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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DOES THE PISCES FULL MOON REFLECT THE 13THC CATHARS’ VISION ?

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

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ll have guessed that I’m back from my adventure to the L’Occitaine region in the French Pyrenees, land of the 13thc heretical sect known as the Cathars. While I’ve posted from time to time about this fascinating community, the opportunity to learn more of their extremely complex history in the midst of incredibly difficult landscape, far outstrips reading about them.  Amazingly they survived for years against Rome’s continuous and brutal assault until their final end by fiery execution at Montsegur in 1244.   When climbing very difficult steep and rocky ground up to a ruin that’s 3,400 ft above a parking lot as is the castle at Montsegur, questions tick over in the mind; how did they manage, how did they get provisions up there, how did they survive the winters? Simple answers to such things are beyond comprehension.

To quickly review:  the Cathar movement which regarded the hierarchy of the Catholic church with all of its trappings, as a greedy, self-serving entity, grew out of the Balkans.  It spread to various regions in Europe starting in the late 12th century but nowhere did it spread like wildfire as it did in the Languedoc of modern-day France, aided and protected by some of the region’s most powerful nobility, particularly Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse.  When on January 1208 Brother Peter of Castelnau, the papal legate was assassinated by one of Raymond’s officers, Pope Innocent III found his excuse to declare holy war upon Raymond’s vast territories which had been a ‘nest of heresy’ for years.  The Papal floodgates were then open that resulted in years of unspeakable brutality against this gentle, peace-loving community.  So what was it in their basic belief system that made the Cathars such enemies of Rome?  

Besides their disdain for the obvious excesses of the Church, the Cathars believed in Dualism.  For them, the physical world and everything in it was a creation of Satan(including the body and procreation) while purity of spirit was gained through a direct connection to God or the Divine.  In their view, a belief system that supported a corrupt  hierarchy and homage to a Pope was the very embodiment of Satan.  Nevertheless, they were known for their compassion as healers, providers for the poor, sources of spiritual guidance, herbalists and yes, astrologers, which brings me to the forthcoming Pisces Full Moon on Thursday, September 19th.

 With the Moon in this cosmic  and compassionate sign of the zodiac, represented by its glyph of two conjoined fish swimming in opposite directions, we’re reminded of the transcendence of duality…’we can be of the world but not in it’; each of us is uniquely part of a much bigger picture, indivisible from the vast oceanic Universe.  Is it any wonder that some references on the Cathars note the Perfects or Parfaits (those who had taken vows of devotion) wore belts displaying the Piscean glyph as part of their simple habits?

In Evolutionary Astrology, our goal is always to look and work toward who we were meant to be, not who we think we are compared to others.  As this week’s forthcoming Piscean Full Moon waxes, perhaps its light will remind us of this intention as no doubt it may have done 800 years ago for the Cathars.

 

 the view of cathar country

View from Termes Castle~site of the longest siege during the  Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars

The 1550 ft steep climb up to the castle ruins ends on a hilltop surrounded on three sides by a ravine formed by the river Sou. 

Photography ©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

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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!

walnut-300x215

 Dr. Edward Bach’s Walnut

 Honeysuckle

 Dr. Edward Bach’s Honeysuckle

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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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