Issue #  16:   Healing Ourselves, Healing the Earth


IN THIS ISSUE

What's New At CEH
Upcoming Issues
A Teaching from the Spirits
Book Reviews
   The Soul of Money
   Blessed Unrest
Workshop Reviews
Upcoming Workshops
Articles
   Earth Medicine Ceremony
   Landmark Transformations
  
The Divination
Activists' Corner
   Wildlife Extra: E-Newsletter
Bekki's Art
Ursus Major: A bear's -eye view of    astrology
Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream
Submission Guidelines
What's New At CEH

Greetings,

Several things to note in this issue:

First off, the topic for this newsletter has been changed. It seems timely to talk about earth changes and earth healing, and also about healing ourselves through healing the earth, and healing the earth through healing ourselves. So we will leave our original topic for another future issue.

Lots to inspire and stimulate in this issue: journeys and rituals for healing the earth, book reviews, seminars for self-healing, a new divination technique Crow recieved in his past-life journey work, and a new column on astrology by Bekki.

We get lots of good feedback about our workshops, and it would be nice if some of you who have been inspired by our work would review a workshop you found particularly helpful. (It's even nicer if the review is of an upcoming workshop, and could possibly prod an interested but reluctant potential participant to step up to the plate!)

Last but not least, Bekki is now a trained facilitator of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium. You will find more information about the Symposium below. If you are interested in presenting this work to your community, please get in touch. She is eager to spread the good word.

Many Blessings,

Bekki and Crow

                                                    Upcoming Issues of the Newsletter
Issue 17: Ethical Issues in Shamanism and Shamanic Practice
 Issue 18: TBA
Issue 19
: TBA

As always we are looking for new topics for upcoming issues of the newsletter. Please send them to Bekki: bekki@church-of-earth-healing.org

A Teaching from the Spirits: Healing the Earth
Submitted by Annette

I had intended to journey to a circle member’s house to see if anything could be done to get ready for that night’s circle. There had been some events that could possibly cause tension that night. I ended up with an ancestor of mine, a Druid that lived on the island of Anglesey in Wales. I told him what my intent was, he grinned, and reminded me of the room I sometimes start my journeys in. It’s filled with tree roots. I’ll be led to touch one of them, then I’ll travel down the root to get to where I’m going. He led me to a huge organ. I looked up to the sky and saw nothing but tree roots that fed into the organ. He said each place had its own unique song, and that could be played on the organ. Each plant has a unique note. Trees were the base notes, grass notes were so faint a lot of grass was needed to hear it. Which is why we have lawns. Flowers have notes, anything that lives in a place has a note; including wildlife and people. The notes combine to make a chord. As seasons pass the chord changes and becomes a song as plants and animals hibernate for the winter and wake up during spring. All of Earth’s notes combine to create a note which is combined with notes from other planets which create a chord and a song for our universe. Each universe has its note which combines to make “The Music of the Spheres”. Some people hear the song of a place and can play the organ to send healing and suggest plants that should be planted to add missing notes. Some people see the colors of place to accomplish the same end.

 My ancestor also said that Water is important, it’s an amplifier because it can “carry a tune for many miles”, and that weather changes the song of place by adding or removing water. He played the organ and it started to rain light onto the house hosting that night’s circle. Each raindrop was a different color and I could tell he was helping to ready the home for circle.



The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist; Norton Books, 2003; 303 pp.; $18.95

By Chris Forester

When I first purchased the Soul of Money by Lynne Twist it was about 4 years ago when I was doing the Hoffmann Process (a week long intensive personal psychotherapy with a spiritual element) and I remember dipping into it but not persevering. Very recently, Bekki recommended it to me because of financial challenges I'm facing, and so I dug it off my bookshelves, read it properly this time, and really got a lot out of it.

The author, Lynne Twist, obviously comes from a background of affluence and it was this which had put me off the first time. For the book is about our relationship with money and describes how (somewhat of a cliché nowadays) the very rich often seem poor in spirit and trapped by their wealth, while those in poor countries lead "richer" lives. My first reading left me with the feeling of "it's easy for you to preach about this when you yourself are obviously rich- isn't this just a guilt trip on your part?" And often when I hear of spiritually impoverished rich folks, my response is "well, give me your money, then you can be happy!"

But a closer reading is certainly worthwhile. The author has in fact raised £150 MILLION dollars from individuals (not companies) and is committed to ending world hunger. Her commitment over many years has been matched by her wisdom and intelligence and her understanding of working with and empowering communities, rather than just turning up with aid, a short term solution which creates long term problems and leads to much of the aid being wasted in corruption. For example, she describes working with women in Bangladesh, widows or women with no means of support, who themselves have the idea of starting a tea house on the way between factories and residential areas, a welcome rest stop for the men working there. They build the place themselves and the only support they require is the initial provision of tea and crockery. She also describes a rather amazing workshop put on in a park in Bangladesh where thousands of people participate in visualising what they need to do to empower themselves and their country and reduce their aid reliance - and the result of this and other initiatives being a 50% reduction in this reliance. Throughout she is conscious, hard working, informed and committed to her many good works and reading about these experiences alone is worth the book price.

More than this, she addresses the issue of our materialistic and competitive society really well and is able to use simple ideas and phrases to really hit home. For example, she talks about how most people in the US don't make a living, they either make a killing (working for companies which directly or indirectly hurt or exploit people or the planet) or a dying (working away at something which saps their soul but they have to do it to get by and pay their bills.)

The crux of the book is the paradoxical concept that "there is enough".
Here is the book's greatest strength, confronting the tapes that run in our
heads about fears of scarcity, which generate our aggressively competitive society which so eats our souls. What she says here is worth reading and quite subtle, challenging our deepest assumptions and pointing to the possibility of a much healthier relationship with money whatever our income stream.

The book has really resonated with me at the right time. For some years I have built up and run a $4M turnover business which, like many others, is facing significant financial challenges due to the recession. For about the same length of time I can honestly say that, although there have been many enjoyable moments, I have been making a dying rather than a living. At the root of my drive for success has certainly been an irrational fear of scarcity, and my business has become my master in many ways. A few weeks ago I had a serious panic attack about my business- but even during that panic, I have to acknowledge that part of me would feel very relieved if the business failed....and I remember my original intention in setting the business up was to provide a living doing something meaningful but giving me time to do the things which really fed my soul. For me, reading this book again, I have to acknowledge that the author really gets it, and gets how we
unconsciously or consciously value ourselves (or devalue ourselves) based on material concerns. Lynne Twist shows us how a soulful relationship with money can be freeing and transformative, and I really recommend this book as a challenge and call to action for everyone.

Blessed Unrest: How the largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming by Paul Hawken; Penguin, 2007; 330 pp.; $24.95 in hardback, I'm sure it's in softcover now.
By Bekki Shining Bearheart

Blessed Unrest charts the progress of a new social movement, one without leaders, totally grassroots. It cuts across many of the societal lines we commonly use to describe social movements, and recognizes that in today's world, all of us-- people of color, feminists, conservatives, liberals, environmentalists, fundamentalists,  pagans, poor, rich, so on-- are in the same boat, and many of us realize this, regardless of our affiliations.
Obviously not everyone in these catagories sees the universality of the problems we face, or sees the same solutions to our problems. However, many more people are seeing that our problems are not just affecting one sector of society, or one aspect of life.

"A Native American taught me that the division between ecology and human rights was an artificial one, that the environmental and social justice movements addressed two sides of a single larger dilemma. The way we harm the earth affects all people, and how we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the earth."

The above quote is one of hundreds I marked throughout this book. It was not one of the most eloquent passages -- sometimes Hawken waxes downright poetic-- but it was profoundly meaningful for me. When beginning this review I was tempted just to line up some of the most meaningful quotes I could find, but I couldn't narrow them down to even 10. On every other page I found quotable gems that stopped me in my tracks. The book is not long, but I found myself savoring it, meditating on the wisdom I found.

"If you look at the science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren't pessimistic, you don't have the correct data. If you meet the people in this unnamed movement and aren't optimistic, you haven't got a heart. What I see are ordinary and some not-so-ordinary individuals willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in an attempt to restore some semblance of grace, justice and beauty to this world."

I know what he is talking about. I have contact daily with such people, and it is my aspiration to be such a person.

"This is the story without apologies of what is going right on this planet, narratives of imagination and conviction, not defeatist accounts about the limits... There is a rabbinical teaching that holds that if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, you first plant a tree and then see if the story is true. Islam has a similar teaching that tells adherents that if they have a palm cutting in their hand on Judgment Day, plant the cutting."

I would add the famous "It ain't over till it's over.". Doom-saying is just an excuse for doing nothing. So for any doom-sayers out there who might be sitting on their hands: you need to ask yourself, "Why am I commmitted to doing nothing to save this wondrous earth?".

But I don't need to do the soapbox thing. Hawken does it more gracefully and effectively than I can.

The movement has three basic roots: environmental activism, social justice initiatives, and indigenous cultures' resistence to globalization... Collectively it expresses the need of the majority of people on earth to sustain the environment, wage peace, democratize decision-making and policy; re-invent public governance piece by piece from the bottom up, and improve their lives...

Hawken covers an incredible amount of information in such a short span (190 pages of text and another 120 pages of appendix, plus footnotes and bibliography); and yet his writing is so seamless and his prose so elegant that I can't summarize it effectively.

If you care about where our world is headed, and especially if you despair at your own inadequacy to make a difference, this book is a must-read. You may find yourself reclaiming your power to create positive change. I consider it the most important book I have read in the last 20 years. (and I read a LOT of amazing, life-changing books...).

                                                                                  Upcoming Workshops and Trainings

All weekends listed as Open are not booked and we are available on those weekends to come to your location to teach.

July 10-11 Get a Life: Shamanic Perspectives on Past Life Work Beavercreek (Dayton Area) OH. Sponsored by the Ayurveda Natural Health Center; contact Anjali Brannon, (937)429-WELL or anjalibrannon@gmail.com to register. Bekki and Crow will be available for shamanic healing sessions, Structural Therapy body work, and astrology and tarot readings on Friday July 9. Contact us directly to set up sessions: crow@church-of-earth-healing.org

July 17-18 Fundamentals of Shamanism Athens OH, location TBA. Contact Bekki or Crow to register. We have some accomodations for out-of towners at Dragon Waters.

August 7-8 Shamanic Rattle and Tool Making, The Squirrel House, Huntsville AL
Bekki and Crow will be available for shamanic healing sessions, energy healing, and astrology and tarot readings on Friday August 6. Contact Bekki or Crow to register or book appointments.

August 14-15 Crow has an open weekend. Bekki is working on a potential Awakening the Dreamer Symposium for August 14 in Huntsville AL.

August 16-31 Two-Week Advanced Shamanic Healing Intensive at Dragon Waters. registration closed. Reminder to people local to the Athens area that our Intensive students will be doing free healing sessions during the second half of their training. we will need 12-15 volunteers for this work.

September 4-5 Open Weekend

September 11-12 Open weekend. We're working on scheduling workshops in our area so if you want this weekend let us know SOON!

September 18-19 Fundamentals of Shamanism Madison Heights (Detroit) MI. We will be available for shamanic healing work, etc., on Friday September 17. To register contact Helen Pattskyn (248)577-9027 or thylacine.yawn@gmail.com

September 22- October 5 We will be in England. Details pending;two Fundamentals workshops ar already filled.


October 9-16 Teach at the Beach 2010 with Bekki and Crow, Elspeth and Nybor of Haven and Kirk White. A week of classes with 5 excellent teachers, on the NC Outer Banks.

October 23-24 Mugwort and Friends, the Squirrel House, Huntsville AL Bekki and Crow will be available for shamanic healing sessions, energy healing, and astrology and tarot readings on Friday October 22. Contact Bekki or Crow to register or book appointments.

October 30-31 Circle of the Ancestors Athens OH Contact Bekki or Crow to register. Some accomodations available at Dragon Waters. 

November 6-7 Open Weekend

November 13-14 Open Weekend

November 20-21 Workshop in Athens Ohio area, topic to be announced (probably Bear Medicine and Magic)

November 27-28 Thanksgiving Weekend

December 3-4 Open Weekend

We are working on setting up a Fundamentals Workshop in Huntsville AL for sometime this summer or fall, and have had requests for an Ancestors workshop there, which could be scheduled for November. If you live in Huntsville or are willing to travel to Huntsville for workshops, please let us know so we can put you on the list of people who are interested.

Earth Medicine Ceremony
By Daniel Foor

    Over the past six years of leading community ceremonies in the Bay Area, most of what I currently offer falls into one of three generalized domains: the wilderness quest, ancestor work, and earth medicine ceremony. At the annual Mt Shasta quest participants are supported in bringing their lives into greater alignment with their destiny, life purpose, or original instructions. Through ancestor work we claim positive inheritances from our blood lines, transform inter-generational toxins, and assist the troubled dead in becoming helpful lineage ancestors. Earth medicine ceremonies feed the spirits of the land, nourish our sense of place and home, and restore healthy relationships with the elementals and other natural powers. By weaving these three threads, participants gradually clarify their destiny and connection with the stars, stand in an empowered way with their ancestors, and deeply root their lives in service to the Earth. I outline below one approach to crafting earth medicine ceremonies.

    Although I have not attempted to systematize my approach to earth medicine ceremonies, upon reflection I can identify three basic steps that typically inform our gatherings: initial visioning and gathering resources, consulting the local spirits by walking the land, and finally, carrying out the ceremonies themselves. In stage one, resources can include number and experience level of participants, our available time and energy, and our level of ongoing commitment to working with this area. After being guided through the initial visioning to a particular place, we walk the land and consult with the spirits of place about their specific needs and desires. This preliminary dialogue is critical for the ceremonies to be crafted in partnership with local beings and ultimately for the rituals to be effective and well-received. Finally, we return on the day of the gathering, often with various natural offerings requested during the planning phase, and carry out the ceremony that was co-created through conversation with the spirits of the land.

    An earth healing ceremony carried out in October of 2009 along the Guadalupe River in San Jose, CA illustrates this process. As part of a year-long Earth Medicine Training in the Guadalupe Watershed, I knew our approximate gathering location and that our ceremony would in some way call upon elemental Earth, especially in the form of Tonantzin and the Virgin of Guadalupe. I also knew that we could expect about eight to ten experienced practitioners to attend. When walking the land with another circle member, we were struck by the strong presence of homeless encampments along the River. I also found a vision returning of creating an earthen mound; not a type of ceremony I had ever done before. We eventually found a secluded grove near the Guadalupe that was also used as a gathering place for the homeless. In this site we divined to ask if the vision of making a ceremonial mound and focusing our prayers around the homeless would be well received, and we got an affirmative response from the spirits for this plan.

    On the morning of ceremony, we began by collecting several bags of garbage from the site, a simple and effective way to communicate respect to the local beings. After calling the spirits, we visioned with the drum to ask Holy Mother Earth in the form of Tonantzin to guide us in constructing the mound that would become the focal point for our ceremony. We then spent close to two hours co-creating a layered mound of local earth and offerings of flowers, beads, cornmeal, snakeskin, wine, honey, ground acorns, shells, stones, songs, stories, and prayer. By lunchtime the grove was glowing.

    In the afternoon, using the energized mound as a ceremonial anchor point, we entered a deeper visioning space and worked in partnership with the helping spirits to transform heavy and disruptive energies in the area. Afterward, participants reported helping ghosts to transition, neutralizing spirits of addiction, and communicating positive energy to the local homeless. As a completion we placed offerings for the local food bank on the mound and asked that they be blessed by Holy Mother Earth. One circle member shared with delight that upon her return to the site several weeks later, the River, enlivened by recent rains, had reclaimed our mound.

    This ceremony highlights the importance of crafting ceremony in partnership with the needs and concerns of the local spirits, human and otherwise, and also the way in which our unique beauty and creativity can feed the Earth. Although we did not establish an ongoing natural shrine at this location, our temporary shrine was engaged with in a similar way as a ceremonial anchor and nexus for the work at hand. Participants commented on how the energy of the grove felt transformed by the end of our day of ritual, another indicator that our offerings were well received. When we are willing to engage the ancestors, elementals, nature spirits, and other local beings, the possibilities are endless for mutually beneficial and uplifting ceremonies of earth healing and celebration.

Daniel Foor is a graduate of the Church of Earth Healing Two-Week Shamanic Healing Intensive. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area. For a more extensive bio see his page on our web site.

Landmark Transformations
by Jennifer Seymour

Last Fall I was stuck. A friend heard me talking and said, "You just need to do the Forum!". What she referred to is something called The Landmark Forum, a slicker and more mainstream descendant of Est, a self-improvement program popular starting in the 70's and fraught with controversies and intimations of cult-like features. Nevertheless, I'd checked this out at the behest of several respected friends a few years back, and liked what I'd seen. But life had carried me away and I'd never attended the seminar. Anyway, a few days after my friend's declaration, my brother told me he was attending "some self-improvement seminar" that weekend. Maybe I'd heard of it? "It's called The Landmark Forum." A few days later he was so moved my his experience the he offered to pay my tuition if I'd attend in the City that month.  Well, this is typical for how The Forum tends to work. Energies shift and possibilities open up.

So last Fall I attended the three day workshop designed to transform participants' capacities to "positively impact areas in their lives that matter" (a rough quote from their literature). It sounds vague, but its effect on me is concrete and ongoing.
 
Here's what happened. A group of 150 people sat together in a large and bland (devoid of any sort of visual relief from the white walls) basement meeting room on Madison Square in New York City. 
 
The course was presented to the most heterogeneous group imaginable, yet everyone was able to apply the material in their own lives. This included an animist such as myself, conservative Jews, a Christian Scientist, you name it. The room held several folks for whom English is a second language, somebody from every habitable continent. Some of the folks looked downright frightening (I'm a country bumpkin), yet the environment enabled our hearts to open and connect with each other. We celebrated each other's discoveries, looked forward to hearing how our neighbor's talk with his or her mom went, and learned from their insights when we shared with each other.
 
The leader took us through a series of "inquiries" designed to restructure our perspectives on ourselves and life in general. Volunteers went to the microphone and shared of themselves so that all the participants could "get" the lessons. It wasn't mandatory to get on the microphone, but doing so can really enhance your learning.
 
The ideas presented were often familiar to me from my studies of self improvement and personal growth over the years. But what was radical here was that this setting provided a real-life laboratory in which we put the teachings into immediate practice. Our tightly scheduled breaks were dedicated to fulfilling our "homework" assignments via exercises requiring soul-baring phone calls or writing tasks.

The conversations taught us how to put the Past in the Past and stop dragging it into our Future, how to separate our self-imposed stories about events from the facts of what happened, and most importantly, how to open up the possibilities of creating our realities for our selves. We learned that since we have been the authors of our lives all along, creating our world as we live in it, that we can develop the skills required to drive our lives in positive directions based on conscious choices, rather than habitual reflexes.
 
The group leader was true to his word that every participant who followed the "rules of the game" as laid-out at the start of the session would leave the weekend transformed (as distinct from "changed").  If a participant was "stuck", then the leader or one of many assistants patiently walked them through the process till it clicked for them.  For instance, after about five emotional minutes with a supportive assistant I was able to whole-heartedly re-commit to my husband even as we continue to heal from infidelity in our marriage.
 
I arrived at this course feeling trapped in a number of areas in my life and fervently committed doing anything that might help me break free. Well, I came away from the course able to actually bond with and truly love my mother for the first time in my 45 years of life, reconnect with my husband, relate effectively with my kids, approach my finanances bravely, and fast forward the therapeutic process with our couples counsellor by at least half a year's work. I still have stuff to work on, but there is movement now!
 
I continue to be in a position to choose what I create as my life six months later. What this looks like day-to-day shows up in ways that seem magical.  For instance, when I came home from the seminar my house was its usual shambles. Using the tools and jargon from the training I declared the "possibility" of a "peaceful, beautiful, orderly home" to my four kids and myself. In little more than the time it took to write this in Sharpie marker on the family calendar in the kitchen, the kids had cheerfully swept through the whole downstairs and rendered it habitable again. My enthusiasm enabled me to "touch, move, or inspire" my family into action toward the possibility I had shared. And I had done this in a way that left them happy to share ownership in my "possibility".

Immediately after coming home from the weekend I was full of energy and euphoric, as if under a spell. Over time this sensation dissipatied, but it ebbs and flows depending on what I'm working on. I also have learned that when things are unravelling in day-to-day life, (when I'm having a "breakdown"), I can use this to create a breakthrough into a new level of understanding and empowerment, usually with the counsel of another Forum Graduate to talk me through it. Sometimes this feels like a roller-coaster and is painful...then I'll find myself looking forward to the breakthrough that I now know is on its way, if I'll just stick with it. Transformation, like democracy, requires constant vigilance.

Toward that end, Landmark includes a ten seminar series in the tuition price. These courses help you practice applying the tools provided in the Forum seminar and enable you to see how real people have used them in their own lives. Interested potential Forum attendants are invited to come to free "introductions" where they can get a taste of what happens in the actual seminar. You can run into some folks at these evenings who are pretty assertive about encouraging you to register. Don't be put off by them. Given that it was eight years between when I first attended an Introduction and when the forces aligned for me to register, I'd say that when you're ready, it'll come together for you one way or another. If you're interested, you can check it out at LandmarkEducation.com online.

Jennifer Seymour is a practicing nurse-midwife and mother of four who resides near Ithaca NY.


THE DIVINATION: 7 STONE METHOD
from Crow's Past Life Journeys: The "Chinese Court Shaman" Life

A gong or singing bowl may be sounded to open and close the reading.

Incense may be burned in preparation for or throughout the reading. Choose a not too sweet Oriental scent such as sandalwood which is excellent for focus and clarity.

A basket or bowl of stones is placed on the ground by the reader, on the side opposite that of the hand which will hold the striker stone.
One stone is the striker, used to awaken each stone; it is the seventh stone, is picked up first and is dropped last. Each of the other 6 is awakened by being struck 3 times then it is dropped on the stone table.

Each is dropped from about one foot above the centre of the stone table.

All 7 are dropped before the verbal reading is given.

MEANING OF THE STONES:
1 Where the querent and the question are now
2 The desired end
3 A path to that end
4 Opposition
5 Help/Helpers
6 Answer/Outcome
7 Position of Spirit

POSITIONS ON THE TABLE: querent always sits in East.

WEST is Tiger (sometimes aggressive) and represents Others involved in the situation

SOUTH is Phoenix (view ahead, future, flying) Helpful people, situations, positive energies

EAST is Dragon (strength, empowerment) Self, where the querent is on this question

NORTH is Tortoise (rooted), Challenges, oppositions, may be protection

CENTRE is Serpent, Earth, grounded, strength, home

FURTHER FROM CENTRE the stronger the energy of a stone

ALL AROUND the table is the Void, Lost Energy, Unknown (stone falling off the edge indicates that that energy has gone into the Void

REVIEW OF PROCESS Lead client to the reading table; seat the client. If incense and a gong are being used, sound the gong and light the incense. Interview the client concerning the nature of their enquiry. Explain the process of the reading to the client. With the client’s enquiry in mind, awaken and drop each stone in turn. (Unless you have a great memory, you may want to develop a system of noting which stone ends up were.) Read the meaning of each stone, considering its meaning, its final resting place and, when relevant, the path by which it got there. Variations in path may include: simply landing; bouncing; bouncing and rolling; hitting one or more other stones; causing other stones to move, actually going over the edge, taking other stones with it.

The reader will find that a review of Feng Shui directional animal energies and the Mah Jongg divination deck, which works directly with many of these ancient, traditional Chinese concepts are useful in preparing to do this divination system. The Stone Divination is not identical to either other system but shares similar foundations in Chinese history and philosophy.


CROW IS NOW OFFERING
CHINESE STONE
DIVINATIONS
In the Divination Garden
At Dragon Waters
(near the Autumn Wine Pavilion).



By appointment only; readings last approximately one hour.
An introductory rate of $40 will be available until autumn.
You are also asked to bring at least 24 inches of red ribbon, cord or yarn to add to the gateway.

Due to the nature of this divination and the beauty of the
Garden  that Bekki has made for the work, Chinese Stone
Divination will not be available at any other location for the foreseeable future.
(Directions for performing this divination yourself are
included or contact Crow directly.)
740-664-5050 crow@church-of-earth-healing.org





Activist's Corner
Wildlife Extra: E-News

A while back, Crow and I subscribed to a wonderful e newsletter based in the U.K.

Aside from the fact that we love the British Isles and that the editior places a strong  focus on U.K. wildlife news, Wildlife Extra also has some of the best up-to-
-date news and information on widllife everywhere, as well as a strong orientation toward conservation and sustainabiity.

"Wildlife Extra is for people who like wildlife, who like watching wildlife, who like conserving wildlife, who like photographing wildlife and who like hearing the latest wildlife news. We bring you the latest news, a guide to UK nature reserves & National Parks, and the wildlife hotspots of the UK, a selection of wildlife and conservation jobs and let you know the best places to watch whales or go on safari."


Bekki's Art      


Ursus Major:
A bear's -eye view of astrology
Bekki Shining Bearheart

Since fall of 2009, and throughout much of 2010, Saturn and Uranus are opposing each other, in the late degrees of Virgo and Pisces respectivelyand the early degrees of Libra and Aries. Just to make things exciting Jupiter is joining the mix in May-June, by conjuncting Uranus in Aries (and retrograding with Uranus into Pisces in the early fall). In addition, Saturn and Uranus are coming into orb of squares to Pluto in early Capricorn later this year. This engages all of the outer planets in interaspects except Neptune and Chiron-- who are doing their own little dance together at the end of Aquarius and early Pisces.

Certain energies are at work in the world, and will coincide with world events, but when an individual's chart is aspected by those planets, these world event come into sharp focus. We all know people who seem unaffected by global warming or world catastrophes-- and they probably are. Most likely their charts are not being impacted by the planetary movements that are shaking my world. In another few years, that may change, as the outer planets begin to come into alignment with their charts.

This first complex of planets (Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter and Pluto) will primarily affect those of us with planets in the last degrees of the Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagitiarius and Pisces) or the first degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn). Even if you don't have a copy of your chart, if you were born on the last two or three days any of the Mutable signs (for instance June 19), or on the first two or three days of any of the Cardinal signs (for instance June 21), your Sun is in that sensitive area. Just to make things more interesting, any of your other planets-- Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, or the asteroid Chiron--- could be in these senstive areas.

These transits can coincide with a wide variety of effects depending on one's chart and how the planets are placed at birth, but in general Pluto and Uranus will tend to stir things up. Transformations of all kinds are possible, and sometimes quite disturbing changes or difficulties can surface. (To make a comparison, it is rather like having The Tower and Death cards repeatedly show up in Tarot readings!) A study of one's chart can be quite helpful. I would caution readers that the sort of general New Age astro-talk that is frequently generated on web sites and blogs is really not very helpful most of the time. We are each of us individuals, with individual lessons and experiences. Astrology will be most useful if applied at that individual level.

Of course we are also seeing the global effects of these planets in the world events happening around us: The Gulf oil spill, the continuing wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, climate effects such as drought and flooding, and other distressing problems our world is currently facing are synchronous with the complex astrological picture currently at work.

The gift astrology can give us as humans is a sense of how all of this-- the outer events of the world and the personal events we may also be experiencing--- translate into our own ongoing growth, transformation and healing, and our relationship to ourselves, each other (i.e., all our Relations) and the planet which is our home. We are able to begin to perceive this through many spiritual techniques: shamanic journeys, meditation, prayer, and a host of other tools. Astrology's gift is that it illuminates our lives in a way that is at once objective (through the positions of the planets in the heavens, and their relationship to each other and us) and subjective (through our intuiting the meanings of those positions and meditating on our understanding of these). So how does it do this?

Each planet energizes a certain function, a particular kind of energy, in the cosmos. In fact, we could call the planets themselves energies, as well as energy  sources-- waves as well as particles, verbs as well as nouns. In any given moment in time certain energies are relating to other energies in particular ways, and synchronistically, the planets are also doing so. The Moon, planet of emotion, maternal and feminine in nature, brings that energy into the mix when active and engaged with other planetary energies. Mercury brings the energies of rationality, thought or communication to the conversation. In fact, the movements of the inner planets are often triggers-- especially the Moon-- for specific events signified by the slower moving planets, which can be within orb of their aspects for months or years. A full or new Moon is especially powerful in triggering a weather event or human activity that is signified by (for instance) Jupiter squaring Pluto.

So what does this mean? The most important aspect of the moment is probably Saturn opposing Uranus. Saturn opposed Uranus (and Pluto, which is going to be in square to these two planets this year) during parts of 1964 and much of 1965 through 1967, during the Vietnam war.

Saturn is the planet of conservation, conservatism, limitations, testing, the staus quo, societal structures, how we structure and control our lives, ego, and self-mastery. Saturn is the planet that brings us back to reality-- sometimes with a thud, and its transits require us to get grounded. It may also signal a time of reaping what we have sown for good or ill. Uranus is the Awakener, acting often in a lightening-fast and "out-of-the-blue" way to shake us out of our complacency, our business-as-usual mode. Uranus is the planet of evolution, inspiration, thinking outside of the box, revolution, and rebellion. Uranus speaks for the process of individuation-- becoming the unique person one is, at the soul level. Particularly when one has been living one's life according to someone else's or society's standard, Uranus transits bring events into our lives that require change and a new look at how we are expressing our deeper purpose or our unique creativity.

When Saturn and Uranus are in opposition, world events arise that pit the conservative, business-as-usual types who stick with the tried-and-true or who fear or resist change against those who see a new vision for the future or a need to transform some aspect of society or who recognize that humans are at a crisis point in their evolution-- who who bring revolution at all costs. When these two planets are also aspecting a planet or planets in one's own chart, there will often be a struggle between these two energies and which of them will hold sway over our thinking-- we may feel pulled apart by the two very different urges. Or sometimes, particularly if one or the other is quite strong in the natal chart, that one will win hands-down at the expense of the other. If one is very Saturnian, even if there is a true need to be awakened by Uranus to a deeper soul urge, one may fight for control and against any change, which could be catastrophic. It is important to weigh the changes and the status quo to see where one's true destiny lies. If one is Uranian the call may be to transform those wild urges for freedom, to tame them into something practical that society can benefit by.

Jupiter, which moves more quickly than the other planets, will be within orb of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto till mid August, and retrograding in September, which will allow it to be within  orb of the slower moving planets up until October, when we get some breathing space, and then it goes direct in mid-November and catches up with the slower moving Uranus in December. It doesn't really catch up with Pluto again till mid February, and when it catches up with Saturn in March Saturn will already be out of orb with its aspects to Uranus and Pluto. Key words for Jupiter are expansion, freedom, philosophy, religion, spiritual seeking, exuberance. Like Uranus but in a rather different way it is an opposite of  Saturn. You could compare Capricorn (Saturn), Aquarius (Uranus) and Sagittarius (Jupiter) to get a feel for these planets and how they interrelate. Jupiter in aspects to these planets tends to enhance the freedom-loving qualities of Uranus, and the power-driven aspects of Pluto, while it feels constrained at any restrictions Saturn might place upon it.

The situation is made more complex by the Pluto aspects that are also interwoven into this picture. Some Pluto keywords are death-rebirth,
power, transformation, regeneration, volcanic eruptions from the underworld. Pluto's energy is Scorpionic-- at its best the transformative powers of the phoenix, in the middle the proud and strong bird of prey (eagle), and at its worst the death sting of the Scorpion. However, even that death sting can result in a re-birth, or a capacity to see visions, as I discovered once in a shamanic journey. It is easy with Pluto to see life in black and white, yet often when we take the long view we find that something "evil" can have seeds in it of something necessary, life-transforming, or even beautiful, like the Lotus which grows up from the muck of the underworld through the water to bloom in the light. If you are being aspected by Pluto's powerful ray, in the company of these other planets, it might be worthwhile to see what in your life is asking to be transformed, re-birthed, or given power. Because the down side of Pluto is that if you don't answer the call, or find some way to make peace with Pluto's demands, it may be forced on you in ways that are less than pleasant.

Awakening  the Dreamer, Changing the Dream is the outgrowth of a partnership called the Pachamama Alliance. Its mission is to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on Planet Earth.

The Old Dream is dying. Its demise becomes inevitable as we discover the devastation we’ve caused to our own planet home, as we count the rising cost of our inhumanity to each other and as we see how our current way of living fails to deliver lasting happiness.  All of these are the inevitable conclusions of an old dream rooted in acquisition, consumption and putting personal gain above communal good.

The New Dream is emerging! It's community, collaboration; it's life-enhancing and earth-honoring; it's together and for our grand-children, rather than Supersize me Now!  So we’re seeing the largest social movement of all time, millions of people and organizations working for environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillment, three facets of a new dream for humanity and planet Earth.

Right now, the principal focus of our energy is the Awakening the Dreamer: Changing the Dream Symposium, a half-day workshop designed to awaken and inspire people to take action in pursuit of this vision of a fair, peaceful and sustainable future.

The aim of the Symposium is to grapple and come to grips with the very assumptions that underlie the way we ourselves see the world and our place in it, and with what each of us can do - both individually and cooperatively - to move the world in this new direction.

It is an exploration of four questions:

  • Where Are We? – an examination of the state of environmental, social and personal well-being
  • How did We Get Here? – tracing the root causes that lead to our current imbalance
  • What’s Possible for the Future? – discovering new ways of relating with each other, with the Earth and looking at the emerging Movement for change
  • Where Do We Go from Here? – considering the stand we want to be in the world and our personal and collective impact

If you are ready to be disturbed, inspired and moved to action, and to be introduced to a thriving community of committed cohorts, then join us in exploring the most critical concerns of our times, and discover new opportunities to make a real difference in accelerating the emergence of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet!

Bekki is now a trained facilitator for the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium. If you are interested in bringing this presentation to your community, please contact Bekki for details.

“The Symposium has done much to ferment Blessed Unrest, it is a powerful contributor to the worldwide movement for social change."  ~Paul Hawken



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                                  All Contents Copyright Church of Earth Healing 2010