Message from the Forest

Message from the forest: Give up the struggle!

A few weeks ago, I took a short walk in the mountains and ended up on the bank of the creek, sitting on the roots of a big spruce tree. The challenges of the moment were on my mind and I wondered, as I often do, what I might be missing. As I sat quietly, I focused on nothing more than listening, not too hard to do when the music of the creek filled my ears. As the sounds shifted and flowed, sometimes emphasizing high melodies, at other moments deepening and gurgling, I closed my eyes and felt the weight of my body settle into the forest duff, felt the support of the Earth and the life all around me. After a few moments, a very specific thought clarified itself, almost like a gentle command: “Give up the struggle”.

I felt at once the meaning of the words, although I knew it would take some time for my mind to catch up with the understanding. It wasn’t a suggestion to just give up and stop trying, nor to give in to some notion of failure. I also knew this particular directive would be challenging for my personal make-up, no matter how well I came to understand it.

A couple of years back, I listened to a talk by an astrologer on the ‘secret fear’ of each sign (Sun, Moon or Rising would work here). She noted that the secret fear of a Capricorn person is of being a loser. I have my Sun and several other planets in that sign. Capricorn gives me my connection to the Earth and the wisdom of Nature; my grounded and practical approach to most things; and my ability to climb the mountain, such as that of a career. It also gives me the will to strive towards ‘success’ – the opposite of being a ‘loser’. 

Yet, while striving towards a goal can certainly be an admirable trait, it can also become unbalanced. The hard work and striving become ends in themselves, and struggle becomes a habit. 

In the birth chart, accomplishment, commitment, and mastery are aspects of the archetype of the planet Saturn. Saturn represents our inner authority and integrity with ourselves. When we ‘do’ our inner Saturn, we bring ideas into reality, make commitments, and take responsibility for our time-and-space-bound lives here on Earth.

But the focus on achievement to the exclusion of all else is an unconscious expression of the planet Saturn, which rules the sign of Capricorn. Overdoing in order to reach a summit of some sort fails the ultimate test of sustainability and is no longer life-affirming, but life-draining. It is not the best expression of Saturn.

That same planet is ‘exalted’ in Libra, the sign of the scales, meaning that it finds its greatest expression by reaching for balance, beauty and justice in relationship with another. Fully embodying the archetype of mastery and integrity is not about ‘making it happen’, but about co-creation. The ultimate success comes through cooperation, not domination.

This is the true meaning of Libra, and the work of Libra season. The harvest is mostly in, the nights are becoming longer (north of the Equator), and rather than pushing through we are rewarded for cooperating – amongst ourselves and with the wide world around us. Cooperation, too, is how we reach toward the ever-elusive ‘balance’, which does not exist as a place, but a process. Life is a dynamic, flowing dance and just as in any dance, it is most beautiful when there is an ongoing give and take, ebb and flow between the participants. If the dancers stop to strike a perfect, balanced pose, they are no longer dancing. If we expect to stay in perfect balance, we are likely no longer breathing, and we are certainly no longer cooperating with the flow of life. 

And, while we are generally taught it is better not to go to extremes (an unconscious Libran trait), as my father was so fond of saying, moderation in all things – including moderation. Extremes can strengthen us (as Wim Hof tells us), and expand our range. And some of us only seem to find the middle after exploring the edges. Maybe we burn ourselves out by over-working, over-doing, over-achieving. Or perhaps, instead, we give up and settle for surviving rather than flourishing; for what we need instead of what we truly desire. Neither end of this spectrum is a place we can live

Giving up the struggle means allowing ourselves to flow with the dance, even at the far edges of what is ‘good’ for us. It means accepting we want what we want, as well as the limitations of the moment. In order to fully cooperate with life, we must act from a place of acknowledgement of how things really are. It means, for instance, desiring a home with space, quiet, garden, trees; and appreciating the cramped, noisy apartment that shelters me for the moment.

My daily practice now is to notice when I seem to be making things harder than necessary. When I find myself beating the keys on the laptop trying to finish a newsletter, I pause to wonder if it really needs to go out today. If I catch myself thinking of how I could or should have done something better, or differently, I practice remembering what I did well. 

There always seem to be ‘shoulds’ behind struggle, an unconscious quest for perfection and an ideal of success that drains energy. Maybe for me, there is also that secret fear of being a loser. Giving up the struggle makes room for true success, born from authenticity, integrity, and cooperation.

The advice from the forest feels life-affirming: give up the struggle. Just keep flowing like the stream, or swaying like the trees in my own unique way. Let life lead, and keep dancing.

How do I struggle? Let me count the ways:

  • Judging myself for feeling anything but grateful for what I have.
  • Second-guessing a decision I’ve made and implemented, or an action I’ve taken.
  • Focusing on what wasn’t perfect instead of what went well.
  • Trying to figure out how others are going to respond to what I do, what I say, what I write.
  • Blaming myself for not being in ‘better’ shape, having more clients, creating more classes, having a nicer website.
  • Worrying about next week, next month, or next year.
  • Pretending I don’t feel a certain way, or wanting to feel a different way than I do

In what ways do you struggle??

Episode 1 of The Natural Wisdom Podcast is out!

Episode 1 of The Natural Wisdom Podcast – Remember yourself as Nature

The first episode of The Natural Wisdom Podcast is out!

The audio podcast is available on a number of podcast platforms, or you can find it here: https://anchor.fm/natural-wisdom 

Or listen now:

Remember yourself as Nature – Episode 1

Patrons have access to the video version, slides and handout.

In this inaugural episode, I introduced myself and a little of how I got ‘here’, and the purpose of the show. I touched on a number of subjects that will be part of The Natural Wisdom Podcast, from Ayurveda to astrology. And we covered a few practical tips for aligning your lifestyle with Nature for greater health and well-being.

The Natural Wisdom Podcast Home

The Natural Wisdom Podcast

The first episode of The Natural Wisdom Podcast was recorded July 10, 2021. Topics included an introduction to the podcast and its purpose, a little about how it came about, and some practical wisdom on aligning your lifestyle with Nature’s rhythms. Follow the podcast on your favorite podcast platform, including Apple, Spotify, Anchor.fm, Google, Breaker, RadioPublic and PocketCasts.

Listen to the latest episode here:

Here are some of the highlights of what is on offer in The Natural Wisdom Podcast:

  • Astrology! I’ll be hosting regular (at least monthly) astro-weather forecasts and insights to help you get in synch.
  • One of my pet subjects is how our lifestyle can be our medicine. When and how we eat, for example, is often more powerful than what we eat.
  • Other ways to connect with the natural world, from communicating with plants and animals to ‘catching the season’ and more.

Every episode will be geared to helping humans remember ourselves as Nature. Have ideas for speakers or subjects? Become a patron, follow me on Patreon, or send me a comment here on my website.

Want to join us live and participate in the conversations? Become a patron.

List of Episodes

Season 1

Episode 1, July 10, 2021 – Remember Yourself as Nature

Bonus episode – Connect with your inner Sun!

Bonus episode – Feel your inner Moon

Bonus episode – Injuries are my teachers

Episode 2, August 7, 2021 – We are seasonal beings!

Bonus episode – How to get grounded

Bonus episode – Virgo New Moon and seasonal transitions

Episode 3, 2021- An interview with astrologer Emily Trinkaus!

Bonus episode – Message from the forest

Episode 4, October 16, 2021The Wisdom of Plants with Herbalist and energy healer Angela Segraves

Bonus episode – Entering the portal of Scorpio Season

Bonus episode – Scorpio Season Corrections and Uranian Amplifications

Episode 5, November 4, 2021- Learn how to connect with the animals in your life with Kim Shotola of The Lightfoot Way

Bonus episode – Plutonian Journeys

Episode 6, December 4th, 2021 – An epic conversation about current astrology with Emily Trinkaus – the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse, the confusion of Neptune, and releasing certainty and old beliefs.

Episode 7: A special Solstice episode on the astrology of the moment, plus a meditation and ritual for calling in our greatest desires.

Season 2

Episode 1, 2022 – New Year, New Moon, new beginnings

Episode 2, January 8th, 2022 – Cosmic Wisdom with Kristine and Emily. Emily Trinkaus and I covered the major shifts going on in the Heavens and what that means for all of us.

Episode 3, January 13th, 2022 – Turn fear into fuel with gifted healer Belinda Noakes

Coming up soon:

Episode 4, January 22, 2022 – The story of the ancient Queen of Heaven and her descent into the Underworld. This Sumerian myth has exact parallels to the journey of the planet Venus from morning to evening star.

An Aquarian vision

We are squarely in the middle of winter here in the northern hemisphere, Aquarius season. My portion of the Earth is at its coldest, with the Sun just beginning to regain some of its strength to warm us back up. 

Aquarius is the water-bearer, the one who pours out the waters of life and wisdom into the community. As the penultimate sign of the Zodiac, it has much to do with our collective vision for the future, yet we reach that collective vision through our individual contributions. As the sign of the scientist, the outcast and the revolutionary, Aquarius supports us to find our inner truth, and resist the pressure to conform. The conscious expression of Aquarius is in thinking for one’s self, recognizing the patterns of life around and within. Its shadow is ‘groupthink’, the mentality of the mob. As it is ruled by Saturn traditionally, Aquarius drifts into shadow territory when it is borne by fear, rather than integrity.

Thursday’s New Moon in Aquarius, with all but one of the visible planets in this revolutionary sign (something that hasn’t happened since 1962), provides us with an initiatory opportunity to reclaim our own wisdom, our unique combination of experience and knowledge, and the freedom to think for ourselves. In a time when there is tremendous pressure in our culture today to see the world in a specific way, thinking for ourselves could not be more critical. Nearly every media outlet, television program, advertisement, and official information source is telling one story, an old story of war and conflict, invisible threats, and technology-as-savior – from drugs to vaccines to AI to online everything. 

Yet there is another story, one that brings us ‘full spiral’ back to ancient wisdom, but for modern times. It is a story that includes technology, but in service to Nature, including humans as ‘part of’ rather than’ apart from’ Nature. This story of basing our models of the world on the patterns in Nature is not new, but our understanding of those patterns is changing, and with it our world view – eventually. As with the time of Copernicus, who was burned at the stake for challenging the prevailing view of the Earth as center of our solar system, there is an immense inertia holding in place the view with which most of us grew up.

As an astrologer, I am often challenged by someone telling me there is no scientific basis for using the movements of the planets to understand and even predict the affairs of humans.  What we (and I) have been taught and have daily reinforced in our culture is that we live in a cold, dead, mechanistic and materialistic world of objective, measurable physical and chemical reactions without purpose or design. Yet, in the “new and ancient story” of my vision for our cultural future, everything is conscious, with intelligence and purpose, from ants to plants to planets. Astrology, Ayurveda, and all indigenous wisdom with which I am familiar tells this story. 

There are fundamental, and often unconscious, assumptions of the old worldview. A few of the most familiar:

  • The history of humankind is one of linear progress and we are more sophisticated today than at any point in our collective history;
  • The natural world is one of competition and survival of the fittest;
  • Humans are the only conscious beings;
  • There exists a factual, observable reality independent of us;
  • If we do not know how to measure it, it can not be real.

The worldview of these assumptions was not our ancestors’, and is – I hope – not our children’s. Whether we have entered the ‘age of Aquarius’ or are simply in an Aquarian phase, there are many of us questioning the old story and working to create a new one based in connection, cooperation, self-organizing systems, and other principles from Nature. And perhaps, being branded heretics espousing ‘disinformation’ in the process.

If you have read this far, maybe you are with me on the fringes, wondering on many days if you are crazy to see the world differently than what you are told. My Aquarian gift is the revival of the ancient wisdom, the re-membering ourselves as integral members of the natural world, through classes and readings and newsletters and blog posts. And a reminder that being considered crazy by a world gone insane is perhaps the single best indicator of sanity.

Thank you for being here.