Welcome to week one, Friends. You’re receiving this just before Venus stations retrograde — the moment when, from our perspective on Earth, the planet of love and war appears to stop moving in the sky, just before she begins moving backwards. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to begin amplifying the themes we discussed in the webinar. If not – there’s no time like the present! If you’re interested in the overview and astrological timing, check out the intro webinar here.
A bit of a disclaimer here, because I always think it’s important for folks to note the biases and framework of their teachers. I am a queer person of color of mixed ancestry who grew up in very white suburbia. I practice non-monogamy in my relationships and have never had a monogamous relationship. I’m a karmic astrologer who believes that doing inner work — especially shadow integration work — is one of the most powerful things we can do to help the collective transition through the paradigm shift we’re currently experiencing. And I believe that healthy relationships, whatever their form, start with a healthy relationship to ourselves and the earth.
My intention with this course is to help you examine your conditioning and assumptions while using consciously using the astrological weather to do some healing.
Part of what I’ll encourage you to do in this course is write down, or otherwise express, your own myth of soulmate. Maybe that’s through creative storytelling or just journaling. Maybe it’s more memoir style. Maybe it’s through art.
But I’ll start with a bit of my story. Just as an example.
When I was young, I believed so deeply and dearly in the idea of The One.
I remember my ‘First Real Soulmate.’ He walked into a party and the blue of his eyes seriously penetrated right to my core. We’d talk on the phone for hours most weeknights. I’d dream about walking with him under starry skies, holding hands, and wake to feel his presence so near me I was convinced it was an epic, ancient tale.
Shortly after that, I left high school, and soon after recognized that marriage didn’t really mean a whole lot to me. I wasn’t super fond of the government, I didn’t believe in God, and the idea that I needed either to recognize my relationships just didn’t make sense to me
But the idea of soul mate stuck. For sure. It was tinged with angst. Unrequeited love. Torture and tumult. When I was 12, I had come across Tori Amos’ Under the Pink album, right around the time I realized this guy I had some feels for didn’t have feelings for me. I listened to the song Baker Baker on repeat for hours…days…
I’d seen and become obsessed with Phantom of the Opera when I was 13…love triangle…
…I saw the musical version of Les Miserables… love triangle (super angsty unrequited love triangle!)…
…I read Wuthering Heights in 11th grade… love triangle (“My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” OH! So good!
By the time I entered my 20s I was wrapped up in the longing for the one who would complete me. I was also completely immersed in an unconscious — totally unexamined at the time — belief that that relationship, when and if it ever came, would be characterized by tumult, turbulence, chemistry that wouldn’t quit, push and pull, back and forth… and that that was a good thing.
More on all of that later!
Soul & Psyche
Here’s the thing. Well, two things, cuz we need to define our terms a bit. And one of our terms is definitely SOUL.
First: For our purposes here, soul and psyche are the same thing. Psyche is actually a root word that translates to soul — it also translates to butterfly. It’s a bit more nuanced, as are many things, than the two being a direct synonym, but I will use them interchangeably.
Second: When we’re talking about soul, we’re talking about psychology. You see, psychology is supposed to be a discipline that explores the logic (logos) of the soul (psyche).
When Freud’s works were being translated into English, he referred to soul. He used the German word for it frequently. But the American Psychological Association was not comfortable with the translation, as they didn’t think it would go over well in terms of their efforts to make psychology more credible, and so they chose to translate all instances of soul as mind. This translation had a major impact on…well, everything. But especially our culture’s ability to understand — and care for or treat — maladies of the soul. Or just provide basic maintenance of what I would say is one of the most vital components of a human being. Instead, everything has been treated as something originating in the mind. It’s all in your head, Fred.
Soul in astrology comes through in two sets of symbolism. There’s soul in terms of heart and soul, or soulfulness, and that comes through in the Cancer/Moon/Fourth House symbolism. Soul in the Capital S sense corresponds with the Scorpio/Pluto/Eighth house symbolism.
Capital S Soul is the soul that’s been evolving, living and learning over time. Through multiple lifetimes, we incarnate over and over again, moving in concert with the desires of the Soul. The Soul has so many desires, most of them centering around transformation at some level. But The Soul is learning – about repression and restriction, or self vs other, or power, or belief, or security.
In this ongoing drama of The Soul over time, it is dealing with a core paradox — we are dealing with a core paradox — the desire to return to source/oneness/theabyss/love/undifferentiation — and the desire to separate/differentiate.
These separating desires create a baseline insecurity in the Soul — in you — when activated. This can be seen through the opposition between Scorpio and Taurus in astrology. The life-vs-death axis.
So there can be a lot of fear there. At the Soul level — which is really, really deep. We have here a great opportunity to work through those fears in some pretty transformative ways. It just takes a bit of fierceness, gentleness and commitment.
When we’re talking about life and death, and our survival needs, we can understand why something like soul work can have an element of fear. The next seven weeks will give you a great opportunity to work through those fears in some pretty transformative ways — or at least to just understand them a bit more.
Let’s just take a moment to amplify soul some more. There are, of course, entire books written on the subject. So this is a taste-in-a-nutshell of my thoughts on the matter.
Most simply put, I understand soul as the nebulous, yet constant function or substance that connects the spirit/mind and the body. Soul is the connector. It translates and communicates what is going on in the conscious and unconscious mind with the body. It comes through in feelings of all kinds — emotions, sensations, flashes of memory, synchronicity, the urge to create, the urge to destroy. Sometimes it comes through in our triggers, those remnants of traumas past.
The language of soul is image and metaphor. It is the language of dreams. It is a language that is all at once totally precise, and yet sometimes maddeningly fluid. Every single detail of an image thrown up by the psyche has meaning. This is why dream dictionary and dream interpretation fall short — context is everything. Water might correspond generally speaking to the unconscious. But is the water in your dream choppy? Calm? Clear? Murky? Are you drowning in it? Floating? Anxious? Staring longingly at it?
The soul has nuance. Fluidity. It is sometimes irrational. Hard to interpret. Very much reliant on all of our senses — our feeeeeeelings (as separate from but inclusive of our emotions). This is the reason that soul-sciences, such as depth psychology, astrology, breath work and the like are often looked down upon by more traditional professions. They make strict categories and straightforward remedies difficult. They see each person as an individualized microcosm.
Which…well, we are. With common themes that connect us. But soul work requires the ability to hold uncertainty. It requires a container that can hold and nurture transformation.
What an incredible gift, though. The gift of soul. The gift of some part of us that understands and is trying to help and communicate with us in such a robust language.
In the level of soul work I’ll encourage in this class — dream tending, collaging, body movement, feeeeeling things, creating things, giving yourself permission to exist in the mystery and the unknown — a sense of reverence can be quite helpful. Reverence for the parts of you that are hearing your desire to connect to your own depths, and reverence for the responses you receive, be it through the dream time, “coincidence”, increased connection with other or yourself, and more.
That means it’s in your best interests to pay attention. Respect the forces at work. If you’re seeking a sign, and all you see is the color blue, make a note of it rather than dismissing it. Wear blue, see how you feel. Go on a walk, focusing on all the shades of blue.
Oh, and about that soulmate topic…
Well, here’s the thing. I don’t actually wanna get into that too much this week, especially when it comes to my thoughts on soulmate. Because I really want you guys to focus on your own stories right now. So I invite you to engage in some reverie. Reverie is the act of getting lost in your thoughts or memories.
Give yourself permission to accept that you’re a cosmic being. Multidimensional. Dancing through space over vast stretches of time. Enter into that cosmic drama, cosmic beauty, even if just for today. Or the duration of this course. Accept this notion of soul mates and soul and past lives as if they were true – just for now. You can let it go later.
You’ll find a separate recording in this week’s lesson. It’s a reading of The Myth of Skeleton Woman. It’s kinda long (it’s not that long). It’s one of my favorites. We can deconstruct it a bit next time.
Listen if you like, or read it somewhere, or skip it entirely. It’s just another option for getting in touch with the mythological realms of soul.
You’ll also find the recording for an invocation and ritual. You can read more about that below.
Key Dates (all times Pacific):
Tuesday, May 12: Venus stations Retrograde at 11:45pmWednesday, May 13: Mars enters Pisces
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