Praise the Strong Woman

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For several weeks this spring, a shouting Donald Trump made fun of the way Hillary Clinton was shouting. He complained that her voice was shrill and it hurt to hear it. All politicians shout. But women know exactly what it means when they’re accused of being shrill. It’s code for “Your strength is unattractive.”

Recently we lost a beautiful strong woman. Basketball coach Pat Summit won more games than any other coach in college basketball history. I love what her fiercest rival said of her, “She had vision, she had intensity, and she made it okay for a woman to stare you down from the sidelines and show emotion and get upset.”

Summit prowled, pounced and roared. She was shrill. And not only did she have the victories, her players had a 100 per cent graduation rate; among them were 14 Olympians, 21 All-Americans, and 34 WNBA players.

Mars stationed retrograde in late April, just as Venus disappeared into the underworld. Retrogrades and underworld visits are typically “unraveling” times. But what has unraveled during this retrograde is cause for celebration. The appeal of the “unconscious woman” seems to be diminishing. The beauty of the “strong woman” is rising.

This has long been in the works. But often it takes a tragedy for us to see how things are changing. The wide public outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence is one example. It was a retrograde sentence; the tables turned. The victim became the victor. Her letter to the court, addressing her rapist, was so powerful, the vice-president called her a “warrior–with a solid steel spine.” That’s one way to turn the Venus/Mars archetypes inside out & upside down.

Art often helps to pave the way for social changes. What we see in films and videos often helps us enter new worlds. In recent weeks we’ve seen some stunning depictions of “shrill” women on the cultural stage. Beyonce’s Lemonade dropped at the beginning of this period and gave us a jaw-dropping portrait of feminine strength. Never has an angry woman looked so beautiful as Beyonce does, in that canary yellow dress, evoking the goddess Oshun, as she smashes car windows with a baseball bat.  But then there’s also Danearys, hopping onto her dragon in the Game of Thrones. Cornered by the Masters and instructed to bow down, she says “Not so fast,” and then crushes her enemies with a rain of dragon-fire and two armies. Game of Thrones has given us many strong women this season. But perhaps most satisfying has been watching the fluffy innocent Sansa evolve into a cunning, powerful force. Much as I love Jon Snow, without Sansa, he’d be gone again by now! Then, of course, there’s the ultimate Kali, Cersei. Who knew that the Iron Throne would be up for grabs by so many queens!

Winter may be coming, but strong women are rising, in Westeros, and in our world too.

Why do we need these things?

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There are often horrific events during Mars retrogrades. The Mars impulse–always in danger of getting dicey–comes more easily unhinged during these weeks.  Events in Orlando just last week are a heartbreaking testament: Christina Grimmie’s murder, the Pulse nightclub massacre, and the alligator who grabbed the little boy on a Disneyworld vacation. Bad things happen all the time, but unusual patterns of events turn our eyes skyward. Mars retrograde (since April 17) brought us the massive fire in Canada; there was the Egyptian plane disappearing, and the mystery of that, unraveling oh so slowly; a boy jumped into a gorilla pit, and a rapist got a sentence fit for a prince. There is a lot that has captured our attention and outrage.

But perhaps nothing is more horrific than the fact that here mass murders aren’t so unusual. In the United States, they’ve become commonplace. Almost anyone can get their hands on an assault rifle. This truth goes beyond politics, global terrorism, mental disability, homophobia. It takes us straight into Terror with a capital “T.” Assault rifles are objects of Terror. War is their only purpose. Why do we need to preserve people’s right to purchase weapons designed solely for the mass shooting of people? Why do we need these at all?  Like others, I am tired of our politicians’ “moments of silence.”

The Feminine is rising.  Alongside the heartbreaking events of recent weeks, there have been many equally powerful Mars retrograde stories that inspire hope and awe. I think of the outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence. If you have not yet read the powerful letter written by Brock’s victim, you’re missing an important document. Not only does she set the facts straight, she speaks from strength and with boundaries. We can learn from her. As VP Joe Biden acknowledged in his also powerful response, this “victim” is actually “a warrior–with a solid steel spine.”  I also think of the people lined up for miles to donate blood after the Pulse shooting, and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony poignant acceptance sonnet, honoring the Orlando tragedy, his wife, and the divine feminine, with his heartbreaking insistence that “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. It cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Comedian Hasan Minhaj, speaking before a roomful of pundits and congressional workers noted, that since 1998, special interests like the NRA have funneled $3.7 million to Congress. He asks the congresspeople–who each earn over $200,000 a year–“If we raise four million dollars, would you guys take that to save lives?” What will it take for our leaders to serve the Great Mother and truly make our world a safer place?

Mars goes direct on June 29.

What’s your journal doing right now?

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Has it been sitting on a shelf? Are its pages silent?  Gemini is THE cycle for talking and writing. And one of the best ways to do this–without risking the mischief that thinking out loud can cause–is to visit your journal  if you already have one. Or start one if you don’t .  Anne Frank is one of the world’s most famous journal keepers and not surprisingly, she had Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in Gemini.  Whether your journal is elegant or funky or just a file on your computer—Gemini doesn’t care.  Write on scratch paper if you have to, but allow yourself the joy of stimulating your inner writer and listening to your thoughts. Discover what you didn’t know you were thinking.

Healing with Moonlight

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Full Moons can be busy times. If you’re feeling tired and a bit off balance, you may be suffering from “energy retention,” a condition much like water retention (which is also common during Full Moons). With energy retention, the currents or flows in your field seem to expand without actually going anywhere. It can feel like you just ate a big meal, stuffed and lethargic. If you find yourself in this condition, there’s a simple remedy: Fill your inner self with moonlight.  It has the power to calm soothe and dissolve the tension.

Your imagination and your breath are all that you need.  As you draw breath inward, imagine that moonlight is also drawing into the internal spaces of your body. It helps to do this slowly.  If you have an area of your body that’s congested, in pain, or otherwise weakened, draw moonlight here.  Another  great practice is to fill your feet with this healing light.  Your feet represent precious soul space in your body.  They have connections with every other part of your body’s temple.  Bring moonlight into your feet and notice how the entire inner space gets charged. Or just keep filling yourself.  Draw the light all the way to the top of your head.  Do whatever will be most healing for you now.  Let the mind cool.

Filling with this wonderful medicine while you’re bathing  in outer moonlight usually improves the experience–but sometimes the energy is too much. Experiment. Is this practice more profound if you’re outdoors or indoors? Be sure to notice how you feel before your moon-working.  Notice how you feel after.  Move slowly. Allow the energy to find its natural flow again.

Full Moons are a traditional time for contemplation. But there are many ways to do Moon practice. More is available in my monthly Moon Workshop:  info and enrollment here!

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