Beyond Belief: A Curious Vision

Light Bridge for Taurus and Taurus Rising

New! Taurus audio presentation | Link to download | Listen to Light Bridge Audio on your iPhone

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There’s a lot of pressure put on people, particularly women, to be good. I keep seeing these shows that purport to analyze the science of sex and which keep coming out and saying that men are horny and women are reluctant because being naughty might land them with a kid, hence the hesitation. I’ve never seen one of these programs take into account the social conditioning that is involved in social behavior — and a lot of that conditioning consists of threatening us with the scarlet letter if we misbehave.

Tyne Bridge.

Generally friendly and helpful people walk through the world wondering what they’ve done wrong, and mean people at least convince themselves that they feel clean as fresh snow. Part of reclaiming one’s sense of identity and right to exist, and expressing true vitality, involves letting go of guilt and embracing a sensation of belonging on the planet. Guilt traps us in many seemingly unrelated thought patterns and commitments (most of which are connected to religion, authority and family). Dismantling these is tricky and it can take a while. The task can be so daunting that many don’t even try; others are convinced by guilt that they’re so wrong there is no point bothering.

Now, imagine all of this going off like fireworks, and all that guilt falling out of the sky like confetti. Sometimes in a process of liberation, all that it’s necessary to see are one or two examples of rank hypocrisy foisted on you by others (or detected when you consider what happened in the past) and you bust out. Other times, it’s necessary to repeat certain steps over and over till you really get it in your body and soul.

For the past two years, Pluto in Capricorn has been helping you take apart what is not true and crave what is. Yet it always helps when your sense of who you are exceeds what you can contain in the old definition — and as a consequence, the definition shatters. It no longer contains who you are because you know that who you are is bigger. It’s true that there are people who attempt to live with an expanded sense of self that’s stuffed into a highly constricting situation. If you’ve ever done this in the past, you can just about forget it now. For a while it will be possible, but we’re talking about a very short while.

For you who have already begun to feel the pleasure of liberating yourself, the astrology of the next few years will bring a welcoming sensation of passionate release. The sense of being trapped might feel like, “If I dare to be different, I’m going to get killed,” or, “If I do what I want, I’ll ruin my reputation.” One of the sensations of your chart involves the fear that you’ll be exposed for being a whore. I’m not saying you are one (though I have a few ideas how to use the concept in a healthy way)! I’m looking at a not so subtle point that might invoke such a fear, and the related fear of being seen as something you’re not.

Or you might feel, “I’m way, waaaay out on a limb. I don’t belong here,” and fear falling down.

Or you might have the idea, “The only way to achieve any power at all is to sell out.” You might avoid any sensation of power entirely because you simply don’t trust what other people do with the stuff, or what you might do with it.

All of these ideas are what you might think of as traps. It’s good to recognize thought forms that snag your energy or catch you in an endless loop of thought.

To succeed, and by that I mean to feel like you belong on the planet and are having a creative experience, it’s necessary to replace those thought forms with others. And your astrology suggests strongly that you are doing precisely this — and gives some ideas how the process is being accelerated.

The simplest way to describe this, the most potent elemental energy guiding you, is as visceral curiosity about yourself. Once you start reaching into unknown aspects of your consciousness, you may notice a deep desire to be free within yourself. This desire to be free gets results, and it obviates the conceptual framework that seemed to be keeping you trapped in the first place. Let the curiosity take on a life of its own. You may feel like you’re crossing dangerous boundaries, but that is merely a signal coming back from your programmed thoughts as they melt away.

Changing Your Ideas?

We have all heard that if you change your beliefs, you can change your life. For most people this is easier said than done. But I would ask you how easy it is to live inside of beliefs that no longer work, or that you know are not valid for you.

This is a chart for the entry of the Sun into Taurus. The chart displays all the major planets and a diversity of minor planets. Check the member's contents page for a glyph key.

Beliefs are like a perception filter. They are persistent thoughts standing between us and what we see, and they sculpt and otherwise alter that information. Abraham-Hicks describes a belief as a thought you keep on thinking. The trick is to notice that you’re thinking it. It’s been said that ‘seeing is believing’, but I would propose that believing is seeing. We see what we believe, and then perception tends to validate that. As A Course in Miracles puts it succinctly, projection makes perception.

You’ve been through some perilous adventures the past couple of years, and I would suggest that the source of both the peril and the adventure has been the challenge of testing, exploring and altering your beliefs. New experiences for which you have no pre-existing framework to encompass can stretch or shatter your prior beliefs, especially your belief about who you are.

Often, it may seem like circumstances beyond your control are doing this to you. Some of these circumstances may have felt more like misadventures than a vacation. If that is true, they are circumstances that will serve you well to help you first deconstruct and then (in a more organic way) reconstruct your systems of belief; that is to say, if beliefs are thoughts that rule perception, then you need nourishing thoughts in place of toxic ones. If you want to work on this level, I recommend that you do the deconstructing gently, with sincere questions, and then conduct your reconstruction in the most flexible and minimalist way possible.

There is a better way, which is to drop the need for beliefs at all, and allow yourself to be driven by curiosity. Curiosity is a conscious embrace of the unknown, which draws you into the unknown — particularly about yourself.

One of the reasons people have beliefs or worse, belief systems, in the first place is to deal with what scares us, and to contain what we don’t understand. Beliefs are also a hedge against being too creative, which seems to scare a good few people. There are uncertainties involved in creativity. What was not there a moment ago is there now. What might be next? So if you want to live in a creative way and not be in reaction to things you don’t understand, use beliefs like you would use a stapler — to temporarily attach things, rather than to encrypt them or etch them in stone. Let your curiosity do the rest.

Pluto plunging through Capricorn is the main influence driving this process of reassessing what you believe, or said another way, your persistent thoughts. This will be influencing your relationship to your religious notions, your childhood religious tradition, your current religious tradition (if you have one), what you think of as your more original spiritual ideas, your sense of right and wrong, and perhaps more than anything, your allegiance to what your family believes. This will be true even if your family isn’t watching Fox News bitch about how Obama is a socialist Muslim.

Family traditions come in many subtle, usually dysfunctional forms, and these tend to trap vitality. There’s always another excuse not to express yourself, not to trust existence, not to try something new. Usually the beliefs of our family are so encompassing of our minds that we experience them as how the world is rather than what we believe about the world. In other words, they are veiled. While you could go on a big experiment noting and then testing each belief individually to see if it’s valid, and trying on new ideas or a new system, the fresh and easy way out of the trap is to let yourself be curious about who you are. The old thought forms are already fragile; your curiosity will take care of the rest.

I would note that in the past 25 years or so, many belief systems of the world around us have become increasingly rigid. Fundamentalism has taken over many aspects of existence, a ‘true believership’ that has many people in a seizure. There is a manic fear of freedom that we see reflected in the control mechanisms so often imposed by government and religion, but more vividly in the acceptance of rigid ideas by so many.

One of the biggest cornerstones of these rigid belief systems is guilt, the single most pervasive control device that humanity has ever known. My sense is that guilt derives from an abstract notion of a God who is watching us and judging us. Nature is simpler than that. Contrast feeling like you’re being judged by some abstract spiritual force with what makes a tree grow.

As Pluto makes its slow incremental progress through a sign, we tend to grow accustomed to it. Then a planet comes along and shifts our experience. No sooner do we get used to that and another planet makes an aspect to it and invokes a growth process over again. Each time that happens, you reach for a new layer of depth, you uncover something old, perhaps beautiful, perhaps useless and ugly, perhaps merely curious.

Through 2010, Saturn was square Pluto, making that contact from your 6th solar house. That represented changes to your work patterns, your mental environment and your health, all of which are rooted in your larger systems of belief. Basically it is fair to say that anything you embark upon, or anything you experience, is an experiment. Some would prefer to think of it as their beliefs being tested. But this is still an in inherently defensive posture. Following curiosity and embarking on direct experience is much more fun.

You don’t have to understand everything, and you don’t have to fit everything you perceive into some kind of understanding. It’s healthy to stand in conscious relationship to the unknown; to live in harmony with mystery; and to allow the truth to unfold. Just as Jung said that most religion interferes with religious experience, intellectual process can interfere with life experience. So open your eyes and see the colors.

Uranus in Aries: From Chaos to Creativity

So far as I see your charts, the most adventurous longterm transit that you’re beginning is Uranus going into your 12th house, which is Aries.

This is a special chart for the entry of the Sun into Taurus. It shows all of the major and minor planets close to the Sun on what's called a 90-degree sort. It shows the planets and points conjunct, opposite and square the Sun at the time of the ingress into your sign or ascendant. Information in this chart will be used in the audio presentation. Some of these points are explained in the "planet" section of Small World Stories. Check the member's contents page for that link.

The 12th is the sign before your Sun’s sign or the house that is above your ascendant. In a natal chart, the 12th is where the Sun is just after sunrise. So it’s light out, but we’re usually still dreaming. Dreams, the kind we dream at night, are usually included as 12th house material, though there’s that odd paradox of how it’s light out. This becomes the metaphor to work with: the waking dream, in daylight. So the 12th is also associated with the universe of our fantasies and our desires, which are a tap into the ‘unconscious’.

The 12th is an extremely private place. It’s a sanctuary few people ever enter, and that we rarely think about consciously. It’s a place where we can violate the laws of reality or seek freedom from the bounds of the ego in the form of mind-bending sex and orgasm. The 12th also contains the mysteries of death. It is a portal into and out of individual incarnation; in the metaphor of astrology, the 12th is the house where a fetus gestates. If something is unknowable, lost to memory, violates reality, or is associated with a dream or a trance, we’re in the 12th house.

You have Aries associated with this house. That’s an interesting placement because Aries (wherever it may be) is so firmly about where we seek identity. And your tendency is to go looking in this totally intangible place. Taurus has a reputation for being stubborn, grounded, practical and materialistic. That’s a kind of reaction to a compelling drive to seek your sense of self where nothing is really solid.

This can lead to incredible creativity — or a good bit of struggle. We could also say that Aries in this house means you’re in a space of constant gestation; who you are is constantly forming. But, since you’re a Taurus and all, this supposedly contradicts your rock solid, feet-on-the-ground, stubborn nature. That’s the essence of the conflict — and the creative (really, self-creative) process that’s implied. The question to ask yourself is: how much of my supposed certainty is a defense against how uncertain I feel? Confronted by constant questions about who you are, it could make some sense to dig your feet into an idea of who you are.

If that worked at all yesterday and works a little today, it’s unlikely to work tomorrow. A planet is arriving in this area of your chart, or rather, a second rather large planet is arriving, joining one that’s been there your whole life. The arrival earlier this year was Jupiter, which may have arrived with an expanded sense of who you are and a lot of dream activity. Jupiter will be present through part of the year before dipping into your birth sign for a while starting in June.

The planet that’s been in your 12th forever is Eris. A new discovery, the ‘goddess of discord’ is for us the planet that presides over the personality chaos so pervasive in our culture — the obsession over not knowing who we are, not caring and doing anything possible to make it worse. In the best light Eris gives us a chance to experience how multifaceted we are, and how little sense the notion of ‘identity’ has in our era. Eris can represent the castaway part of the psyche — the dark entity we sometimes feel within ourselves who does not fit in. You may secretly or openly grapple with this feeling.

Next, enter Uranus. This is the planetary awakener. Uranus is associated with rapidly accelerating awareness, inventions, revolutions and daring modes of expression. This is freedom in a planet, though it does not exactly encompass the concept of discipline.

Uranus plunging into your 12th house and Aries in March is like a sudden impulse to wake up, all at once. This is the electric fire of the psyche. When I talk about curiosity of self, and liberating yourself from useless concepts and ideas without having to analyze them first, this is what I’m describing.

Wherever it may go, Uranus brings influences that range from inspiration to revolution to disruption. It has a way of stirring the pot, and another knack for taking us for a ride that feels like a surge forward. Uranus is often prominent in the charts of reformers, inventors, scientists and artists. And where it is going is right to the seat of your identity.

This is going to ignite an active process of discovery — or potentially shock you into retreat. Things can disappear into the 12th house and they often do; this transit seems to be about opening up your hidden dimensions rather than sealing them off, obviating your beliefs about who you are. The most potent beliefs we have are indeed the ones about who we are. You’re about to experience many things that defy your beliefs — your self-concepts — and lead you to question many of your previous experiences of life.

It will be vital for you to create outlets for yourself. These need to be experiences or activities that facilitate who you are becoming — and at first, you’ll need a lot of room to experiment. For a while this may seem like total anarchy. I realize that discipline has likely been hard to come by at this stage of your life, and the thing you need the most. But most of the truly disruptive transits are behind you for a while, and you will have the bandwidth to develop routines that facilitate your need for freedom.

There is a discipline piece involved, and this is about Saturn in your 6th house — the one opposite the 12th. Basic skills like time management and balancing responsibility with pleasure (while those concepts are still meaningful) will help immensely. Uranus has no connection to discipline, except needing it desperately. I suggest you cultivate structure consciously, carefully and flexibly. A little discipline is going to go a long way. While you’re busy having an explosion of self-awareness, you’re also being summoned to take a more productive, cooperative role in the world around you, so you’ll need to integrate the two.

At first, though, you may need to push into some territory that to you feels like excess. Eventually the new form your life takes will follow the content that is bubbling up out of you or that is created by your experiments. Remember that certainty is not going to help you now; the closest you want to come to that is fulfilling your basic responsibilities, and knowing when you want to move on. As original stuff comes out of you, look for places to invest it.

In Vedic astrology, the 12th is the house of the ‘pleasures of the bed’; orgasm is one of them — and orgasm is a way of equalizing the pressure. It also keeps us alive and creatively juicy. Art is another excellent vent; one of its greatest gifts is that in art, anything goes. That is a release; it defies what has come before; there is freedom of self in art, and that is precisely what Uranus in your 12th house is calling for. This freedom of self may be the most alien thing you’ve ever considered; that is a factor of a 12th house Aries placement. Remember that — Uranus not only seeks freedom, it will go to any lengths to get it, including the potential for chaos.

If you vent the energy and (better yet) harness it well, you will feel safer and more grounded. Which brings me to one last thought about the 12th — anxiety. If you want to understand why someone is anxious, look at their 12th house. You have enough going on there to raise the energy on this emotion, which is like diluted fear. We live in an age of anxiety, so it’s easy enough to get caught up. I suggest you be mindful that the presence of big planets in your house could easily stir up anxiety attacks; they are a sign that the pressure has become too high in there, and that you will benefit from blowing off steam or engaging in creative activity.

Personal Relationships Amidst All of This

In many ways you have unusual freedom in your personal relationships. The thing they have in common is that to be healthy, they need to be oriented on new, open-minded concepts of commitment; on recognizing the toxic role of guilt; and generous in allowing you space to be a different person every day. Note that this is not generally what our relationships are about. This may have particularly little to say about what your past relationships have been about.

This is a special chart for the entry of the Sun into Taurus. It shows all of the major and minor planets located in your sign or ascendant at the moment of the Sun's entry. This is taken from what is called a 360-degree sort — a listing, in order, of all the planets and points in the whole zodiac. Information in this chart will be used in the audio presentation. Some of these points are explained in the "planet" section of Small World Stories. Check the member's contents page for that link.

Ideally, your relationships become integral to the process of your self-recreation. You may find it unusually easy to allow people into your newly discovered world. This will be the result of your boundaries changing. What you previously thought of as private no longer needs to be so. The more you can open up and share, particularly about your uncertainty, the easier it will be for others to relate to you.

This raises an interesting point. Given the placement of Aries in your 12th house, you may have a character trait of getting uneasy when people get to know you too well. Look back on your past relationships and near-miss relationships and verify that. How have you responded when people got ‘too close’ to you? What you may find shifting is that as you let go of false certainty and open up to who you are, you’re more inviting of people to be close to you.

The catch, of course, is that they have to be ‘ready’ for you, which means in a fairly open state themselves, willing to accept that you’re experiencing a rich state of potential and may not have much to offer in the way of definite structure, certainty or predictability — which leaves a lot of potential.

What you may be recognizing is how many people base relationships on what is essentially an empty structure, or something too rigid to accommodate actual human growth, creativity or potential. You may, for a while, be in the role of the one who leads the way. You may be the one who is the more willing to set out into unknown or intimate territory. It’s obvious why — as you discover new, interesting, exciting places within yourself and are discovering the pleasure of being driven by curiosity, you’re likely to want to share that.

You may notice that people are slightly or a good bit less willing to hang out next to the inner edge of consciousness as you are. But when you find someone who is willing to relate from the inside out, and who is willing to be authentic and vulnerable, make contact with that person. Treat the moment you’re with them as the only moment there is. It will be challenging for you to form attachments at this point, in part because your rapidly changing vibration level is going to make it difficult to cling or be clung to.
You need more space, and conventional relationships — the kind we think we’re supposed to have — generally don’t offer much of that.

While your human encounters may not follow the story arc of romance novels, that’s a healthy sign. You — along with the rest of us — need new patterns of interaction. Those need to follow who you’re becoming, not dictate who you’re becoming. Notice how this usually works the other way around: we conform to the expectations of our relationships. The relationships in turn are conforming to ‘larger’ expectations — pressures of family, fear of not fitting in, desire to fit in, desire to be normal, not knowing about alternatives — and these generally do not serve growth or experimentation.

The form of your relationships needs to follow the content of who you are, and if that content is changing, then the form needs to be flexible.

A Creative Approach to Work

It seems like your ‘work life’ — the day-to-day aspect of your life, and the one that’s connected to your wages — has gone through some jolts the past year or so. You’re likely in a better place now than you were, though that depends on one thing, mainly: does your work allow room for creativity? By that I mean, do you have an influence on the level of ideas? Do you get room to experiment and make mistakes? Do you get to make an original contribution of some kind?

Most of us don’t expect a job to offer this. It’s frightening, actually. There are some people who are an excellent fit for what they are doing and love their work; most people are stuck in wage-based jobs that are not directly related to who they are, besides basic functions like speaking and being able to work a cash register or computer. You are so far past this I cannot even put it into words. I recognize that it may take significant adjustment to adopt a new concept of work that relates to who you are, but it’s easier if you put who you are first.

I am aware that many people don’t want to put their best and most precious talents into the position of being a commodity. That doesn’t leave many alternatives, unless you cultivate something that you like that is cash-rich enough to fund your other aspects of life. It’s easier and probably more helpful to take who and what we really are into an environment that supports and encourages that to develop; that is to say, an environment where we can grow. My friend Eric Nicolas, a Taurus songwriter and musician, told me once that he was a fantastic bicycle messenger making enough money to support his music, but one day decided that he was better off teaching guitar so that at least he had the instrument in his hands during the workday. I think this is the spirit of unifying yourself rather than splitting yourself between two false polarities of ‘self’ and ‘work’.

While it may seem like the challenge is finding paying work in the thing that you do, I would say the challenge is doing what you do boldly enough to have a presence and find paying work doing it. Part of that challenge is cultivating the discipline to shift from the fantasy of what you want to do into the reality of who you want to be. Give yourself time. And recognize that there may be an exchange involved. At a certain point, the time spent going out drinking is better spent practicing guitar.

I recognize, saying this, that you’ve been through what may have felt like a very, very long phase of confusion about your career. You’ve had Neptune going across your career house for many years, and this is confusing. Chiron’s presence there the past five years has definitely helped to focus you and get you out of some of your romantic idealism, and into the basic hardware of being functional in a creative way.

The transits of both Chiron and Neptune across Aquarius, your 10th house, will have an effect and influence long after they’ve moved on (which they’re doing now). You will be reaping the benefits of your experiences for a long time — and their progress into your 11th house seems precisely designed to put what you’ve learned to work.

The Light Bridge: Chiron in Pisces

The 11th house is one of the most interesting and useful of the lot. It’s basically an untapped resource for most people. It covers organizations, friends, and what the old textbooks call ‘hopes and dreams’. We usually view friends as people to hang out with rather than work with, we join organizations with little commitment and we have hopes and dreams that rarely add up to much. However, there are ways to focus the power of this house to truly build one’s life in a vibrant, productive way.

You have Pisces here, which is a bit challenging for a few reasons. It offers rich potential, but that potential is challenging to see and often difficult to materialize. The 11th is your social environment, though it’s also the house that describes how you reap the rewards of your work. The thing about Pisces is that it has a way of disappearing.

Marshall McLuhan, a 20th century philosopher of the media, pointed out that the environment is invisible. He meant this about environments in general. Like many of his ideas, this is intuitive and a little difficult to grasp; after all, you look around and you see buildings and trees and people. Those are clearly part of the environment. Yet how much do we really notice the world around us? Do we notice the sounds, colors and emotional vibes, or do we spend most of our time filtering them out?

Do we really notice who people are, or do we stick to our judgments of who we decided they are? Do we see our opportunities for what they are, or do we live in a world where we have decided in advance what is possible and what is not?

Do we notice what is really available?

These are some of the most pervasive ‘spiritual’ questions. Though many factors have conspired to make the point, you may not yet recognize that what is possible for you is what you believe is possible. I’ve said a lot about beliefs; I suggest you use them as a conscious tool to help yourself focus your desires on what you want. Chiron in Pisces will help you notice much that you have not seen before, or even suspected was present. It was very likely there all along; you may not have noticed because your perceptions were not tuned to that frequency.

You can think of Chiron in Pisces a few different ways — such as a lens that focuses, a filter that allows you to see contrast, a funnel that gathers water, or a camera that sees heat when there is no light available.

One of the first things that changes when we have an 11th house transit is our circle of friends, which is an extension of our total social environment. Everything about your social environment is in the process of changing as fast as you are, and this will be one of the most fertile fields of experimentation for you. Really, so much of what happens in life is directly related to whom we meet and whom we choose to associate with.

For the better part of a decade you’ve had Uranus in this house, which has been chaotic. You may have had a lot of fun but nothing really came of it; you may have met many interesting people who disappeared just as quickly as they appeared; in any event the sensation was not one of social stability. Chiron’s presence in this region of your chart tunes that up, and it does so quickly. The first thing you’re likely to see is how much you need to filter out, and how much you need to select carefully who and what you associate yourself with.

The key to this transit is to find social environments that you either recognize support your new mental environment, or which challenge you in ways you feel are creatively productive. I suggest you reach a little higher and deeper on that particular quest.

Perhaps it’s better to state it this way: know what you want and look around till you find it. The first part of that equation is the one to focus on. Finding is easier when you know what you’re seeking. What you want is changing because the basis of desire is changing for you. With Pisces in the house of hopes and dreams, that pretty much covers everything that’s pleasurable, creative or addictive. Chiron is going to help you apply your new understanding of who you are to the world around you, and figure out how to observe and recognize what you want based on who you are becoming inside. At first, you may notice that plenty gets filtered out, stuff that may have glittered in the past but which now seems irrelevant.

Amidst that, you’re going to discover what you want. The truth is you already know, though you’re in this process of raising your consciousness, firming up your sense of authentic quest and most of all, accepting that what you may have long doubted is really possible. It’s very likely the same values that have driven you on the deepest level are still in place, and what has changed is that you’re getting the obstructions out of the way of expressing those values.

Yes, we’re given a lot of nonsense growing up and they do keep handing it out but none of it is mandatory. At the very worst, we get to choose how we see ourselves, which makes all the difference in the world. In some way or another, everything you see is an extension of who you think you are. How you see yourself is everything. Think of how many complex things that concept so elegantly simplifies, and please consider this: it starts with curiosity.

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