Memories from the stones

‘To the Etruscan, all was alive: the whole universe lived: and the business of man was himself to live amid it all. He had to draw life into himself, out of the wandering huge vitalities of the world.’ (D H Lawrence – Etruscan Places.)

I was recently drawn back into D H Lawrence’s most-particular perspective of the world, revisiting a couple of favourite novels and starting to read one I had never picked up before…but, just as quickly, felt the moment drift away as I found other things to read that felt more present-day relevant. Yet Lawrence and I have done a very long dance together, spanning many decades, since I grew up just a handful of miles from where he also did, a century earlier. He took me to deep places in my teenage years, when his raw and painterly language spoke warmly to my soul in a way that other writers left me, at most, simmering-to-cold. Since then, he has been like a wildly-plumed bird that lands on my shoulder just before I spot something interesting; like a talisman or guide into the underbelly of things that might otherwise press their surface layer upon me…until my attention is taken far deeper by the mere fact of his sudden arrival.


That view!

That happened once again, today, when I discovered some of his writing on the subject of the Etruscans, as quoted above. Newly returned from Tuscany just yesterday, I had that rarest-of-rare (these days!) fire in my belly to dig into historic matters, which only happens when I am about to go beyond the “given” version of what that typically entails; yes, there is so much beneath the surface of what we are presented as the masculine version of our past. We had spent the day before that in Volterra and I noticed a particular feeling there; one I truly relished, that felt familiar…and I noticed how it energised and invigorated me, how I walked in unfamiliarly brisk strides up steep inclines that would normally have me paused in pain many times over.

The night before, I had dreamt of a glowing city that was almost a seamless part of an outcrop at the top of a sheer cliff-edge-like hill, high above an astronishing landscape, and the word “citadel”, which I had hardly ever given consideration to or used before, rang clearly in my head over breakfast. I hardly knew a thing about Volterra before we set off, except that it had impressive Roman ruins and an Etruscan beginning. I had spent several visits to Tuscany staying in the once Etruscan hill town of Vetulonia when I was in my 20s and found the energy there quite dark…heavy…for all the busloads of colourful tourists yabbering and snapping pictures beneath the ancient Etruscan wall that made up the lower portion of the house in which my bedroom window was tucked just beneath roof tiles. The nights there had been hot and challenging, my dreams troubled and restless until those first tourists showed up to disturb me (more often, I was to be found snoozing in a deckchair on the roof, having got up to watch the sunrise). I therefore had no particular desire to repeat this rendezvous with what I remembered of “an Etruscan feeling” and Volterra’s antiquity didn’t draw me; rather, it seemed to put me off to the point I kept changing my mind back and forth. However, we had only one day left in Tuscany, it was meant to be one of the “best” places to visit in the region and held the promise of vegan food, an absolute rarity in Italy, which is often a clue as to an unexpectedly resonant place.


(Still relatively) modern-day Volterra

So we went and it was only as we drove the steep hill towards the town that I realised it looked more than somewhat like my dream-place, if a little time-weary and far less dazzling or pristine above the still-impressive Tuscan landscape at its feet. Once there, we spent perhaps too long enjoying lunch in that vegan restaurant, owned by a wonderfully energised native of that town, Enrico, who told us enthusiastically and at length (with much arm gesticulating) about multiple eco-projects he has up his sleeve. He also told us a far more intimate history of Volterra than the guidebooks get close to, informing us that out of the 12 Etruscan cities (…that sacred number no accident…), Volterra was its spiritual centre; its beating heart. We talked to him at such length that, when we got there, I found the Roman ruins not only less interesting than I expected but out-of-bounds, having been locked up for the day or perhaps even the season (we never found out which) and had to take our view of them from either up-high or through fences. Yet I’ve long since stopped regarding such a mishap as a disaster but as more of a source of curiosity in the way of a clue to something unexpected about to happen.

Because it was at the “Roman cistern” more so than the far more impressive theatre (that cistern, really, an Etruscan acropolis desecrated by being turned to such watery use) that I paid most attention for all I was, once again, stood outside a wire fence looking in. It was like I was being held in an energy vortex and heard the sweet sound of a most particular frequency coming in through my crown while I was standing there,  in spite of all the chatter and distraction of our group and the nearby children’s play area. I could even “see” this place as somewhat how it would have been at the edge of that astonishing view, long before city carparks grazed outside the town’s border and tumbled down into housing estates and industrial areas. My husband, seeing my dead-stillness, started to stroke my shoulder, concerned, but I remained absolutely still, needing to throw off all reminder of present time as I strained across the bridge of time towards some other feeling, waiting there still. There was such a potent sense of “return” that I was riveted for as long as I was able to prolongue the visit, held at bay from the actual spot by chicken wire and a locked gate. I knew I had found some lost fragment of myself and that this place was so profoundly, potently, powerfully feminine as to feel like being swept off your feet by it yet somehow made more complete, more forbidible, for the reunion. These Etruscan ancestors may have dwindled their sacred feminine way toward another kind of society, a later political excuse for being there, one not so very dissimilar from that of the Romans who subsequently came along and absorbed them into “empire” with bearly a break in their stride, but I knew I was feeling into a much earlier Etruscan intention, with more of the feeling of “matriarchy” about it (or at least a society founded on equality; there seems to be some evidence of that), a sense of their mortal life being lived in connection with, and consideration of, the vast universe at large and of profound respect for Gaia. I later learned that the principle deity of the Etruscans was the goddess Uni; “who has facets of a mother Goddess, birth Goddess, star Goddess, and love Goddess” (The Obscure Goddess Online Directory). This is what I was tuning into; and this, I have now discovered, is what DH Lawrence also tuned into so powerfully during his time spent living in Tucany, as so eloquently written about in his posthumously published work “Etruscan Places”. Why was I surprised to find that, once again, he and I were so in tune?


Vast stones

Lawrence, akin to many of us today, was at large in an era that felt desperately out of sync with himself; straddled as he was between the high-Victorian industrial~religious frustration of his youth and the fascist regime that was now sweeping across Europe following the mass destruction of World War I. All the primal passion and feminine-creative flow that he took inspiration from felt like it was being knocked into a cocked hat by a generation driven mad by materialism, modernism, greed and power (oh, I so get that feeling). The quote above captures something of the feeling that seemed to pulse out to him from all those mammoth Etruscan stones (how ever did they lift them?) still serving as foundation to so many once-Etruscan settlements and particularly that era’s artworks with its raw subjects and the sheer primal passion of their wild colour-juxtapositions. To quote Xavier Salomon writting for Apollo Magazine, to Lawrence, who was also an artist, ‘one Etruscan leopard, even one little quail, is worth all the miles of’ John Singer Sargent, who Lawrence somewhat unfairly, but true to his own taste, describes as ‘utterly uninteresting, a bore’. Whatever it was that he felt, I caught more than a trace of it for myself and, for an afternoon, it transported me; was as alive in me as it ever was maybe almost 3000 years ago, maybe long before that. Yes, these folk have long antiquity, though the details are mostly vague, missing or made up of contrictory academic speculation; instead, I would just remain open to what their remnants wake up in us, breathing it in as an energy charge…as Lawrence so clearly did. I should add for the sake of clarity, I had no idea Lawrence had written a book about the Etruscans until I chanced upon it this morning, after my return, though I knew he has spent time in Italy; but why should I be surprised.

My time spent in Volterra certainly charged me up and stays with me since; stirring up new curiosity and alertness to something – call it a frequency – and with the distinct feeling of having just answered a familiar call across resonant wavelengths in this place far from home. I think, without question, Enrico (with his enthusiastically vegan restaurant built over Etruscan ruins closely viewable through a glass floor beneath tables and chairs) is thoroughly tuned into it, day in and day out; plus I think there is probably something in the water. I never felt such potent energy spiralling out of one individual so eager to change the world with the vibration of love (he talked about that a lot and you could feel it distinctly) and one eco-project at a time. It was a truly invigorating place!

If you happen to visit Volterra, make sure you go to…

Life Bistro – much more than just a vegan restaurant in Volterra; also accomodation and retreats and lots of enthusiasm to make the world a better place!

Further reading:

DH Lawrence Among the Etruscans – an article worth reading as an introduction to Lawrence’s Etruscan Places (now on my read list). Interesting to hear Lawrence’s view of museums as I found myself totally unwilling to go into any of these on this latest trip to Italy, recoiling from the sense of “out of context” disassociation of artefacts from their intended location as well as the insistence upon reading information over feeling into what these objects have to say.

Posted in Ancient sites, Archaeology, Art, Art history, Art transformation tool, Biography, Consciousness & evolution, Culture, Divine feminine, History, Holiday destinations, Life journey, Literature, Menu, Personal Development, Remembering, Symbolic journeys, Travel, Vegetarianism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying dry?

Its been three years since I last had a drink. There was no judgement in my decision to give up; I felt I simply had to, my body was shouting at me to do so. I needed to get a foothold on my other health issues and this habit was only holding me back.

Lately, I feel the nostalgia around it calling me back, partly as my daughter joins the throngs of young drinking people and feels saddened that her parents don’t (how ironic since, when she was younger, she hated that we did). Part of me wants to accommodate her and every other person that ever holds out a drink to me; I want to be able to go with the flow. I so dislike imperatives and, if this is dry, how much harm could a little wetness do, like a shower of rain in a visiting season?

Also because we are soon going to be staying somewhere that the whole culture of drinking will be in our face again due to the organic grapes that form part of the biodynamic way of life. Like the lovingly prepared plant-based dishes we will enjoy at every meal, I am aware that alcohol will be ever-present along with the chance to sample it, watch it being made, learn how to pair it with food, to make laughter and conversation over it with other guests from far and wide, that ice-breaker of old. As the sensual, earth-type that I am, I love all of that and long to take part fully. These are nice, enthusiastic, people who mean well (those holding out things we still, personally, need to think twice about often are; there is no “one size fits all”). Wouldn’t it be great to just graciously accept everything they have to offer? Yes, I know I am on the verge of being seduced and it would be so easy to tell myself that, in this context, it would be OK…

Yet in the dead of night an uneasiness surfaces over and over again. I feel the certainty in my gut that to do so is to choose a whole other trajectory to the one that feels like my joy; one with other outcomes, snowballing though they merely distort with great subtlety at first…little actions here, conversations there, mostly a change in my feeling about myself, plus an unconscious habit reignited, then a sea-change in our domestic life. Our way of being with each other, in more ways than I can put my finger on, bears little resemblance to our life of more than three years ago when opening wine was such a knee-jerk habit. These days, my sleep has a different quality, I awake with crystalline thoughts, the feeling in my body has altered so much it is beyond description, my personality feels consistent and I own all my behaviours, I live without regrets or misplaced actions. I simply haven’t missed drink; nor have I felt lacking when I’ve needed to be social or funny or confident (quite the opposite, actually). When I imagine a return to that old drinking habit, even if I tell myself it will be infrequent, I see it as a loosening of the mortar of all that I’ve built…like harsh weather erosion against a pristine pathway whose stones have been purposely placed there, leading directly to where I want to be going, somewhere new and exciting. That other way, with its baggier joints, the occasional pothole for stumbling over, so many distractions and detours and a ditch to sleep it off, leads somewhere I like less yet which is powerfully familiar…

To resist what everyone else will be immersed in doing for a week will be hard and will test me a great deal more than I’ve been tested by making my quiet choice not to drink at home.

Yet I didn’t come here for an easy way, I came here to be purposeful.

And my purpose, that other way, feels a little vaguer, more wooly, lost in the mists of forgetfulness. It feels like throwing myself back in with the commonplace and the consensus to be a little dumbed-down, to rub off my edges and “the point” I came with. That way, I don’t like myself as much and that feels almost worse of all, having worked at this so hard.

And for what? For that warm fuzzy feeling, that addiction we have to joining the lowest common denominator, to making ourselves “the same” as others in order to belong with them. Just like the way we are addicted to sharing tales of mishap and woe in order to have things we can all relate to with each other, never noticing how it drags us down, keeps our light dimmed, holds us back and gobbles up our uniqueness.

And oh how we have been in these places so many times before…a warm, sleepy path of familiarity. Lifetime after lifetime; this is why this profound sense of comfort and recognition tugging at me like a Christmas-feeling, a longing to return home, whatever the cost and the predictability. But that’s not where I want to be headed, this time around, this uncommon life (I decided that a long time ago). I aim for exception and newness, not repeats.

It’s so interesting to me, how compelling this herd mentality is; why can’t I just decide against having the drink without all this deep contemplation? Why do I feel I have to be sure before I even get into its vicinity? Because to go against it is to face up to a largely unacknowledged fear of abandonment, of being left out in the cold, that lies deep inside most of us. When people around you drink and you choose not to, it’s like watching them set sail on a particular sea and you left standing alone on the shore. It tugs at our most primal terror.

It would be easier if I didn’t relate so much to these people I’m about to spend time with but I do, in all the other ways; and I want to relax with them, to immerse in their micro-culture, their hospitality. To say “no” is to feel like you seem ungrateful, resistant or negating of what they “do”.

But where and how they live, the grape is part of another culture to mine; the sunshine, the food, the livelihood, the family life made up of many generations celebrating life together. In my life, drink has taken me to darker places. Was I ever an alcoholic? Yes, I suspect I was; it’s easier and more commonplace than we think. I come to it with my track record and the memories of that stored in my cells. This is why no two people have the same decision to make when it comes to drink (or anything else); our emotional memory, held in our cells, determines so much of what comes of the repeat behaviours, even when we have done so much work to wipe the slate clean. Can I be quite sure I’ve wiped that cellular memory clean through all my deep-healing and healthy ways? I’d have to be so sure and these powerful misgivings I have, disturbing my dawn hours, tell me otherwise.

So, I know, I need to choose this outcome through intention. There is no room for unconscious autopilot, which is what addiction amounts to; the chemical imperative that takes us over in ways that we hardly notice. Those lost hours of numbed-down senses undermine the desire and ability to be as crystal as I have become; I forget myself, forget what that other place even feels like, though I weep to leave it, even for a moment, so the remorse associated with drinking has only grown bigger. And the very action of deliberately poisoning the body for a feeling of relaxation goes against my higher intention and the whole focus of these last few years, which is to regenerate the body, to reinvigorate every cell.

I know drink’s symptoms of old; the toxic rush whose swoon feels like a facsimile of relaxation and bliss, then the heat and intense inflammation in the body as it works to burn it off, the lowered mood, the self-loathing and regret. I see in it so clearly the chemicals of certain age-old cultural beliefs, disempowering beliefs, released back into the blood.  If, due to good fortune of genetics, perhaps a wonderful lack of cultural or personal baggage, you can drink without this effect then drink away but, if not, you must choose carefully indeed.

My high-sensitivity only makes me feel every reaction in the body more minutely, even when I am under its influence, like a lucid nightmare; so maybe I react more extremely than others to drink (and why would I expect this to be any different from any other aspect of my highly sensitive experience of everything). The misplaced actions, the regrets, the embarrassments, the stupidity only add to this until I’m mortified and ashamed at myself, inside and out.

I came to notice, last time I drank, how the higher my vibration became, the harder it was to cope with the depths of that alcoholic deep-dive that once felt temporary, like a holiday from my high-energy, which can wear me out at times. At some point, that holiday became a hell; as the breach between those vibrations became wider, like a grand canyon cleaved through the landscape, and the climb back to myself, the next day, ever harder and more demoralising to endure. I felt lower and more forsaken each time I went there, on less and less volume of drink; it was like the kind of bereavement that leaves you on your knees and almost unable to stand up again. Made worse because I had done this to myself; the betrayal of betrayals, a broken promise to my higher self.

Again, if I dislike what I remember of these effects so much, if I am just so conscious of them, why is this still a topic of contention; why do I even consider a replay…this still continues to fascinate me.

So here I am, caught between this benign-seeming, socially acceptable behaviour plus my longing to be “normal”, if only for a week…and the  inner warnings sounding their extreme alarm for me not to go there; not even on the pretension that it would be temporary. And while I dislike imperatives, preferring the freedom of new choice in every moment, there are some things I know I would never consider doing…murder, for instance, and maybe this? Maybe I need to reach such a conclusion, to be clear in the face of an unconcious urge that still holds sway at some level of my being.

This is how hard it can be when we switch from following the mind to following the heart, though we have told ourselves so many times that this should be the easiest thing of all. Oh no, not easier, just a little more obvious when we are on track as that feeling of rightness, relief and even joy washes over us.

In the short-term, following the heart might make us feel more isolated and separate than we did when we lived in the separatist world of the mind. This is its paradox.

We are also, now, getting into much more personal, or individually unique, territory; this can also be disorienting as we are so used to thinking as a pack. What is “right” for one person may not be “right” for another and this is subject to constant evolution as we explore our individual adventures of self-expression. Again, I make no judgement about drinking; I just wanted to explore out loud how I have been processing my own dilemma and just how retrograde the habit has felt compared to where I have been. If you can still drink and all it does is give you warm-fuzzy, joyful feelings plus radiant health and added relaxation into the bargain then as you were –  drink away. The non-compatibility  I have personally noticed with the crystalline frequencies doesn’t make alcohol “wrong” but, perhaps, suggests its appeal will fall away for many as they explore other ways of getting their kicks in the years to come.

We are not infallible on this road to our higher consciousness, even though we may notice we have the wind behind us once we get on our way. Part of that awakening consciousness is to be aware of the potential for what feels like further hardship (we are still human…) and the paradoxical nature of the territory…and to notice where we are still vulnerable; where old addictions and fears draw us back to what no longer resonates for reasons such as familiarity or wanting to belong. From time to time, we may need to think into these areas as well as using the heart (the head is not our enemy; it can be our servant when we need to be quite clear…). Which is what I am doing here, in readiness for whatever I decide, which remains open, yet I am on a better footing, now, to  approach this decision openly, without any pre-conceptions or an agenda, except to serve the highest outcome.

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Leave what you know…

Set sail from the shore.

“Paint” in life what you feel from your depths, not your intellect.

This will flutter and shape-shift; you’ll never catch up…but oh the journey,

the heights, the joy.

Scared? Oh yes. Feel that too.

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We are the keystone of the bridge

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to “be the bridge” of myself lately; as in, making myself more whole by spanning all these two-part aspects of myself in equilibrium; the masculine and feminine, left and right hemispheres, my physical and spiritual aspects (and these are just for starters). In a deep-dive I did on my other blog about the vagus nerve, which serves as a bridge of so many of these dual functions (it’s an extraordinary nerve in the body – you should go and read what I found out…), I discovered that it is the very key to our health so you can see where this theme was going.

In a chat with my massage therapist the other day, I was explaining how I write for two blogs, this one on diverse, playful, “spiritual” topics and the other one Living Whole on more tangible, practical topics to do with health and wellbeing. She asked if I felt the amalgamation of those two outlets would make me feel more whole. I’ve often wondered this yet, somehow, I never felt this was the answer. More so, I feel my times of special healing come out of when I mix them up and cross them over whilst keeping them distinct: by bringing more structure, poise and organisation into Spinning the Light , for instance, and by softening my health blog with more spiritual, metaphysical, emotional perspectives. The more I have thought into this, the more it has taught me about how we could find our way towards powerfully increased “wholeness” in the world at large, for instance by mixing up and crossing over distinct areas of our lives such as work and leisure and so on; that is, not by getting rid of one or the other but allowing them each to bring new blood, or fresh air, into their “opposite” part.

What I’ve come to realise is that we can’t adequately, or sustainedly, make ourselves more whole by creating the bridge outside of ourselves (in the form of an external yet separate project), like some  sort of proxy for ourselves, held at arm’s length and masterminded into “I’ll just add one part of this and one part of that, then stir them together…”, like reciting a recipe for the perfect cake. Once outside of us, such a project is destined to collapse since it has no backbone, nothing to hold it together. WE are the bridge, WE do the mixing…as us…like mixing colours straight onto the canvas of a painting (something I love to do). This is what brings us forwards out of the heart of ourselves, like a bud flowering into existence.

Within us, places in the body that demonstrate the beauty of wholeness in action – I give you a well toned vagus nerve as example – aren’t being the bridge for us; we ARE that bridge, made manifest as the optimally functioning physical body, without separation from it. We have become so accustomed to regarding organs and tissue in the body as separate from who we are in this post-transpant world that we have to bring ourselves up sharp and think about this; our cells ARE who we are, representing every thought and emotion we ever held onto for long enough to create tissue out of itself.

Outside of ourselves, any project born out of this marriage of two parts would literally have to be a an extension of who we are to continue being whole; not a facsimile of wholeness made from too much effort. Neither a “thing” we just created, nor an autonomous organisation that could just as easily be run by others or sold off as an entity unto itself but, rather, an extension of the living-breathing organism that we are, like an auric glow emanating from our life force, built around a beating heart, still warm with accountability and care. These are the projects that seem to pulse with life force and which astonish and astound for the way they blossom out into the world; because others can feel them, are affected and attracted to them and their innate wholeness, whether they are a company, a piece of craftsmanship or a work of art; one day, perhaps, a type of government made from a collective of such hearts…

And this doesn’t have to be a business or a creation; it can, equally, be the daily actions and thoughts you put out into the world.

The point is, when we are the bridge – as ourselves and as what  radiates from us – we become whole. We are be-ing whole, as in “human being” (not “doing”). A “doing” tries too hard; even when wholeness is the well-intentioned aim…like trying to screw two misfitting, very contrary widgets together; as masculine and feminine, for instance, are (by design). Too often, this desire for wholeness resorts to force or self-claimed authority to try to make this union happen; and its left uncomfortable, raw, impermanent and ready to blow-up at again at the slightest pressure. When we craft a version of wholeness as an extension of ourselves, in the way of any true project of the heart, the in-built incentive is already there to remain whole because it feels so good; since it comes straight from our divinity. We are remembering who we really are, outside the arena of halves that is the earth plane, and it feels…well…divine!

And when we operate from that part of ourselves that already understands how to be whole (our heart) we radiate that out into the world; there is no “try”.

Then – and only then – we become the capstone of ourselves, the mid-point of the span of the bridge or, as it is properly termed, the keystone. This single stone is what allows the whole span of the bridge to be self-supporting – no mortar required – which cannot be done until the keystone is slotted into place. This key to the whole puzzle of awkwardly placed stones is who we are and this is when everything comes together and stands up with such apparent ease, with us at its centre.


tom-fejer-432535-unsplashA keystone is the wedge-shaped stone piece at the apex of a masonry arch and is the final piece placed during construction, locking all the stones into position and allowing the arch to bear weight.

Interestingly, though the arch cannot be self-supporting until the keystone is placed, the keystone (in this context “us”) experiences the least stress of all the stones, due to its position at the apex. This tells us something important about what it feels like to exist in such a state of balance, made whole as us, though push and pull forces exist all around us, while we remain poised at its centre.

A vaulted ceiling is made up of an intersection of two or more arched ribs (you could regard these as all the many, often contrary-seeming threads of “life”). The most complex keystones hold together the beautiful, gravity defying multiple arches, joined together with other arches held by keystones, of some of the most beautiful buildings in creation…

I suspect there is no limit to what we can create together when we do so from this place.

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Taking off those lead boots

Every moment you spend raking over the old paradigm is another moment spent in there.

Check in with yourself, where are you still doing this?

Its like wearing lead boots!




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Taking the philosophical approach…when things get broken

There’s a profound and exquisitely beautiful stillness after mantra; a force so huge you can almost wrap your arms around it yet also feel yourself enveloped by it, though you are its co-creator; both inside and out, all at once. It’s an experience of divinity.

The first time I experienced it (“hear” doesn’t get close), it near moved me to tears of joy. I was hooked…which was at my first live performance of Deva Premal and Miten, five years ago…and by year three, which was at the Union Chapel in London, I became truly addicted. At that gathering (“concert” doesn’t seem to be the right word either; this is “sangha”), the sound of silence following a sustained group-om, which had roared through the space like the rhythmic roar of the ocean for several minutes beforehand, was like being able to perceive LOVE made manifest as the colour of the vibration we had collectively generated in that beautiful space-in-the-round with its high domed ceiling. A single clap would have broken it and dropped it to the floor but nobody did. I took that feeling home with me and drew on its well all year.

This year was in the same venue but was different. Well, it should have been different; Miten underwent open heart surgery this year and it was an unexpected bonus that he was on stage for the entire performance as this wasn’t predicted. You could tell from his social medial posts that this London gathering meant more to him than most, being his home venue, and I expected a certain degree of enhanced warmth and enthusiasm from those who had been following his recovery progress, in fact I was thrilled to be part of this reception. I could only imagine how our profound gratitude for his remarkable recovery would manifest as a sacred feeling in that wonderful space, which was a ticket sell-out.

What we got, instead, was a whole lot of clapping. Well, we all did when the couple first appeared on the stage…which was to be expected; but anyone who has attended “Deva” before knows already that clapping isn’t expected or desired after mantra. To quote Deva: “clapping after mantra is like clapping after sex…”

So, as usual, they explained this once…then twice…and it must have been six or so times by the end that the couple had to say “please don’t clap”, let silence finish the mantra, hold the space… So when the clapping just continued and continued, getting louder, spreading around the space like a contagion, I wasn’t the only one at a loss and feeling fire rise up in my belly.

Looking back, I still don’t get all these people who couldn’t seem to hear the polite request not to clap (couldn’t…or didn’t want to hear as they were enjoying themselves too much to care about other people). You would think that those attending sangha, even for the first time, would quickly feel into the vibe and get the ropes but they couldn’t seem to comprehend, or to know better, than to keep forcing on these people, and everyone else, what they wanted to give; regardless of whether it was welcomed. Their clapping only seemed to get louder and more dreaded by those who didn’t, like they were at a rock concert. I began to wonder if this small but noisy minority had arrived half-cut or were the ones keeping the bar busy during the interval. By now, I felt deeply embarrassed of this very British audience; I was reading the facial expressions on stage and sensing their disappointment too.

amaury-gutierrez-725210-unsplashSurely, when you truly love someone, you love them the way they want to be loved and don’t force on them whatever you decide you want to give, even if unwanted…

In this circumstance, you find yourself willing the clappers to stop…your body tense, your breath held at the very moment when you should be holding the silence with your calmness and breathing; then the first sharp sound like a thunder-clap would cut through it and gain momentum as others joined in and you could, simultaneously, feel those who weren’t clapping slump a little in their despair. So, did I contribute to this outcome with my worst-case-scenario-ing; did the collective, powerfully negative expectations of those of us dreading that these others would keep “spoiling” our moment feed the likelihood, pushing our own tranquility over the edge? You could see how divisiveness occurs, all the more potently for this being a gathering where we had all came expecting to experience oness. At any other venue, this might have turned into a punch-up but, instead, it was held as a pronounced tension in the air. It was a humble reminder, to me, that I get to choose how I respond and what I take home from this. Thank goodness, I think the majority that were rattled by it took the most gracious stance that they could, whilst rolling their eyes.

You also find yourself willing the people closest to the clappers to take them to task…but then I had a clapper right behind me, yet I lacked the nerve to so much as turn round and glare at him, internalising all my displeasure until I felt like I might burst. How very-like our behaviour in the “small” matter of world affairs in general, I thought to myself…those of us who really care tend to wish and long, taking all our angst inside of us, but how often to we dare to say something or call to account?

But then I’ve felt the audience at this annual event change over the last half-decade, as Deva has become more popular and, I suppose, “mainstream”. Perhaps its a sad inevitability that what starts out so beautifully niche becomes diluted and loses the very quality that made it so rarified once it becomes “bigger” and more accessible; we see this at every level of human experience but especially where art, beauty and sacredness are concerned. The original intention, somehow, gets trampled on in the rush to grab as popularity takes over. What once was the treasure of the few loses its shine as it rolls out to the masses so what does that say about our prospects of evolving into a better world?

Perhaps its best not to speak to me on this topic, however, as I’m biased. As a highly sensitive INFJ personality, I’m one of the 1% “rarest type” of human in all of my key traits so I really don’t relate to most people; though (ironically) I do perceive things about them that they often don’t know about themselves (a classic INFJ “skill”…or bugbare). Which kind-of undermines my faith in humanity’s future on a near daily basis; one of the reasons I lead such a hermit-like existence. I find so many humans abrasive and ignorant and want to shake them by the shoulders.

Yet perhaps, therein, lies my task or core challenge, also my gift from all this…to learn how to love them anyway. Not “to forgive them”…there should be no call for forgiveness in this inner space of “all is as it should be”, from which I challenge myself to respond to this irritating circumstance. Rather, to love them as we would love small children who misbehave because they know not what they do. If that sounds condescending then, sorry, but I know of no other way to redirect the irate response and disappointment that has bubbled in my gut over this for days. After so many polite requests, their behaviour was no different to pissing on their host’s floor, like an untrainable dog. I find I have to go for the “ruffle their hair like children” approach to keep it in perspective…just as I stroke down my own feathers of annoyance. Its a very human response to cry a little over broken things. Be grateful, I guess, that only silence got broken.

Its been a humanising experience for me…there is the gift. Its brought my higher values down with a bump and reminded me that I can still gnash my teeth like the next person. As I did when, at the end, the row of women in front turned to us and we all shared our exasperation at those who had broken our precious silence in a moment of togetherness. In there somewhere was a moment’s laughter and a less other-worldly than usual moment of connection so I took that home with me, along with these ponderings. Namaste to all.

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Being unlimited

Many things, so many modalities or models of thinking have got me to where I am today but the place they have most resoundingly led me to is where I most-confidently question every “way of thinking” that presents itself, even including those that got me here. So many times, I have been tempted to deep-dive a modality, become its expert, wear its t-shirt,  join its team, identify with it, businessify it, make it my speciality but, each time that temptation has come to me, I’ve resisted the urge like I was being chased down by a net on a stick. Because, actually, what feels like the next biggest leap I can make is to, as it were, dismantle the very ladder that lifted me up to this high vantage place and just enjoy the unspoilt view. It’s not a case of rejecting the means out of hand or even fighting with those ideas so much as daring to declare that “even that which showed me how to be this unlimited is now limiting me since it was seeking to define me or enclose me into its belief system and I MUST keep thinking outside of that box in order to keep growing”.

In fact our next best-answer might lie in the very opposite “thing” to what we believed-in most ardently just a short moment ago…or the thing that was standing side-by-side with “our truth” yet which we didn’t notice since our gaze was so fixed…this is what life keeps suggesting to me now, when I’m most prepared to remain open to it. Over and over, in many different forms, I am feeling this truth and making the choice of openness over safe enclosure. I experience the same thing in all my high-sensitivity to life, all the minute awareness to everything going on; too much, it feels like, so much of the time. When I soften and allow and pull away from the enclosed intensity and the labelling of it all, I allow something softer, warmer, more effusive to birth out of me, like watching a flower break from the bud. Sometimes, in the most intense, stimulatory, provocatory circumstances, like being in the midst of a heaving multi-directional crowd in a city, I can feel the beauty of this most exquisitely as I allow it all to blur into oneness and become the molten velvet that feels like an egg exploding warm yellow all around me, its shell-boundary burst and golden potential spilling forth.

giphy1Suddenly its as though I am riding on the fluidity of this feeling, carried along by it, sailing on an ocean comprised of many droplets, watching everything yet somehow detached and immune to its vagaries; and I can watch the beautiful patterns, discern the coherent themes. Its something that happened to me first a long time ago on an unforgetable city day in a crowd…my awakening; and I seem to repeat it more and more often, these days, during these moments of high intensity; sensations coming through my nervous system that are almost too much to be borne, as though I am so aware of everything that I am literally being called this way and that by so much definition and identification… yet choosing, instead, not to be limited by any of it. Then, when that moment of bursting through those barriers happens, it is all the more beautiful and profound for being in the context of so much that is opposite, like a shoot breaking through soil…a tight-old paradigm prised apart by love.

It means waving goodbye to the dream of expertise…maybe, even, of belonging to a family of like-minded types who share these same values, stroke each other’s feathers down in endless agreement…yet I want none of that; not when I get to choose this spiritual nomadism, a new prospect around every corner.

Then, and only then, I get to use bits and pieces of everything I ever learned along the way without branding myself a hard-lined believer in anything. Rather, I get to be open to it all and take only what resonates in that moment. In this place, I find that fear of “other” is obsolete; I simply choose or let it pass by. My defensiveness, my bracedness for reaction, is gone. Instead, my field only widens and I can receive whatever is a match, in that single moment. My healing awaits only my affirmative as kindness comes in from unexpected places.

With fear gone from it, I am no longer limited to using a “tried and tested” methodology but can get gone beyond that kind of experience into a sort of dance between my own temporary perspective and whatever is being offered…leaping beyond into brand new territory, led by that most important guide of all, the feeling inside of me, right here and now.

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…like reading a book backwards

I’ve always relished the review process; it’s a primary trait of mine. I use it in my work as a particular skill set; reserved for the part when I hone and edit my way to all the best bits and make them into “a work of art” or something worth publishing. It’s why I always sense I love to put together the pristine set of photos more than I loved the experiences that led to me taking them; the homecoming more so than the travels. I like to harvest the fruit from the growth, the pearls from the mud, to curate a collection and put on a show, like a kind of glorious summary; having blown away all of the chaff from the palm of my hand. This thing, this resounding urge, runs like a thread the size of a fire hose through my life and my inclinations; a perpetual longing for completion, or closure…for neatness and tying-off.

Does it mean I also long for it “in life”; my own life? Does a part of me long for death from within every moment of life? It’s a question that bears asking from the point of view of a body whose myriad health issues has made life messy and challenging…constantly. I’m also cognizant of the fact that I know what it feels like to “do life review”; the kind that we are told by NDE survivors occurs on our death beds. I honestly feel like I remember the potency of this from other lifetimes, or must have experienced something close in mediatation or dream because such moments of unexpected review have been known to alter my trajectory in a single moment. It’s a well-known trait of the awakening consciousness to come to recall this feeling from countless other lifetimes and to realise that, this time, we can do it from within life…in order to reap the benefits of that overview from inside of life.  Its an evolutionary thing and more and more of us are doing it, encouraging it; as have I, to the best of my ability. That is, opening-up to the overview, the pulled-back, undramatised picture of what’s really going on at a higher level, learning from it in order to go more direct with the higher purpose of my life, avoiding unnecessary detours and distractions from soul intention if I can. Yet the experience of life still feels raw, feels messy, feels imperfect…from deep within it. So, is part of me still longing for that closure, the tidiness, the bit when I “get it” and conclude it, can make it all pristine and “nice”?

As I was pondering all this on my morning walk, a sharp pain brought me back to my temporal reality and I felt something intensely jagged in my left shoe; in fact, it felt like a shard of glass. Several attempts to remove the shoe and dust my foot off, to shake it out, didn’t resolve it and it was so painful a that I was acutely aware of its soreness all the way up the hill, trying not to apply more pressure. Wasn’t that just marvellous, the timely demonstration that the journey of life itself is often so much like this; imperfect, uncomfortable, such a slog, not what we wanted and, really, what was the point of all that pain? Surely, we would get it one day but right now…its just frustrating, such a lot of the time. When I reached the bench  at the top and could examine my foot more closely, it was the tiniest thing that had been causing me all this aggravation…a short hair like a needle from my own dog; I had to laugh… and yet my hypersensitivity to everyday touch sensations (I have a condition called allodynia that is commonly associated with the fibromyagia and chronic fatigue I have had for years) had blown it out of all proportion for me. How do you even navigate life when you are this sensitive, when you feel far too much as pain, more than other people seem to even notice (today’s example is the thin edge of a very long wedge), and when all you long for is the tidy conclusion, the pearl, the release?

Yet what that small pain did was bring me back to the moment, to the minutiae, to the things I otherwise miss…and I know that was what it was all about, really. I was “wide awake” all the way back up that hill and pain wasn’t all that I noticed. Pain brought me back to the experience of life, as it always does, and if I was more attentive…who knows, maybe pain wouldnt always be so necessary; a softer sensation would do. I know that, have known for quite some time but when do I get better at applying it? When will I put it into practice instead of looking, always, for the pristine, the resolution, the bit when it all falls tidily into place; looking back at the beautiful photos and making the retrospective story out of what I choose to keep but conveniently forgetting all the rest? When will I really-and-truly trust that life is “by design” and it is all perfect, it can never go off track and I will get to the experience of some sort of conclusion in the end; no rush? Like reading the end of a book first, I know this is backwards behaviour…and I never do that with a book, I always relish the unfolding of the plot, the more tangled the better, like the novel I couldn’t put down last week. Having the courage to do that in my own “plot”, trusting that there is a point, which I will certainly “see” in the end, if not sooner (and that I will get there in “right time”…quicker if I stop rejecting so much of “what is”), is something I know I need to give more attention to.  As a soverign creator of my own experience, I know I can sway this; that there are ways I can encourage more reasons to want to be here, fully in the experience of life, each and every moment. By recognising those times when I am truly present, when I’m more than happy to be here (for instance, I never long to rush time along when I spend time with my husband) I can create more of them; can invite the opportunity of them and focus deeply on them as they are happening, like actively cultivating my higher awareness skills to be fully present by coaxing myself back to the full range of sensations. By being “here” (not “there”) in more moments than not; by seeing more (or at least as much) with my eyes as I do with a camera, I might learn to stay “here” having the experience instead of collecting it all like booty to pour over later. By slowing down, playing a game called “wake up and notice all the details” my body might not need to flag them up in ways that feel so profoundly uncomfortable. By remembering I created all these experiences and that fear is unnecessary, even when the experiences I have are not always what I would have chosen with my conscious mind (and I still might want to tackle them by, say, working to heal symptoms), I can stay in curiosity and gain the benefit of the “bigger picture” far more quickly; which will appeal to my “desire to get somewhere conclusive” mentality right here and right now, within the experiences themselves…and, who knows, I migth even start to enjoy myself at least most of the time. These are thoughts I’ve had many times before but there’s also a new layer of recognition of their truth starting to emerge in me and I’m curious to see where it takes me on the moment-by-precious-moment unfolding of life.


Recommended reading 

Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends – Neale Donald Walsh

Dying to Be Me – Anita Moorjani

Five Steps to a Radically Different View of Reality – Story Waters (this article “happened” to come into my feed this morning right after posting my blog and is on a complimentary thread of exploration)

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Little wren

It was the last morning of our holiday in Italy and I was in the bathroom pretty early, still half asleep, when I heard a dull thud and sharp clicking sound on the window. Through bleary eyes, I realised a tiny bird…a little wren…was throwing herself against the window pane. In between attempts, she sat on the metal grille over the window frame and flapped her wings in that super-rapid vibration of a fledgling that is trying to get attention, a pure current of essential life-force made manifest…before hurling herself against the window pane, as though attempting to fly beyond it…over and over again. At first, before I fully realised what I was seeing, my instinct was to grab my nearby camera and take a photo of the gold-tinged bird in the pool of early morning sunlight but, when she redoubled her original effort to fly through the glass in a way that now seemed like  obsessive compulsion, a self-destructive act that I couldn’t bare to be witness to, I became really concerned. I should add here, the wren is my very particular totem, one which has a tendency to show up at all the most auspicious moments; so I hold a very tender place in my heart for these understated brown birds who, for all their almost-invisibility, sing the very sweetest song of them all.

Then, of course, I realised she must be looking at a reflection in the glass. Normally dark due to a high wall and a bank of trees, this window was in a rare pool of light due to the sun rising acutely to one side and her feathers were all aglow. She must be seeing a mirror image of the foliage behind her…and herself…in the window and trying to get that illusory bird’s attention, to fly to them. What could I do (bear with me…I was still half-asleep) since I couldn’t open the window since, surely, she would fly straight in before she realised the reflection had gone? Then, of course, I realised that if I turned on the electric light, the illusion would just simply disappear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASure enough, as soon as I flipped the light switch, she immediately stopped her repetitive, self-destructive behaviour and flew to the foliage behind her; crisis over. No longer fixated on what she thought she was seeing as her reality, she began hopping from branch to branch and seemed perfectly recovered. Once I knew she was “over it” and had moved away far enough, I turned off the light and went outside to see if my theory was correct. Sure enough, the window…for just the next few minutes until the sun moved around the side of the house…was like a pane of mirrored glass and I could see myself perfectly in it; no wonder she had been so taken in. Just then, I heard that sweetest of birdsongs; the wren, high up in a tree very close by, trilling out her morning contentment. She was fine.

For the wren there was no trauma, no need to post-mortem any of this. In a timely way, she had reminded me how, when we allow the illusion of “what is” to dissolve, however that comes about, this enables us to reorientate; which we are able to do with surprising rapidity since, beneath all the illusion, we were never off track in the first place. Who we really are never really left us, it has just been waiting for this moment and so we know, immediately, what to do since our innate knowledge takes up its rightful place. In these moments of truth, we find our own place in the sun and remember how to sing our own particular song.

All kinds of realities can look as real as anything as we proceed through our human existence; we are all surrounded by them, every day, but when we keep hurting ourselves because of them, we can be sure they are a fiction of some kind…perhaps one that is so long-running that we don’t even remember anything different. They can be as convincing as anything we have ever seen, made all the more potent through the tug of nostalgia and familiarity (just as the wren, drawn by the magnetic tug of what she thought was the parent or sibling she no longer needed to take care of her, felt compelled to keep trying to get back to them…) When they are a false reality in our experience, and they suddenly dissolve, we don’t go to pieces with that circumstance but, rather, that dissolution is what it takes to end the repeat cycles of self-destruction….perhaps even those repeated across many lifetimes. We stop hurling ourselves and hurtling mindlessly towards things that don’t serve us, in search of what we have fixated upon as “what we need to perpetuate in order to survive”. So, now, we can get on with our far more authentic, fulfilling and healthy lives; ones in which our natural talents get to shine and we are “taken care of” by the way things have a habit of coming to us exactly as and when we need them the most, often in surprising and synchronisistic ways that are blocked when we spend all our time focusing on the illusion. We stop being so fixated on whatever sures up an “old” version of our self; a yesterday version of who we think we are, so we can get on with our most inspired lives, being who we really are, now.

The wren had shown me that when the false light of what was, really, quite illusory and not serving her at all was suddenly disempowered, the true light was able to reassert itself…out there, in the garden, where she now sings her song sweetly. As is sometimes the case before illusory worlds fall apart (as we are seeing happen right now in our world-politics…), the fake light even had to be made more obvious false, stepped up to become even more overtly unnatural than ever, in order for her to “get it” and move on. Meanwhile, the true light was there all along; but she wasn’t paying it any attention until the illusion dissolved. What she was looking “towards” in the reflection was what she had already been in the past; she was all wrapped up in nostalgia and a now-defunct belief system, unable to move forwards. Now, she was able to be what she is in this very moment…more fully and without distraction.  As I heard her song ring out across the garden, I felt this resoundingly…with tingles.

For the umpteenth time, I came to experience how, though not the most auspicious of birds, being so plain and so very tiny, when the wren “speaks” its as though anyone listening is arrested on the spot; like a fanfare that delivers something waiting to be heard. Sometimes, for me, her actions are her voice and I notice them all; and so helpful they have been. Yes, I know I set up this most-particular relationship with this tiny companion to my life so that, whenever I hear her, I always take notice; that it’s a collaboration that enables me to access things that I already know…and so, yet again (at a time I most needed to) I did.


Newly, when I think about the experience I had, I now check in with myself…

  • What panes of glass am I throwing myself against today…?
  • Why do I perpetuate these illusions when they clearly don’t serve me (or make me happy)?
  • When will I stop (now!) and let the alternate, more authentic, chosen reality reassert itself?
  • What have I been missing that was there, unnoticed, all along (cue appreciation)?
  • How well-supported and abundantly provided for can I notice myself to be…in this very moment, without resorting to fear mindsets and learned behaviours to grasp “backwards” at what was?
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Phases of the Moon

I don’t think I ever made as much sense of myself as when I started working with the phase of the moon that I was born under. A fairly newborn waxing crescent, living in the shadows of the “dark” phases and yes, the confirmed introvert and shyer-away from collective behaviours and yet I am also “of” the growth phase of the moon and that is what I am primarily talking about today as I share this brief post (I could write copiously on this topic but I will leave Steven Forest to explain all in his excellent The Book of the Moon). Even before SF suggested it, I began running comparisons of all the people I could think of and their moon phase and, as with the Out of Bounds Moon trait that I wrote about previously, I found super-accurate correlations. Of course, as Forest reasserts at the start of every new chapter, a whole load of other factors come into the way that a person’s moon phase plays out but there is something remarkably consistent and assertive, underlying all that, which seems to correspond with this moon-phase aspect, right down to the very precise degree of wholeness the moon has reached at the time of birth.

By wholeness, I don’t mean that a person born under the full moon is any more “whole” than someone who is not…but they certainly tend to be very much more manifest as a “human being” with all that entails, materially speaking and in terms of outlook. As for myself, on the other-hand, I have always tended to feels like I am hanging in here by the very merest thread of a connection to physical reality; one which wavers and wobbles in the slightest breeze…and I’ve always felt more familiar, somehow, with the unmanifest reality that lies unseen yet, for me, very minutely felt. I’ve found similar traits amongst other waxing crescent people, of whom I have “accidentally” gathered a small but meaningful collection in my life (one being my husband), along with more than a handful of early waxing gibbous types (those born just after the first quarter point), a phase out of which I seem to have hand-picked my very closest female allies across a lifetime, including my mother. My immediate instinct, on realising this, was that I “chose” them because they were a more worldly version of my waxing trait, capable of showing me the ropes, somewhat, when it comes to being “me” in a more manifest sense (all of them have been more successful than I at bringing their esoteric side out into the world, in practical, socially acceptable, collaborative and even commercially successful ways).

Though I have formed meaningful relationships with many other people born under other moon phases (SF’s system works with 8 precise segments), those other relationships have not run deep at the esoteric level and have, rather, served a more worldly purpose to me (I see in retrospect), as practical partnerships and friends that helped “get me out into the world” at times of my life when it felt important to do so. I laughed to see the segment of the moon immediately following the full moon described as “The Human” in SF’s book; yes, I have had several of those human friends and they have been good for me in a variety of ways. However, I notice how I feel less of a kinship and thus less at ease with these people than I do with my waxing friends and, as I have increasingly allowed myself to dive the depths of “who I really am” in the broadest sense, those friendships have largely fallen by the wayside or become more perfunctory while my waxing friends persist in ways that feel collaborative at the deepest level.

One of the key traits that we waxers share, and particularly identify with, is the “growth” urge that the waxing phase is all about. Having that burning passion to manifest something is what gets us up in the morning; like a relentless desire to break the soil-surface of our current paradigm and push our shoot skyward towards the sun…So, akin to how foliage in our gardens must feel as it receives Nature’s cue to pull back now, that shift in moon phase from waxing to waning can feel for us just like when the midsummer solstice is over and the days become undeniably, shorter, the urge less towards growth than it is towards bearing fruit and turning inwards. Likewise, we feel the phases of life that carry the energy of being “beyond the full moon” as an alienation of sorts…or we do if we lose that sense of growth-purpose that is so inbuilt at our core. In fact, I suspect the evolutionary gift of learning to work with this phase is the potential to over-ride the seasons to become more steady as the growth phase that we are, regardless of outer circumstances, which involves swimming against the tide and takes the deepest kind of inner work; the kind that accepts “other” as self, ceasing the prior paradigm of resistance and separation.

Another theme keeps pressing on me as I dive this matter deeper and it’s the topic of feeling thwarted. Of all the times in my life that have felt most (self) destructive it’s those when I have allowed myself to feel thwarted, cut off in my prime, shut down and not welcomed or wanted in whatever growth project I have been putting out into the world. I see that same thwarted theme in my waxing gibbous mother’s life; her career “shut down” as soon as she got married, her self-expression “shut down” by so many people (even my father) who failed to truly grasp where she was coming from, even when it came from such powerful love and her purpose “shut down” when all her children flew the nest far and wide, leaving the domestic construct of which she was the undisputed matriarch in total disarray. The more thwarted she became, the more she grew herself instead until, when the weight became a serious problem because of diabetes, the sudden need to lose it left that growth urge nowhere to go…and so she grew a cancer in her liver instead. Heaven only know where her powerful growth urge (and it really was formidable!) could have taken her in an alternate life and so the gift is the seeing of that, even in hindsight. It’s a version of the “growth” theme I’ve noticed more than once in the case of a powerfully creative waxing gibbous person and I would be so curious to see the results of a study comparing types of cancer with natal phases of the moon. As ever, there is always oportunity in that circumstance if viewed from the highest perspective.

For the waxing crescent, I may be over-egging my own experience but, I suspect the shadow tendency is more a case of responding to “feeling thwarted”  by acting like the shoot that got scalded by the midday sun. So we recoil, wounded and now over-sensitive (often with nerve issues or anxiety, super-sensitivities, chronic health conditions that necessitate a solitary life and so on…perhaps also skin issues including cancer), sometimes pulling back even further into the dark moon than where we started from. So, in my own case, I have noticed that I have periods of time when I definitely feel and act more like a waning than a waxing crescent; wanting, almost, to “get out of here” and have nothing more to do with the manifest existence that makes up my painful and frustrating human life. I suspect there’s a certain ease and pragmatism when it comes to considering our own physical demise, for a very dark-phase moon person, too; perhaps because we are so familiar of what lies on the other side of our death and remember so clearly that it is not an end. The result is that we can back-track more easily than a waxing gibbous; can do that slippery u-turn and pull back into our cave when the going doesn’t feel good since physical survival isn’t more important to us than our broadest level of comfort; a distinction which mostly prevents us from making growth into a very obvious physical thing, to do with health or body mass (though it can, from time to time). We would often rather pull back to lick our wounds than keep on pushing forwards into a wall of resistance and remain more intact in that deep-dark place than is relatable to more manifest beings to whom spending much time on their own or in social isolation is a terrible prospect.

Perhaps it’s so much harder for the waxing gibbous to pull back in like that when the going gets tough, having got their growth momentum started, and so they battle on against all the resistance they are encountering in the world (to good effect or perhaps at the cost of their health) or divert that growth mechanism into the propagation of the “wrong thing” within their own bodies or personal lives. This might be something counter-helpful or even destructive which grows and grows as an obstacle in their life, in spite of their innate optimism, which only confuses them, though if they gain the overview and work with this obstacle in all-new ways, drawn from the well of their waxing momentum, the healing that can occur in such situations can be profound and even groundbreaking. Us waxing crescents always seems to have a stronger sense of having other “escape” options when the going gets tough (being that much closer to the “beginning” of the dark moon…like we have hardly stepped in through the manifest doorway of what it is to be human). Those choices, which we allow for recuperation and a certain amount of reconfiguration, might include living on the fringes of what is deemed “normal” or seldom going out into community; behaviours we feel we need, some or even most of the time, in order to survive the times when when our growth periods thrust us forwards, which tends to happen in spurts. And yet that ever-persistent growth urge, from within that choice to hide away, can feel like the very thing that both keeps us from going nuts, by grounding us into some sort of manifest, collaborative and relatable existence (at least part of the time), but also what makes us more crazy than ever; because we just have to keep on creating, striving, growing, opening…as though we really have no choice in the matter. Though we hardly know why, we just have to keep on being optimistic, imagining new outcomes, forging forwards with new projects that we birth from somewhere so bizarre and outside of most people’s concept of what is “normal”  or “relatable” that we are more likely than every to be rebuffed in our efforts….but we keep on dusting ourselves down and starting over anyway. It’s who we are and how we are, and knowing our moon phase in more depth has the potential to help us reconcile this otherwise bizarre behavour.

So, back forth, back and forth we go…only wishing that we could take the easier route of becoming the all-or-nothing hermit (which is much-more the territory of the waning crescent) but something in us keeps making us “put out” into the world, only to get our feathers burned and to recoil, feeling oh-so frustrated and weary again. This can feel even more tricky for us once we pass the “full moon” phase of our lives, at mid-life, and start to feel that waning momentum building in our very biology. A sense of “what is the point” seems to tug us contrary to ourselves more than ever before now and the body can feel oh-so tired out, especially if we have struggled with relentless health issues for a very long time (again, I can’t help wondering if chronic nervous-exhaustion-type health issues are the natural domain of the waxing crescent). We navigate the very hinterland of human experience but we are also here to grow and there’s no avoiding that by staying where we would rather be…in the dark, out of sight. Our more comfortable “later life” experiences will come (I suspect) from accepting this dichotomy and working with it to the best of our ability; allowing both the creative-growth aspect and the private-contemplative aspect to coexist comfortably side-by-side…and for me, that’s still work in progress. We will each get to work with this theme in our own special way, coloured by other influences in our experience but this feels like the basis of the waxing-crescent experience, wherever we happen to find our most comfortable expression of it. Perhaps my extremely slow-moving, Out of Bounds Moon makes me an extreme case of a waxing crescent; thrust into being far more abstract than most people yet driven almost mad with the need to keep asserting or offering something of what I have in case it might be of use to other people. This is the essence of the pain-pleasure paradox of my passion for writing; damned if I do, damned if I don’t, so I swing back and forth, wondering why doing it feels so compelling when my audience is so niche and generally unresponsive. Yet I keep on offering abstract bits and pieces of myself forwards in case I happen to “see” something  in my own experience that is important for someone else to hear as a reminder, as they intersect my words with their own experiences (as these synchnonicities tend to work). Perhaps this is the full extent of what I can expect from myself when it comes to co-creation; and yet, maybe its time I stopped knocking it so hard since it seems to be very typical of the waxing-crescent’s way.

Perhaps this post holds hope of being relatable only to other waxing moon types and, even then, only those who are eager to plunge the depths of the topic starting, I would recommend, with Forrest’s book (though I suspect it comes with the turf that we are the very types most likely to deep-dive this kind of material). As with the way I plunged into the Nine Waves of Creation (with which I glean numerous cross-references; working with 27 day moon cycles is not so very different to how I continue to “work” with the 36 day rhythms of the Ninth Wave…), this territory is where we tend to feel most at home. Our playground is a world of overviews and archetypes more so than people and things; so this is where we find we already have our driver’s license and that we already half-know our way around as soon as we glean a new stretch of road opening up for us to explore. Yet it can be a long, lonely and misunderstood road “being” a waxing crescent (which is the ony moon phase I have any real authority to talk about since it is mine) and this new understanding of myself, relative to the moon, has been one of the most profound mechanisms for helping me make some sort of sense out of what previously felt the least fathomable about myself. Knowing this about my moon phase doesn’t determine who I am or where I’m headed (though I have found the progressed moon phases of my life so startlingly accurate that I feel compelled to bear them in mind as a springboard to a deeper understanding of, at least, the rhythms of what lies ahead…) but, rather, it helps me to gain more clarity and overview, perhaps a better foothold, as I launch myself onwards, than I ever had before; which is the very strong point of Evolutionary Astrology. Worked with as it is put out there by players such as Steven Forrest, this material contributes to a deeper understanding of our individual evolutionary potential, as a tool of higher understanding from a view “way out there”, (you could say) as high as the moon. It’s a reminder of how we set things up on arrival in this particular human vehicle; a clue to how we intended to work with our human opportunity in a particular way in order to gain a certain amount of evolutionary benefit out of it all; yes, even the stuff that feels really hard or more than a little bit off track. We can lose touch with the thread of “who we meant to be” as the cloth of life becomes ever more wooly with the friction of circumstance and it can be so useful to reconnect with that most pristine of golden fibres; the one that led us to want to be here at this place and time in our collective evolutionary story, contributing our all-important piece to the tapestry. It can provide the very mid-life review that helps keep us working to our strengths and playing down our apparent weaknesses, owning parts of ourselves that might otherwise have felt like unhelpful foibles or even downright flaws in our own perfection. When we see ourselves “by design”, as though looking down at our original blueprint, it can be a wake-up call and a motivation boost; not as a prediction device or any other kind of old-style limitation structure but as a springboard to reaching new heights.

In fact, working with this material has actually helped me to feel more at home in my own body at a very-crucial time for me in terms of needing all the renewed motivation I can get. Its helped me to get over some of the “givens” about the way I am as a waxing crescent, and stop fighting them, such as the dark phase traits that keep me pulled back from too much social engagement or “taking part” in life. For me, it’s as though the moon is no longer just this big white glowing rock “out there” but, rather, that it’s now internalized and fully integrated within me, “as” a working aspect of me (along with my sun aspect, which I am also working with somewhat differently in light of Forrest’s book). This is almost exactly the transition in moon-relationship that Annie Sennov talks about in her Golden Age, Golden Earth book (a complex discussion with which I don’t fully resonate though I can relate to parts of it, including the newly individualised nature of what the moon has now become to me compared to what it more generally represented to me, externally, “before”). Yet it’s almost funny how this process came about for me (as she predicted it would, post Aura-Transformation) through my chance encounter with Forrest’s book and the way I felt so magnetically drawn to study the material as deeply as I have. As with all these approaches, there’s an inherent danger of intellectualising who you think you are or where you are at; and this is best avoided in favour of a soft, integrated, intuitive approach to what feels useful to know. Below is the review I shared on Goodreads for The Book of the Moon, which will give you a further taster of my response to it and why I recommend it to anyone that is curious (not just astrologers!), should they be interested in taking the plunge. It’s a wonderfully accessible read; compulsive too and, who knows, may offer you that whole other layer of self-understanding that was previously so elusive but which drops in the missing piece of the puzzle (which is how it feels to me).

Review of The Book of the Moon with numerous attached quotes that will give you a preview of some of the themes discussed above and more.

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