2010 is a year that is sure to be packed with unexpected changes – a claim I can comfortably make due to the fact that Uranus, the planet of lightning bolts, enters the warrior sign of Aries on May 27. By itself this configuration can spark up some new projects at best, and cause some unexpected outbursts of aggressive behavior at worst. When Uranus is in Aries, it can be all too easy for us to get heated up and fly off the handle. Neither Uranus nor Aries has an affinity with reserve. Enter Saturn in Libra.
Saturn entered Libra on October 29, 2009 and remains there until October 5, 2012, excepting a brief intermission from April 7, 2010 through July 21, 2010, when Saturn returns to Virgo for one last visit. Throughout 2010 we are in range of the experience of Saturn, the planet of reserve, in Libra, the sign of getting along, opposing our rebellious upstart Uranus in Aries.*(1) Expect fireworks to ensue as this planetary configuration calls attention to the universal inner conflict between the complete freedom to individuate, and the need to maintain structure. Another way to think of this is that our need for freedom – the freedom to boldly start exciting and even revolutionary new ventures – exists in tension with our need to maintain traditions which provide a necessary foundation of support that we can build upon. But wait – there’s more!
In 2010 Pluto in Capricorn will complete a planetary configuration called a T-square, formed when 2 planets in opposition to each other (here, Saturn and Uranus) are each squared by a planet sitting exactly 90 degrees between them. This configuration is a signal that Pluto is asking us as a culture to deeply face and transform our outdated and corrupt structures of power. Pluto, the planet of intensity, dark intrigue, and the things we don’t want to talk about, brings a hefty dose of “get real” to the table. And more generally, Pluto increases the intensity of this entire astrological event exponentially, acting like a finger on the turbo button of the events unfolding. In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas writes that Pluto is that “which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches.” And in this case, we’re talking about the entire period of 2010.
Many astrologers have written about this T-Square, which is sometimes referred to as the Cardinal Climax. But this isn’t the best choice of words to describe this period. Jeff Jawer astutely reminds us that Cardinal signs represent beginnings (see his article on the subject here). So referring to this event as a “climax” doesn’t quite express the reality of the situation. Although dramatic events could unfold during this time, we won’t look back on this period and see a “climax” or a resolution. Instead, this period can be best understood as the beginning of a period of deep and thorough transformation that by some accounts could make the 60’s look like a warm up. Dramatic events could unfold which draw our attention to this complex of issues we’re facing as a culture, and in the world. But let’s bring this back down to the personal level.
It’s true that transformational events will transpire across the planet during this time, and that 2010 could accurately be described as a “year of earthquakes”. But those Uranian earthquakes and lightning bolts will also be happening INTERNALLY through our inner processes. As above, so below, right? This often quoted idea keys us in to the fact that the planetary movements are reflective of the inner work we are ALL doing. Life is a constant process of unfolding, of transformation, and this is one of those times that we will ALL feel the fire of change ignite and intensify!
With this amount of change in the air we’ll need tools and practical ways to become grounded, so that we can take some needed refuge and time to heal and integrate. Enter EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique! EFT is a practical body-mind technique that helps us work with, understand, and transform energies inside us. By using EFT we can become more deeply aware of the psychological processes and motivations behind our feeling, thoughts, and actions. And by tapping on a few key meridian points on our body during an EFT session, we can accept, allow, and transform energies, rather than repress, deny or allow them to get stuck inside. I’ll explain what EFT is in more detail, but let’s look at the way EFT helps us work with our feelings first.
In the same way that repressed anger can build inside us, and then burst out at inappropriate moments, pressure builds in the earth’s core, leading to planetary earthquakes. Both are outbursts of energy that release stored, bottled-up pressure. When many small earthquakes occur in an “earthquake sensitive zone,” scientists say that the prognosis for life in that area is better in general because pressure is being released regularly. It’s the times when those little tremors stop that we need to watch out – both in ourselves AND on the planet. Because we know that the pressure is still there, building, but it’s trapped. And when it does finally release, the intensity of the release can result in a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that wreaks havoc and destruction.
We’ve already seen an increase in planetary earthquakes this year. One thing we can do on the personal level to address the building pressure is to take a deep unflinching look at our “dark material” and at our anger, and work consciously with this material. In an EFT session, we work very practically with personal issues.
For instance, say that today you become angry at your boss because once again, she has neglected to acknowledge the hard work you’ve put into a project and has given the credit undeservedly to one of your co-workers. You come home, stewing and brewing, because it doesn’t feel safe in the current economy to rock the boat by bringing up your feelings to your boss. If you take some time to sit with your feelings, become introspective, and ask some key questions, you can work with this material on your own, and possibly change the way things are unfolding at work.
Using the framework I’ll teach you in an EFT session, you’d first ask yourself, “When have I felt this way before?” If you’re steaming mad in a situation like this, it is likely that something similar has happened before. When you ask yourself this question, you may easily remember other situations in which you FELT the same way. Allow as many memories as possible to come to the surface. Once you’ve reviewed the memories, next ask yourself, “When is the FIRST time I felt this way?” It is highly likely that you’ll be drawn to an early experience from childhood. In the story we’re making up, let’s imagine that our angry person remembers a time when his absent father didn’t notice something he was making, and his feelings were hurt. In EFT it is this OLDEST memory that we want to address first, because it is the foundational memory in our experience.
It is compounded emotion that gives us the most intensity in life. The death of a close friend is gut wrenching and painful. But imagine that the following year you lose another close friend. And a couple of years later you lose another. And that cycle continues. Those feelings of grief and loss compound over time and eventually your response to a new death is far greater than seems “appropriate”. Notice that I’m taking care here to use examples and words that fit the current planetary transits. Pluto asks us to look at things we don’t want to face, like our own mortality. Uranus in Aries can have us getting red hot with anger, and Saturn in Libra has us thinking about what response might be appropriate. Let’s take this further.
In an EFT session I will guide you to flesh out all of the beliefs you created about life as a result of your experience. Our angry protagonist might have decided that his efforts “always go unrewarded” or that “other people always get credit for his work”. In a child’s mind beliefs like this can form the foundation for our experience as we grow.
It can be helpful to imagine that we transmit those foundational beliefs energetically, all the time. And often we find the world seeming to co-operate with those early decisions we’ve made about the world. We can think of our bodies as radio transmitters, emitting frequencies based on the feelings we carry and the beliefs we hold about the world. If we revisit our foundational moments with an adult perspective (Saturn) we can actually re-think those moments, make new evaluations about them, and re-program our energetic field.
Although we don’t really know how EFT “works” countless people have seen that it does. Gary Craig, the man responsible for synthesizing the technique, (which is in truth culled from a long lineage of observations dating as far back as the beginnings of Chinese medicine) has seen positive results using EFT with a wide range of issues from smoking addiction to post traumatic stress disorder. Something magical, something alchemical happens when we engage our body in this healing process. By tapping on meridian points, we engage body consciousness. By recalling events, and analyzing them, we engage our mind. And by letting feelings emerge that arise as a result of remembering, we engage our heart. Bringing these three key energetic centers into awareness simultaneously makes EFT healing dramatic, and often instantaneous.
As we bring our adult awareness to past traumatic events, no matter how small, and address them, allowing those feelings to emerge, we transform those feelings. They become un-stuck, un-buried, un-repressed. Pluto jumps for joy when this happens, and by relieving this pressure, we avoid catastrophic Uranian style earthquakes. And Saturn is very pleased that we are growing into our maturity through hard work and dedication.
How do EFT and Astrology Work Together?
I have just described how it makes sense to use EFT as a tool in the context of the current astrological archetypal forces at play. But what is EFT exactly? In an EFT session, you will be tapping on specific meridian points while accessing emotional content pulled from memories of past events. You will repeat a series of phrases, as guided by your EFT therapist, while tapping on the points, and holding the feeling state that you’re working with. As the process unfolds you will uncover new aspects of emotion that relate to the experience. Once you feel complete with one event, you can move on to the next.
In my own practice, I use EFT with natal astrology. In an astrological counseling session, I begin by establishing an Evolutionary Astrological framework with the client in which he or she can begin to understand life as an evolutionary process in which exercising free will is key to growth. In this process I think of myself as an Existential Detective, and use astrology as a tool to decipher some of the messages the archetypal forces at play in the birth chart are telling us.*(2) Next I introduce the client to EFT. Since EFT is so practical, once the client has experienced it, we can use EFT at any point that “things come up” in the reading. If we begin to talk about a square in the chart, for instance, that experience of friction may bring to mind key memories that we can work on RIGHT THEN to face and resolve. Astrology is a map that leads us through the terrain of our unconscious. EFT is the the healing stone that helps us face the trials we encounter along our own Hero’s Journey.
In this process we work over time, and sometimes many sessions, to uncover and address key past experiences – and current ones. In the first session we look at the nodal story (based on the nodes of the moon) to think about some of the energetic intentions established in the birth chart. We get a better understanding of the focus and gifts available to the client in this lifetime. In the next session, once the client has learned the EFT process, we begin to work with material expressed directly from the birth chart. From there the process becomes organic, and the material addressed unfolds as a result of what arises in the client. Some clients work on a specific issue over a couple of weeks, while others choose to use these sessions regularly to address a broad spectrum of material over time.
Once a client understands EFT, she can work with EFT on her own and get great results as well. Unfortunately, I have noticed that EFT when practiced alone just isn’t as dramatically effective as it is when doing it with a trained therapist. However, you CAN engage the magical “power of two” by working closely with an intimate friend or partner. Here’s how it works:
You sit with your friend, and each of you has a couple of events to work with. You work out loud with your process and your friend witnesses you while you work. Once you feel complete, you witness for your friend. As you become more comfortable with each other, you might find that you’re able to help direct each other by suggesting additional statements to repeat that help flesh out all of the emotional aspects of an event. By working with another person, your progress with EFT can be magnified exponentially. Just think about the results you might find if you applied this model to a group!
What About Uranus?!
As we move into this “year of earthquakes” it’s important to remind ourselves to go with the flow. An essential quality of Uranus is that it brings unexpected events, unexpected changes, and bolts out of the blue. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of stress and fear in a time like this, bracing for the next lightning bolt of change. Let’s consider some wisdom which has arisen out of people who have actually been struck by literal lightning bolts. In the documentary Acts of God, one survivor recounts his direct experience with lightning:
“I think the lightning story really changed my whole way of looking at the world. Of course at 14 you really don’t know how you look at the world yet. You’re being formed. I think 14 is a very crucial moment. I think it’s even a time when your brain starts to change. You’re moving from childhood into adulthood. And that’s when all these big metaphysical questions begin to be asked of you inside. Suddenly, the world looks different. There’s something monumental about a lightning bolt coming from the sky that doesn’t feel like an ordinary death. It has something divine about it. Something transcendentally scary about it. It opened up a whole realm of speculation that I’ve continued to live with ever since. And I think it’s deeply implanted in all the work I’ve done ever since.”
Sometimes we become so stuck in our situations that we need a little lightning or a little earthquake to get us moving. We NEED that totally NEW perspective, that shift, in order to get us to the next phase of growth. As this man so wisely points out, his experience of the lightning bolt opened up an entirely new way of thinking about life that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.
There really is no way to prepare for a lightning bolt, except in being open to whatever might happen. So during a Uranus time, be ready to change, be ready to adjust, be ready to move in new directions.
Facing the Year Ahead
As we dive deeper into 2010, let’s work with ALL of the planetary energies at play – the serious dedication of Saturn, the unflinching gaze of Pluto, and the revolutionary change of Uranus. Because it is in getting these energies to work together that we’ll find the greatest growth and the greatest balance that we can achieve.
Blessings to all of you.
*(1) When I say “in range of,” I’m referring to orbs. Orbs describe to us the number of degrees within which we may feel an intensification period of certain aspects. Richard Tarnas explains in his groundbreaking work, Cosmos and Psyche, that during these periods we can see events unfold, make a kind of crescendo, and then we can see an integration period – all colored by the particular transits at play. In traditional astrology, we may look to a certain date that an aspect is “exact”. But in reality, we’ll actually see events unfold over a period of time. We won’t just see those kind of events on the day a configuration is exact. And it is helpful to understand these events in the context in which they unfold.
*(2) I first heard the phrase Existential Detective in the wonderful film I Heart Huckabees.