Archives for January 2017

How to Embrace your Inner Alchemist

As Syria continues its horrifying war, Donald Trump settles into his presidency of the United States and Teresa May negotiates Brexit, it would be all too easy to feel that we are living in a cauldron of chaos. But what if we chose to see these circumstances as opportunities for change rather than hot beds of fear, anger and prejudice?

Alchemy is the art of changing base lead into magnificent gold and is every bit as relevant for the human condition as it is for metallurgists. Embracing our Inner Alchemist means that we can transform chaos into productive peace but it requires a change of focus. Instead of slipping into worry, we have to learn to keep our cool and this is done through awareness, not naivety, cynicism or a refusal to accept what is happening.

Fortunately, we each possess a system which unfailingly tells us what is going on, even if it ends up shouting at us through pain. Our bodies are the barometer of our experience and learning to read the language of the body is essential if we are to move forward in a positive way.

It helps to think of illness as an opportunity for change rather than an inconvenience to be ignored or suppressed. Each part of the body has a message to give us. For example, our backs represent our support. Back pain and problems are our body’s way of telling us that we need to find a way of finding more support as well as strengthening ourselves not only bodily, but also in mind, emotions and spirit.

Our legs carry us ahead in life and when something goes wrong with them we are being urged to explore the path we are treading and remove any blocks that are preventing us from moving forward.

Our digestive systems digest food so when something goes wrong here we are being shown that we may not be accepting our lives and/or new ideas and allowing them to nourish us. Alternatively, we may be hanging onto people or situations that we need to let go of.

And so on through every part of our body.

Biography becomes biology which means that whatever we do, think or feel will be stored somewhere in our cells until we face and deal with those energies. Refusing to listen will eventually cause them to solidify into illness and pain.

So, every time anything “goes wrong” whether externally or internally, ask yourself: Why am I experiencing this in the bigger picture? What is it teaching me? What is the behaviour or habit that I need to change?

Increasing both internal and external awareness in this way will create the power and confidence to do what we have come here to do and enable our Inner Alchemist to transform us from lead into gold. So watch yourself and observe what your body is telling you and be aware of your feelings, working with them rather than trying to block them out or ignore them. Focus on what is good and nourishing rather than what is bad and disempowering and visualise enhanced peace and happiness rather than worrying about what might or might not go wrong with the world. Be grateful for everything – yes, everything, even when it is painful. Pain is a road to be travelled and, if we have the courage, it can take us on the path of transformation.  Finally, be gentle with yourself and others and realise that everyone is undergoing tremendous internal changes.

So watch, learn, observe and detach. Then enjoy embracing your Inner Alchemist. It will help you to become your extraordinary self and, in so doing, will allow the world to become the extraordinary world it was created to be.

Happy February.
Love Laurelle

2017 – The Year of the Wake Up Call

On 28th January 2017, we will move from the Year of the Trickster Monkey to the Year of the Fire Rooster which will last until 15th February 2018. Just as the Year of The Trickster Monkey has been predictable in its leg-pulling unpredictability, the time of the Rooster will be a wake-up call in which triumph and success will only be achieved through hard work, efficiency and patience.

The Rooster is flamboyant and likes to strut his stuff with his chest puffed out. He also holds his head up high and likes to be noticed. It is important to realise, however, that his rather grandiose love of centre stage can mask an inner lack of self-confidence which means that he can be susceptible to flattery and loves to be adored. He can also hide his weaknesses behind a veneer of arrogance. The Rooster can be exceptionally blunt and direct and diplomacy is completely out of his remit. Moreover, his sharp mind can lead to argumentativeness and he can be particularly harsh with anyone with woolly thinking. (Whoops, not good news for me as a Sheep, then…!)

Roosters tend to make larger scale plans than they have the capacity to achieve but because other people’s opinions are seen as criticism rather than counsel, they are unwilling to take advice. As a result, their feathers are easily ruffled causing them to fly into rages. However, this is generally short lived and they are soon off to strut their stuff once again. Fortunately, Roosters tend to be rather well organised and efficient although they do like other people to live by their rules, irrespective of the situation.

Animal signs in Chinese Astrology also include an element and 2017 will be a fire year with the colour red, meaning that it should be an auspicious year for marriage, relationships and pregnancy. Fire Roosters are exceedingly dramatic in nature and like to cut a dash in bright and expensive clothes, so this will be a great year for all concerned with fashion. They are natural high flyers and tend to achieve great things in a short time. Utterly single minded, they are rarely distracted from their goals and easily gravitate to the top of their professions in which they demonstrate great talent for organisation and leadership.

However, beware! It will be essential to balance all this fiery, dramatic energy with time spent in solitude and harmony with friends and family. Alternative healing therapies and meditation will also be particularly advisable and help to keep stress at bay.

The keys, therefore, for 2017, will be hard work, efficiency, and single mindedness and as long as they are balanced with patience, self-discipline, sufficient rest and harmony, the year could be filled with potential.

Interestingly, just as a certain Donald looked as though he was the archetypal Trickster Monkey, it would appear that he is the archetypal Fire Rooster as well. Methinks 2017 is going to be quite a show. At any rate, it will be something of a wake-up call. The question is, a wake-up to what…?

Wishing us all a happy and peaceful 2017

Love Laurelle

What is the real meaning of the Winter Solstice?

At this time in the world when many of us are feeling unsettled with the political arena and wondering what on earth is going on, let’s take a two month break from discussing archetypes to look first at the ancient meaning behind this upcoming winter festival and, next month, to what leaving behind the Year of the Trickster Monkey will mean for us. The Midwinter Solstice festival is celebrated all round the world by many traditions. Some of its names are Christmas; the Jewish HannukkahPancha Ganapati, a five-day festival in honour of Lord Ganesha, celebrated by Hindus in USA; and Shabe Chelle, an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil.

The word solstice comes from the Latin sol stretit which means “sun stands still”. For approximately six days at midwinter and again at midsummer, the sun does not seem to move and appears to stand still in the sky. These solstices divide the year into two halves and serve as important anchor points in the farming year.  To move the year on, dances were choreographed to mimic the seasons and coax them forward and these masked dancers are still reflected in the masked “guisers” who tour outlying villages of Britain and Ireland today. In more ancient times, shamans, who were the first priests, would climb up the World Tree to reach the Otherworld and climb back down again with the gifts of prophecy and wisdom to give to us all and this is still enacted by Father Christmas coming down the chimney to give us presents.

All over the world, humans have celebrated midwinter as the demise of the old year and the birth of the new. In the North, various symbols have come to represent the fears and hopes of the turning of the year over thousands of years: fire as a symbol warmth and light as a symbol of the returning sun, boughs of greenery bound into rings to represent the circle of creation and images of deities that have the strength to bring spring back again.

There are many pagan and religious symbols in our modern day celebrations. A long time before Christianity, the Christmas Tree began life as the Solstice Evergreen, promising that life would return after the death that winter represented. The Yule Log originated in pagan Scandinavia and represented the turning of the magical year. The ancient carol “The Holly and the Ivy” derives from pre-Christian times when the Lord and Lady of the Greenwood were honoured by the hanging of green garlands from the ridge poles of houses. Indeed, the true origins of the Spirit of Christmas – Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Old St Nick, Syre Christemas and Sinter Class – are as old as history. In Arthurian times, The Green Knight – who represented winter – arrived at King Arthur’s Court just as the Christmas festivities were starting. He offered to play a strange game. Anyone brave enough should strike him with an axe on the understanding that he would return the blow in a year’s time. Only Gawain had the courage to accept the challenge but eventually his head was severed by the Green Knight. Of course the killing of Gawain was merely a prelude to his battle for the hand of The Spring Maiden.

Then, of course, two thousand years ago a baby was born in Bethlehem bringing love and forgiveness to the world. Afterwards, in Medieval Britain, a bishop called Nicholas was so saddened by the poverty in his Parish that he would slip into houses at night and leave presents in the shoes of his parishioners, especially children, as a gift of compassion.

Though it’s all too easy at the moment to feel discombobulated by what’s happening in the world, let’s choose to mark the solstice as a time of hope rather than despair. The choice to live in faith rather than fear allows us to demonstrate our hope for the future knowing that, however bleak things may seem, spring will come again. By touching history at its very heart, we can connect not only to the lives of the millions of people who have gone before us but also to the rest of humanity, joining hands across the globe in trust and love, whatever religious faith we do or do not observe. After all, the light is still there just waiting to shine on us again. All we have to do is to be brave enough to lift our heads and look up.

Wishing you a happy, peaceful and joyous Solstice.

Love Laurelle

How do you work through the Power Family Group of Archetypes? – Part One

In our exploration of the archetypes of the Unconscious mind, let us now look at the Power Family which includes the Queen, the King, the Hero/Heroine,

the Princess, the Damsel, the Warrior and the Knight. Perhaps surprisingly, it also includes patterns such as the Beggar, the Servant and the Martyr. This month, we will explore the Queen, the King, the Princess and the Damsel.

Queen Elizabeth I gave us a clear picture of what it meant to be a Queen. The Queen archetype represents power and authority but it is not easy to work through. The Queen often leads a lonely life and has to be aggressive to protect her position. However, she protects those in her court, and sees her own empowerment enhanced by her relationships and experience. Variants of this archetype include Snow Queen, Drama Queen, Drag Queen and Queen Bee. The shadow aspect means that she (or he) can be prone to hysteria and being manipulative. S/he can also be arrogant and defensive over the protection of her personal and emotional power.

The light aspect of the King archetype is benevolent, has natural authority and rules his kingdom by exerting just control over it. However, we only have to look at history to see the shadow. Henry VIII may have begun his Kingship in a benevolent way but the abuse of power became all too evident in his later life with his demonstrations of cruelty, entitlement, a resistance to criticism, questioning, controlling behaviour and even murder.

The Princess archetype was wonderfully embodied by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Always beautiful, pure and young, she was polite, courteous, considerate and caring. Her nobility demanded that she marry a prince. The Princess, however, is always given a test to break her sense of powerlessness. If she fails to overcome the test, her shadow aspect will appear. She won’t use her intelligence, she will have little control over what happens to her and she will be generally passive.

The Damsel archetype is similar to the Princess but with important differences. She also is always beautiful, vulnerable, and in need of rescue. However, her rescuer will be a Knight rather than a Prince and, once rescued, she will be looked after and stay locked up in her castle rather than venturing out to become a Queen. Like the Princess, the Damsel must become empowered and learn to take care of herself in the world. However, she will never be rich like a Princess. The shadow aspect of the Damsel is the suggestion that women are weak, helpless and in need of protection and it teaches women to expect someone else to fight her battles for her. Though we no longer live in medieval times, how many modern women are still longing to be rescued by a Knight in shining armour?

If you want a deeper understanding that these newsletters can give you, or you can’t wait for the next instalments, then I run workshops on archetypes as well as private sessions in person or on Skype and would be delighted to help you discover what you were born to do and who you were born to be.

Happy observing of yourself and others, and enjoy November!

Love Laurelle