Religious and Spiritual Tolerance

Religious and Spiritual Tolerance


Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs – even ones that oppose your own. Some adopt a ‘live and let live’ attitude, others argue with integrity, and others will try to un-seat you by using hate-speech and other inflammatory tactics.

My approach to this is simple. Today, someone demanded that my beliefs were wrong and they had to be challenged. I just said sure – Go right ahead. But I don’t feel the need to defend them. For when you have faith, no amount of doubt can make you believe otherwise.

What others may say about you or your faith is irrelevant. All that matters is what you feel about it.

I feel as though faith-based conflicts will be on the rise when Mars enters Scorpio (the house of Deep Esoteric Wisdom and one aspect of Soul-Penetrating Spiritual Insight) on the 26th of July (tomorrow).

Please keep this principle of balance in mind, as best you can. And know that even those who hate – and at their core, feel threathened by – what you stand for are here to teach you something.

Just smile, walk away, and wish them well – block them if you feel the need to (if they’re online) – and carry on having a wonderful day.

Best. Response. Ever.

Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD


Grand Water Trine 1

Blessings everyone,

There’s been so much going on in the Universe, hasn’t there? Rest assured, we exit this chaotic phase of intense shifting in the first week of August. New challenges and intensities lie ahead – but first we have to shift. Shift jobs, perspectives, homes, life paths, attitudes, shift whatever no longer empowers you and keeps you mired in the past. We have ample tools to facilitate that shifting in the sky right now, some of which I will discuss here.

Over the past few days, a Grand Water Trine involving Saturn, Chiron Retrograde, and (currently) Mercury has been building. A second phase of this energy will emerge as Mercury moves into Leo and Venus comes into position, making a new Grand Trine. I’ll talk about that later in Part 2.

This first Grand Water Trine is present in the sky between 21-29 July 2014 (GMT + 8), and peaks between 24-26 July. It will continue to exert influence for 3 days thereafter, inclusive of the New Moon.

Owing to the position of the planets now, Mercury also makes a powerful T-Square with Uranus and Pluto as it transits through Cancer. Venus will do the same in a few days. I’ll discuss this aspect very briefly at the end of this article, but first, the GWT itself.

Grand Water Trines are aspects which involve three or more bodies linked by trine aspects to one another, all in the same element. This is a Grand _Water_ Trine as it involves Water signs, namely – Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Water energies, broadly speaking, are associated with emotions, the intuition, the depths of the psyche and the heights of transcendental spiritual experience. They exist through matter and beyond it.

This Grand Water Trine (the first part) involves Saturn, Chiron Retrograde and Mercury. Let’s have a brief look at what part each body plays:

Saturn in Scorpio – Recently stationed direct, teaches us about the boundaries/limitations/discipline we need to maintain in areas of our lives pertaining to intimacy, sexuality, esoteric understanding, depth psychology, attitudes towards power and control in sign associated with Transformation-induced-by-Crisis.

Chiron Retrograde in Pisces – Chiron retrograde teaches us how to learn from ourselves and heal our pain. The Teacher looks inward to understand the origin and nature of the Wound which we feel so powerfully. In Pisces, this wounding can be through inappropriate boundaries set in relationships, spiritual guru-student hiearchies, or any other context in which you try to merge and ‘lose yourself’ in something or someone. Pisces (and Neptune) are also associated with forms of addiction-facilitated escapism.

Mercury in Cancer – Returning to Cancer after what seemed like an unusually long retrograde period (it just felt that way), Mercury is asking and encouraging us to apply our mental, analytical, interpretive and communicative faculties to understanding the ‘foundations of our psyche’. Perhaps greater insight is needed as to our sub-conscious conditioning, our familial constructs, our collective identities through which we define ourselves. We may also look to tradition and other cultural constructs to find a sense of rootedness or belonging at this time.

So all these energies harmonize with one another, and amplify each other, creating a powerful current of energy we call a Grand Trine. Trines are neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they simply mean that energies enhance one another. The way you experience this Trine is hugely dependent upon the way you choose to engage with the energies of each astral body involved.

This intense energetic pathway is raised a notch as Mercury opposes Pluto, turning the Grand Trine into a Kite. What this means is that the energy of the Trine is likely to be focused through the Mercury-Pluto opposition. I have written about that here, for those interested:

This opposition also creates a T-Square between Uranus (recently turned) Retrograde, Pluto Retrograde and Mercury. The apex or point of greatest focus will be Uranus Retrograde, which Mercury will square (exact) at 7:57 am, July 25th 2014, GMT + 8:00.

Uranus Retrograde asks you to transform your internal awareness (shift) and embody that change authentically. Pluto Retrograde facilitates a seeming crisis, or eruption within the psyche, particularly to do attitudes towards the status quo, the societal super-structure, the super-ego construct and measures of worldly success and achievement. Mercury in Cancer will question and ponder as to how all of these different impulses to change, transformation and emergence will link to the self’s relation with the collective, the family, the tribe?

For most of the 25th, the Moon will be bridging Mercury and Venus, sitting in between them, and blending their energies – all of which feed into the Grand Trine and the Uranus Pluto Square.

This is a major day as the Sun conjuncts Jupiter at 4:23 am.

Blessings to all,
Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD



Had a lovely experience coming back to my house with my mum. We’d just been buying some food from some vendors who’d set up shop to mark the Ramadan festivities. Lots of traditional Malay cuisine (steamed rice cooked in the hollow of bamboo stalks, different curries loaded with coconut milk, colourful sweets, satay, sea coconut water and other kinds of local drinks). It was nice little walk for me and mum.

On the way back, I was carrying back stuff to take home and there was this Tamil family waiting by the lifts. A card-activated security glass door in between. So the family’s waiting and this little boy notices me walking up, changes direction, rushes to the door, opens it so I can get through. I smile, he smiles back and I say thank you – to which he says you’re welcome.

It’s not a common gesture here – at least not for the kids to do – and my mum had to shout behind me to keep the door open for her as I was quite surprised. Then a little girl followed behind her, I held the door open with my foot – She looked a little uncertain at first, then smiled sweetly and said thank you.

I seems like such a simple thing, but I just felt two chakras open when I saw those innocent, happy, smiles. The Heart and the Sacral, and a very motherly-nurturing feeling just poured through me. A peaceful vibration of calm.

It’s such a simple thing, and so yet so extraordinary. My mind was in a completely different place – just focused on getting back home. And then I just experienced this total shift of perspective and gentle calming – out of the blue. I felt hope, pure hope and all at once my (perception of the) world at large changed. Quite a beautiful feeling of peace and calm.

Amazing what power a child’s smile holds

~ Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

Image: “Soul of innocence…” by Hemanthsingh.h – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –….jpg#mediaviewer/File:Soul_of_innocence….jpg

VENUS TRINE NEPTUNE RETROGRADE, 7:04 pm (24.7.14, GMT +8): Realism in Love and Spirituality


Venus trines Neptune Retrograde

Venus in Cancer dreams and desires the tender ministrations of romantic intimacy, it enjoys spending its energy of nurture and sensual connection, its desire for aesthetic refinement and element within the home/familial context. This is where the Goddess Venus adorns theWomb of the Earth with precious gems and sweet-smelling flower garlands. This is where we seek to adorn the Mother with our love.

Neptune Retrograde in Pisces on the other hand, does not enhance Venus’ desire with the glossy haze of fantasy, illusion or ephemeral pretensions. Neptune Retrograde ‘keeps it real’, and slices through all that lacks grounding in reality, all that lacks resonance with the vibration of Truth and All-Encompassing-Love. Through the Dissolution of the Un-Real, Neptune powerfully opens portals to other realms, be it within our imagination or spiritual journeys.

When both bodies are trined, their energetic flow is amplified and emphasized. Both energies harmonize and re-inforce one another. The specific effects of a trine can be felt in a ‘pleasant’ or an ‘unpleasant’ way depending upon how you have conditioned yourself to respond to Venusian and Neptunian energies. If you have unrealistic expectations about love, for instance, you might feel this trine to be a painful one as the cutting edge of Neptune Retrograde bursts your bubble. If you have ungrounded understandings of the spiritual and metaphysical, the materialistic energy of Venus pulls you down (and this is a good thing) back to ground-Earth level. Neither extreme – of being overly spiritual or overly materialistic is ideal.

To summarize, this energy brings about:

Realism in Love and Spirituality

If you allow it to.

Blessings to all,
Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD


Around the time of the trine, I published my piece on a sweet, innocent encounter which triggered a process of deep healing. It felt like an otherworldly, rejuvenating pulse of love to the heart and the (motherly aspect of the) sacral/womb. In retrospect it makes perfect sense:


“Venus globe” by NASA – Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

“Neptune” by NASA/JPL – Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –



Raise Awareness, Radiate Peace


I felt this phrase flow out of me in response to something a fellow spiritualist wrote. It seems to be an apt response to all the fear that surrounds so many at this time. No need to turn a blind eye to the reality around you, but no need to allow that to define who you are, and what you choose to bring into being. Hate begets hate and fear begets fear. Let’s try something different

Quote & Image: Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
Description: My first view of the Himalayas

REVISITING CHILDHOOD: Learning the Lessons of the Past and Letting Them Go


We all carry scars from our past, and perceptions of childhood that were either painted in the sugary-pink hue of nostalgia or tarred with a big murky streak. There will be of course, those who see their childhoods for exactly what they were – but for the most part, some degree of perceptual distortion is usually present.

For better or worse, so many – if not all – of the ideas we hold to be true about ourselves can be directly linked to lessons imparted in childhood. It was during this phase of life that we first learnt what spaces we were allowed to occupy, how much love we were entitled to and how much freedom and happiness we truly deserved – whether what we learnt as children is true/valid for our authentic self-expression and spiritual journey is a question that many are asking themselves now as adults. And very often those lessons were told in terms of parental actions and attitudes, rather than being explicitly spelt out and written down in public view (Melody Beattie).

In Codependency No More, Melody Beattie talked about these unwritten rules – which we so often internalize and take to be our model or basis of reality. And what we perceive is what we manifest and assume to be true – even if it doesn’t reflect who you truly are/can be. For example – a family that consistently neglects the needs of a child in the favour of a parent struggling with addiction or illness – can, for example – ‘teach’ a child that it’s role in life is to take care of the family, and not of her/himself. That tends to be a common biographical feature shared (as both Beattie and Norwood -see below- have explained) by those with codependent traits.

I recall reading about Robin Norwood’s experiences as a counselor in Women Who Love Too Much [a brilliant book that every person socially conditioned to be a caretaker needs to read!] In her experience, people whose needs were badly neglected in childhood, who had no ‘self-love’ concept, or who were forced to grow up too fast and become a mini-adult too soon tended to idealize their childhood and pedestialize/romanticize their parents and their wounds — in ways that sharply contrasted with any objective account of the way things were.

Focusing so much on ‘how good it was’ and how one’s parents struggled and suffered made for a great narrative, but one that often clouded her clients from seeing things for what they were – and how those themes repeated in their adult lives, particularly in their intimate relationships.

This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t acknowledge strengths where they were facilitated – but there is a difference between seeing ‘the good in all’ and distorting the facts. Very often this denial mechanism is the best ‘defense mechanism’ that the ego uses to avoid extreme pain as feelings of neglect, abandonment and other sources of wounding in childhood can trigger extreme responses – especially when brought to one’s awareness.

And most people, unless focused on developing self-awareness, taking charge of their lives, self-healing, etc. tend to run away from that kind of truth-reckoning as though their lives depended upon it.

To acknowledge what was – exactly for what it was – no more, no less can be an extraordinarily painful process – and one that is a precursor to ‘getting to know who you really are’. Psychologists consider this a part of ‘family-of-origin’ work, and you don’t have to be diagnosed with anything to go do it – I think it’s a useful exercise for all and a great vehicle for self-knowing.

Whilst I do not claim to be an expert on human psychology, I found these books as life-savers and path-changers. They helped me see my upbringing for what it was – the gifts and the challenges – and taught me so much about developing myself in more ways that I can express.

I suppose I’m thinking about all this with the upcoming shift of the Sun-in-Leo tomorrow (lots of focus on the Inner Child) and the reflective bursts of consciousness facilitated by Uranus just gone retrograde. Writing or journaling about your perceptions of your childhood and contemplating on how that has affected/molded/shaped your emergence into adulthood can be a truly self-revelatory exercise. This isn’t the same as ‘living in the past’, but it’s looking to the past to understand the present.

A word of caution: It is one thing to acknowledge things for what they were (constructive or not), and it is another to blame someone else for the way things turned out – or to use that as a reason to stay angry, hurt, etc.

I’m not encouraging the blame-game in any sense – If you do hold resentment towards your parents/caretakers – releasing that energy and attachments to that past can be of great use to you in moving forward. In other words – to forgive – and very often that’s the hardest thing to do, but also the most rewarding

Blessings to all,
Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

Image: Story Time by Dave Parker – on Wikimedia Commons distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. Originally on Flickr (1).


Mercury Pluto Rx opposition

At 2:42 pm (GMT + 8:00), 22/7/14 – Mercury in Cancer opposed Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn. This is a very intense alignment, and one that will most certainly involve some element of crisis (real or perceived).

Mercury is all about the way you perceive, think and communicate. Cancer relates to your relationship with your family/home/mother/collective identity. When stressed, Mercury use the sharpened blade of its tongue – communications may be affected. It can also feel unduly stressed/reticent to think, act, perceive or even feel if shying away from the pressure of the Pluto Opposition.

Pluto represents the force of crisis in our lives and can lead us to deep awakenings through an engagement, and eruption of our shadow selves. Browbearing, overbearing, controlling and violent behavior can ensure when Pluto’s energies are harnessed without care. Capricorn, where Pluto is in right now, relates to status, achievement, being in the public eye, social recognition, and the institutions of the ‘status quo’ which have been under so much pressure to reform since the start of the Uranus-Pluto square.

When in a Mercury-Pluto opposition, one may feel the need to kowtow or submit to another who is ‘playing unfairly’ or simply pushing through their agenda with brute force. There is little subtlety when Pluto’s energies are unleashed.

On the other hand, there is a strong possibility (according to Gargatholil) that whomever you are playing out these Capricorn energies will play the opposing role to yours. If you are the ‘powerless victim’ (Mercury under siege), the person representing Pluto will likely appear ruthless and overpowering. Know that these are just perceptions, and that – once the intensity of this aspect ceases to have such an influence – those perceptions may also shift back into non-existence.

As Pluto is in retrograde, the ‘crisis’ element that this planet brings is often felt at an internal level, erupting out of nowhere from within your own consciousness!

The Mercury-Pluto opposition may also highlight an aspect of your mind that remains in (unacknowledged) shadow. It may bring out a part of you which you’d sincerely hoped to leave in a closet someplace. You may also make mental breakthroughs (or for some, breakdowns, as well) today if you are able to handle the energies of this intense opposition. You may develop a different way of perceiving your ‘shadow side’ and assessing its true origins and impact in your life.

I hope this information helps. Blessings to all,
Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

A Different Perspective on House Cusps – For the More Advanced Student of Astrology


I was studying the interrelationships between house cusps and decided to make a little list. I figure as I study and internalize my understanding of these connections, I can become a better astrologer.

Cusps are fairly important things – they are the start of the boundaries of each house an astrology chart. You can think of them as ‘energetic gatekeepers’ that allow some energies to filter in certain ways, and channel the rest in different directions. When we say that a sign ‘rules’ the cusp, we simply mean the astrological sign that the cusp is situated in at its start.

The four house cusps that we consider the most often are the Ascendant (1st house), Nadir (4th house), Descendant (7th house) and Midheaven (10th house). We associate these houses with the signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn and with the energies of self, family, partner and society. Personally, I would also call it the Conscious-Ego/Sub-Conscious/Shadow/Super-Ego as represented in the birth chart.

Interestingly, the Sun is close to the Ascendant at dawn, the Midheaven at Noon, the Descendant at Dusk, and the Nadir at Midnight.

Now, everyone is born with different cusp rulers, varying by sign, degree and minute – and that is dependent on longitude, latitude and timezone as well. There’s plenty of great resources out there that tells you what each sign means if it falls on one of the four cusps listed above (google helps).

Also, not all charts have neatly divided house cusps as shown in the image – sometimes they cusps are very irregular indeed! And a totally different shape is generated by way of the aspects they form with one another.

It is important to note planets that conjunct cusps, if any, and include the cusp in your astrological calculations. If we allow ourselves to consider the Vertex and other ‘hypothetical’ points in astrological reading, there is no barrier to considering the cusp as an object in itself. Significant cusps may form key configurations that would be otherwise missing without their inclusion.

It is vital to get the correct time and location of your birth. Astrolog is a wonderful free software (the one that I use) that helps you tweak settings manually to make ultra-precise charts. Be advised of time zone differences.

For those curious as to what their cusps are and what that means for them, I would encourage you to do some online research. It’s a great resource which will may also whet your appetite for astrological self-study.


Given a geometrically regular chart like this, with equal cusp sizes, I did a little calculating and charting and came up with a list of ‘cusp relations’ as I’d term them. They give you a sense of the flow of energy that astrological charts intrinsically hold. This is more for those interested in the technical-mathematical side of things.

Be aware that when more systems integrate the 13th constellation Ophiuchus (the serpent bearer) into our understanding of astrology – all these relations collapse. But astrology is a living art – as our understanding of it evolves, so so we (and vice versa). So for now, this is true – but it won’t be as true in a few decades.

A geometrically regular chart like this has 12 Sextiles / Trines / Oppositions / Yods / Squares / Semisextiles. These make 2 Grand Sextiles, 4 Grand Trines, 3 Grand Crosses and 6 Mystic Rectangles.

12 Sextiles

1 & 3
2 & 4
3 & 5
4 & 6
5 & 7
6 & 8
7 & 9
8 & 10
9 & 11
10 & 12
11 & 1
12 & 2

2 Grand Sextiles

4 Grand Trines (12 Trines)

12 Yods, 12 Active oppositions

1*8*3, 2-8
2*9*4 3-9
3*10*5, 4-10
4*11*6, 5-11
5*12*7, 6-12
6*1*8, 7-1
7*2*9, 8-2
8*3*10, 9-3
9*4*11, 10-4
11*6*1, 12-6
12*7*2, 1-7

3 Grand Crosses, 12 squares

6 Mystic Rectangles

12 Semisextiles

Just a few details for those wanting to get a deeper feel of astrological cusps and their interconnectedness.

Blessings to everyone,
~ Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

Image: Astrolog screenshot

The Mis-Take and the Mystery: An Ode to the Uranus Retrograde


There are days I love to be wrong,
To know I mis-took all along,
My mind is forced to look again,
At things once different, now the same. 

A shift in rigidity comes about,
Neural wiring re-forms without a doubt,
When I is you, is me, is we,
To awakening, this is the key.

Dissolve, dissolve damned dogma!
Past scripts, narratives and messy histories,
Flush it down, set it free,
Whoops… was that my identity?


That part that smiles and stays true in the storm,
When you know what you knew then was never wrong,
Nor was it right, or true, or free, or strong,
Just a little something you put in a form.

That is you my friends, you all along,
Free to shift, morph and sing a different song,
An idea dropped and philosophy forgotten,
a burden dissolved and joy begotten.

That is you, all right, all wrong…
That is you, weak and strong,
Spirit, undefinable and immortal,
Soul, free of beliefs, thoughts, perceptions – all in total.

Round the bend of certainty, past the corner of doubt
Behind that stone, the one called Mis-Take,
Sitting silently in a little rut,
Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Come out, come out, come out!

Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

– – – – – –

Image: Meyerheim Versteckspiel by Friedrich Eduard Meyerheim, available in the public domain, found on Wikipedia



I have found, through my own journey, that I have always been my best teacher. That doesn’t mean not taking advice, or not seeing other perspectives outside of your own …

To me, being your own teacher is about taking responsibility for your spiritual journey and your emerging (awareness of) power. You make your own choices, you do the work you have to, you direct your learning to heal the parts of yourself you need to and respectfully seek out those who can facilitate different parts of your journey which you may feel you need help with. 

It’s about ‘owning’ your spiritual experience and not delegating growth or the pursuit of knowledge to others – even if you pedestalize them as teachers, mentors, gurus, etc. Well, that is one part of it.

Another part of it is having the humility to ask help when you need it and to accept that your truth, no matter how strongly you feel about it, is no better than anyone else’s.

So.. yeah… Be Your Own Teacher. You always have been and always will be. You just have to remember 

Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD