Gaye Mack’s Blog

POMEGRANATES AND BLESSINGS

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Writer's Work Leave a comment

Slightly different from what I typically write about, for this post I welcome my good friend, Judy Tsafrir, MD as my guest.  Judy is a holistic psychiatrist with a busy practice in Boston. I highly recommend following her blog, as she’s incredibly multifaceted as a mind/body/spirit oriented physician, evolutionary astrologer, Tarot practitioner and expert in nutrition.  Her recent post discussing reflections and blessings in our lives is something we all can well be reminded of as the fall equinox approaches and we prepare to go within for more self-discovery in the months ahead.

It is September, a season of new beginnings, the initiation of a fresh cycle. We just celebrated Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. The children went back to school, the summer is waning and it’s getting dark earlier. Autumn is at the door. September is a time linked in my mind with the ancient mythic pomegranate, a cross-cultural symbol of fertility and sweetness. It is traditional to eat pomegranates with its many seeds on Rosh Hashana, as a symbol of fruitfulness.

As a child in the 50′s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we called pomegranates “Indian Apples”. I have always loved them, though they were a challenge to eat. I would extract the juicy crimson seeds individually, staining my fingers, until I learned a brilliant Israeli technique.

This is really amazing: Take a knife and slice the pomegranate in half. Take a heavy spoon, and holding half the pomegranate sliced side down over a large bowl, whack it repeatedly, and all of the gorgeous scarlet seeds will tumble out. Then you just need to remove the few pieces of creamy rind that were dislodged as well, and you have a luscious pile of pomegranate seeds.

The pomegranate is a symbol to me of all of the blessings in my own life. I was very inspired by the sermon that my rabbi,  Wes Gardenswartz, gave on Rosh Hashanah. It is linked in my mind with appreciation and pomegranates. This is my reconstruction of what he said:

The British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips proposed that each of us has the actual life that we live, which is the result of all of the choices we have made and all the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Simultaneously, each of us has a parallel unlived life, one that shadows us with what might have been; the regrets, the opportunities not embraced, the roads not taken. He spoke of the wonderful novelist Richard Russo, who wrote a memoir of his relationship with his mother entitled , “Elsewhere”. Russo’s mother never was happy where she was; she was always longing to be somewhere else.

The rabbi reframed the tasks of daily living that can at times feel onerous, like doing the laundry, as something that he GETS to do, rather than something that he HAS to do. In order to do laundry he has to be able to see to sort the colors, have functioning legs which carry him up and down the stairs, and arms that have the strength to hold the basket. The capacity to do laundry presupposes a great deal of able-bodiedness. I know for myself, I can sometimes feel burdened by having to weed the garden, or having to figure out what to make for dinner for the children, or being obliged to seriously restrict my carbs if I don’t want to gain weight and feel tired. But OMG, what a blessing to still have children under my roof to make dinner for, to have a garden to care for, or to be in such a privileged position that I can choose what to eat.

The rabbi addressed the importance of simultaneously being aware of those aspects of our lives that are still unlived, and striving to manifest those dreams and potentials, while experiencing gratitude for the reality of our lives as they are. Not to be like Richard Russo’s mother who was focused on what was missing. The rabbi noted that none of our lives are perfect; there are those who have wealth but poor health, a meaningful career but trouble with our kids, a good marriage but constant money worries; and yet for all of us, there are so many blessings that we often just take for granted.

Warm wishes to all my readers for a sweet, fruitful and healthy New Year, filled with consciousness of the blessings in our lives, as the numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate.

 

 

equinox

 

             Fall Equinox, Chicago-September 22, 2013 3:44 p.m. CST

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Keys to What’s Holding You Back-Evolutionary Astrology and Dr. Bach’s Flower Remedies-

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Writer's Work Leave a comment

August 20th arrives with a Full Moon in Aquarius.  Ruled by the planet Uranus, individually and globally we’re being pushed to embrace innovation, individuation and collaboration…a mouthful. This said, illuminating this Aquarian moon is the Sun in heart-centered Leo, reminding us that we must not forget to be true to our Soul’s intent for us to evolve as spirit in body.

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, the science of Evolutionary Astrology is about transformation.  In the evolutionary analysis of the birth chart, we’re presented with a powerful tool that metaphorically offers a map and compass which reveals our Soul’s unique agenda and pathway for this lifetime. In addition, this process presents us with the opportunity to confront psychological karmic energy from a distant past that haunts us at an unconscious level; in essence this elusive energy holds us back.  Certainly the prospect of stepping up to this challenge is a daunting one that requires courage and faith to leap into the unknown in order to break the ties that bind.‘ 

Once we become aware of what we need to leave behind and in what ways we need to move forward on this journey of self-discovery, we can call upon several of Dr. Bach’s powerful flower remedies for support.   His remedy Walnut immediately comes to mind, for Walnut expressly helps us to cut binding ties and at the same time ‘stay the course’ toward our ‘next right step.’  

Additionally, there’s another remedy for this situation in Dr. Bach’s famous ’38’—Honeysuckle.  The dynamics of Honeysuckle specifically relate to those emotional states of mind wherein the individual cannot let go of the past.  Often this memory state manifests as unrealistic longings to return to a nebulous history that’s wrapped up in fantasy or it can be recall within the present lifetime that nevertheless, is also conjured up in fantasy.  Such desires can be attached to grief and loss or simply a wanting to escape.   In either state of emotional psychology, it’s the avoidance of the present which prevents movement into the future.  

So, as we enter the energy of the forthcoming Aquarian Full Moon, we have tools to help us move forward on our journey of growth…an analysis of our astrological birth chart through the evolutionary lens, Dr. Bach’s Honeysuckle, or both!

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 Dr. Edward Bach’s Walnut

 Honeysuckle

 Dr. Edward Bach’s Honeysuckle

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AVOID REGRETS AT END OF LIFE- A CASE FOR EVOLUTIONARY ASTROLOGY

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Worth the Read, Writer's Work Leave a comment

A deviation from my usual blog topics, I happened to come across the following posting from Huffington about Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative nurse who turned her journal notating the most common regrets of her dying patients into a book- The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.  What I found ‘interesting’ in reading the following excerpt is that I saw this minutes after being informed that the last of my living uncles had passed away yesterday evening at the ripe age of 98.  

He was my mother’s oldest brother and the final survivor of that generation.  It’s no secret that siblings often quibble about each other’s ‘ways of being'(although being an only child I fortunately escaped this one!).  My mother and her siblings were no exception and so this excerpt of Bronnie’s gave me pause; I realized that as I read the following five common regrets, they make a wonderful case for evolutionary astrology as a valuable tool for actively facilitating our Soul’s growth while we have the time.  

Through the evolutionary astrological lens, everyone’s birth chart reveals where and how we have opportunity to make course corrections in this life from past Karma that haunts us at unconscious levels within our being.  We have time; in doing so, it’s possible to bypass some or perhaps all of the regrets Bronnie outlines from her experiences with the dying.  If you’re interested to know more about Evolutionary Astrology and its benefits, please checkout my website.  Steven Forrest, one of the most globally recognized evolutionary astrologers and my teacher, has excellent information on his site as well.  In the meantime, I’m certain you’ll find that Bronnie’s insights sound intimately familiar and that interestingly, they resonate with the core of Evolutionary Astrology!

One thing on regret before we get to the list. It’s important to remember that whatever stage we are at in life, there is no need for regret. The process of regret is one that provides nothing but suffering for ourselves as we begin to allow the past to dictate how we should feel now. Instead, we can use the past as a reference point to understand what adjustments we would like to make moving forward. The adjustments do not have to come out of pain, sorrow, regret or judgment, but simply a choice to do things in a different way. We are learning all the time, we can very quickly slow that learning process down by getting stuck in the idea of regret. When it comes to making changes, be at peace with the past and remember that each moment is a new choice.”

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

 ”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.” 

 

astrology-image

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PLUTO AND BACH FLOWER REMEDIES: SHIFTING OUR PERCEPTION WITH THE HELP OF THESE UNLIKELY BEDFELLOWS

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Writer's Work 2 Comments

Sometimes during a reading, an astrologer will make a mildly humorous reference to an approaching (or current) Pluto ‘transit’ in the client’s chart as a way to lighten up the atmosphere.  The quip, “life happens while you were making other plans,” or, “Pluto; the cosmic 2×4,” are good examples.  Regardless, the real purpose of such energy is to get our attention and shove us out of complacency… of course, always for our ‘own good.’  

Astrologically speaking, when Pluto comes calling in your life you can count on the fact that ‘change’ is in the air often accompanied by what feels like Chaos.  Even in non-astrological terms, it goes without saying that Chaos can enter our lives without the help of Plutonian energy.  Either way, we’re getting a message that change in how we are living or our perceptions, need to change in order for us to move forward in our evolution.  This is a tough assignment; human nature doesn’t like change.  Change is scary to most of us because forging into unknown territory can be like playing ‘blind man’s bluff.’  

This said, a significant action of any of the Bach flower remedies is that they support and assist us in the ability to shift our perceptions.  This is particularly true of Bach’s Walnut.’  Dr. Bach spoke of our Soul holding the innate wisdom for each of us…and when we are in a disharmonious emotional state, its as if a ‘fog’ drops over this wisdom. When we’re emotionally distressed our perceptions are ‘off’; we aren’t ‘seeing’ clearly…it’s like trying to see clearly through a dirty window.  The remedies help us to ‘shift’ our perceptions, clean the window so that our vision is cleared.  When this happens, we then have the ability to interpret our external and internal landscapes more realistically.

Like everyone else, I’m experiencing the effects of the on-going Pluto/Uranus square which I’ve written about in previous postings.  While I’m emotionally aware of the impact in my life, I’m also getting the ‘point’ in a very mundane way; its as if the Universe is wanting to make sure that I ‘get it.’  Currently, we’re having a lot of repainting done in our home which has necessitated taking down all of our pictures, moving furniture.  If you’ve ever had painters take over your house you know that the atmosphere is nothing less than ‘chaotic.’  This morning as I was looking at the bare walls in my office, climbing over drop cloths draped over furniture, the light bulb suddenly went on.  Once the walls are finished, there’s nothing that says I have to arrange all of the pictures or furniture exactly as they were before the arrival of the painters.  Instead, I now have an opportunity to make changes in how these things are placed which in turn will give an entirely different feeling to each of the rooms.  Nevertheless, I am hedging my bet so that I ‘stay the course’…I’ve just pulled a bottle of Walnut out of my cabinet!

 

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Dr. Bach’s ‘Walnut’

Photography©Dr. Edward Bach Foundation

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EDWARD BACH’S WATER VIOLET FOR JUNE’S WATERY GRAND TRINE

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology Leave a comment

As I write, we’ve just experienced the energetic embrace of Sunday’s incredible ‘SuperMoon’ in Capricorn, illuminated by the watery Cancer Sun.  As with all astrological events and configurations, they symbolize a range of expressions and possibilities, not unlike those a Bach practitioner considers with each of Bach’s 38 flower remedies!  While the powerful ‘shadow’ energy of this full moon reminded us that we must learn to return in favor for acquired status (Capricorn) as well as receive nurturing that’s been denied, (Cancer), there’s more to come.  Today, June 26th, the Sun forms a ‘watery’ Grand Trine with Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces.

 35 years ago, the famous and well-known Chicago astrologer, Katherine DeJersey explained to me why astrologers ‘jump up and down with great glee’ when they see a ‘Grand Trine’ in a birth chart.  “Traditionally,” she said, “Grand Trines indicate an ‘ease’ in the flow of energy between the three planets and their sign placement- people who have these configurations in their charts seem to always land on their feet.” However, the highly respected astrologer, Noel Tyl cautions us… ‘not so fast.’  Tyl maintains that Grand Trines are a ‘defensive function in the personality;’ but what does this really mean?  As a chart is really about the flow (or not) of energy, in consideration of Grand Trines as a defensive mechanism, Tyl maintains that we’re looking at a form of emotional self-imposed isolation within the Trine’s planetary and elemental framework; ie., fire, earth, air or water.

 If we apply this interpretation to the forthcoming Grand Trine in water, then we’re looking at a self-imposed defense against emotional hurt that basically says, “I don’t need, want your emotional comfort and I certainly am not extending any.”  Thus, with this approaching trine we’re considering the watery energetic symbolism of Saturn in Scorpio (internal retreating to the depths), Sun in Cancer (retreating into the shell) and Neptune in Pisces(escaping into the cosmos)… all wrapped up in the concept of emotional defense.  Such reactions are what bring me to think of Dr. Bach’s Water Violet flower remedy.

 As I wrote in my book, Igniting Soul Fire, Spiritual Dimensions of the Bach Flower Remedies,

“…for the water-violet soul, a facet of their sorrow or grief stems from repeated experiences of betrayal. In their silent grief, the contracted Water Violet comes off as keeping ‘a stiff upper lip’, while appearing detached, prideful, and aloof. The reality is that this behavior is a means of emotional protection. Even in simple friendship, intimacy is a hardship for them. Even more of a challenge is finding a level of comfort in the intimacy of a romantic relationship.  Physically, the contracted emotional state of this soul-type makes its subjects appear rigid and apart from others, as they exude an air of superiority and entitlement.  Water-violet souls have the lesson this lifetime of learning the virtue of joy by sharing their wisdom of experience through participation in the environment that surrounds them. In working through emotional excavation using Water Violet as a remedy, the resulting connection to their feelings brings awareness that detachment is the source of their grief and, what was once good for them—an old defense mechanism that worked—is no longer good for them.”

Thus, with this different perspective on the meaning of the Grand Trine configuration in the heavens, if you’re feeling particularly sensitive to this watery energy and withdrawn, perhaps Dr. Bach’s Water Violet might be just the remedy for you!

SFPage

GRAND TRINE BETWEEN SATURN(SCORPIO), SUN(CANCER) & NEPTUNE(PISCES)

 

water violet

 

DR. BACH’S ‘WATER VIOLET’

Photography ©Dr. Edward Bach Foundation

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