NEPAL NEWSFLASH! FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT ELECTED! (+ Other Developments)

Image Source: BBC News, 2015
Image Source: BBC News, 2015

Yesterday, whilst my brother and I were eating at the ‘Authentic Nepali Kitchen Restaurant’ , we noticed a man filming something going on TV. It was a very out of the way place and certainly one of the very few places you’d see Nepali TV on in Thamel (the backpackers’ lair). The on-goings looked vaguely parliamentary, and I saw a woman speaking to take some kind of office. It excited my academic curiosity as part of my doctoral work was on the representation on women in the Indian Parliament.

It felt like a moment. Not the ones you take for granted everyday, but the ones you remember as ‘having been there when it happened’. I’d also had the pleasure of seeing the election of the First Lady Speaker of India’s Lower House from within Parliament itself. This felt like .. another one of those moments I would not forget, courtesy of the Authentic Nepali Kitchen Restaurant. For me, it was a delightful sign to get back to that part of my life, research and work as well. (And my brother took photos me of grinning like a cat who had just had two bowls of cream and tuna)

At first I thought it was a Speaker’s election, and then found myself happily corrected when we had the chance to look at some English-language news. Not a Speaker, but a President!

What makes me even happier is that Nepal has pretty much set a powerful standard for South Asian legislatures (and Western ones too) as it has passed – as part of its new constitution – a law ensuring that at least 33% of all MPs are female and that either the President or Vice President must be a woman.

In India, that particular issue has basically stayed stagnant since its first introduction as – the Women’s Reservation Bill – in 1996. Parliament has been paralyzed on account of the idea of bringing more women into its fold on many an occasion.

But not so in Nepal. I’m overjoyed!

The new President, Mrs. Bidhya Devi Bhandari is the vice-chair of the Ruling Communist Party of Nepal. She was previously the country’s defence minister. As President, she has vowed to address minority & women’s issues. Let’s see what unfolds 😉

Whilst the role of the President is largely ceremonial, what excites me about all of this is the legislative requirement of 33% women as the bare minimum. That is going to create ripples of change, and I hope it will once again fuel India’s political will to tackle the same issue once again (nearly 2 decades later). It’ll be interesting to see how this translates for a greater representation of women in South Asian Politics.

Go Nepal! Wooo!

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam. PhD

For those of you interested in my research on reservation policies, gender and politics in India, feel free to check out my PhD Thesis, The Dramaturgy of Ritual Performances in The Indian Parliament (2013) .

Taurus Full Moon, 27 October 2015 (3 Taurus, 12:05 UTC).

DSCF7218

Blessings! I’m going to keep this short and sweet as the Taurus Full Moon brings out the philosopher in me yearning to write a book on the various attempts at bridging the spiritual with the material. In a nutshell, that is the key theme of this Lunation: How do we, as Beings of Energy-with-Consciousness, relate to the experience of Physical, Material, Embodiment?

In less jargon-laden language, basically, this Full Moon asks us to understand what grounds us, how, and why. All of us look to certain material relationships, people, experiences, memories and sensations that permit us – at a deep level – to not only occupy physical space, but even to enjoy that process. It can be the memory of a nurturing mother, a lover that let you feel loved even when you felt very unloveable, the smell of a meal that makes you think of the grandmum who held you when you were little – or anything of that ilk.

If it’s not a memory, then perhaps it is the belief or aspiration to find something that will ground you, hold space for you, and allow you to simply experience this physical world – and Be.

Scorpio’s role in this configuration asks you to look at the roots of the anchor(er). It wants to the know the source of this strength and to question – whether it is an appropriate attachment – whether this energy is freely given – and how, if you want to, you can find the same strength within yourself without having to find your rootedness in another person, experience, or thing.

Scorpio doesn’t lay low on the tough questions. It’ll knock you straight in the face if you’re playing the denial game. Taurus has it’s own way of delivering a swift kick to the behind when absolutely required.

But where the question of who/what grounds you, and why? is answered in a way that resonates with your sense of integrity and,your capacity for joy, magic happens.

Taurus brings the soft vibrations of sensual joy, playfulness, and a relatively care-free approach to enjoying this material life. It doesn’t mean you have to be a glutton, or nymphomaniac. It simply means that you can take pleasure in the very, very, physical process of ‘being alive’. Even the act of breathing can turn into a very sensual, pleasurable process when you know how 🙂

Scorpio’s energy, on the other hand, leads to the waters of deep regeneration, alchemy and the inner reserves of power. It’s a lot more intense, but when balanced, can lead us to a Rebirth of the Self. This is not to say that all of our wounds magically disappear, it is to say that we may find ourselves re-cognizing the powerful, beautiful, authentic Being-in-Flesh-with-Emotion that we are. The role of a shaman, intimate and/or sexual partner is strongly highlighted here – if you’re working with another person through whatever process that comes up for you.

Looking to the asteroids – again – keeping a long story short, it seems to be a time in which we look back to the Shadow/Underworld and re-connect with allies we thought we had lost, and sources of nurture we thought we had forgotten.

It’s quite a profound energy to work with at this time, and I wish you all the very best in doing so. How this energy moves through/as you/with you depends entirely upon how you choose to let it.

Some of you will need to shed tears, others will seek out holy places (with Neptune Retrograde at 7 Pisces trining the Sun and sextiling the Moon). Some of you will turn to healers, others will face the inner self in isolation. Some of you will do one of these, all of these, or none at all. It’s really your path and your individual pattern of spiritual growth that will determine the road you choose to take at this time.

Bear in mind that we are all strongly influenced by the opposition between Jupiter-Venus-Mars at 15-17-20 Virgo and Chiron Retrograde at 17 Pisces. In more ways than one, it is truly a time for us to balance our spiritual lives with our material ones, hopefully seeing that one cannot exist without the other as long as we remain in human form.

Blessings to All ❤ 🙂

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

The Sky Priestess

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PS – Kudos to my epic brother Ashoka Mohannan for teaching me stuff as part of our ongoing pilgrimage in Nepal. Today, we went to a very sacred place that had water from Himalayas running through as part of an underground stream. We also found a hidden pool of water devoted to the Goddess Parvati, tucked away behind an ancient shrine to Lord Pashupathinath (Shiva). This was a location that was revealed to me purely through spiritual means in February 2014 and is still relatively unknown to most Nepali people (there’s a signboard and all, but it’s not written about anywhere). It is a very sacred place to me and I am glad to have had my brother there at a key moment of re-birth for myself. ❤

1st Image: Lele Temple rearview by Ashoka Mohannan, 2015
2nd Image: Me and my Brother by Gautam, 2015. 
Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.

The Kalimantan Haze, Breathing Life and The Himalayas: The Start of an Impromptu Pilgrimage

Lele Resized

Well… the past 24 hours have been interesting. I’m not sure if most of you know, but Malaysia and most of South East Asia are caught in a giant haze cloud of dust and soot. It comes from large-scale fires in the Kalimantan forest in Indonesia. The haze is so bad that the quality of air is indicated as unhealthy. Schools have been closed, football matches have been canceled and people walk around in surgical masks (the efficacy of which I question). The visibility is very, very, poor. And, it’s also making it impossible for me to breathe, given the fact I already have a throat issue.

Nearly choked, am grateful that my mum (the home-alchemist) had the right kind of oils to help me sleep and my brother (the body-worker/energy healer) know which muscles to untense to get my air flow going – and not … well … die . I had to switch rooms as mine is closest to the windows here (all shut, but the dust gets in). Not being able to breathe is a seriously scary thing – the loss of oxygen gets you dizzy and panic sets in – but in those moments, at times, you see/sense what absolutely matters.

All I kept feeling in that moment was the need to go the Himalayas. Nepal. Nepal. Nepal. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Go. Go. Go.

So, I took an executive decision – as fortune favours the brave 🙂 and am going to Nepal for 9 days 🙂 I’ve been longing to return to the Himalayas since I first met them in February 2014 (that’s when the pic is from). Everything just came together at the right time and place and I’ll be going there with my older brother Ashoka Mohannan

We shall first be heading for Lumbini, the birthplace of The Buddha and visiting Mayadevi Temple (dedicated to his mother, Queen Maya Devi), under the influence of the Taurus Full Moon (a sign, un-coincidentally linked with both Beings). And we hope to revisit certain sacred sites that opened themselves to me in powerful ways during my first trip. Perhaps new places, if they also call to me.

A part of me also wants to see the land after the earthquake, as a part of my soul truly calls it home. I’m quite happy that I was able to contribute something.

And .. quite un-coincidentally, Taurus’ energies focus upon the neck, throat, and expression of Will. Breathing is still tough, but the purer air will do me good. I shall be resuming readings from November 4th onwards.

Here’s to a Grand Pilgrimage 😉

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Not the Message you Wanted, but the Message you Deserved: Astrology, Free Will, and the question of WHHYYYY???

Skeleton revealed

The moment we admit that planetary placements have an influence on our lives, the question of Free Will enters murkier philosophical waters. I see free will as a expression of the right to choose, or the choice to make a decision in the first place. We choose how we engage with a certain planet’s energy and whether we even engage with it at all. The farther you get spiritually, the more choices you appear to have – but at that point, you’re looking at Beings like The Buddha, Christ, Kwan Yin, and so on.

Personally, I hope that we all move towards that point of absolute freedom – and collectively enter an age in which astrology will be wholly obsolete.

If anything, my work with astrology is designed to help people understand the challenges and strengths of the Natal and Progressed Charts. And then to transcend them entirely… But back to the discussion at hand.

In some cases, people can actually be hindered by astrology as they decide that their lives are determined by the planets. They forget the freedom of choice and stop looking at astrology as a powerful guide-post. It’s when ‘the planets made me do it’ becomes a legitimate and acceptable response to tell yourself why you are the way you are, why people in your lives behave the way they do.

When people come to me for the Soul Portrait Masterclass, or when they ask me the ‘why is this happening’ question – my approach is to take them inwards. And that’s where the rich / deep / dark work comes into play.

I believe that the soul chooses its parents and its time of emergence into the world, and therefore the chart/karma we work through in this lifetime. From that perspective .. our choices appear to carry far more weight than we traditionally ascribe them to have.

So when I’m working with a client, I do not accept the ‘planets made them do it claim’ and look at different features of the chart that show them how and why they’ve made certain choices that play out in certain ways through the planets as conduits, or expressions of energy.

That is, quite often, something that people do not want to hear or acknowledge. Because the language of choice is so often conflated with the language of ‘blame’. It takes a certain level of awareness to separate the two and I do my best to assess whether a prospective client has that level of awareness before agreeing to do a session.

It gets tougher when people have internalized the words of spiritual healing and awareness, but their energy does not reflect the rhetoric. No one wants to be told that .. they’re not quite where they think they are yet. (When I get readings for myself, I find the kinds of readers who would assess me in a similar way, point-blank – so it’s not something I exempt myself from)

A good astrologer will tell you what is in your chart, a great astrologer will help you understand it. Understanding the planets and how they manifest in your chart is something that takes a rare degree of courage, or ‘wanting to look in the mirror’ with honesty and integrity. It is a discipline that goes into the depths of the psyche and looks at the soul expressed through the natal chart.

And that, irrespective of how so many us in spiritual circles speak about ’empowerment’ or ‘enlightenment’ or ‘en-anything’ – is actually something a lot of people do not want to do. The talk is there, but the walk is lacking.

Because it’s scary. And it’s human to not want to look at the skeletons in your closet, or to acknowledge your deepest wounds.

That’s when it gets pretty deep, rich, dark and .. yes .. internal as astrology holds up the mirrors to all parts of the self. The stuff you love, you hate, you project, you hide, you valorize, you dismiss – everything.

In other words, a process that the conscious ego-mind is utterly terrified of. Honest, self-exploration and recognition.

You will of course find people who take astrology in a different vein, and by all means go to the readers you feel most comfortable with.

As for reading with me, well … I’m happy crafting the mirror, but are you willing to look at the reflection it casts?

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

The Sky Priestess

PS – And yes, the title is a Batman reference 😀

Image: Selected Portion of ‘Beautys lot LCCN95513714.jpg’, By British Cartoon Prints Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.

YOD, AHOY! , PLUTO’S MADNESS & PALLAS ATHENA MEETS THE GALACTIC CENTER – The Astrology of 22-10-2015

plutos madness

Hello everyone. There’s a lot of energy in the skies right now, and a lot of alignments just about to go exact – of interest is a powerful Yod involving Uranus Retrograde ( 18 Aries ) , The Moon (15-20 Aquarius) , and Mars ( 16 Virgo ), a major activation of Pluto ( 13 Capricorn ) and Pallas Athena’s conjunction to The Galactic Center ( 27 Sagittarius ).

Yods are highly concentrated funnels of energy that take us up to a set of karmic crossroads, at which point we get to choose the direction of karmic growth we want to take. The energy of the Yod focuses this on a specific area of life, often catalyzed by what feels like ‘everything coming/breaking down together at once’. They can be considered both positive or negative aspects, depending entirely on how you choose to work the challenges that are presented and the sequence of events that leads to the yod’s apex or point of culmination.

This Yod is made up by a transit of the Moon (15-20 Aquarius) as it sextiles Uranus, the Great Revealer. Look for sudden, unexpected insights that appear out of the blue, or through electronic communications, social networks, friends, and non-traditional astrology. These are insights that ask you to work both with the intellect of the mind and the intuition of the sub-conscious. Uranus’ role emphasizes the same Aquarian theme of non-conformity, eccentricity, humanitarianism and working with the collective – but locating this more so in our expression of those Ideals within the Self.

Both bodies create inconjunct aspects to Mars (16 Virgo) and Jupiter (14 Virgo). These bodies have been teaching us so much about ways we can better heal the wounded Sacred Masculine archetype – and how this reflects our Journey on The Path Ahead. The Yod’s energy funnels through to this point, making it the tip or summit of this alignment. Here is where you choose an earthly, pragmatic, Path of Service that reflects the lessons that both The Moon and Uranus bring to you.

The question is now – How do you heal the Masculine within? How do you make that choice a part of your everyday reality? Is there a ritual, a habit, a routine – something that can help you ground this energy into your present/presence?

Jupiter may present the answers through a teaching or a mentor who can guide you, Mars provides the vitality you need to take action!

Quite a lovely Yod, seen in those terms. But equally, it can be quite catastrophic… That comes, more so when you consider Mars/Jupiter/Venus’ trine to Pluto (13 Capricorn), who is already being stressed by Juno/Mercury (12-13 Libra).

I call this the madness of Pluto. Pluto precipitates a crisis that questions our sense of inner authority and power. Our sense of who we are and the legacy we leave behind in the world is likely to be under greater pressure and scrutiny today. And being questioned about what makes you feel strong isn’t a pleasant thing any day.

Pluto’s stressors are its trines to Venus, Jupiter and Mars in Virgo, and its square to Mercury and Juno in Libra. Venus, Jupiter and Mars have their own ideas about what to do in the here-and-now, what is the best way to deal with a hands-on, practical situation in need of focus, analysis and attention to detail. It may have to do with a daily routine, work habits, relationships with your bosses/colleagues, matters of health – or – more broadly speaking, something that nurtures and sustains you.

Pluto throws these daily habits/practices/need to nurture into crisis by asking you to consider the long-term consequences of the route you’re taking. Some of you might manifest this in a positive way, where you find ways to access a deeper sense of power, mastery and control. Others might manifest this into a tearful explosion of emotions.

The Mercury-Juno conjunction in Libra brings us messages from those who move us the most: our soul-mates. Whilst these can be parents, siblings, friends, lovers, partners, children, etc. – in Libra, they focus more so on partnership and relationship dynamics. This applies to both your profession and also your personal life.

Whilst square aspects are in themselves, highly creative – they’re the kind of creativity that is born out of intense pressure, a push, a breakthrough, a birthing. It can be felt as an intensely stressful aspect, especially when someone close to you (a partner) delivers a message that threatens your perception of the balance of power in the relationship. It’s hard to point the finger at anyone in this placement as Scorpio energy (ruled by Pluto) is the master of emotional projection (possibly second only to Pisces). You may also find conversations surrounding your career trajectory particularly difficult at this time, unless you’re willing and able to look at all sides of the picture with equanimity.

Mercury and Juno also tell us that it’s time to awaken to new ideas about balance and partnerships. Pluto, as crisis-oriented as it can be, does have his own valuable lessons to teach. He encourages us to strip ourselves back down to – the bare bones – where we discover and embody our authenticity in the Underworld – the shadow aspect of the sub-conscious.

As we are pushed downwards and inwards, we come to a discovery of a real point of balance – a fulcrum if you will. Here we begin to separate our ideals from the (perceived) reality of our relationships, and the balance of power therein.

Those of you with placements between 10-16 Taurus will experience this as a powerful Grand Earth Trine, whereas those with placements near 10-16 Aries or Cancer will experience this as a Cardinal T-Square or Grand Cardinal Cross (yikes!).

A word to the wise – step aside from the ego struggles and the emotional drama. Take a rain check from having significant discussions for the next few days unless you are sure all parties are on board, and able to handle the intensity of such energies. It’s certainly going to shake-up a lot of relationships, across the board. If you must engage, speak from a place of objective detachment (Libra – as best as we can manage it), rather than one of absolute authority (Capricorn), irrespective of who (you feel) is right or wrong.

In addition to all of this, we also have a bunch of other aspects about to go exact in the skies (North Node trine Ceres, Vesta’s imminent entry into Pisces, Vesta opposing the North Node, Chiron opposed Mars and so on).

There’s just so much happening now, in other words. Of note is the conjunction of Pallas Athena with the Galactic Center (27 Sagittarius). This is a phenomenal alignment that can bring us to a greater understanding of the Path Ahead. Bear in mind though, given the intensity of everything in the skies, the messages we receive now will be a lot more powerful than usual.

Bear in mind that my suggestions for handling this energy is based on what most people will be experiencing of it, in some form. Others will absolutely soar through it 🙂

Much Love,

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

The Sky Priestess

Image ‘Pluto’s Madness, 2015’ and Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved.

PALLAS ATHENA SPECIALS: CHARTING THE PATH AHEAD (October 12 – November 4, 2015)

Pallas_Athena_by_Franz_von_Stuck

Pallas Athena – conjunct – the Galactic Center is one of my favourite placements in astrology. It enhances the facilitative and transformative potential of astrology in personal growth and awakening. Astrology itself can address just about any question from a person’s life, with some exceptions that are best addressed by other disciplines (Shamanism, Reiki, etc.), or understood as part of the Unknowable Mystery of the Soul. However, most of the concerns we have as awakening humans seeking to balance a spiritual path with material embodiment can be answered powerfully through the discipline of astrology and the modalities of healing and self-awakening that it opens up.

Pallas Athena is the Goddess Asteroid of War, Wisdom, Strategy, Diplomacy and Healing. She now approaches the Galactic Center at 27 Sagittarius, a point which (in astrology) resonates with the Wisdom of Ascended Beings, Gurus, i.e. those who show us the Path Ahead. Together, we not only glimpse the road ahead, but also the means by which we get there.

The exact conjunction of Pallas Athena -and- the Galactic Center will take place at 9:19 am, October 22nd 2015 (UTC time)

That’s October 21st for those of you in the Americas and the 22nd for Europe, Asia & Australia.

In honor of Pallas Athena’s proximity to the Galactic Center (27 Sagittarius), I am offering discounted readings between October 12 – November 4, 2015. Even if you choose to do a session before/after the exact conjunction, the energy is still strongly present in the skies for the duration of the Specials.

When: October 12th  – November 4th, 2015
Time: 15-30 minutes
Cost: 50 US Dollars
Focus: Charting the Path Ahead

The sessions take place over skype, and payments are via paypal. You will also get a recording of your session and, upon request, a copy of your chart as well. Please note that all readings booked and received are subject to terms and conditions as explained in the invoice.

Much Love, Goddess Bless,

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

FB Page: The Sky Priestess

Twitter: @theskypriestess

** Please note that none of the information presented within sessions is meant to replace advice from a medical, healthcare, legal and/or other professional. How you choose to act upon the advice given is entirely based on your own free will. Receipt and/or Payment of the sessions implies full acceptance of the Terms & Conditions as set out in the Invoice you receive when you book. All sessions are confidential, non-refundable, non-transferable and non-liable without exception. You will receive a electronic link to an mp3 recording of your session.

Wounded Healer, Wounded Teacher: Questions for Self-Reflection

L0004642 Japanese model figures: doctor and patient Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Doctor and Patient. A doctor feeling the pulse of a woman patient; both seated on their heels, side by side. Carved ivory netsuke, Japanese. Published:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

All of us bear wounds of some kind – be it a sense of pervasive unworthiness, a lack of self-esteem, disconnection, abuse, trauma, etc. Some choose to suppress these wounds and the experiences that shape then – and carry on life as usual, others choose to acknowledge it, and seek healing. Some throw themselves into a committed path of healing, seeking to master the wound with knowledge of techniques that they then teach others. The majority of spiritual workers, teachers and trainers fall into that category.

All of these paths are equally valid, neither is more elevated than the other – except that the path of not-doing-anything-about-it, has a different set of karmic consequences.

And whilst the wounded healer archetype is one that we have come to accept as part our spiritual discourse, and our understanding of those who come to service … we need to spend a little more time thinking about just what that entails.

Everyone brings their perspective onto what they teach – that includes their joys, their strengths, their weaknesses – and yes, their wounds. And as we mature into our roles as facilitators (those of you who are on this path) – one of the big lessons is to acknowledge how we work with our own wounds first.

It’s a fairly important thing to do for a wide range of reasons – to be true to ty self – to ensure the lack of energetic spillover – to be able to provide your clients with the best possible service. Shamanic practitioners, or those who delve into another person’s energy field directly, have a greater reason to take this to heart.

Here’s a metaphor that might help, albeit a little bloody:

Imagine you’ve got a cut in your arm, and that the wound is still bleeding. For some, it’s a trickle, for others, it’s an arterial spray.

You see someone with a similar wound, something you think you can help fix. You’ve learnt how, and go in with your needle and thread. But you’re still bleeding.

It ain’t a pretty picture, but, at an energetic level, that is what tends to happen. Scary, I know…

It would be best to let yourself heal first, allow the stitches to hold together your own wounds, then have them removed. Once those initial stages of healing are done, then, my friends, you’d be in a much better place to work with others.

And no, that’s not selfish. That’s not turning a blind eye to another person’s suffering.

By working on you first, you’re actually practicing self-compassion. You’re allowing yourself to emerge as a kind of healer/teacher/practitioner that is safe for your clients to work with.

Questions to ask yourselves:

Do your wounds come out in the facilitations that you do? Energetically, verbally, etc.?

How do they shape the kind of facilitator that you’ve become?

Do you hide your wounds as part of our public persona? That’s not the same as baring your soul to everyone, but do you pretend they never existed?

Do you acknowledge your wounds as part of your story – at an intellectual, but not at an emotional level?

Do you believe that having a title, a piece of paper-based certification or a following is enough proof that ‘you’re done’ with those wounds?

Do you mask those wounds, vulnerabilities and experiences because you’d like to seem more ‘integrated’, able to be a better facilitator? How so?

Do you seek to heal your clients as a proxy to healing yourself? (It just doesn’t work that way, my friends … )

At the end of the day, irrespective of the roles, titles, degrees and training that we may have, we’re all facilitating one another, just by virtue of being. The onus is on us to be critically self-reflective when we do so with greater public presence and when we seek to be seen in a certain way by others.

Whilst these are unpopular questions, they are necessary ones. It helps to be able to see your reflection in the mirror of another whom you trust, one who can give you honest feedback.

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Image: Japanese model figures; doctor and patient Wellcome L0004642.jpg – See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Post © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2015. All rights reserved