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Author: Sheridan Kennedy

I'm Doctor Jewels, creator, writer and practical mystic...
I believe that when we embrace our materiality and own our innate wisdom and joy, we access authentic well-being for ourselves, those around us, and for the planet.
Ultimately everything I do is centred around a simple desire... to restore a sense of magic, mystery and wonder to the world.

Earth magic: the message within the opal

Lately I’ve been immersed in the extraordinary beauty of opals.

No other stone can deliver quite the character that opals can.
Don’t get me wrong – I love many gemstones, but I believe that when we’re drawn to something (and particularly if it gets a little bit unbalanced and obsessive!), this indicates there is energy or information here that we need to pay attention to.

I’ve got quiet opals with dark faces but when they catch the light at certain angles there’s a flash of brilliant green as pure as the green ray of the heart chakra.
Others are steadfast earthy rocks (brown as the earth they’ve come from) with marvelous glowing cores like multicoloured lava.  And others have a quiet purity of intention, a preternatural glow of meltingly luminous greens, reds and blues.

 

White opal showing flashes of colour

When I first heard the description of white opal as the ‘Seed of the Holy Fire’ this felt so pure and true. Beneath the haze of white light there are dazzling flashes of inspiration that evoke for me the Ecstasy of St Teresa, burning with mystical Eros,  as captured so beautifully in Bernini’s extraordinary sculpture.

 

No stone offers quite the spectrum of colour play – or, in fact, the extremes of price – as does the opal.

Thus, there is something wonderfully egalitarian about this stone.  And in particular the Boulder Opal, which contains all the colours of its fancier cousins the White and Black Opals. It’s simply that its veins of colour are usually more narrow. Once they used to be sliced down and glued onto slabs to produce little ‘triplets’ and ‘doublets’ that appeared in ubiquitous, uninteresting jewellery in every tourist trap across Australia.

Now we celebrate them in their natural state, their colours still contained in the  matrix of rock that enabled their growth.

Opals are actually water turned to stone. You can literally see the liquid flows in the patterns of many opals, telling the story of how water and minerals trickled into channels and spaces in rocks, or were laid down in dissolving wood and the bones of ancient animals.  And then transformed, over unimaginable years, into these glorious combinations of earth and light.

Unlike other gems such as diamonds or rubies or amethysts, they don’t grow deep underground in volcanic pipes, or fiery larval flows, or dark caverns.

Opals began in the sands of a vast inland sea that covered the heart of the continent 100 million years ago.

Veins of opal in ironstone from Koroit opal fields
Veins of opal appear like rivers in a desert landscape in this opal from the Koroit opal fields in Queensland.

I source my opals directly from the miners in my home town of Winton (in ‘outback’ Queensland), which is on the edge of this ancient sea, and most recently has been made famous for its dinosaur fossil discoveries. In fact the mines are about 120kms south of the town and are still mined by individuals (very clear traceability to source here!).  Here there are none of the giant mining pits or multinational conglomerates associated with diamond mining.

Opal is not, strictly speaking, a crystal, but an amorphous ‘mineraloid’ of hydrous silicon oxide.

Unlike other stones it does not occur as crystals but as small veins, globules and crusts, usually condensed from silica-rich solutions. It can also replace the skeletons of many marine organisms and plants, which is how you get opalised shell and wood – fossils that have become jewels!

It owes its fragility to the loss of water when it is exposed to air. The surface becomes crazed with tiny conchoidal fractures. The characteristic play of colours in many opals result from the way that light is dispersed according to the angle of incidence (the angle in which the light strikes the surface).

Opals haven’t been so popular in Australia – most is sold into the US market.
I believe this is largely due not only to our ‘cultural cringe’ but also to the design abuses the stones suffered in the 70’s and 80’s!

And the increase in their popularity now is part of the rising interest in preserving our natural world. The fragility of opals is an echo of the fragile balance within Australia’s eco-systems.

In a time that feels like we are on the verge of an ecological crisis, the opal is a quiet reminder of earth magic.

In an era when everyone is trying to escape into the virtual worlds of technology – and the belief that science will solve our ecological problems – the opal evokes the sublime beauty of the material world.

This sensation of awe and delight is not only good for us, it reminds us of the preciousness of this land in which we live. The opal plays its role in re-orienting us around respect and love for the world of matter.

And this simple re-orientation is perhaps the singularly most important shift we can make to  solve what ails us in modern times.

The natural wisdom of Libra: finding balance in motion

September’s equinox signals the Sun’s ingress into Libra.  And, as the Sun crosses the equator, day and night are exactly the same length. Ancient people were much more in tune with seasons, so it’s no coincidence that Libra is the sign that represents balance.

The equinox marks a turning point and the need to adjust and realign with changing temperatures and daylight hours.

We can understand Libran energy more clearly by tapping into the natural wisdom of the seasons.

If it’s spring we think about ‘spring cleaning’, of our houses, bodies, even our minds. Throwing off the stodginess of winter foods and feeling our muscles relax into the warmth of summer. If September means winter, as it does in the traditions of the North (which we still hold to in the South – making for a bit of a topsy-turvy effect ), then it’s a time for consolidation after the pleasures of summer. Virgo is the harvest sign, and with the harvest now collected Libra prepares the village to hunker down for winter.

For those born when the Sun is in the sign of Libra, balance becomes an important theme in your life. This doesn’t mean you’re born knowing all about balance and how to do it, or that your inability to find balance is an indication you’re a failed Libra!

It simply means that discovering the art of balance is part of your lifetime’s work. Your experiences, your talents, your challenges will all be woven through with what you discover, and what balance means to you.

There’s much to learn from Libran energy about seeking equilibrium while also being in relationship with all things.

While those who have strong Libra in their chart are overtly working with the theme of balance, there’s very few of us who aren’t trying to find our ‘centre’ in the midst of exciting and chaotic lives.

This is not helped by the fact that many of us in this modern world are living split lives.
Maybe it’s that our work, where we spend the majority of our time and energy, is ultimately unsatisfying and purposeless. For some it’s a feeling of being an outsider in your family of birth, leading to a strange sense of exile, split off from the ‘tribe’. Or perhaps we love our partner dearly but the compromises we make in the relationship leave us feeling that something is blocked within us, or in the atmosphere between us.

More recently I’ve met people for whom this split comes from a sense that they are not of this world, because they feel so estranged from this earth reality. For these people it seems like either the world is just a weird, confusing place, or they’re the weird ones. (Let me just say, it’s not you, it’s this bizarre unbalanced social system that we live in!)

Libran energy is about learning how to relate with reciprocity and cooperation in a world that seems greedy and self-serving to the core. Mostly this has to be learnt through living it.

We lose our balance when we’re split off from some sense of feeling ‘true’ to the self. Like a carpenter with a ‘spirit level’, Librans are ‘truing’ themselves – bringing the self into the exact position or form required – in the face of forces which would resist balance.

A perfect symbol for this is not the weighing scales often associated with Libra, but the dynamic looping of the infinity sign. This symbol reveals the movement of energy that happens when scales or pendulums seek the balance point. It gives us a clearer understanding of how to work with energy to be in balance, rather than to simply observe it without feeling it in our bodies.

The natural world reveals balance to be a dynamic equilibrium. A continual movement between polarities that underpins the foundational electromagnetic energy of our bodies and the earth.

Here is the real secret at the core of Libran wisdom: balance is the continual motion back and forth between opposites. There is no permanent safe harbour, where the still centre is fortified against the crashing chaos of life. For that would end up being resistance, and a state of siege. Very un-Libran.

Instead Librans need to call upon their air element, to practice lightness in the face of heaviness, and movement when confronted by rigidity. Librans are cultivating the ability to continually return to balance. This is not the about holding fast to a position, it’s the ability to flow easily as air.

When Libra is emphasised in your chart, you’re not a fence sitter as many like to say. Yes, Libra vacillates, but this is only a negative trait in a world fixated on dualistic thinking. Your vacillation is not indecision, it’s the evasion of rigid and fixed states. There’s no balance to be found there.

The Libran soul finds centre while in motion between the dualities.

Through Libra we learn how to pull off a balancing trick where one thing never dominates another, and thus each is able to find their place of ease and grace in the world.

The infinite dance of dynamic equilibrium

Balance. Now there’s a thing to contemplate. We keep talking about a need for more balance in our lives as we feel flung this way and that by demands, obligations, the unexpected and the unplanned.

Underneath all the noise of busy modern lives, our bodies know that we need balance.

We feel it like a quiet craving. It manifests as a creeping sense of unease in the midst of the storm of stuff we deal with daily. And we then read this as fear and anxiety, when it’s simply a need for peace and quiet.

If we ignore that craving for too long it becomes, literally, disease. For example, there’s more than enough research showing how imbalances of vital nutrients, or gut bacteria, in our bodies lead to inflammation and illness.

Our bodies have an innate wisdom, also found in all biological systems, which is simply the continual practice of restoring balance.

This is known as homeostasis, a natural ‘law’ that appears in all biological systems and cellular life. ‘Homois’ (Greek) means ‘like’ (as in ‘similar’) + stasis means state, so the suggestion is that the biological urge is to always return to a similar state. The implication is that this urge to return to homeostasis is simple and basic. In other words, more like an automatic reaction than an intelligent response to circumstances.

However, our bodies are complex systems of 40 trillion cells, situated within the complexities of social systems and the natural world. Ultimately we cannot draw clear lines of distinction between microbes, cells, cultural stories, or the weather.

This makes simplistic mechanistic concepts like homeostasis redundant.

When something has been acted upon, when it has become entangled with whatever else has entered the field, it cannot return to the similar state that it was in before this change. Clearly neither our bodies nor the natural world operate this way. What interrupted balance must now be assimilated or incorporated or transformed. (Even elimination is an act of transformation – energy doesn’t simply ‘disappear’.)

The system will never be the ‘same way’ twice. Like the old adage about not being able to step in the same river. Change is the only constant. There would be no evolution if return to stasis was nature’s basic response in the face of change.

I prefer to think of this natural seeking of balance as dynamic equilibrium.

Homeostasis is a misnomer. Balance is not a place or a state we get to, it’s the ability to sustain the continual movement back and forth between polarities and not get stuck in one side or the other. Our bodies restore balance through the perpetual motion of our heart’s beat, through the constant birth and death of cells.

This natural intelligence within offers a wisdom we can apply to our lives.

 

The Infinity symbol
Dynamic Equilibrium is perfectly expressed in the symbol for ‘infinity’.

 

The concept of homeostasis underpins our belief that health is a ‘state’, a perfect place of ease and wellbeing. But while it’s one that is possible to attain, it’s impossible to maintain!

Simply because of that one constant: change.

Instead, health and wellbeing, ease and balance are found in how we participate in the infinite dance of energy, re-finding centre through continual motion.

This infinite looping also expresses a basic law of how energy is created through a chicken-or-egg dance between electricity and magnetism. The core of the earth is a giant magnet, the rotation of the earth produces electricity – and one cannot happen without the other. The same electricity is foundational to our life. Electrical impulses initiate our first embryonic heartbeat, and underpin the functions of our neurons.

This vital energy of life in our cells, and in the farthest stretches of space is in a dynamic equilibrium. We won’t ever arrive at a state of perfect balance because there isn’t one – so we may as well enjoy the ride!

Venus rising

 

The lunar eclipse  of July 17th (7.38am AEST at 25º Capricorn) highlights Venus, in Cancer and close to the Sun.

Since Venus invites us to open to the joys in our life, and to choose what really matters to us, this is a timely reminder of what to focus on now.

We’re under the hammer, all this year, of big hitters like Pluto & Saturn together in Capricorn. This pair of divine blacksmiths are working in tandem, melting down our old s/crap metal in the alchemical furnace and forging our new destinies. I’ve discussed elsewhere this interplay of forces that challenges us to sort the gold from the dross.

Venus glides into this scenario at the left hand of the Sun (she’s currently the morning star, rising just before the sun to herald the new day). I’m tempted to go into the Goddess significance of left-handedness but I’ll spare you that today!

She surveys the chaotic scene at the forge – yes, depending on what’s going down for you, when the dross is being burnt away in whatever area of your life, and your old orders and systems and safe-holds are dissolving, it is deliberately destabilising…

And she says with the serene calm of a Cancer Queen:
“find the thread within yourself that really connects you into the world. That will pull you through.”

Wherever Venus sits in our chart she offers us an invitation to be more of who we really are.

Not who we think we have to be in order to be more successful, more attractive, a better mother or lover…
Because in being the gift that we are, we will naturally be all of those things, minus all the guilt and efforting.

I’m not saying this is always an easy task. Depending on how much s/crap we’ve collected, how much we’ve armoured ourselves against the slings and arrows of unkindness (even our own unkindnesses to ourselves!), there might be a lot of layers to chip away, some melting down and re-forging work to be done.

And now is the time for that. With this powerful team of Saturn and Pluto already at work, resistance is no longer an option.

How are you being called by this energy?

For me, circumstances, serendipity and a touch of divine inspiration have lead me deeper into the realms of Venus… one of my favourite places I confess!

Even if it sounds overly dramatic (and somewhat Biblical!!), I’ve had an epiphany in the last month as Venus reveals herself to be deeply significant in the next stage of my work. She is the thread that brings together 30 years of jewellery (Venus is all about beauty and pleasure), 20 years of astrology and the work of my PhD that merges science and spirit to arrive at bodyfulness. And you can probably tell that I’m more than a little bit excited about it!

Venus qualities are the key to the fresh rising of the feminine which we’re all feeling now. And her gifts are open to men as well as women, as we’re all learning how to balance the yin and the yan within ourselves.

She has long been minimised as a fairly unimportant player in the cosmic drama of astrological energies. But Venus has plenty of mysteries to reveal, and like those values considered ‘feminine’, has been much under-rated in the scheme of things. I’ll come back to that another time….

Right now though, during this eclipse season as the sun moves through Cancer, we are being called us to reconnect with what nurtures us, and sustains our sense of belonging. Capricorn, the opposition point triggered by the lunar eclipse, loves order and structure. But the deeper pull comes from Capricorn’s foundational commitment to what really matters. It understands that we manifest what we value most. It also knows, as one of the elder signs of the zodiac, that values can be distorted when they’re only in service of stability.

Another image for Saturn and Pluto in the fiery earth of Capricorn, is of two tribal elders in intense negotiation over what is the best way forward for those in their care.

Whatever is happening within us and around us now is simply another reminder that we need to continually re-examine our lives to see what still holds value.
And to create from this place.

As Saturn & Pluto re-wrangle order, it’s the Cancerian insight into true belonging and the Capricorn commitment to manifest what we truly value that will restore our place in the world amongst all the apparent chaos of the times.

 

 

This eclipse season is asking you to hone in on where you belong.

The solar eclipse of the 3rd July (AEST) brings us officially into the 2019 ‘Eclipse Season’ (a biannual event – but these aren’t always a total eclipse like this one). Not visible to us in Australia, nonetheless still as potent.

This eclipse occured at 11 degrees Cancer, the Moon’s home sign which concerns matters of home and belonging.

If this eclipse affected any planets in your personal sky map you’ll have already been alerted by some bumpy events in previous month… emotional intensity, feeling unsettled or under threat, even hopeless, as your self-faith and self-love come under some extreme pressure.

 

Solar eclipse in cancer
Emerald is one of the gemstones that amplifies Cancerian vibes. The ancients considered that simply gazing upon the beautiful green of the emerald soothes heart and mind in times of turmoil, despair or sadness. Its colour resonates with the Heart Chakra.

 

When the moon eclipses the sun (getting in between us and the solar light) it symbolises, and instigates, the dominance of emotion, instinct and more mysterious inexplicable and unseen things over rationality, reason and the visible. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, much as we’ve become quite fearful of this kind of stuff in the modern world. There’s much talk about being ‘light workers’ in these days of aspirational spirituality. We have forgotten that we need to be ‘dark workers’ too!

It’s a call to remember that love does not need reason – or even light – to be present in our lives. Use this time til the lunar eclipse at the next full moon to reconnect with what nurtures and sustains your sense of belonging. To recall your place in the world. And the comforts of darkness.

If you have a birthday around this time… or any other planets in these degrees you could be feeling the call to drop below the buzz of the mind and deepen your sense of bodyfulness- to drop awareness down into heart and spine and belly, and put your feet on this beautiful earth. To come home to yourself.

On seeking balance and finding the way through

Twice a year we are reminded, by the wisdom of the natural world, about cultivating the art of balance.

As the sun hovers on the equator ready to favour either the northern or the southern hemisphere, thus heralding the onset of winter or the approach of warmer times, there is a moment of perfection. A moment of equanimity. A moment of being able to embrace the whole view, without fear or favour.

A moment that passes just as instantaneously.

And this is enough to remind us humans that our constant aspirations to perfection and equilibrium can only ever be fleeting. Because equilibrium is never stasis, it has to be found in dynamic motion.

For millenia we’ve used these cornerstone moments to divine the spirit of the times and listen to messages about the way through.

So I asked the stars today, what is the zeitgeist in action now? And what insights offer the keys to opening impasse, and unblocking the evolutionary forces, so we can gain passage through into the spaces our hearts crave?

 

 

This year’s Aries Equinox combines with a Full Super Moon in Libra (‘super’ because of its proximity to earth).  A phenomenon that occurs every 19 years or thereabouts.

Many astrological blogs will be speaking of the Spring Equinox for this moment of fresh starts. Once again, those of us in the southern hemisphere are dominated by the mindset of the north. To what degree this reflects much of the exclusivity of our times, where one point of view dominates over another is a rich topic that deserves a much fuller exploration. Can we in the south re-write and re-story such archetypal models as the astrological system? Do we succumb and follow the system? Do we find a new system more relevant to our own locale and experience of the natural cycles? I leave these questions to another time… and instead return to the cosmic shout-out of this particular moment, 21st March 2019.

Because this juncture of time is unique, and the astrological players signal this is so.

The fresh energy of the astrological new year with Sun in the first degree of Aries and the Moon in the first degree of Libra (in full and glorious opposition to each other), is tempered and coloured by volatile forces and destabilising rumblings that have been going on below the surface of our personal and collective worlds for some time now…

 

How do things begin? Do they begin from nothing? Or from a slight shift on what’s already been? Or via some cataclysmic wake up call? Or all of the above?

The fresh energy of Aries, launching with a childlike enthusiasm (into a northern spring), comes into opposition with Libran beginnings which are gestating something entirely different  – a vessel for a new kind of future. One that will move us beyond our naive faith in the security of the current system. One that will show us the way through the drama of a world trying to hold onto what is way past its use by date, visions of ‘progress’ that have festered and soured in the collective psyche.

This equinox Sun with it’s close conjunction to Chiron is unable to shake free of the past and charge forth without complications or entanglements. Chiron weighs down the winged boots of Aries. Events like the bizarre divisiveness engendered in response to the NZ massacre of more than 40 people in a place of worship shows the gaping chasm between our white world and a bright future.

The nourishing and growth of our own self-love is the true aspiration of our astrological sun.

Working with Chiron, the Sun is called to bridge this chasm between the wound at our deepest core and the truth field of love. Whatever the wound, it can be traced to the same seeds: shame, guilt, fears of not being enough, of not being lovable.
Though we become adept at sidestepping and covering these over with ego justifications, this is the stuff standing in the way of whatever future we desire – whether it is one of glowing health, abundance, deep love and acceptance (substitute your core craving at this point in time).  Whatever the core wound, it blocks us from fully loving ourselves, in all our imperfection and failings, in all our grandeur and giftedness.

Meanwhile the Libran super moon is reflecting on how we meet and relate to the world in our full selfness – and to what degree we allow the world to meet us.

Libra’s traditional designation is the sphere of relationships. What kind of relationship do you have with the world? Are you bargaining your truth for security? Are you opening to possibility or are you blocking it with compromise and fear?

We’ve witnessed #metoo and the fallout from ousting ‘toxic masculinity’. But how prepared are we to be honest about ‘toxic femininity’? It seems particularly fitting that this archetypal balancing act of masculine and feminine ( Mars ruled Aries sun in opposition to Venus ruled Libran Moon ) is at the centre of this Equinox Full Moon.

Is this the full, clear sight of each other, and the other within ourselves? Or are we still making the other into the enemy?

At this same moment, there is a celestial square between Venus and Mars, suggesting that we still have a long way to go before we get through this.

These energies throw up challenges not only in relation to partners, but also in relation to whatever is blocking our own sense of wholeness – the divine masculine or feminine within.

This bickering god and goddess are pressured by expansionary Jupiter and the North Node of destiny because all are sitting at the potent and challenging degree frequency 24. This frequency is the underworld rumbling of complete change. It says we need to go in, all the way in, to face whatever is impeding our destiny.

This, then, is the zeitgeist of the Equinox moment: to face whatever is holding back our access to the force field of love.

If you’re feeling the upending of things long considered safe or sacred, if you’ve been stuffing down emotions and sidestepping that little voice inside you that says ‘it’s time’, then like the canary in the coal mine you are sensing these powerful forces at work in the current zeitgeist.

These forces are very different to those symptoms of the actual disease, like the political manoeuvres of deluded leaders, or the glyphosate conspiracies by Monsanto-Bayer. I’m talking of the non-human forces, the ones our rational, progress oriented world view has been invested in hiding, ignoring, denying for so long.

This Equinox energy says we can be anything we have it in us to be.
This is not the same as saying we can be anything.

What kind of vessel are you making of yourself now? How are you a conduit for future worlds now coming into form?

How to spend less time fixing yourself & more time being perfect

(Or: how jewellery, astrology & bodyfulness fit together)

 

Greg Rahkozy and Elizabeth Gilbert

 

I’ve finally faced the fact that I’m the kind of person who can’t just do one thing, because I end up being bored witless.

The reason I decided to do a PhD was because hours at the jewellery bench had my thoughts wandering into ‘bad neighbourhoods’, and I realised that the devil makes work for idle minds, just as he does for idle hands.

When I popped out the other end of the PhD mincer and felt nicely squeezed into the sausage skin of academia, I had this niggling feeling in my bones, little whispers of resistance. After all there was some kind of deep irony in the fact that I’d just written a thesis on conspiracies, wrestling so hard to tame far-fetched ideas into acceptable forms. I had mustered together the wondrous and inexplicable, working hard to rationalise it and reference it to voices more authoritative than mine.

There’s always been this rebel in me who’d go against something just ’cos everyone else was going for it. It’s something to do with the Aries part of my nature.

Actively resisting anything mainstream was a 30 year habit. But then I spent 5 years shaping myself to fit academia. And yet, as my mind and my words had submitted to the requirements of being a ‘doctor of philosophy’, my body fomented a quiet resistance.

Oh blessed relief that, buried under ‘appropriate’, was still some wildness, some aching to roam freely!

I hadn’t entirely smothered that love of wonder and magic and mystery that had followed me around all through childhood. So I stepped off the gravy train and went back to being an artist.

But there was something else calling to come in, this urging to make my work a more wholistic practice. To bring in all the things that fascinated me (which I managed to tidily boil down to three. Because I do love trinities).
This is the practice of blending astrology, bodyfulness and jewellery.

So now I work with all three to cultivate the art (and the science) of embodiment.

Often a jewel will already whisper its need for a body, for fingers that appreciate its fluid curves, or that indent at the throat where it may comfortably nest.
This seductive relationship between jewellery and wearer is a theme in everything I’ve made, from the elaborate glamouring of costume jewels to the private intimacy of the amulet.

The ancient history, the social power, the talismanic magic of jewellery has inspired me since the beginning.

That certain materials contain an intrinsic energy we can acquire through wearing; that a jewel can hold our desires and memories, or remind us of promises and intentions; these ideas are as old as humans.

When we wear a piece of jewellery it takes on our warmth, it breathes with us.
It becomes a secret extension of ourselves, revealing something to us.
An essence that might otherwise never have been visible.

Of course not to romanticise it too much because there’s that other face of jewellery too. The hard and glittering gems, with absurd price tags, whose cold perfection (if we are fortunate or wealthy enough to wear them) draws attention away from our own inadequacies. Or that ‘high street’ junky stuff that dazzles us when all shiny and new, then breaks and blackens and disappoints within months.

I believe in jewels that tell their own stories but don’t leave us out of the picture.

Instead of being glittery and hard, they collude with us, and whisper of that deeper essence we sense inside.

And it’s this same essence that astrology can show us, as it opens a window onto the soul. Or gives us a map to navigate the path to becoming more completely who we’re here to be.

But all that ‘being who you truly are’ stuff can feel clichéd and airy-fairy if we don’t bring everything down to the body.

To get our toes into the dirt. To be OK with ourselves when we laugh with crazy joy, or cry like our guts are being torn out. Or wallow in the swamp of numbing depression. Or become livid with anger and do stupid things. The whole point of ‘being who you truly are’ is to live everything like this is the only chance you’ve got.

The astrology chart decodes the soul, but until we embody this it’s simply an abstraction.

It’s only by coming deeply into the pleasure and the pain of this whole experience of ‘human’ that we have any real understanding of all that esoteric knowledge.

So here we’ve come full circle. From the ancient stories that bodies and jewels tell together, to the soul’s mirror – that old symbolic language of the stars – and then back down to earth again. Back into our bodies.

There’s a variety of ways we can feel purposeful and make a positive contribution, but ultimately, whatever it is you’re here to do will only come into focus when you recognise the quiet perfection of being yourself. And accepting there’s nothing that needs to be ‘fixed’.

Like jewellery, there are many types of astrology. I’m only interested in the one that helps us decode and navigate the soul’s living experience.

It’s astrology that shows us the simple truth: we just have to seek out what makes us feel alive.

Because, as Howard Thurman says, the world needs more people who have come alive.

Bodyfulness is the practice of that deep aliveness.
And when we wear the jewel that tells our story, it reminds us that this is what really matters.
Unsplash image by Rokslana Zasiadko

Read this next time you’re longing to feel beautiful

Are you beautiful? Do you find that a provocative question? Perhaps it hits a nerve that has you listing the ways that you’re not, yet, beautiful. Or perhaps you shy back due to modesty…

We don’t go about openly declaring ourselves beautiful in this culture. And yet we’re obsessed by it!

It’s difficult not to be obsessed considering that we’ve been indoctrinated from a young age, even if simply from watching movies and music videos.

As a maker of jewellery, and a first-house-Venus-in-Taurus, beauty has always held a certain prominence for me. And yet, like many, at the same time I crave beauty, I’ve also felt there was something self-indulgent, frivolous and ultimately irrelevant about it.

But then I started to dig into why beauty is high on my list of values. So I decided to do this series of explorations on beauty and what it really means…

What if beauty is not what you think it is?

Do you recognise that deep longing for beauty that you can feel in your heart and your belly? Do you crave beauty and yet sometimes have this jealousy, this feeling that sneaks up on you, that it’s something ‘out there’ that other women have but not you?

Are you the kind of woman who gets caught in comparisons? Not enough of this, too much of that? I know I am. It’s hard not to in this society where everywhere we turn we see a parade of Hollywood beauties, airbrushed to perfection – or the ‘ugly’ counterpart much used by checkout magazines splashing pics of ‘stars without their make-up’ across their covers.

Remarkably, I notice that whenever I read one of those mags (and only because I’ve been waiting too long at the doctor’s surgery and I’m desperately bored), I feel drained of my energy. Robbed of it, in fact.

And this drained feeling comes from the simple truth that these magazines are stealing my beauty by making it impossible. Since I can only ever be myself, not some copy of a celebrity or supermodel.

What are you allowing to steal your beauty?

In modern times it’s easy to believe that beauty is about a narrow range of visual criteria, because way too much energy is spent trying to convince us of this fact in order to sell us a product or service!

And thus we’ve been trained to forget what beauty really is. We mistake beauty for appearance, or rather we think beauty is in how we appear, when it’s actually an energy.

This is why we can meet people who have perfect faces and bodies, and yet something feels like it’s missing. This seemingly perfect beauty is an artifice.
It’s beauty that does not believe itself because the woman (or man) is not connected to that intangible vitality that energises her from within.

This isn’t just an experience we have with people either. Although the “beauty” industry works very hard to suppress our natural and uncanny ability to detect when something is ‘all surface and no substance’.

Beauty is the vitalising energy of life pulsating through us.

And it’s an energy that can be ‘stolen’… or more precisely it’s an energy that can be diverted or suppressed.

For example, whenever you look in a mirror and critique yourself for not meeting beauty standards, you’re giving away a little of your life energy to some social dictate about what beauty is supposed to look like.

It’s the same when you’re ogling makeup displays in department stores, or poring over the images of Vogue, and you feel this ache for the possibilities promised.

In each of these actions, beyond, around, behind envy is that little delicious scent of potentiality. When we pause a moment to recognise that sensation we’re seeking, when we really feel into the potency of beauty, we get to claim it for ourselves.

Because it doesn’t live in magazines or products, it lives within  our own vitality.

So even if you’re struggling to see it in yourself – or most importantly when you’re struggling to see it in the mirror – seek it not in magazines and advertisements.
Look for it in life. In gardens and galleries, in pets and sunsets.

Just because it seems to be ‘outside’ you doesn’t mean it’s not yours to experience. Beauty is not something we can own. And it’s ironic that the billion dollar industry so effectively keeps us chasing the possibility of it, by promising we can own it via a particular product. Even as we know this beauty is never permanent!

We can’t own it and it’s not permanent, but not because someone else has what we don’t, or time and age take it away from us – but because we can’t own an energy.

You can’t own vitality. You have to let it flow through you if you want the experience of it.

The ancient Greeks thought of the beauty we see as a manifestation of some ideal ‘off-world’ pure essence. But beauty is not abstraction, it’s of-this-world, available through the deeply embodied experience of life pulsating through us – in response to the vitality of a flower, or the energetic presence of the artist in an artwork.

Or the clear expression of our own real-ness in a world accustomed to artifice.

 

Unsplash image by Rokslana Zasladko

 

Beauty is an experience of energy, not a specific thing.

If you want to feel beautiful than dip into your own vital life force and feel it express through you. In laughter, or sadness, or calm. In all its forms.

Every time you see something that is naturally beautiful – flower or sunset, kitten or baby – it’s because there is a pure energy expressing through these.
Accept that energy as a gift, letting it enter your senses, feeling it infuse your body with whatever ‘feel-good’ chemicals that happiness and awe and joy evoke (and there are a bunch of neurotransmitters connected to these experiences).

And then just let that sensation fuel your own beauty, your own deep and vital essence.

Receive the beauty the world is offering everyday. This most simple of actions fuels your own beauty.

Some days you may have to ‘work’ on seeking it out, especially in a chaotic, cacophonous modern city. But whether it means flowers that make your heart sing, or a delicious fabric that enlivens your senses, or the taste of something amazing, let it all in.

Get excited about being alive. Because this increases your reserves of beauty.

And we need to continually replenish these in a world that seems constantly at work attempting to steal the beauty that we naturally have.

Stop hoping for that “One Defining Moment”

“If it would only take one word, perhaps one wise phrase to make us change, heaven would be easy to reach, here on earth.”**

How often have we heard the story that every transformational book, every life-coach loves to tell? That one moment when something clicked and everything changed. The lightning flash of enlightenment that comes from reading a phrase, a sudden revelation while in a state of crisis, or an epiphany in the midst of some everyday activity. And this defined THE moment when they were on the path that lead to success, and the realisation of dreams.

Everyone loves a miracle. I’ve done my share of chasing after them, listening to those lectures, reading those books, waiting for it to happen to me.

But wherever I look, there I am – and where are the miracles that just don’t seem to be happening?

But the real truth is that I’m sitting in the midst of continual miracle making – an aggregation of moments.

There is no single defining moment – we are actually in the midst of making miracles all the time.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had revelations that changed my world. Eye-opening or gob-smacking or rapturous moments.

But what followed on from there? It wasn’t that everything suddenly got easier. It wasn’t that one decision, one insight changed everything else. Did that mean I was some kind of idiot who just didn’t get it???

 

The truth is, these stories of Defining Moments are simply a dramatic device. It’s the archetypal hero’s adventure. 
Everyone loves a hero, or wants to be one. Hollywood and transformational coaches have taken up where myth-telling round the fire left off.

A sudden message or a stroke of synchronous luck, that culminates in a turning point from which you (the hero of the tale) never look back but surge ever onwards, no longer daunted, or taunted by demons.

 

This is the story transformational coaches love to tell, standing on stages in front of hundreds. I’ve fallen for this stuff, dreamed of having such a transformative experience, the moment that makes all the difference.

 

When I recognised they’re just retelling the ‘hero’s journey’ it became clear that it’s all just ‘backtelling’. Telling the story with the hindsight that helps us pick through the plethora of our lives and pluck out The One Defining Moment.

The key. The singular revelation that has made all the difference.

‘From that point on I stared success in the eye, and I became a winner.’

 

When I look back at my life for that crux point, I can’t pick just one. Does that mean I haven’t had a big enough revelation?

Instead what I see is a collection of revelatory ideas, experiences, feelings – small, almost insignificant, large and loud – all of them building on what’s gone before, and each slightly morphing and reshaping the others as I go along. Outside that reality trick that tells us time flows in a straight line, how can I untangle these moments from each other?

It’s not that One Thing breaks through, it’s that I never could have known or experienced ‘this’ if I hadn’t known or experienced ‘that’.

 

Let’s be clear that this story of the One Defining Moment is just a myth.

Which is not to say it’s untrue. It is simply the format of an archetypal story that snatches our imagination and carries us along on a wave of entheos – all infused with divine hope.

 

The reality is much more prosaic. It’s an accumulation of wisdom, an aggregate of revelations each building on what already exists. We don’t need to have that old-testament-style blinding flash so we finally wake up to our own wisdom and divine guidance.

If you haven’t had that One yet, it’s OK. You still know where you’re going, you’re still being guided. You’re not forsaken. Even your current crap-storm is not something working against you. You don’t have to solve a series of life issues and problems in order to be more ‘ready’ for the One Defining Moment.

This One Defining moment of the hero’s journey is simply an effective symbol of the overcoming of fear. But the overcoming doesn’t happen in the instant.

Maybe it’s true for some people that their fear is overcome in a flash, just as the Archangel Michael slays the Dragon.
Let me know in the comments if that’s the case for you…

I reckon the act of ‘slaying the demons’, however inspiring the story, isn’t the moment when everything changes.

For the vast majority of us it’s incremental steps, it’s recognition put into practice, evaluated and tweaked and practiced again.
One step after another. It’s the ‘chop wood, carry water’.

It just doesn’t make inspiring copy.

Don’t fall for the rhetoric that you need that Moment. In the midst of preparing ourselves for that One we’re not seeing the aggregate of moments, all those minor revelations and miracles which bless – and direct – our life every day.

We simply have to look for them in the dross. Because there’s not One Moment, there’s many.

(**these are the opening words of a song by my gorgeous and wise husband… who like you is a channel helping others recognise they are also channels.)

Zodiac illustration of Aries

What astrology has taught me

I first discovered astrology at a time in my life when I was stuck.
For one, my obsessive desire to be a successful artist seemed to have run aground and I wondered was the Universe working against me? Was I just unlucky? Or just plain ‘not good enough’? Was it a sign that this wasn’t meant to be?

Can you relate to that kind of situation where it feels like an uphill battle and things we have no control over keep blocking the path?

Ah, such a human dilemma! As a species we’ve been chasing that elusive control over our fate since the time before time. Whether it involved inspecting the entrails of chickens, or visiting the priestesses at Delphi for some incomprehensible gibberish, we’ve pursued this hope that if we could just unravel the signs they would reveal the secrets of what the gods had in store for us.

Astrology provided fuel for my obsession to decode the mystery of who I am. (Notice this theme of obsession running through my oeuvre?? And yep, it can be seen in my astro-chart). I’ve always felt different – you know, the weird kid at school, the oddball who didn’t know how to do things right – and I desperately wanted that difference to make me distinctive, instead of a victim of ‘not good enough’.

So initially, like many others, I was drawn by astrology’s promise to reveal destiny.
And I had really high hopes of what I would find – although I confess I was a bit disappointed. It felt like Alice’s rabbit hole and I could keep digging forever without finding definitive ‘answers’…

Now, 20 years later, and with the comforting retrospection that only time affords, I recognise that astrology doesn’t hold all the answers, but it does give us the ability to develop tremendously useful wisdom of the most practical kind.

In fact, there are 4 very useful things that astrology has taught me.

1. Perspective.

Or what I like to think is ‘the God’s-eye view’ – that view from a great height or depth or distance.

What the soul knows that the brain doesn’t.

When we understand how certain qualities we possess create our expectations of what we’ll meet in the world, we can cultivate the ability to ‘step outside’ of the frame and get that ‘big picture’ view.

Astrology gives me perspective on how I ‘operate’ – not only my character traits, but also what my soul is learning in this lifetime.

Ironically, I only developed perspective after I stopped relying on astrology for all the answers to even the little things. Because astrology’s greatest promise is to be a map for the soul, and maps give us a perspective we don’t have when we’re on the ground with the road in front of us. That’s why I refer to the astrology sessions I offer as soul-mapping.

If we start to believe astrology offers all the answers we lose the ability to access the truth it really does offer.

So now I think of our charts as our own personal sacred geometry, a map we can use to navigate life.

Capricorn and Sagittarius
from: Constellations of the Zodiac, Atlas Maritimus by John Seller, 1679

2. Compassion.

With perspective comes compassion. Too often in the age of psychiatry we’re fond of blaming others (especially mum or dad) for our foibles and failings.

Astrology shows me I’m not a victim, and what I’ve experienced is what my soul expected to experience.

It also shows what’s to be learned through having that experience.

I can’t tell you how huge a leap this enables. It helps move me move through resentment and blame, even in the most challenging experiences.
And so perspective has helped me cultivate compassion – for myself, for my parents, or for anyone who’s presented me with challenges  – in way that is completely natural, not forced or obliged.

3. What to do when things get challenging.

Perspective and compassion underpin the ability to know when to act and when to wait patiently. (Or in my case, as a rampant Aries, how to learn patience!)

Astrology not only reveals where I need to be paying attention when the proverbial hits the fan, but also the nature of a challenge – and it’s ‘reason’.

It provides the shortest route to the heart of the matter.
And shows how this challenge fits into the much larger play of time, and my own personal mythology unfolding over a lifespan. It’s even possible to see where it fits the collective challenge of a generation or an era.

4. Repetition is necessary

And in respect to the ‘play of time’ – do you find yourself still doing things that you think you should be over by now? Like perhaps you’re always ‘choosing the wrong man’. Or you could be in a work situation and suddenly feel like you’re reacting in a way that takes you straight back to some high-school horror story…

We think we should be past that by now, but repetition doesn’t mean you’re stupid and you’ve learned nothing.

Astrology has helped me to be OK with repetition because I recognise that when I’m repeating myself it just shows where I’m not really awake yet to what I’m supposed to be learning about this particular theme that keeps recurring in my life.

So that means I really know I’ve ‘got it’ when I don’t repeat it anymore. And maybe that’ll be never!!

 

Aries the ram
from: Constellations of the Zodiac, Atlas Maritimus by John Seller, 1679

 

Essentially, astrology shows me a more wholistic picture of who I am, and how to be more of me – to accept myself as I am.
It helps me get comfortable with being both the shadows and the light.

I don’t need to ‘overcome’ some bits of me in order to be a better human.
Because in every quality there is an advantage and a hindrance.

Of course developing the above skills doesn’t mean life is easy… but it sure makes it easier to deal with.

(P.S. If you want to know more about my astrology technique check out the Body + Soul Code sessions.)