DETACHMENT AND THE ILLUSION OF FORM: RELEASING THE FEAR OF FEARLESSNESS – A NEW CHAPTER IN MY PATH BEGINS

Detachment

In the past two days, I have felt a complete shifting of tack, or a turn in direction I hadn’t anticipated heading into so quickly: Detachment. This isn’t to say a lack of love, or compassion (far from), but a single minded focus upon the tasks that I have to do at this time. And a rapidly transforming world-view.

It’s frightening, and challenging to feel the power of living in a state of loving detachment – or at the very least, beginning to.

The fear is having that sense of power – the state of total fearlessness: I can determine what I want. I no longer need to be held back by the expectations of others. I can actually cut through the cords, the unspoken expectations and the weight of assumptions that so many human relationships are based upon. So much I thought I knew about people seems a false construct. Those assumptions no longer make sense to bear.

The fears I had about whether I gave too much? or too little? Just disappeared. The desire to Serve The She That is Me that is in Us All – the Dark Goddess in the Macrocosm and the Microcosm – has only intensified.

I feel as though I can face anything and have no reason to fear any longer. I am ready to begin my work.

Who knew that so much of my identity as I understood it before was held back due to a profound fear of being fearless?

And how, my evolution has begun to unfold once that fear of fearlessness was released.

I’ve spoken about the fear – but here comes the challenge:

The challenge is embodying detachment in a way that does not remove you from the core of your humanity, vulnerability and empathy. That does not remove you from alignment with a Truer Power or a Path. That does not simply legitimate the dictates of tyrannical ego bent upon forcing its will without regard for others. There are those who mask acts of cruelty, abandonment and neglect through the abuse of the energy of ’emotional detachment’ – and sometimes they wear the garb of ‘the spiritual teacher’.

So it’s really important to be able to tell the two apart – is this Spirit’s or the Ego’s understanding of ‘Detachment’?

Detachment is often confused with emotional disassociation and ‘being aloof’ – the two are very different things. For me, spiritual and emotional detachment is meaningless without retaining the ability to feel, to have compassion, to know Love.

Detachment is not an invitation to Apathy, Arrogance or Alienation (of Self or Others). It’s a strange place, and an experience or state of mind that I am ‘re-membering’. As one who has been a High Priestess in previous lives, this was/is my ‘natural state’ – it is familiar to my Soul, but my Ego is still taking it all in.

The world looks different. People look different. My view of relationships are wholly altered. All that is not Truth, simply has to go. All that is Real I am allowed to keep in my life.

On the one hand, this state of mind has only led me to greater compassion and love for the people in my life. There is an acceptance of things that I would have once hated, knowing that they do not affect my awareness of self, or identity in any way. So many fears I’ve had surrounding my path have just vanished.

But at the same there, there is also a commitment to voicing out the elephant in the room – for issues that I cannot simply be silent over. The things that really need me to do my job and speak out for.

Overall , this awakening has made me more committed to my path and more insistent on the idea that all Paths are to be respected. That ultimately, as we reach the Mountaintop (no matter the road we take), we Ultimately realize that there was never a Path, or a Mountain in the first place.

An acceptance of the need for form, and the ultimate nature of formlessness in one moment.

I realized all this yesterday at the movies. I went to see ‘Lucy’ with my parents (very synchronistic, if you’ve seen the film). And _before_ the film had a chance to start. BOOM! came this profound realization that …

Something has changed within me.

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
4:07 pm, 31st August 2014
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image information – Tara_lithograph.jpg – By Chore Bagan Art Studio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why I Love the Dark Goddess: An Invitation to Self-Reflection and Dialogue

 

In this video, I pose a few questions at the start to get the ball rolling – and share some of my personal experiences along the way. So many of us are awakening now, as we are following paths which call us to an understanding of femininity, motherhood and womanhood that defies conventional understandings. As we go on this path – asking ourselves the basics of Why? How? Where? can take us a long way in understanding what we are embodying, and how to carry that as we move through the world. There are so many misconceptions surrounding the Dark Feminine (e.g. witches are bad or evil, women are inferior, it’s all negativity, etc.), deeply embedded into the collective psyche. So it’s important to think about how we deal with these challenges, and in so doing, embody the essence of this Path – which is to me, a commitment to truth and a way of life that goes beyond rituals or forms. This is an invitation to engage in self-reflection and dialogue. Please comment with your responses, if so inclined.

Just so I am clear – whilst I speak of the experience of women, the themes that I address will also be ones familiar to men honoring the Feminine principle, particularly if they do not obey the heteronormative norm (e.g. alternate sexualities, not being a ‘manly’ man, etc.). The same applies for those with a trans-identity, breaking out of societal expectations.

Vanakam, Namaste and Blessings to Everyone Across The Globe,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
http://www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

JUNO IN CANCER OPPOSED PLUTO RETROGRADE IN CAPRICORN; 7:58 am, August 30th 2014, 11 Can-Cap 08′, GMT + 8 (+++ Wedge with Vesta)

Juno opposes Pluto Retrograde

Juno – as I understand her – goes far beyond the energy of ‘the soulmate’ or ‘the marriage partner’. Whilst she can be these things, she represents something far more profound – the channel that houses the flow of Divine Feminine energy into your life. If you consider the Divine Feminine is the ‘soulmate’ or spiritual counterpart to the Divine Masculine, you can see why her interpretation evolved into the form that it did.

A historical analysis of Juno shows as her a Goddess that refuses to be confined. She is the nurturer, the guardian, the mother, the wife, the goddess of the liminal – those spaces in between spaces, just as one phase ends and another begins. Her energy is somehow both subtle and powerful at the same time. It, usually through a person, allows the flow of Sophia, Asherah, Shakti (use whichever term you like) to stream into your life.

Transits to Juno, in my astrological study of natal charts, tend to trigger this opening or gateway to the feminine. And no, they’re not always about ‘finding Mr. or Ms’ Right’. A soulmate whose energies are channeled by Juno, depending on your chart, can just as well bring you to the feet of the Goddess by virtue of violence, rejection and painful experiences.

Juno, to summarize what is a powerful and complex energy, brings us into balance with ourselves and asks us to reach out and honor those parts we disown. That is how I read energy with respect to the ‘union’ or ‘soul-marriage’ she is traditionally linked with.

I also see her as profoundly linked to certain aspects of shadow-working, or Reclaiming the Shadow. It is she who protects the newborn child from being snatched by the jaws of death, and the city from the ravages of invasion.

There is something so profoundly deep, dark and mysterious about this Asteroid Goddess that a single post cannot cover – so I hope to have provided you with a sense of her depth and breath and liminal presence.

And yet, at the same time – She is the Goddess of Beginnings…. (how wonderful!)

In the sign of Cancer, Juno finds ways for us to connect with Mother Gaia once more. She may also find ways to work her magic in our lives so we re-establish long-forgotten connections with family, tribe, cultural collective – and especially – the mother figure. She brings us to the traditions, the rules, the habits, the attachments to old ways of establishing a group identity and asks us to decide whether we choose to dance to the same tune, or to find a different drummer. Either way – you are being called to see the Goddess in your Home, your place of Belonging or Rootedness, however you define it.

Pluto Retrograde, on the other hand, is a very different sort of energy. It represents the energy of transformation-through-crisis (Gargatholil) and is linked with the themes of sexuality, intimacy, regeneration, birth-death-rebirth, shadow-working, deep and intense emotions, power, control, intimate boundaries, the merging of energies and profound esoteric or occult knowledge… and so on. It is the place where the Phoenix goes to Die, the Crucible in which it Burns, and from which it Arises again. One of the most potent and intense energies in the astrological zodiac.

The lessons that Pluto teaches are often perceived as painful, yet they contain the greatest gifts and blessings. I’ll give you an analogy: I call Pluto – The Thug. Say you’re walking down the street. You get mugged and lie bleeding. You wake up a few days later in hospital. After you’ve healed, you realize that the building you were about to walk into (just before you got stopped and mugged) was on the verge of collapse – and you would have most certainly died if you’d arrived at your destination. And on top of that, you had no money in your wallet anyway….

That’s the kind of blessing/trial that Pluto can bring, though it’s usually not as dramatic.

In Capricorn, Pluto is truly shaking up society’s understanding of what ‘success’, ‘achievement’ and ‘authority’ mean – in the public eye. We’ve seen the effects of the Uranus-Pluto squares and the political uprisings and revolutions that have been sparked close to their exact squares. It can manifest as the erosion of the old to make way for a way of building a new institution, or even a new world order. Or it could manifest as older, established forms of governance grasping onto power through whatever means required. Whether change is desired or not, it will happen, come what may.

At the personal level (though this depends greatly on house placement), the way you consider yourself to be successful, accepted or legitimate in some way will change.

With Pluto Retrograde, the kinds of crises that can erupt, prompting you to evolve, often arise within the psyche – in response to some external event. Its more about you, than it is about anyone else – so it would be wise to ensure that whatever conflicts you may find yourself in are not mere games of projection.

When you get Juno opposed Pluto Retrograde, you get a situation where a crisis is likely to erupt at any time – though you can’t say you didn’t see it coming…. Pluto Retrograde is under a great deal of strain and it seeks to channel and keep its transformative drive within the psyche: self-containment does not suit its raw power.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back, the trigger that finally launches the raw power of Pluto may even be a harmless comment, gesture from someone playing Juno in your life. With Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn, whatever plays for power, or attempts to control another are likely to be visible in the public eye. If you’re having a breakdown, you might not want to post it on FB, for instance. Many may find themselves having to make critical decisions about their Careers and ideas of Building a Legacy – and weighing that against the Needs, Wants and Perspectives of their Partner.

With Juno in Cancer, this becomes a classic contest between one’s public life and family life. You may find that someone in your familial/domestic environment challenges you in ways that set off a chain reaction, bringing out the well-hidden shadow of Scorpio into full view. It’s hard to say exactly how this will pan out as Juno is such a ‘wide’ energy to work with.

Some might experience this as a breakup (if their partner is represented by Juno), others may find aspects of themselves calling out for wholeness, completion and expression. Some might look at the Goddesses in their own Tradition and call out for a radical re-signification of their spiritual form and meaning. There are lots of other possibilities as well.

But one thing is for certain: The Goddess calls for Balance. She asks you to honor the Home (Earth, Tribe, Family) just as she asks you to make your way, and your name in the World. If the foundations of the legacy you are building are strong, and they are in balance with your relationship to Family/Home/Roots – then Pluto Retrograde is not something you have to worry about too much.

The energy of Juno and Pluto are in a Wedge shaped configuration with Vesta (the Priestess, the keeper of the Sacred Flame) in Scorpio. She sextiles Pluto Retrograde and trines Juno, providing a useful focal point to turn to in case the energies become too intense for you to handle. Vesta tells us how we can nurture, honor, and regenerate ourselves even in the toughest of times – so find some time in a private setting and do whatever it is that makes you feel the most alive. I refer you to http://wp.me/p4OUNS-59for specific ideas as to how.

Vanakam, Namaste and Blessings to All,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image: “Juno sospita pushkin” by shakko – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Juno_sospita_pushkin.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Juno_sospita_pushkin.jpg
“Hades Altemps Inv8584” by Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hades_Altemps_Inv8584.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Hades_Altemps_Inv8584.jpg
“Chief Vestal” by This file is lacking author information. – G. Ferrero, The Women of the Caesars, New York, 1911.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chief_Vestal.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Chief_Vestal.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

SUN OPPOSES NEPTUNE RETROGRADE – 29 August 2014, 10:18 pm (GMT+ 8)

Sun Neptune Opposition

Blessings all,

The Sun in Virgo focuses our attention upon our Path of Service. For this reason, Virgo, and the 6th house is linked to the job that we do on a day-to-day basis. Service comes in so many forms, and very often its though routines and rituals we do, as ‘small’ as they are, over a long period of time that make the greatest difference. The day to day stuff, taking care of the little details that keep life running smoothly, using the ability to discern in order to see what’s what and whether its in line with your value system. These are the little things that life is made of. Sometimes the people who touch us the most in our lives, leave their mark through these day-to-day gestures of love and kindness. And there is strength in that ability and willingness to Give.

If I had to summarize the energy of Virgo, I could call it — the material anchoring, the healing and fortification of the Vessel of Service. In other words, the Nurturing of You as you go into the world to also Nurture Others. Some might prefer the less emotional term of ‘Maintenance’ or ‘Preservation’.

With the Sun in Virgo, this is what your energy will be focused on, whether you channel through an emphasis on health, daily routines, taking care of the small things, a combination, something different, etc. depends entirely upon you.

So we’ve got this beautiful energy opposed Neptune Retrograde in Pisces. Pisces is seeking Serve, but in a different way. Whilst Virgo still requires a form through which it performs its duties, Pisces desires no form, no label, no construct. It is the terminal point, the energy of ending and of transcendence. This isn’t to say it is superior – in fact – one of the greatest imbalances or stereotypes I notice in many spiritual writings is the de-valuing of form, in favour of essence. Let me put it to you this way – if Form had no purpose, no part to play – then we simply wouldn’t have one (from a non-nihilistic spiritual perspective). As with all things in life — Balance is essential.

Neptune is at home in Pisces, and so its influence is strongly felt. It is that energy that simply dissolves boundaries, turning them into dust. It allows us, if just with the tips of our fingers, to touch something truly Transcendental. In retrograde, the loft, spiritually heady energies of Neptune powerfully guide us to the Land Beyond Maya (Illusion – its most common meaning) – if we are willing to truly see things for what they are.

It is associated with sacrifice, surrender, secrets, things which you just can’t put your finger on, things you can’t capture with words or concepts. The closest you get is often through the medium of art, dance, or some other form of inspired expression. The vibrations of otherworldly realms comes through the boundary dissolving energy of Neptune.

Whilst we so often elevate the dissolution of boundaries in spiritual discourse – we often forget that certain boundaries are required – at the very least whilst we’re still learning in this Form. Be it sexual, spiritual, etheric, psychic, or other forms of boundaries – we are continually learning that these are important – healthy even. This is where the energy of Virgo comes in. She teaches us how to set realistic boundaries, but ones which Honor your Spirit and your connection with Source. That would be the balancing point between the two polarities, so to speak.

For those interested – I also speak about the nature of Virgo, and allude to its relationship with Pisces in my video on the Virgo New Moon here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNClk43WzZ0

The excess of Virgo can manifest as an attitude of being overly-critical, overly sharp-edged and expecting all things to manifest as per the self’s understanding of purity, integrity or some understanding of ‘proper service’. The excess of Neptune can lead to self-destructive (which is a lower manifestation of the drive to Transcend Form) behaviors – this include different forms of substance abuse, and attempts at self harm, even suicide (astrologers studying the chart of Robin Williams would notice the connection). These responses often come through an extreme sensitivity, rendering them unable to cope. To be clear, not everyone with a strong reaction to Pisces is going to abuse themselves, or attempt self harm. These are just examples from a broad spectrum of reactions. One might simply feel a little more ungrounded than usual, and have their heads in cloud nine.

There are other possibilities – so don’t feel the need to over-identify with these – these are just the biggest ‘red flags’ so to speak. Being so ‘closed’ as to shut everyone off, and being to ‘open’ that you simply just want to Be One With All – often losing (as opposed to transcending) yourself in the process.

So it’s not all black, or white – but as always, a call for Balance.

This opposition is part of a larger Grand Sextile Configuration, but its energies are powerfully felt through one part of it – a Wedge – involving Sun-Neptune and Ceres. I’ve written about that here for those interested

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=552883294815670&set=pb.100002820140717.-2207520000.1409322113.&type=3&theater


Blessings,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

 

Images: “The Sun by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory – 20100819” by NASA/SDO (AIA) –http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/browse/2010/08/19/20100819_003221_4096_0304.jpg. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA%27s_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819.jpg#mediaviewer/File:The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA%27s_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819.jpg
“Neptune” by NASA/JPL – http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00046. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Neptune.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Neptune.jpg

VENUS/LILITH IN LEO SQUARES MARS/SATURN IN SCORPIO: An analysis

Tavurvur Bai

Venus conjunct Lilith in Leo: Venus brings to this conjunction an intensification of desire. A pronounced focus, longing, evaluative/judgmental approach to all things related with children, creativity, positions of leadership, romance and the Inner Child Construct. With Lilith in the mix, we’re also likely to strongly attach/detach (depending on your mental conditioning) with circumstances that prevent you from manifesting Leo energy in your life (whether it’s a painting, conceiving a child, getting a position of leadership, falling in love, etc.).

Venus and Lilith strongly evoke aspects of the self we typically identify as ‘feminine’ – Venus teaches us how to manifest and relate to the material world. She teaches how to judge, evaluate, discern – and as you filter your experiences through the lens of perception – to allow yourself to revel in them. Lilith on the other hand, is the visibly Suppressed form of Feminine Energy that now seeks to rise to the Surface and re-claim her place in the world. She is all that is feared of the Wild Woman, The Dark Goddess, the Woman on Fire (sadly literally, as seen in history). You find her in the witch, in the priestess willing to stand tall, in the woman who simply refuses to submit.

In the sign of Leo, the power, vulnerability and authenticity of a feminine psyche coming to terms with itself, realizing and acknowledging who She is in the world – is placed in public view – for Leo is the Prancing Performer, capturing Center Stage. In its less evolved manifestation, this energy can be channeled in ways which project a sense of wounding, vulnerability or even invincibility/bravado that does not accurately reflect the Self, in order to receive attention.

Remember that Leo is the Royal Lion, there is a gregarious energy that is benevolent, that encompasses all with its warmth and joie de vivre. It is the happy King or Queen, comfortable in its own authority and happy to act as a benevolent protector for the good of all. The problem arises when that inner ‘king’ or ‘queen’ is not recognized, validated, or shown to be somehow popular. In this case, the energy of Leo can turn to pretense, ‘playing to the crowds’, domineering behavior – or even – (and here I quote Gargatholil) – settling for someone ‘below your level’ just so you can constantly be held up on a pedestal as ‘a superior’. Which brings me for the power dynamics in the Deep Waters of Scorpio….

Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio – Where Venus typically represents a core component of femininity, Mars represents the Masculine. If Venus yearns, Mars goes forth to make it happen. (Note: I’m using a language steeped in gender binaries here for explanatory purposes – there is Venus/Mars/Lilith/Saturn energy in all beings – not limited to specific genders). In Scorpio, Mars seeks power and control, often through dominion. Like Machiavelli, the mechanics of control are often hidden, and plays for power removed from public view. You can easily see how such a bid for power can be so easily abused. However, Scorpio energy is also one of the most powerful portals to the Shadow Self, to all of you which you have not acknowledged (good, bad, ugly, or beautiful).

When channeled with the purpose of Self-Mastery, and Self-Knowing, the energy of Mars in Scorpio is turned inwards. The only control you seek to find is Over self, and you continually strive to get Deeper, get Truer. Become More Real. On the other hand, Saturn in Scorpio presents the energy of karmic test, restriction, limitation and the need for discipline. It funnels and channels the powerful energies of the sky, showing us the need for focus and structure – and how that leads to a more efficient way of channeling power – in the same way that a magnifying glass can channel the sun’s rays to burn leaves. How you use that power, on the other hand, determines the web of karmic dynamics that all of us seek to ultimately dissolve as our Soul seeks Moksha (Transcendence).

In Scorpio, both Mars and Saturn bring back the Man From the Past. It can be a father, brother, even a very masculine mother, or a lover – or some form of energy that asks you to look at your relationship with Yang Energy. Karmic situations are likely to be revisited, as you are called to heal your relationship with what once was, for the sake of what can be. You may find this question present in your most intimate partnerships (sexual, financial, magickal) and find a strong pull towards all that calls you to take a deeper look Within. Those who choose not to, may find themselves entrenched in a deepening web of karmic ties, fortified through the mechanisms of projection. But it’s not all gloom and doom, remember that Scorpio is also the house of Regeneration and Rebirth – just as it is of Death and Transformation. It is the Crucible in which the Phoenix does just so it can be Reborn again.

When all of the energies are in the square aspect, what you get is a quintessential clash of Ying/Yang energy. Venus and Mars are vying for dominance, not realizing that what they require is balance. Lilith looks to the harsh laws and authorities of the past that have caged, slain or demonized her without just cause. Saturn looks to the destabilizing influence (from the perspective of the status quo) that the Rising Feminine can bring, and to traditional perceptions of Masculine and Feminine Roles.

So I’d say this packs quite a punch – It makes me think of a volcanic eruption (see attached image) – Fire through Earth, then Water – Transformed into Steam. That kind of force and intensity that these energies represent.  

The best thing you can do is to choose to be Authentic about who you are, what you want – irrespective of whether people like you for it or not. And if you feel as though you’re not in control, then go to the place within to find your sovereignty and autonomy once more. Try not to find that in the submission or compliance of others. It honestly does not matter if people are trying to do anything it takes to ‘win’, just stay the course and follow your own moral compass. Try not to worry too much about outcomes and you bravely navigate the waters of Authenticity, Embodiment and Self-Knowing.

A few astrological details for those interested – All times in GMT + 8:

Lilith square Saturn – 16 Leo/Sco 45 12:43pm: August 1st, 2014
Mars conjunct Saturn – 17 Sco 40: 2:52 am, August 26th 2014
Venus square Saturn – 17 Leo/Sco 44: 2:18 am, August 27th, 2014
Venus square Mars – 18 Leo/Sco 49: 11:25 pm, August 27th, 2014
Venus conjunct Lilith – 19 Leo 47: 6:15 pm, August 28th 2014
Lilith square Mars – 19 Leo/Sco 53: 3:47pm, August 29th, 2014

Venus in Leo: August 13 – September 6 (2014)
Lilith in Leo: March 5 – November 28 (2014)
Mars in Scorpio: July 27 – September 14 (2014)
Saturn in Scorpio: October 7 2012 – December 24 2014; June 16 – September 18 2015
(December 24 2014 – June 15 2015, Saturn is in Sagittarius. Between June-September 2015, Saturn retrogrades, then moves direct at the tail end of Scorpio once more)

Blessings to All,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image information: Mt Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea, which erupted between 1:30 am and 2 am in the early hours of Friday morning on the 29th of August 2014, GMT + 8. Image Source: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/png-volcano-tavurvur-eruption-may-disrupt-australian-flights/story-e6frfq80-1227040827996

PART 1: GENDER STEREOTYPING IN LIFE AND ASTROLOGY

Ardhanari

Sex and Gender are different concepts. Your genitalia does not tell you to behave a certain way, you are conditioned into it and/or predisposed to certain behaviors through your biological hardwiring – nature / nurture both exert their influence. Certain branches of academic feminism make a wonderful case for defining the relationship between sex and gender differently. For instance – you can look to the work of Judith Butler who speaks of gender as a repeated performance that we enact – if you’re interested in learning more. We all see it differently – but this is the ‘knowing’ that resonates with me. 

In other words – we do not learn how to be a ‘woman’ or a ‘man’ based on genes alone – we are taught how to perform ‘being a woman’, or ‘being a man’. And as we repeat these performances over and over again, we begin to strongly identify with them and consider them as ‘real’. It is the embodied form of the idea that ‘reality is constructed’, and one of the ideas that underpinned my PhD thesis. For if there was but one definition of womanhood, or manhood, wouldn’t we all play it out the same way?

Some women are taught that they have to dress the part, curl/perm their hair to look a certain way, keep their legs together when they’re sitting down, wear lipstick (not too red!) and flowing dresses in order to be ‘a lady’. Other women rebel and wear their wild hair like a mantle over their shoulders and dance by the fires till dawn. Other women cut their hair to within an inch of their scalp and wear clothes which make them look angular, masculine, martial. And other women do other things…. the same with men …. In fact, I don’t know how to define womanhood or manhood anymore – I thought I had an idea, but now I see that that too is my construction and mine alone.

There is such a diverse range of such expressions of gender – Who can say what being a ‘real woman’ or a ‘real man’ is anymore? And why do we insist in linking it with a particular set of genitalia?

I’ve seen men with the nurturing instincts idealized as ‘feminine qualities’ and women who have none of that whatsoever. I’ve seen human tigresses roar and stride into battle, in a ‘man’s world’ and best the alpha male – so much for assertiveness and aggression being ‘a male thing’. (And yes, people still use these outmoded categorizations to put limits on behavior: ‘girls don’t beat boys at games’, ‘girls don’t run’, ‘boys don’t cry’, ‘boys don’t wear pink’ etc.)

It works both ways, and is one of the dynamics which has led to the imbalance in Masculine and Feminine energies which we see in the world today. So what does all this have to do with my study of astrology?

GENDER STEREOTYPING IN ASTROLOGY

In astrology we associate Air/Fire, the Sun, Saturn, Mars with ‘male’ energies and Earth/Water, the Moon, Venus, with ‘female’, et cetera. I often clarify when I use these terms in my reports as I see them as archetypes which can manifest in all beings. But still that gendered binary gets reproduced ….

I find this deeply problematic – as my personal experiences and explorations of cultural archetypes tell a different tale.  For instance, in primordial concepts of Shiva (male) and Sakthi (female), Shiva is the passive, receptive principle whilst Sakthi is that active, dynamic force. In my experience of reality – I know more fiery women and nurturing men than I do the opposite. Kali-Ma is my Raging Fire and Lord Shiva is the Calm Breeze on the Himalayan Mountain. (For one thing – but I work with different pantheons and archetypes as well: Some days Mother Earth and Father Sun speak instead. You don’t have to ‘pick one’ and consider all else ‘wrong’.)

So for me, I’ve never seen or experienced the elements exclusively in the traditional way described. Here are other examples less contingent on my personal views:

For instance, the Moon – closely associated with the Oceans is often seen in Western astrology as ‘female’. But the Moon is ‘male’ in Vedic astrology, and in pre-Vedic (Dravidian) India, the ruler of the waters, lakes and streams was Lord Varuna/Baruna – again, a male deity. [Incidentally, when I look at an Ocean, I do not see her as entirely Feminine to the exclusion of all else]

The Sun is seen as ‘male’ as in Western and Vedic astrology, but in other cultures – this is not so. Goddess Bhairavi. the Mahavidya, is associated with the Rising Sun herself. Goddess Ameterasu from Japan represents the Sun in all her states. Lady Sekhmet from the Egyptian pantheon is associated with the setting Sun – and I could go on.

So how do we say that A is B, and C is D? How do we say for sure that an energy is ‘this’, or ‘that’? Can we say that one cultural conception is right, and another is wrong? Can I reject Western symbolism, Vedic tradition and/or (pre-Vedic) Dravidian worship wholesale in favour of something else? And then call that other philosophy or system ‘right’?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t do that with a clear conscience. If there is any ‘truth’ that I have learnt in my study on this subject is that’ — We can’t create a Universal Standard that defines what a man, or a woman is, what ideal ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ traits are.

The best we can do is go with what feels right for ourselves and allow others to do the same for themselves.

And when it comes to astrology, we need to look at the gendered stereotyping of energies to become a lot clearer of how we talk about energetic influences on people. They’re just not seen or felt in the same way by everyone.

PART 2 of this series will address the androgyny of Goddess Pallas Athena.

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

http://www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

** Please note that this piece was first published in another blog of mine on July 10, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Arthanari.png on Wikimedia Commons by Venu62 at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/28/Ardhanari.png distributed under the  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

THE BACKLASH HAS BEGUN: GODDESSES, PRIESTESSES, WITCHES – STAND YOUR GROUND WITH GRACE AND POWER!

105-a_suspected_witch_before_the_tribunal_of_the_inquisition

All around us, we see signs of suppression, of rising hostility towards the Divine Feminine and Spiritual Paths and Persons who honor Her in ways that challenge deeply rooted patriarchal norms. Whether it’s the abuse of ISIS, or the mis-guided morphing of Goddess Kali Ma’s image with the spectre of religious extremism… Whether it’s the ousting of a sacred grove to Goddess Cybele, or a judge willing to consider outlawing witchcraft and tarot readings …. Or even that email you get in your inbox with one claiming that you cannot possibly be living a life of Love aligned with Spirit because you do not share their faith.

The signs are there – and so many of us, women priestesses in particular, have strong memories of the kinds of suppression, persecution and condemnation that can result – in this life, and in others. Those born as male may also share similarly powerful memories.

Astrologically speaking, the alignment that facilitates this intensifying wave of prejudice against the the Feminine and her Facilitators is the Final Grand Cardinal Cross of 2014. Juno in Cancer squares Pallas Athena in Libra, Uranus Retrograde in Aries and opposes Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn. This alignment began a few hours ago and will last until September 20-21st 2014.

Juno, as I understand her, represents the flow of Shakti, Asherah, Sophia – the primordial Divine Feminine essence in the sign of the Home, Womb and Mother – Cancer. Her position in the skies facilitates a Grand Sextile (when asteroid Bienor is included – watch out for September 13 when the Moon re-inforces the Grand Sextile). This energy has been helping us anchor a new energetic frequency and alignment which allows for a more intuitive, empathic relationship with Spirit – in ways that honor both Masculine and Feminine. With the Grand Cardinal Cross, the same energy is challenged and placed under intense pressure.

Pallas Athena, the strategist, the warrior goddess of war and wisdom, the healer and androgyene watches the world with keen eyes of perception in Libra. He she views the deepening of polarities, she observes Judgment born on the basis of fundamental insecurities and the rejection that often follows. She seeks to avoid battle but will not shy away from standing her ground and holding the fort when her integrity is challenged. She realizes that the words of diplomacy and legality are being used against Her, and she must find a deeper, truer voice with which to reply.

Uranus and Pluto have been dancing together for a few years now – we know what kinds of radical transformation those two have facilitated in such a short span of time. It’s important to note that the Moon activates the alignment and Juno opposes Pluto on August 29-30. Pallas Athena opposes Uranus on September 16. Note that the North Node and Mercury will also be close to Pallas Athena at this time and the South Node with Uranus in Aries.

So what do we do?

Ideally, we re-member, we re-learn how to stand. We stand with integrity in the face of legal, verbal or other forms of challenges. We remember that the response to hate, is simply, not hate. We learn again that hiding in the shadows, and being afraid to practice one’s faith is no longer an option. We find ways to respond to our detractors with grace, with eloquence, with kindness – and no compromise on our right to be who we are, to Serve the Divine as we see fit. It is also a time to know when to pick one’s battles, and how to reach out to others if in need of back-up, assistance or other kinds of support.

We realize, once more, that we have to stick together. And that we will learn so so much through this period.

What we do now, how we respond to the rising challenge – is paramount. I understand the anger that so many of us are feeling now, but it is critical for us to channel it in a constructive form, rather than a destructive one now. I know the Kali/Lilith in us wants to rage at it all… but remember, the Dark Goddess is also the Mistress of Detachment, of Poise , of Grace Under Pressure.

Vanakam, Namaste and Blessings to All,

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

 

Image Information: By Rudolf Cronau (https://archive.org/details/womantriumphants00cron) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. ‘105-a suspected witch before the tribunal of the inquisition.jpg’