pull my mind away from the mysterious gift.  But, by the time we got to “OM”, we were all centered, grounded, and ready for our yoga practices.

After class, we chatted some and I remembered how I wanted to share the page on 19 degrees of Leo,   Instead, I opened the book to the page that was marked with the book cover.  I looked and it read Phase 279, 9 degrees Capricorn. An Angel Carrying a Harp.   Stunned, I looked from the page to the beige nubby carpet up to the creamy tan wall and over to the small, Wm Reese, fully levered, maple lapharp perched on her stand in front of me.

Was that page marked for me?  Even the remaining students in the room were curiously mystified.

After they left I considered what to do with the bag.  I pulled out the piece of paper and the aspectarian, packed the books up, and left it at the studio.

Later that night, I looked at what I brought home, and it does appear like a natal chart of someone born in the 40’s or perhaps early 50’s.  Sun in Sag, Moon in Taurus (?) the symbols here are unclear, Capricorn is rising.  I can’t think of anyone offhand that has that astrological signature.    But, Scorpio’s love mysteries.   Sometimes.

Is this a gift from a peer, an admirer, or a stalker, or someone who has found me on the internet and chooses to remain anonymous for nefarious reasons, or what?

I am well acquainted to what an imaginative monkey-mind can do.  Yet, the bag was left anonymously, on purpose?

Anyway, if you’re still reading this and you know who left it, would you please let me know.

Meanwhile, the solar eclipse has passed and we can now try to make sense of all this summer has revealed…….so far.

Om Shanti….

 

Astrology Blogging Creative Non-Fiction Yoga

The premier text for defining creativity is probably Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book: Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

The second  book that impacted my understanding of the creative process was the Bhagavad Gita.

You can’t not be creative.  We are born with galaxies filled of ‘potential’….inside and out.

Our Inquire Within Summer Intensive is scheduled for July 28   Today is the deadline to register.  Om Shanti.

Yoga

Hardware, Software, and a big book of numbers.
Some tools of the trade.

Did you know that there are two zodiacs?

The difference between them is largely a question of measurement and how and where to begin measuring. Volumes have been written and it’s not necessary for our purposes here to go into it in any detail.

The tropical zodiac is mostly used by western astrologers and looks at the sky with reference to the solstice and equinox points. Then they divide the sky up into twelve sections that may or may not be equal, depending on other data points.

The sidereal zodiac is primarily used by eastern astrologers and is more closely related to the actual placement of the stars in their constellations.

The actual difference between these two zodiacs is approximately 23 degrees depending on which astronomer you consult. This difference is called the ayanamsa.

As an astrologer, I can’t help but think that the Sidereal folks are more connected to ‘reality’ since they are looking at the sky as it is, rather than observing it as a mathematical construct.  But those same astrologers have yet to acknowledge Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in their interpretations.  For them Saturn is an absolute boundary.  Regardless, both systems work.  Time & experience have established that fact, conclusively. 

All said, I have had many wonderful discussions with astrologers of both systems.  Aside from it’s practical or impractical uses, just the study, alone, of astrology helps to balance out a lot of mis-thinking that goes on in the world.

 

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Watercolor geometric patternMany years ago I had the pleasure of working at the NJ Center for the Healing Arts. A wonderful group of various therapists, psycho-, massage-, art-, and other practitioners of the alternative/complementary arts/sciences all worked under one roof. The founder had a vision for how to treat mental illness in today’s society. She was a beacon of light to many and I applaud her for her accomplishments and the ripple effect of healing & inspiration she provided to the whole community, clients, and the world-at-large.   I was honored to offer astrological & feng shui consultations along with some hatha & dancing yoga classes during my early years studying yoga therapy.  It was a rich time.

While there, it was clear that much of the physical space was dedicated to art….The walls were filled with paintings painted by past & present clients.  Every now and then new ones would appear.  I loved peeking into the art room to see them in action.   It never occured to me that art or painting or drawing could be therapeutic, or healing, or anything other than a means to an end, a picture upon which lots of opinions/judgements might be heaped.  “I like it” I hate it” etc.    Of course, I proved myself naive, again, it happens a lot.

Anyway, today  it’s nearly two decades later and I’m excited to be working around art again.  It’s in a different context, of course, but after such a long time learning & practicing integrative yoga therapy I’m comfortable teaching whever the winds blow me.

Anything can be therapized these days and that’s maybe a good thing?  It acknowledges that we all need healing.  All of us.   Everybody.  This is something I know to be true.

And, the kind of healing that occurs when we fully engage in a process that eliminates words can be felt thru and thru.  It has to do with how the hemisphere’s of the brain are organized.  Healing, though, is not a right-side/left-side experience, but rather what happens naturally when balance is acheived.  This is what yoga/meditation teaches us.  That amazing blissful state that occurs after one does some focused hatha practice, is the same calm, blissful state that occurs when we’re in the zone of: artistic expression, dance practice,, or musical harmonies & rhythms.

That zone, that particular kind of present moment is a very seductive state of being, and once you’ve experienced it your entire being becomes engaged with trying to have the experience again.  The challenge & difficulty is to get there naturally, chemically & substance free.  But, I digress.  Neptune is one of the astrological significators for spiritual practice, yoga, imagination, fantasy and more.  For more keywords of Neptune go here.

On July, I’ll be facilitating a weekend of workshops on yoga & creativity at The Sanctuary.  For the *intensive* on Saturday we’ll be at a local art gallery.  I’m excited to see what happens!   Namaste.

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