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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LOVE AND THE STARS ON ST. VALENTINE’S DAY

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

For today’s  special Valentine’s Day post I’m pleased to welcome as my guest,  Astrologer and Holistic Registered Nurse, Marina Ormes .  As an astrologer, Marina is certified in Evolutionary Astrology through Steven Forrest’s International Apprenticeship Program.  Her skill in this specialized facet of astrology integrated with her strong background and experience in science offers her clients an exceptional healing model grounded in the philosophy that as  spirit in body we’re meant to manifest our greatest potential this lifetime.  I encourage you to visit her website  which details her philosophy of healing and how she can help you on the path of Soul growth and evolution.  This said, enjoy and ponder Marina’s words around Unconditional Love and  messages of the planet archetypes!

Today I invite you to join me in letting go of Conditional Love that requires me to be something I am not, and honoring the Unconditional Love of the archetypes that are parts of me and are also my teachers:

The Moon: for reminding me of the deep caring I need and deserve

The Sun: for giving me a person to be, my shape of existence in this lifetime

Mercury: for being the trickster and sending me messages whether I am paying attention or not

Venus: for teaching me that I am worthy, for teaching me how to receive gracefully

Mars: for teaching me the power of my actions, and that I have choice in every moment

Jupiter: for teaching me about abundance, for helping me understand how to grow

Saturn: for teaching me to be grounded, for helping me create a strong container for power

Uranus: for providing infinite information and for reminding me to have the awareness to receive it

Neptune: for showing me that I am not alone, for teaching me my true divine nature

Pluto: for helping me to transform, for preparing me to be what I have not yet become

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MARINA ORMES, RN, HN-BC, EVOLUTIONARY ASTROLOGER

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, everyone and watch for my next blog post on ‘History’s Mysteries’!

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EVOLUTIONARY ASTROLOGY~THE SACRED SCIENCE THAT’S BEYOND FORTUNE TELLING

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

For today’s post, I welcome Judy Tsafrir, MD as my guest.  Judy maintains an active, holistic  psychiatric practice in the Boston area and as you will read below, in addition to traditional psychiatric approaches. evolutionary astrology is among the tools  she incorporates into the healing models for some of  her patients .  For those of you who are interested, you can read more about Judy and her practice by going to her three websites:

http:www.judytsafrirmd.com, http:www.bostonastrologer.com, http:www.bostontarot.com

BEYOND FORTUNE TELLING

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside us as fate”~ Carl Jung

It is my belief that we need to attend to body, mind and soul in order to balance and heal ourselves. The physical, psychological and spiritual are inextricably linked components of a whole person, who is part of nature and the cosmos; the microcosm that mirrors the macrocosm. If an individual comes to see me, and is interested in exploring metaphysical perspectives and practice, I am glad to do so.

The modern prevailing contempt for astrology has resulted in a loss of precious ancient knowledge. For most people in our culture, astrology is an unfamiliar metaphysical practice, which is deeply misunderstood and misrepresented. If anything is known about it, it is the daily or monthly horoscopes in newspapers and magazines, which are gross oversimplifications.

In popular astrology, everyone is reduced to representation by one of the 12 zodiac signs, which defacto is very non-specific. This, of course, trivializes the field, and astrology is dismissively equated with superstition. In contrast, the practice of astrology by a skilled and refined practitioner, paints a highly specific unique portrait of an individual’s personal reality.

The astrological birth chart (horoscope) is a map of the sky when we were born. In The Inner Sky, one of my mentors, Steven Forrest, described the birth chart as “a blue print for the happiest, most fulfilling, most spiritually creative path, available to the individual.” He observed that astrology is rooted in nature, as we are.  I have no rational explanation of how astrology works, but only have observed empirically that it is an extremely useful and sophisticated body of knowledge, which has great healing potential.

It is a methodology for increasing awareness, and is in no way about fate or determinism.  Each person is the author of his or her own reality, and ultimately responsible for his/her unique situation. No astrologer could reliably predict an individual’s response to their birth chart. When looking at the horoscope, we have no way of assessing the level of a person’s psycho/spiritual development, or consciousness. This can only be determined by learning about an individual, and the way he or she thinks about themselves and others, and the way they live their life.

The clear validity of sophisticated astrological interpretation is a profound and endlessly fascinating mystery to me.  It is an indispensable tool for understanding myself and others, making meaning, and directing my energies.

Astrology describes character, pointing to an individual’s strengths and vulnerabilities, affinities in work and love, seasons of growth and decline, beginnings and endings, and times when we find ourselves sailing both with and against the wind. It has the capacity to provide helpful insight into the past, present and potential future. Astonishingly, it is capable of commenting upon most aspects of the human experience.

Flower Remedies are another therapeutic modality that can support an individual’s psycho/spiritual growth and development. They bear resemblance to homeopathy, in that the mechanism of action is on an energetic level, rather than on a material plane. On occasion I also make of use of the Tarot with my patients. The cards can illuminate a situation, expand the scope of the conversation, and provide additional insight and clarity.

I consider these energetic practices tools for healing, along with medication, nutrition, detoxification, life style changes, and therapeutic conversation. I take the lead from my patients in this regard.

 

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DR. EDWARD BACH’S STAR OF BETLEHEM FOR GRIEF & LOSS~THE UNTIMELY PASSING OF PATRICIA MONAGHAN, EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN, AUTHOR & FRIEND

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

For this blog posting I had planned to write about tomorrow’s Solar Eclipse, November 13th in the sign of Scorpio.  The Plutonian energy ruling this sign has been pushing us in many ways for some time and will continue to do so, demanding that we unearth those parts of us needing to be excavated and dealt with for our soul’s evolutionary growth.

 However, while attending my  semi-annual gathering of Steven Forrest’s evolutionary astrology apprenticeship program in San Diego, I received word yesterday of author, Patricia Monaghan’s passing. Patricia was an extraordinary spirit in so many ways and it is with humble gratitude on my part that she considered me a friend. 

 Her numerous published works both academic and personal, covered the vast landscapes of women’s studies, mythology, poetry and possibly areas that I’m unaware of.  Her love of the earth manifested in so many ways, her circle of friends and acquaintances reached across this country and across oceans. It goes without saying that her wisdom, wit and brilliance will be deeply missed by all who knew her and knew of her.

While  Patricia’s passing wasn’t a ‘shock’  for which I’ve recommended Dr. Bach’s Star of Bethlehem in previous posts, it has compelled me to re-post a piece I wrote over a year ago on its use for times of loss and grief. I’m reminded very personally that these experiences affect all of us in our humanity, whether it concerns someone close to us or loss of our foundations due to natural and/or man-made disasters.  It seems ironic now that I spoke of events affecting the eastern seaboard in this previous posting…perhaps another gentle reminder.  This said, I simply add, Goddess speed, Patricia…Goddess speed.

Star of Bethlehem,  one of the most powerful remedies in the famous 38 Bach Flower Remedies repertoire, is classically  described as THE remedy for ‘shock and trauma’, whether it be a very recent shock or trauma or one that is very old, yet remains at some level within our consciousness and our bodies.  I had not planned to blog about ‘Star’ quite this soon, but given the recent events experienced by those on the eastern seaboard in the last several weeks, first the earthquake and now Irene, it seems the time is now.  

Although these dramas have been extremely traumatic for all of those touched by them, as a practitioner I have never met anyone who cannot benefit from this remedy.  ‘Star’ is so deeply powerful that Dr. Bach included it as one of the five flower remedies in his famous combination, ‘Rescue Remedy’(Dr. Edward Bach Centre-UK),  which is also known as ‘The Five Flower Formula’(Healing Herbs Ltd.-UK).  

Grief is another form of wounding, which can be deep and long lived.  For this reason I have always called upon Star of Bethlehem for clients who are experiencing or have experienced loss of any kind, whether it be the loss of a loved one or a shattered dream.  In this context, we are within the boundary of the spiritual aspects of this remedy because as spirit in body, each of us comes into this incarnation with a karmic contract, soul lessons to master, wounds to heal.  

As I wrote in Igniting Soul Fire, Spiritual Dimensions of the Bach Flower Remedies,If there is one remedy that represents the Divinity found in each of the remedies, it is ‘Star of Bethlehem’…. [it]seems to promote a release from the wounds that cause us the deepest of hurts. Physical traumas heal; but inasmuch as we are spirit in body, the wounds that cause us the deepest grief are those rooted within us emotionally. These wounds have a symbiotic relationship to Star of Bethlehem that is divinely healing.

On the spiritual level, the flower, Star of Bethlehem presents a balanced image of six perfect petals of white, evoking the image of the spiritually-significant six-pointed star, the perfectly counterbalanced triangles, the phrase ‘as above, so below’ and the culmination of the colors in the spectrum. As a practitioner, I have heard this remedy referred to as the ‘ultimate healer of all wounds’ and ‘the Divine Mother essence’. In other words, it is truly a remedy for a heart in distress.”

 Photography Courtesy of the Dr. Edward Bach Foundation

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LEO’S NEW MOON-TIME TO WORK FROM THE HEART WITH HELP FROM DR. BACH’S WILLOW AND WALNUT FLOWER REMEDIES

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance Leave a comment

Friday, August 17th calls in the new LEO moon, the roaring lion of the zodiac.  Inside of a month, we’ve now traveled from the opposite, expansive full moon in Aquarius, that urged us toward courageous, revolutionary thinking with regard to our creativity and perceptions. Now we have come half way around the circle to the spot where Leo’s moon and sun sit together on the launch pad of new possibilities and mindset.

 As I wrote in the full moon blog post, Leo works from the heart when the lion is in his/her glorious fullness, shinning like the sun to which this sign is astrologically connected.  However, for each of us this life is anchored in one or more Karmic Contracts grounded in relationships, reconciliations and life missions, interconnected more often than not, with the purpose of impacting soul growth and evolution for our and this planet’s, greater good.

 But because we are human, none of us escapes from our metaphorical hearts being hurt.  Losses, shattered dreams, unrealistic expectations, compromised skills of discernment…these ‘matters of the heart’ all bear grief…such life experiences impact each and every one of us.  For some, these experiences are repetitive bearing deep pain. When this happens self-pity, bitterness and resentment wait in the shadows making it difficult to pick oneself up, dust off and carry on.

During 1934-35 Dr. Edward Bach discovered the ‘final 19’  of his famous 38 Bach Flower Remedies, declaring that these ‘19’ functioned at a ‘higher vibration’ (and therefore deeper) than the earlier discovered 19; the remedy Willow was among these discoveries.   Willow  comes from the ‘weeping willow’ tree with its boughs that bend so sadly over water.  If one is a student of the Doctrine of Signatures’ philosophy, it’s easy to see why this is the remedy for positively shifting the perceptions of self-pity, resentment and bitterness.  Several years ago I had a female client who through various circumstances of life had worked herself into all three of these mood states.  After adjusting her remedy formula several times I decided to add Willow; the outcome was dramatic within days, which sometimes but not typically, happens so quickly.  She called me crying, saying “I realize I’ve been sabotaging myself and that I have a piece in my outcome.”  This self-realization and accountability was most definitely the action of the Willow, giving her a new lens that allowed her to move forward in a positive manner.

 So now we have this wonderful new moon of Leo’s energy encouraging us to take charge of who we really are at the HEART of our being.  As I blogged nearly a year ago (see the 9/24/11 posting) on Dr. Bach’s remedy Walnut, I won’t belabor it here again other than to say that Walnut is THE remedy for making such changes, as in Dr. Bach’s own words, Walnut is “the Remedy for those who have decided to take a great step forward in life, to break old conventions, to leave old limits and restrictions and start on a new way,”

 What perfect remedies for this Roaring new Leo moon!

WILLOW

WALNUT

Photography©Dr. Edward Bach Foundation