Balance is ultimately a matter of Self-control, a refinement of how we exert our free will through careful consideration of proportion and scale in our behavior and action. Most people live in a well-worn habitual mode of action, using that mode as their regular vehicle as they move through life. Think of all the times you hear people say self-defining things like “I’m so stupid. I’m a pot-stirrer. I’m just lazy. I’m a bull in a china shop. I’m this or I’m that…” and you will understand what this means. In yoga we call these self-defining, habitual modes of thinking and being samskaras. These samskaras can be regarded as psychic grooves, much like the grooves on a vinyl record. No matter how many times a record is played, we experience the same song over and over again, maybe with a few scratches here and there as the record gets older. As we move through our days, each of us is playing our own record, and our psychic grooves cause us to respond to the world in a habitual way. We tend to think the same thoughts repetitively, feel the same feelings, and react to circumstances, no matter how novel, in ways based on pre-established memory and presupposition. We seek recollection of previous experience for ways to comprehend what we have before us, whether the response proves to be balanced or not.
Samskaras are the result of years of conditioning and in cases of particularly unmovable patterns, likely previous karmas that we carry into this life which create preconceived notions that we rely upon to navigate the world. We often find ourselves stuck in repetitive thoughts regardless of our intentions, and recurring memories affect how we proceed with our relationships, often hindering us from seeking better ways of doing things. These are samskaras in action making it difficult to separate what we believe we know from what is there to be known. We all live in our samskaras, and while they are fundamental to consciousness and it is impossible to exist without them, our goal is to change our limiting grooves, realizing where we may go wrong as a result of acting through habit or misconception. This is why so much attention is paid in spiritual development practices on learning how to disconnect from patterns that may not be to our benefit to follow. Consider yourself as a vehicle with the tires on one side stuck in a rut. Sitting in the vehicle, you find yourself unbalanced, and it is your goal to remove yourself from that rut and set yourself back on a balanced path. This takes a concentrated effort, but is not impossible by any means.
What we spend most of our time thinking about eventually overtakes our personas, and we come to embody our habitual thoughts – a self-fulfilling prophecy is enacted. This is the principle behind what is commonly known as “The Law of Attraction,” which, while a deceptively simple idea, is usually only half-considered. One believes that to focus on prosperity and wealth will attract such benefits in our lives, and yet, the psychic hygiene required to maintain positive focus typically falls away through ennui, lack of sufficient evidence of efficacy, or simple distraction, and people resume their immersion in negativity once again. Habitual thinking leads to habitual behavior, and if the habits are inherently negative and Self-denying, life force, happiness and personal effectiveness are curtailed. To manifest positivity, we must live our lives positively, on a continual basis. Positivity is not something that we schedule as a point of focus for 15 minutes here or there throughout the day after which we resume bad habits. A positive, productive and prosperous life is built on establishing a positive overall outlook, and that outlook must be maintained with passion and commitment. This is a matter of free will and choice.
“Do not grieve over your present state and do not worry. If you refuse to worry, you will remain calm and you will surely find a way of reaching your goal. Remember that every time you worry, you put on a mental brake; and in struggling against that resistance, you place strain on your heart and mind. You wouldn’t try to drive off in your car with the brake on, because you know it would severely damage the mechanism. Worry is the brake on the wheels of your efforts; it brings you to a dead stop. Nothing is impossible, unless you think it is. Worry can convince you that it is impossible to do what you want to do. Worrying wastes time and energy. Use your mind instead to try to make some positive effort.”
What about people who have been traumatized, who have suffered terrible violence, are immersed in depression, anxiety, limited circumstances or otherwise compromised? Do these people have a choice to be positive, or are their negative experiences going to define their lives? Unfortunately, it is true that societal forces have resulted in the destruction of capacities to live good lives for huge swaths of the human population. Ultimately though, the choice with what to do with one’s life, and how to best live that life, is up to the individual. One only has to reflect on survivors of trauma, of horrors such as war, cultural genocide, Holocaust, slavery, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse and look to the inspiration of stories told by those who overcame their traumas to understand the potential of the human spirit. We see that positive mental outlook and choice are the forces behind successfully overcoming traumatic pasts. The human spirit can be unbelievably strong, and it is possible to summon that strength to overcome anything, even when it does not seem immediately possible. Don’t ever let anyone or any circumstance lead you to believe you cannot overcome what you want to overcome. This power is available to every single member of humankind. Have faith in your abilities to find balance and live the life you want to live
Currently we find the world gripped in great tension, with large-scale exertions of individual and collective power, extreme expressions of violent tribalism, and delusive ideological bludgeoning causing mass confusion and uncertainty. Sadly, for many people, this all proves to be too onerous, and we have a burgeoning population of those who suffer, unable to find their way free of the burdens that they bear. But we must remember this: nobody needs to give us permission to choose to live a balanced, positive life. It is within the power of each individual to take the steps forward to find harmony for themselves. When we become imbalanced, we easily succumb to negative states of mind which spiral outward, affecting everything around us, but even one step on the path to balance leads to a sense of inner encouragement, and a person can see their accomplishment and build new foundations. The grooves that we travel in life do not have to be negative, and we do not need to remain stuck in them. We have the power to make new tracks, create new songs, and to seek out positive, creative ways of being. Only in focusing on maintaining balance in our own Self will we find any semblance of balance in the world around us. The more people choose to maintain balance in themselves, the more balanced we will all become, something which is sorely needed in this world today.
“The material and the spiritual are but two parts of one universe and one truth. By overstressing one part or the other, we fail to achieve the balance necessary for harmonious development. Life is expressed in a threefold way: through thoughts, desires and actions. Rightly guide all three forms of expression and they will lead you to a higher state of consciousness. In your activities you are the creator, the preserver, the transformer; your will is the director. Practice the art of living in this world without losing your inner peace of mind. Follow the path of balance to reach the inner wondrous garden of Self-realization.”
I visited Art Gallery of Ontario yesterday and spent some time looking at a wonderful exhibit called “Meditation and the Medieval Mind.” I took many photos, and thought I would share some here for those who may be interested. Reflection on death through contemplation of what are known as “memento mori” has been an important source of religious, philosophical and spiritual art throughout European history. This exhibit looks mainly at miniature art, as well as some larger religious pieces, all reflective of the undeniable fact of mortality and our inevitable appointment with Death.
Note: I discuss current planetary activities at length here, so if you are looking only for your astrological forecast, please scroll down. Thank you.
Since the last Full Moon on 16 February 2022, war has erupted in Europe, the likes of which has not been seen since World War Two. At this writing, 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine after Russia’s full scale invasion of February 24, 2022, and the world watches as Vladimir Putin wages a war which will surely go down in history as a crime against humanity. This month’s Full Moon is exact on Friday 18 March at 7:19 UT (3:19 EDT), and as we have seen so far this year, intensity is not abating.
Should this astrologer address war as it plays out on the eastern edge of Europe? Is it even ethical to discuss war astrologically? Is this not the purpose of astrological forecasting, to glean insight which is otherwise obscured by superficial events, or is that approach an archaism? I am not an entertainment-based astrologer, and I know that perhaps some readers find my posts too serious, but I offer no apologies. Whether or not my readers appreciate this proclivity in my thinking, I find it difficult to ignore the mass influence of the planets as they effect us universally. I will leave the reader to make up their own mind on these questions of ethics and entertainment, and offer my usual assessment of the sky as it happens, in the world as it happens. Otherwise, I run the risk of glossing over what I see occurring globally by just giving an account of what each individual sign should expect. We are a global society, and I believe we cannot ignore the call of the trans-generational planets and their effects on the collective.
For decades people have been talking about the Age of Aquarius, and unfortunately much of what has been bandied about on this topic has been overly idealistic. Aquarius, ruled by Saturn traditionally, and by Uranus in modern astrology, while the sign of brotherly love, is also the sign of erratic and unpredictable events (like Putin’s invasion of Russia after promises otherwise), revolution, shock, tyranny, socialism, refugees, fanaticism, explosions, radiation and nuclear science, armaments, and incidentally, Uranus also rules Russia. These are not light-hearted concepts, but rather some of the most serious things that any society can encounter. While Saturn’s transit through Capricorn saw a tightening of governmental restrictions, and the imposition of higher-level rules for society, Saturn in Aquarius now butting up against Uranus in Taurus is testing the strength of the established order in ways not seen since the last time these two giants squared off in the late 1980s, a time marked by the Palestinian Uprising, the Soviet-Afghan War, the bombing of Libya, and the rise of Al Qaeda.
Currently, the most visible venue of change is Ukraine, a country which gained independence on 24 August 1991, when the Sun was at 0º 42’ Virgo. A country historically subject to the winds of war, Ukraine embodies the phrase “salt of the earth.” It is known as the breadbasket of Europe, and holds many valuable resources in its broad lands. This Full Moon in Virgo conjoins Ukraine’s natal Mars, pushing people to violence as they need to fight for what they love most. Saturn in Aquarius is conjoined with Ukraine’s natal Moon, which intensifies the natal opposition to the stellium in Leo, all of which is further widely squared by transiting Uranus in Taurus, signifying a heartbreaking period of loss, upheaval, challenges to idealism, emotional pain and insecurity. The passionate conjunction of Mars and Venus in Aquarius seeks material acquisition of progress, and is moving into full conjunction with Saturn, confounding the satisfaction of personal desire as it combines with the will to aggression. The conjunction will be at its closest by the end of March, and will result in deep frustration as people seek to enact their personal desires but are thwarted by powers beyond their reckoning. Mars and Saturn will travel together in Aquarius until the third week of April. Saturn stands as gatekeeper, the god of time pressing down on Mars as it struggles for its will to power. Passion, nurturance and depth of emotion are dampened by harsh reality in this overall combination, and people are tired of suffering, tired of being oppressed and repeatedly told “No”.
We must also recognize the continuing influence of Pluto in Capricorn, the most cathartic force impinging upon the established order with insurmountable tensions that are boiling over in a cataclysm of collapse. Pluto has a few years left before it moves into Aquarius, and will continue to undermine established structures, sometimes painfully so. As a rule, people do not like change, and Pluto’s approach to transformation can be extremely powerful as it eliminates what does not serve evolution’s requirements. What may or may not be useful in the arena of Ukraine/Russia politics is beyond the scope of this article, but at the very least, we can expect that the popular, romanticized global image of Russia will once and for all be shattered in the wake of a tyrannical dictator’s destructive quest for power. Russia has long been a complicated presence on the world scene, a nation that created some of the world’s most elevated art and literature, as well being responsible for perpetrating some of the most barbaric atrocities ever known. Whenever this war is over, the reputation of Russia will be irrevocably changed, and we can only pray that lessons will be learned which allow that country to grow into a more compassionate and humane nation.
Also at play is the tremendous power of the current Neptune/Jupiter conjunction in Pisces, and the delusion inherent in that aspect, the combination of idealism with illusory desires for sublimation and loss of consciousness, indicating a deep collective need for escapism in the face of unrelenting terror. This conjunction in Pisces is exemplified in the opiate of mass media that has plunged the world into a state of insurmountable addiction, as social media, streaming, binge watching, the gobbling down of political punditry brimming over with opinion editorials, the sheer spectacle of it all keeping people placated and numb as they flip from screen to screen in the quest for just the right sort of balm that will get them through the night unscathed. This addiction pales with the epidemic of drug dependency which has swept across the planet, fueled by the greed of big pharma. The Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in Pisces is also embodied in the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic, as the rapidly spreading, highly infectious disease has brought the world to its knees, necessitating global lock-downs, restrictions on movement, and freedom to enjoy normal life. How we perceive reality, historically defined as the material here and now, is being challenged as much of the world now perceives reality virtually. Our increasing connection with the nebulous world of living “online” defies what we once considered the bulk of our daily lives. We can reach out to people around the globe, share ideas and images which shape who we believe we are. This development in human consciousness is unprecedented and has created new definitions of what it means to be human. The concentration of Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces is blowing open collective consciousness, and everywhere, people are swimming in deep waters as they try to ascertain what is real and what is manufactured disinformation spun for the purposes of confusion, profit, propaganda and chaos-making.
Despite this grim constellation of planets, I truly believe in the interconnectivity of life on Earth and that despite the problems of the world today, we are growing as a species. I believe that while we are multitudes, we are One humanity, regardless of any distinguishing factors which individuals may use to mark out their place in the world – nationality, color, creed, sexual or political orientation. While we are all immured in the vicissitudes of our daily worlds, on a greater level, we all exist here on this planet at the same time as 8 billion other people, and whether we are conscious of it or not, we share in a fundamental collective mind. Aside from the high-profile war in Ukraine, violence still rages in places like Pakistan, Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan, East Africa, Yemen, Iraq, Mexico…and the list goes on, all with considerable loss of life, terror and pain. It is easy to forget the rest of the world’s suffering as we are inundated with media’s immediate attention on Ukraine, but if we could each say a prayer for all those who suffer, for the men, women and children who spend their days and nights in fear and uncertainty, then surely that energy will be of benefit, somehow. Use the increased light of this Full Moon in Virgo to look at the details of the world around you, and in true Virgo fashion, find some way to offer service to the greater good, even if that begins with taking a crack at cleaning up your own personal reality.
The March Equinox occurs on Sunday 20 March at 15:33 UT (11:33 EST) and the Sun moves into Mars-ruled Aries. Let use the heightened energies available now to be peaceful warriors – do what you can in your individual world to spread some love. No effort at peace is ever wasted.
Forecasts for each sign of the zodiac:
Aries: You feel pressure to revolutionize your value system and how the world sees you, Aries. No longer satisfied with what you have been, you look ahead to materialize your dreams, and there is considerable power available if you allow yourself to listen to the stirrings of your subconscious mind. You will feel discomfort as you stretch into your new persona, but that will pass with practice. There is considerable activity going on below the surface – take the time to listen to those quiet stirrings in the fringe moments of the day and night. Let your imagination flow, for you have the power available to manifest the changes you wish to see – use that Aries courage and grab the future by the horns. Beware seeking comfort in workaholic tendencies. That’s old hat for you – try self-nurturing instead and see what a difference it makes in opening up your heart and life.
Taurus: You are revolutionizing how you come across to the world, Taurus, and while old, hidden material in your deepest heart still feels tender, and there are secrets you want to bury, know that the tough stuff also gives you strength and fuels the energy now available to actualize your new persona. Your philosophy and what you dream of achieving are in the midst of transformation, and it’s time to take to the open field. Build it and they will come. Support comes from your peeps – you have a lot of idealistic energy behind you, as you work on vocalizing the dreams of many. Allow creativity to flow, and let yourself emote in tangible ways, you will soon have the specifics down pat. Just let the energy flow, get it out and amaze yourself. Others will catch up with your changes eventually. Don’t take this energy for granted. Carpe diem, Taurus, carpe diem.
Gemini: What you dream, you can achieve, Gemini, and you have the power to actualize some of your ideals, though perhaps not as fast as you’d like. Don’t worry about delays, they will prove valuable later. Inklings of new world views that have been playing at the edges of your mind over the past few months are starting to finally concretize, and you come across as inspired on the career front. Home matters are key, as it is finally sinking in that you need some stability in your foundations. Philosophizing is great, but the need to be grounded presses, as you understand that what you put out to the world has to come from a stable place deep inside first. Jolts of inspiration and the disclosure of secrets surprise, but they might just point you in the right direction, so pay attention. Trusting others feels tender, and power struggles may come to a head once and for all.
Cancer: The spotlight is on communication with those in your immediate environment as you seek to share your ideals and aspirations with those closest to you. Your world view is inspired as surprising influences inform the development of a new system of philosophy, and you are hard-pressed to separate dream from reality. Beware of inundation. Partnerships are up for renewal, and interpersonal power plays feel like very high stakes, as you seek to actualize a new system of give and take. You are flooded with ideals, but grounding has to happen somewhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, though beware the strings attached with any offers. Any loans you take on now are going to be long-term commitments. Mind the details and don’t get carried away. Assess what you really need carefully.
Leo: You see the brass ring and want to grab it, and you are ready to commit to your ideals, as you finally feel that you can manifest what you actually want, not what others want of you. Power plays feel energizing, and you may feel like you are winning, and you will if you stick to your guns, but take a good long look at what you really value before taking the fight to that hill. If it glitters, it may not be gold, so double check before you commit. Transformation in routine can bring up health care matters that need attention, and it’s a great time to start fresh approach on the work front. Existing personal philosophies require maintenance and acceptance as you find some of your ideas fall short when put to the test. If you put in the effort at work, you’ll find your attention shifts away from those tender spots, just beware of burying your head in the sand.
Virgo: The spotlight is on your persona this month, Virgo, and you feel keenly the impact of others on how you put yourself out into the world. Wearing your heart on your sleeve feels good right now, and relationships of all sorts are energized, though you may get a bit confused as you can’t see straight what’s yours and what’s theirs. This applies to friends, partners, lovers, and even people you consider enemies, so take note. Look to exploring new influences in your world view as fresh impressions make themselves felt in how you find creative pleasure. If there’s something you really want in your routine life – work, health, day-to-day – now’s the time to manifest changes, as energy is high and you are able to concretize inspirations. Intimacy feels tender; don’t be afraid to transform what turns you on.
Libra: Health, work, daily routine and how they affect you on a deep subconscious level are highlighted this month, Libra. Subconscious material and obsessions can be seen more clearly, especially how they impact your work life. There’s a lot of idealization happening, and you see that you can bring your dreams to life in your day-to-day setting, but beware of compulsions taking over and leading you down the garden path. Home life is due for a shake up, be careful of any maintenance issues that may require attention before a serious breakdown occurs. Much energy is available to help manifest your creative projects. Don’t get frustrated by delays, but use the time to delve into details that may otherwise evade attention. Shared resources can surprise, and partnerships feels tender. This too shall pass.
Scorpio: Personal values are up for transformation, Scorpio, and you may feel compelled to transform how and who you communicate with, especially on a daily basis. Friends, fondest wishes and your regular social scene are highlighted, allowing you to see what’s what more clearly, particularly how these impact your creative output and pleasure principle. Desires for acquisition and dominance are compelling, but feel thwarted – a push/pull effect occurs as you see what you want but obstacles arise. Work with the slow-down as you are now able to clarify details. Things that look really good now in light of today’s idealism might trip you up later when everything calms down and the haze has lifted. Surprises pop up with partnerships, but new directions might be just the thing you need.
Sagittarius: Your career is in the spotlight, as who you are and what you stand for shifts with powerful undercurrents of evolutionary transformation. You are working hard at being the best that you can be, Sagittarius – roll with it and don’t be afraid to embrace change. You are passionate about letting everyone know where you stand, particularly on the home front. While you feel idealistic about your inner sanctum and what you need to feel inspired, you may also find yourself stymied as people around you want to be serious when you want to play. Be careful of snags in short-distance transportation, car repair issues and getting caught in delays. Attend to the details now to avoid hassles later. Changes in daily routine, new co-workers and methods will crop up, but don’t worry, it’s what’s best in the long run.
Capricorn: The spotlight is on your personal philosophies, Capricorn, and you have the opportunity this Full Moon to see clearly what has been guiding you, what moves you, motivates and inspires you. You come across as intense, as you want to discuss and share your ideas with the world, and you will certainly have a lot to say. Your value structure is highly energized and if you want to manifest any changes in where you put your efforts, now is the time to build new foundations. Think carefully as what you set in motion now will tend to stick. Creativity surprises and new directions in how you find joy call you forward to your best new self. Discuss, share, open up and allow yourself to be all that you have ever wished for. Not everyone gets such an opportunity – make the most of it while you can.
Aquarius: Saturn’s rulership of your sign makes itself evident as you come across as no-nonsense and empowered, Aquarius. Your dreams are what you value most, and your active value system is finally embodying your dreams, though how you communicate all of this may still feel a bit stifled and insecure. Let that develop on its own time, there’s no rush. Your voice will be heard. Surprises on the home front can be inspiring, as new directions are hashed out in what you want to see actualized in your inner sanctum. Be careful of accidents around the home, as well as power plays with loved ones, as the interconnection between what you want and what others want of you is fully illuminated. Depths that normally remain unseen spew forth transformative material which informs who you are becoming. Let the purge happen now with the light of this critical and insightful Full Moon.
Pisces: Your persona and how it impacts your closest relationships is front and center in your mind now, Pisces, and you seek to embody all the idealism that you hold inside you. Normally shy about your dreams, you may come out with a few zingers that surprise those closest to you this Full Moon, as you are actively seeking to transform your social scene. New wishes emerge from the depths, and you have the capacity to do deep and serious psychological work at this time. Allow what is happening around you to pull forth from your core what has remained hidden for so long. While your values are shifting, and it may seem you will never get what you really want, don’t fret. You will, but do the foundational work first. Avoidance tactics will only backfire and leave you (and those around you) surly. Let your dreams guide you, and shine.
Swami Sivananda Radha (born in Germany in 1911 as Sylvia Demitz) was a student of Swami Sivananda Saraswati, and her dedication to promoting the well-being of people everywhere led her to create Yasodhara Ashram in Kootenay Bay, British Columbia, a spiritual center which still thrives to this day. Her establishment of a woman-focused lineage, The Saraswati Order, resulted in the ashram largely run by woman, with special attention to women’s issues and the understanding of the Divine Feminine. Swami Radha’s approach was to bring Westerners the teachings of yoga in a manner that was relatable and which cut away much of the complicated philosophy, terminology and practice that Indian yogis adhered to, allowing greater apprehension and benefit for a wider group of seekers.
Her chosen name “Radha” is in praise of Radha, the goddess of love, the main consort and devotee of Krishna. Radha existence was dedicated to love, compassion and undying devotion to the Divine, and she is never separated from her lover, their bonds of love are so strong. The virtues of the Divine Feminine , devotion to tenderness, nurturing, love and compassion are sorely lacking in our world today and it is a blessing that such teachings are available at Swami Radha’s ashram.
One of the most beloved of Swami Radha’s teachings was The Divine Light Invocation. It is simple, easily remembered and highly beneficial, particularly in times of darkness, doubt, fear or anxiety. Some people like to incorporate this into their Hatha yoga practice, but it is equally powerful for those who wish to recite the words at any time of need. You needn’t be a yoga practitioner to benefit from this healing invocation.
I am created by Divine Light
I am sustained by Divine Light
I am protected by Divine Light
I am surrounded by Divine Light
I am ever growing into Divine Light.
For more of Swami Radha’s teachings, I suggest the following books, both written by her, and which allow for greater understanding of her approach. She is an inspiration to women’s seekership everywhere, an advocate of wholesome, healthy living and the will to thrive.
Radha: Diary of a Woman’s Search
Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language
Also visit the website of Yasodhara Ashram for more information about the opportunities for spiritual development, study and retreat.