Saturday, 17 June 2017

How Fat-shaming Attacks Women's Root Chakra

When I was a teenager, the two worst things someone could call you as a girl were "fat" and "slut". While its been over 20 years since I've been a teen, sadly this hasn't changed. I think that for many teens and young women these insults are still used against them in an attempt to shame and control. One of the good things about getting into my 40s is that I don't care so much what others think and have a lot more confidence. These words just make me laugh, because I see them for what they are.

It struck me the other day that the reason these two insults hurt so much is that they attack us on at a root and sacral chakra level. They are attempts to make us feel ashamed of our very existence at a basic level. It then struck me that many of the insults directed at women, are attacks on us at different chakra levels. Thinking about this made me angry of course, though it did make me think about what we can do to counteract this.

I thought I would write a series about how insults towards women (though men have been called some of these things too) affect us on each chakra level and ways to counteract it and strengthen ourselves.

Root Chakra insult - "Fat" 
Every woman I know has been called this at one time or another no matter their size or shape. The word is  thrown at women directly, but also implied to us through the numerous diet and fashion ads that tell us we need to lose weight and be as skinny as possible. Its reinforced in pop culture, as we are encouraged to criticize our bodies, apologize for eating a cupcake, and encouraged to order salad when we really want the burger. It attacks us at a root chakra level because it shames us for taking up space, and for doing something as basic as feeding ourselves. While teen boys are praised for the amount of food they can consume, as girls this was not encouraged. This attacks our very right to exist in our bodies, to be able to eat and nourish ourselves, and creates a dysfunctional relationship with food. When I was a teen I had a terrible relationship with food , and often starved myself in an attempt to attain a level of acceptable skinniness in my mind. Never mind the fact that I weighed 110 lbs, it still wasn't good enough. it took me a long time to have a better relationship with food. I'm happy to say that these days I have a much better relationship with food and eat whatever I like and listen to my body. I no longer let this word affect me to the extent it once did. 

Yum - Burger and Fries

Below are some of the things that have worked for me, and to help strengthen my connection to my root chakra.

1. Eat what you want. If you want to eat a burger order a burger, don't order the salad just because you think you should. Numerous studies show that depriving ourselves doesn't work anyway. It only creates a yo yo cycle and messes up your metabolism.
2. Eat unaploagetically. How many times have you heard another woman or yourself say "I'm so bad for eating this." You are not bad for feeding yourself! You are not bad for enjoying a treat! Telling yourself that you are bad reinforces a sense of guilt for eating, and sets us up to desire the foods we label "bad" even more. Food is not good and bad, its just food. You should not feel ashamed for eating, by feeding yourself you are caring for yourself.
3.Listen to your body. This can take some practice, as for years we have been conditioned to see our body as an enemy. Your body is your friend. It's the vessel that's going to carry around your spirit for the rest of your life. Check in with your body at regular intervals and ask it what it wants. Is it thirsty? Needing vegtables? Tired? Wanting to dance? Ask yourself regularly what will make you feel better.
4.Exercise joyfully. Dont punish yourself doing push ups if you hate them, or going to the bootcamp you dread. Find an exercise you love and feels more like fun. Personally I like running on my treadmill, as I like running and I can catch up on watching Youtube while I exercise. I also like dancing, going for walks, and yoga. Find what you like to do. Make exercise into a celebration of being in a physical body, not a way to lose weight. 
5.Know you have a right to take up space. Whatever your size or shape, you have a right to exist and to enjoy the body you inhabit. Forget about the articles that tell you "how to dress for your body type", or how to cover up the "troublesome" parts of your body. Your body is to be celebrated, not shamed. Dress how you want and love your body. Don't wait until you are some unattainable "perfect" size (whatever that means) to enjoy yourself.

What methods do you use to counteract fatshaming? I'd love to hear your stories and suggestions.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Working with Hypnos and the Power of Sleep and Dreams

This lunar month I have been working with Hypnos, the Greek god of sleeping and dreaming. Sleep and dreams are something our society does not view as particularly sacred. While we all need to sleep, our society encourages a poor relationship with it. I have heard many people speak with pride about how they can get by on a lack of sleep. Things like "oh I just need 5 hours a night" I've heard said on more than one occasion like a badge of honour. Personally I need 7 - 8 hours a night, or I am not a happy camper. I get physically ill and am the worst cranky pants. I simply can't function without my good friend Hypnos.

Waterhouse - Hypnos and his brother Death
We also often end up with a poor relationship with sleep, due to certain factors in our modern society. Shift work can really mess things up for many people. Its hard for most of us to sleep during the daylight hours. There's also artificial lighting, and in particular the blue lights from computers and smart phones that wreak havoc on our ability to sleep. Distractions like watching TV in bed or looking at the computer, can keep us awake and stimulate us rather than relax us. Many doctors recommend sleeping in darkness without lights for most benefit, as darkness helps our bodies produce melatonin a hormone needed for restful sleep.

Besides the direct health benefits of sleep, like feeling more vibrant, improved immune function and ability of the body to repair itself, it also improves our mental and emotional health. We are more alert, happier and relaxed when we get a full night's sleep. Then there's the often overlooked aspect of dreams and their role in our psychological health. Many studies have shown that without dreams, people go crazy, we need to dream in order to function well. I think that the benefit of dreams goes beyond a psychological level and is spiritual as well. Many people believe that dreams are just the mind sorting through the days events and information, and I think that it does do that, but I think it is also a way to access deeper subconscious truths. It can even be a source of inspiration and messages from the other side or the gods.

So how can we improve our relationship with Hypnos?

Make Sleep Sacred Again
The best way to do this is to set up a nightly routine for yourself. Experts often recommend turning off the computer and putting down the phone at least an hour before bed, and getting the TV out of the bedroom. Think about what relaxes you, and what you would like to include in your routine. Suggestions for a routine include possibilities like:
-Taking a bath before bed
-Reading a book
-Sex (other exercise is not recommended, but sexual activity helps relax people)
-Nightly prayer or meditation
-Pulling a tarot card
-Journaling at the end of the day

Dream Work
Of course working with Hypnos means working with our dreams. Many people insist to me that they do not dream, but of course everyone does. Remembering our dreams is a challenge, but it is a skill that can be developed. I recommend putting a paper and pen by your bed, and writing what you remember immediately on awakening. Before you go to sleep affirm to yourself three times that you will easily remember your dreams upon awakening. It may take a few days, but many have found this technique does help. Another trick is to drink water before bed. When you wake up in the night to go to the bathroom, write down what you remember right away, you'll be surprised what you recall.

Keeping a Dream Diary
When keeping a dream diary, obviously you will be writing down your dreams. Write down your dream in full, all the details, even if they seem silly or unimportant. You can draw sketches as well. When you have time later, go back and break down the dream into its elements. Break it down into season, time of day, setting, colours, numbers, symbols, people, dialogue and actions. List them out, and then one by one go through what each of those things symbolizes to you. Then go back through the dream replacing the symbol with what your meaning is, you will be surprised what you might find. You can use dream dictionaries to help, but your association should be first and foremost. I suggest using one based on Jungian symbolism, rather than superstitions.

Do you have a sleep routine? or keep a dream diary? Let me know how you work with Hypnos.


Weekly Astrology Forecast - Full Moon in Sagittarius

This week's headlines include a full moon in Sagittarius on Friday June 09, and Mercury and Venus change into their home signs on Tuesday June 06.

Full Moon in Sagittarius - A full moon occurs when the sun and moon are opposite each other. Full moons, no matter the sign, are a point where we must resolve and confront an opposition between our ego and will and our emotions and subconscious needs. This is why they can be so volatile. This full moon we have an emotional need to break free, have fun and want to laugh and enjoy ourselves. With sun in Gemini our conscious will makes us want to stay busy, and to rush about from thing to thing, from engagement to engagement and stay busy. The Sagittarius moon resents any kind of structure or restriction and also asks us to look at the bigger picture rather than getting caught up in minutia. This full moon asks us to integrate some fun and freedom in our life while still getting some of the things we need to get done in our day to day life. If you are feeling rebellious and wanting to break free, it may be coming from a subconscious place. Ask yourself what does this remind me of? Does it remind me of anything I've experienced in the past?

Mercury in Gemini - Mercury moves from slow and cautious Taurus, to its natural sign of Gemini on Tuesday June 06 at 5:15pm CDT. Gemini is rules by Mercury, so is very happy and at home in this sign. Communication picks up starting today and for the next month. Expect an increase in social events, short term travel and talk in general. Expect an increase in media activity and political campaigns. Mercury in Gemini can create excitement, but also cause events to get blown out of proportion and cause overreactions.

Venus in Taurus - Venus moves into one of the signs it rules as well, on Tuesday June 06 at 2:27am CDT. This is a great time to start a romantic relationship, or to revamp your romantic life. Venus in Taurus makes us want to enjoy the good life - food, art, sex and all things beautiful and pleasurable. Take time during the next month to enjoy yourself, but beware of over indulging. Its a great time to get beauty treatments, shop for clothes, redecorate or take an art class. It's also a good time for businesses that are invloved in the arts or planning social events like weddings.

Weekly Forecast
Monday June 05 - Monday the moon moves into the intense sign of Scorpio at 6:48am CDT and remains there until early Wednesday. We may feel strong emotions and very passionate. there is no middle ground, we either love or hate, we are not indifferent to anything. Secrets can be revealed and its a good day for psychological work.  Sun squares Neptune today, meaning that we may not make the best decisions today. We make think we are being rational, but there is an element of deception, something we are not seeing clearly. It is best to postpone any major decisions today.
Tuesday June 06 - The moon remains in Scorpio, but goes void on 7:35pm CDT, making for a less intense evening. Use this time to relax and have some down time. Sun is conjunct Ceres, its a good time to change up your diet or to garden or look at your self care routine. Mercury sextiles Chiron, provides opportunities for us to have healing conversations about old wounds. Mercury moves into Gemini and Venus moves into Taurus today (see above).
Wednesday June 07 - The Moon is void most of the day making for a relaxing and quiet day. The moon moves into fun loving Sagittarius at 5:59pm CDT. This evening take time to do something adventurous and break free of routines.
Thursday June 08 - The Moon remains in philosophic Sagittarius, all day and Saturn trines Pallas. There are opportunities for us to step back and strategize about our routines and whatever work Saturn is asking us to do at this time. Look at where 24 - 25 degrees Saturn is showing up in your chart to see where this is occurring.
Friday June 09 - The Full Moon in Sagittarius occurs today at 18 degrees, the Sabian Symbol for which is "Tiny Children in Sunbonnets". Its an optimistic aspect, one that lends to nostalgia and childhood memories. Venus is sextile Mars starting today and through until Sunday June 11. We easily express our feelings to others, especially the opposite sex. Its a good weekend for romance and sex, and communicating our expectations. Jupiter goes Direct today. We begin to feel less restricted and are able to move forward with plans and goals, especially with those that involve working as part of a partnership and team.
Saturday June 10 and Sunday June 11 - The moon goes void at 1:20am CDT and moves into Capricorn on Saturday at 7:36am CDT. This makes for a productive wekend, where we get down to work and attend to practical matters. Its a good weekend to clean out the garage, get some yard work done, or to take care of any paperwork we may have put off.

The Asteroids
Eris conjunct Pallas - Disruptions may cause us to have to reorganize and rethink things, especially at work or in business. Look to where 23 degrees Aries is in your chart to know where the disruption will occur.
Lilith sextile Mars - There are opportunities this week for women to assert themselves and to work together with male allies to get things done. Lilith is conjunct Venus as well this week, meaning that we are pressing for more freedom with artistic expression and are asserting our sexual desires.
Fortuna sextile Iris - Luck comes this week through listening to our intuition. It is most likely to hit us as a sudden impulse to take action, follow to see where this leads, as fortune smiles on risks this week.
Persephone square Pallas - Any new venture or relationship we are venturing on this week will require more thought. We must take time to look over our plans again, as there are some aspects that have not been fully thought through.
Hekate sextile Pallas - There are opportunities for us to plan out future magical spell work especially for success in business and career. However Hekate is opposite Saturn making for challenges in actually executing ou desires. Its not enough to plan or to work magic, Saturn reminds us we must take action as well.

Below is the weekly Tarotscope for the week.

Weekly Update - Getting back in the Creative Groove

After a week long staycation, this week I returned to the regular routine. As nice as a break was, it was good to get back to things again including making videos and blog posts. 

I started the week with a review of two books I finished reading during my week off. One is a practical guide for artists aptly titled "How to be an Artist". It's a great down to earth book about things like managing your time and money, especially if your someone like me who had to also manage it alongside having a day job and a family etc. It's motivational too, and basically says if you have a calling you need to answer it. The second book 1 read is "The War of Art". It's a quick read and a great motivational kick in the bum. It talks about overcoming resistance and listening to the Muse. I recommend it for any creative type person. 

I also posted a video for the YouTube Pagan Challenge 2017. Weeks 20 and 21 are asking about thoughts on marriage and hand fasting. Personally I don't put much stock in it. I'm not against it and think if that's what people want to do that's great. I feel that it's not necessary as if someone's committed to you they'll be that way wether their married or not, and if they aren't committed, being married won't change them. Its one of those things that's up to individuals. I know people who feel that's it's very important and wouldn't dream of anything otherwise. 

I also posted the decks I'll be using in my Instagram and Facebook daily draws. I picked Tarot of a Moon Garden and The Mystical Wisdom Oracle. Josephine Wall's art is spectacular and makes me think of the magic and beauty of summer. Tarot of a Moon Garden is a nostalgic fave for me, as it is a deck I had back in the 90s. It makes me think of the magic of fairies and summer nights. 

Finally this week I posted my May favourites, including some of my art supplies and the books I'm reading and decks I've been working with. I've really been getting back into sketching again and playing guitar. It's been great exercising the creative muscles again. :)