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5 ‘Errors’ In Thinking That Have Effectively Changed The World

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It seems everywhere we turn there is bad news — our economy is lagging, our political institutions are failing us, and environmental destruction and climate change are upon us. With such uncertainty and confusion as to where we are headed, it is difficult to navigate the world and make sense of why and how we have managed to get to this point. Work by Jared Diamond, Joseph Tainter, and Ronald Wright has contributed much to the conversation around understanding why societies fail, succeed, or simply collapse. There are numerous reasons why societies collapse, ranging from environmental degradation (soil erosion, salinity problems, water scarcity), overpopulation, over exploitation of natural resources (water, forestry, over fishing, overhunting), and economic dislocation. Many of these problems are a direct result of how we make decisions and human errors of thinking.

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Our human misjudgements and biases impact every aspect of our lives and influence what happens throughout society. While there are hundreds of biases which shape how we think and act, our discussion will focus on a few which are particularly relevant at this point in time. It is the choices and decisions we make which really matter, as these define us as individuals, communities, and nations. These decisions ultimately determine our future and that of the generations to come. It is through our choices and our ability to see through the fog that we will be able to make better, more informed decisions, for the benefit of all.

1. Social Comparison

“In order to gain and to hold the esteem of men it is not sufficient merely to possess wealth or power. The wealth or power must be put in evidence, for esteem is awarded only on evidence.”

Thorsten Veblen

Social comparison bias is having the feelings of aversion and competitiveness with others, be it physically or mentally. Envy is closely related to social comparison bias and also stems from the feeling of lacking something, be they possessions, achievements, or certain personal qualities. Not only does the vicious circle of envy and jealously drive us mad with striving to make more money, it can also lead us into the debt trap. Financial journalist Shira Boss, author of Why Keeping up with the Joneses is Keeping us in Debtsuggests the social side of our finances — a need to keep up with friends, neighbours, and colleagues through expensive dinners, designer clothing, and, yes, new cars, is a huge contributor to high debt and a negative savings rate in the United States. (1)

Our intrinsic values promoting social, emotional, and ecological wellbeing have been eroded by the constant mantra of ‘go shopping.’ Not only has consumerism destroyed our levels of wellbeing, happiness, and our social networks, it is has become a powerful driver for the demand for resources that is unrivalled in human history. Marketers tell us that having better relationships and experiences is dependent upon using their products over others. Marketers offer branding which provides people with choices. These choices give people the illusory feeling of freedom to make important decisions.

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2. Authority Bias

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”

Leonardo da Vinci

In light of economic liberalisation over recent decades, citizens of many Western nations have developed an overriding compliance with authority and conformity. The corporatisation of the mainstream media has led to a lack of transparency and bias toward certain political and corporate agendas. These are not always in the best interests of citizens. Robert Cialdini, in his popular book, The Psychology of Influence and Persuasion, highlights how powerful authority bias is one of the cornerstones for the effective influence of people. People tend to obey orders from others if they perceive or believe others hold some form of authority. We see examples of this authority bias in almost every aspect of our society, from religious institutions, the medical fraternity, educational bodies, and our governments.

There are subtle examples of the authority bias at play each day within our political, economic, and social circles. We see our political leaders and masters of business talking about financial crisis and economic reforms, offering solutions we accept regardless of their ability to solve the problems. Research on obedience to authority and social influence shows how easy it is to manipulate everyday citizens into obeying destructive authority or uncritically accepting supposed ‘experts.’ We take cues from institutions, the media, and television commentators whose analysis we accept without looking objectively at the issues. As authority (be it real or perceived) is communicated to various individuals or groups, it brings with it potential changes and modifications in human behaviour. Authority can alter an individual’s perceptions and thoughts to conform to various messages or causes.

3. Normalcy Bias

“At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.” Ben Bernanke (March 28, 2007)

Creeping normalcy is a term used to describe how gradual changes can be accepted as the normal situation if these changes happen slowly, or incrementally. Jared Diamond made the term creeping normalcy popular in his Pulitzer prize winning book, Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or SucceedDiamond outlines how politicians use the term ‘creeping normalcy’ to refer to such slow trends concealed within noisy fluctuations. If the economy, schools, traffic congestion, or anything else deteriorate slowly, it’s often difficult to recognize the change from previous years. The gradual and incremental changes are difficult to see, thus normalcy is difficult to recognise over short periods. It may take a few decades of a long sequence of such slight year-to-year changes before people realise that conditions were much better previously. What is accepted as normal now is a result of gradual changes, or creeping downwards.

4. Confirmation Bias

“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”

Plato

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors. (3) Our tendency to look for corresponding and confirming information enables us to live with consistency, which gives us comfort. These confirming beliefs, however, lead us to make errors of judgement. This bias is embedded deep within us all and prevalent throughout society. We selectively recall and interpret ambiguous sources of information which support our existing position, making us overconfident in our assumptions and open to statistical bias and manipulation. Over the centuries societies have made erroneous decisions based on beliefs, half-truths, and indoctrination. We ignore the facts and unfavourable information in the search for information which supports our view and makes us feel good. We seek to confirm we are right, when in fact we may be setting ourselves up for failure. We make poor decisions based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future.  

5. Commitment and Consistency Bias

“Often we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.”

Robert B. Cialdini

Robert Cialdini writes about a study performed by a pair of Canadian psychologists who uncover something fascinating about people at the race track. After placing a bet, punters are much more confident of their horse’s chances of winning than they are immediately before placing the bet. Of course, nothing about the horse’s chances actually shifts; it’s the same horse, on the same track, in the same field; but in the minds of those bettors, its prospects improve significantly once that ticket is purchased. Cialdini outlines, “Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.”  The concept states, once a decision (the commitment) is made, there is pressure and a sense of justification one must behave in accordance with the original decision. (4)

Many of the major issues today, from environmental degradation, overconsumption, and climate change, to an unsustainable financial and economic system, are being influenced by the bias of commitment and consistency. There seems to be overwhelming evidence in relation to these matters and mounting scientific based data to support many of the environmental concerns. Lethargy and lack of motivation to take these issues seriously is rooted in commitment and consistency based thought processes. Our need to protect our own sometimes flawed thought processes, along with the need to identify and remain consistent with these views, is a powerful behaviour.

RethinkcoverCE2Excerpts taken from Rethink…Your world, Your future.

Article by Andrew Martin, author of  Rethink…Your world, Your future. and One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future… 

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 (1) http://www.today.com/id/19153272/#.U24LzBq-DzA

(2) Jared Diamond, Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succed, Penguin Group, London 2005 p425.

(3) http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/c/confirmation_bias.htm

(4) Robert B. Cialdini PH. D. Influence The Psychology of Persuasion, Harper Collins, p43.

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Alternative News

Are Human Beings “Extraterrestrial?” Did We Come From Somewhere Else?

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Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

Are we alone in the universe? The obvious answer coming from mainstream science these days is a big no. It’s quite clear that we’re not alone, that’s the general scientific consensus. The next questions to ask are: Has advanced ‘super intelligent’ extraterrestrial life visited our planet in the past, and is extraterrestrial life visiting our planet now?

For years, if you believed that intelligent extraterrestrial life has visited our planet, you would have been put in the ‘conspiracy theorist’ category. But today, that’s not the case. Perhaps this ridicule was as a result of something specific–the very first director of the Central Intelligence Agency said that there was an “official campaign of ridicule and secrecy” when it came to the topic of UFOs.

UFOs are no longer taboo, and their existence has been disclosed thanks to millions of pages of unclassified government documents from around the world. They’ve been photographed and recorded on video as well as tracked on radars. They’ve performed maneuvers and were clocked travelling at speeds no known aircraft on Earth can travel. Furthermore, there are many witnesses, from astronauts to civilians to high ranking military personnel to academicians and more, who have been creating awareness and putting all of the evidence out there for us to see.

We are in a process of ‘disclosure,’ a slow one, and it’s a subject that leaves no aspect of humanity untouched. The implications are huge, from spiritual to technological to scientific and beyond. It really opens up pandora’s box.

The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe is one of the biggest questions in the history of mankind, along with how we got here and who created us. Perhaps they are all interrelated? We have yet to answer these questions, yet God as well as the theory of evolution seem to be heavily pushed on the population in an almost unquestionable manner, leaving humanity in a divide, constantly disagreeing with each other without ever being able to find common ground.

Did we come from outer space? I don’t watch Ancient Aliens, but I am sure many people are aware of the biblical, ancient, and indigenous lore of human beings coming from outer space. There are no shortage of stories regarding this, but it’s a perspective that we never really hear about and one that is never addressed within mainstream academia. That being said, anybody who truly has a passion for this subject is going to go down that rabbit hole.

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Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon, said he “happens to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we are not alone on this planet” and that we have “been visited many times.” He is one of many astronauts to express this. It was while coming across his comments that I stumbled upon the comments of Al Warden, who said in a TV interview:

We are the aliens, but we just think they’re somebody else, but we’re the ones who came from somewhere else. Because somebody else had to survive, and they got in a little space craft and they came here and they landed and they started civilization here, that’s what I believe. And if you don’t believe me, go get books on the ancient Sumerians and see what they had to say about it, they’ll tell you right up front.

He seemed pretty confident in his knowing.

He’s not the only one to assert such things, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology for Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material,” and they also shared this belief.

In his book published in 1982, Life Itself, Crick argues that there is no possible way that the DNA molecule could have gotten its start here on Earth and that it had to have come here from somewhere else. Within the mainstream scientific community, the generally accepted theory is that we are the result of a bunch of molecules accidentally bumping into each other, creating life. However, according to Francis, we are the result of what is now known as Directed Panspermia. Crick and a British chemist, Leslie Orgel, published their paper on it in July of 1973.

Their theory explains that, “organisms were deliberately transmitted to earth by intelligent beings on another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.”  (source)

As far as Crick’s thoughts on the theory that we are the result of accidentally  bumping into each other, he thinks this was as likely as the assembly of a jumbo jet hit by a hurricane in a junk yard. In other words, he thought the theory held little to no credibility.

The theory of evolution is taught today as a fact, when in reality it has little backing. In fact, 500 scientists in several fields came together a few years to create “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.” There are countless studies being published calling into question the theory of evolution. Not long ago, we wrote about a new genetic study that did exactly that, you can read more about that here.

recent paper published by 33 scientists in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal suggests that the flourishing of life during the Cambrian era (Cambrian Explosion) originated from the stars. This is another example of how the theory of evolution would be thrown out of whack.

“With the rapidly increasing number of exoplanets that have been discovered in the habitable zones of long-lived red dwarf stars (Gillon et al., 2016), the prospects for genetic exchanges between life-bearing Earth-like planets cannot be ignored. ” (The study)

There is a great little blurb from Cosmos Magazine, one of the few outlets that talked about the study:

With 33 authors from a wide range of reputable universities and research institutes, the paper makes a seemingly incredible claim. A claim that if true, would have the most profound consequences for our understanding of the universe. Life, the paper argues, did not originate on the planet Earth.

The response?

Near silence.

The reasons for this are as fascinating as the evidence and claims advanced by the paper itself. Entitled Cause of the Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?, the publication revives a controversial idea concerning the origin of life, an idea stretching back to Ancient Greece, known as panspermia.

What about giants? There are several examples of evidence that exist in support of the idea that giants once roamed the Earth. For example, stored in the vaults of the medical school at WITS University, Johannesburg, there is part of an upper leg bone with a hip-joint that would have stood approximately 12 feet tall. It’s been there since the early 1960’s and was found by miners in Northern Namibia. It is one of the most precious and rare specimens available today that clearly indicates the existence of giants in Southern Africa more than 40,000 years ago.

That’s another story in and of itself, and you can read more about that here.

Further Discussion/Takeaway

The point of this article is to show you that there is a lot more to the human story than what we’ve been told, yet we are still taught that there are only two acceptable possibilities. The truth is that we don’t know, and the evidence points to the fact that what we are being taught and what we are learning from a young age doesn’t hold nearly as much credibility compared to theories that don’t even get mentioned within the mainstream.

Perhaps there is much more to human history and the story of our origins than what we’re told? Perhaps intellectual authorities have been involved in concealing this information from humanity because it would completely change the collective worldview and the controlling mechanisms used to enslave humanity?

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Consciousness

Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.

  • Reflect On:

    We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.

The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’

One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.

Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.

In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI

Horses were more wary of people they previously saw in a photo with an angry expression on their face. Photo by University of Portsmouth/University of Sussex

UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.

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“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”

Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”

This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.

The Takeaway

With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aquarius: Pleasure & Originality

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We are having a Full Moon in Aquarius which is exact on August 15th at 12:29 pm, Universal Time. It will appear the fullest on the night of August 14th in the Americas and on the night of 15th everywhere else.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Leo. The energies of it build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.

Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Sun in Leo and Moon in Aquarius. It can reflect either a conflict or integration of both signs. We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Leo side and others expressing the Aquarius side.

Leo is associated with self-expression, creativity, love, affection, children, courage, vitality, passion, leadership, generosity, and playfulness. Ruled by the Sun, it is also about shining in our power and being in alignment with what really lights us up and gets us excited.

The negative expressions of Leo can be egotistical, self-absorbed, authoritarian, dramatic, stubborn, jealous, and hot-tempered.  As it is associated with seeking praise and attention, it can be demanding of respect and be too loud and boisterous without considering or caring about how others respond to that.

The best way to approach Leo energy in a positive way is to be in our authentic and heart centred version of ourselves; whether it be in our creations, how we perform, or how we express other Leo traits previously mentioned. When we do this, we are more likely to receive a supportive response from those on the receiving end.

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Aquarius is associated with friends, social networks, the group, the team, humanity, and being in the best interest of the collective. Associated with Uranus, it can be unconventional, idealistic, innovative, original, inventive, technological, reforming, and even revolutionary. It tries to figure out how to do things in a better way and takes the future into consideration. Although it is idealistic, it still applies itself intellectually and rationally yet can also be theoretical at times.

Negatively, Aquarius can be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and very invested in the mind at the expense of the heart. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, it can also be unyielding when it comes to the ideas and perspectives that it has already decided on.

Aquarius is also associated with science which negatively is reflected by Saturn as it is limited to the material world, yet reflected positively by the innovativeness of Uranus. Furthermore, other Uranian expressions of Aquarius can be of a higher level of consciousness which can go beyond the limitations of only observing the physical aspects of reality, and integrating the spiritual as well.

Both Leo and Aquarius have some similarities. They are ‘Fixed’ signs and therefore can both be determined yet stubborn. They are also both associated with originality and authenticity. In Aquarius, this comes from its unconventional and innovative Uranian attributes while in Leo it comes from being inspired by its heart centred self-expression.

Full Moon Opposing Venus Superior Conjunction In a Quincunx With Pluto

At the time of this Full Moon, Venus is closely aligned with the Sun in Leo from our Earth-based perspective which is known as its ‘Superior Conjunction’ lasting from August 10th-17th. This is when the Earth and Venus are on opposite sides of the Sun.

This is a period in which we may experience important developments connected to Venus ruled areas (love, relationships, friendships, values, finances, worth, creativity, aesthetics). This is sort of like the beginning of a new Venus cycle in which it will be travelling ahead of the Sun until Spring 2020.

However, another way to look at it is that this period can bring more clarity and forward momentum around things connected to what was going on in the Fall of 2018 and building up since then. Venus last joined the Sun from our vantage point in late October when it was retrograde in its ‘Inferior Conjunction’. This was when the Earth and Venus were on the same side of the Sun. .

At that time something may have been seeded or we could have been doing something that may have had a direct or indirect connection to how things are playing out at this point. It can be associated with Venus ruled areas but it could also have something to do with other aspects of your life, triggered by its previous retrograde last Fall.

Due to the Full Moon being in an opposition with this conjunction, it’s also possible that the push-pull energy of the Leo-Aquarius polarity (mentioned above) can have something to do with Venus themes of values, love, relationships, friendships, finances, worth, self-worth, creativity, or aesthetics.

The Sun/Venus conjunction is in a quincunx aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. This can bring in frustrations and/or needed adjustments connected to fears, power, control issues, obsessions, hidden matters, shadow qualities, repressed feelings, sex, desires, structures, and ambitions to any developments connected to the Superior Conjunction of Venus. For many people, this may also be associated with the themes of last Lunar Eclipse.

Mercury Trine Chiron and Square Uranus

Less than seven hours before this Full Moon, Mercury (which has returned to Leo) ended its post shadow period of its previous retrograde that occurred throughout July. In the last few weeks things may have started to flow more smoothly and we could have experienced some resolutions and clarity around any challenges or issues that came up in the month prior. We may feel things moving forward and could also experience further developments related to this in early September.

During this Full Moon and in the day following, Mercury is in a trine with Chiron and square with Uranus, which has recently begun its retrograde. Our thoughts, communications, or other developments can be healing, holistic, spiritually oriented, unconventional, unique, awakening, and insightful. We can be more inventive, tap into new and original ideas, or bridge different things that don’t normally come together.

This energy can also be a bit unstable, impulsive, or we can be mentally scattered depending on how we apply ourselves. We can experience disruptions, surprises, changes in our plans and routines, or a disconnect in communications. Considering that Uranus is nearly stopped in the sky as it begins its retrograde, its energies are amplified right now. This can also reflect more extreme manifestations of its energy such as rebellion, separation, or even accidents in rare cases.

Mercury Trine Jupiter, Venus Conjunct Mars While Moving Towards Trine With Uranus

From August 20th-21st, Mercury will be in a trine with Jupiter in Sagittarius which has recently ended its retrograde and  is now moving forward. This can be good for learning, expansive communications or thoughts, travel plans, positive thinking, and optimism. We may want to seek the big picture, beliefs, perspectives, and meaning. For some people this can be lucky and there is a higher probability that things going on at this time can go very well.

Venus joins Mars from August 23rd-25th. This can be great for romantic, social, or creative activities. It can stimulate passion and sexuality. We may seek pleasure at this time yet we can also be impulsive about it. It can be good for anything that involves female and male energy coming together. Considering that this conjunction is occurring in Virgo, it can also be good for any type of actions or work that involve beautifying anything or even cleaning and organizing.

Both of these planets are also moving towards a trine with Uranus which is strongest over the following week. Venus makes its contact with it from August 25th to 26th which can bring an exciting, surprising, or stimulating energy around our relations and finances.

It can also be be good to participate in something fun that is different or new to us. For some people it can reflect creative undertakings especially if it involves technology. Making aesthetic changes in some way can also be ideal as well.

Mars’ trine with Uranus is strongest from August 27th-29th. This is good for any sort of actions that are unusual, experimental, liberating, progressive, technological, or independent. We may want to do something that involves making positive change.

Things To Consider At This Time

What has come up for you in the last week around values, relationships, love, friendships, finances, pleasures, creativity, worth, or aesthetics? How should you proceed forward based on these developments or realizations?

How can you balance your personal passions with the needs of the collective? How can you resolve any conflicts between leadership and a team or group? Are you experiencing any challenges or conflict between your heart and intellect? What is your gut telling you? What signs are you getting from the Universe?

What can you do to be more innovative, original, or progressive? What areas of your life are calling for growth, expansion, exploration, meaning, or better understanding? Is there anything that you feel you should be doing to help you feel more free?

Do you have fears, repressed/deep feelings, shadow qualities, or obsessions that are creating obstacles or complications? If so, how should you handle it? Do you need to release or unravel anything to help you feel better, heal, or bring more joy into your life?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime after the peak of the Full Moon when it begins to wane until the next New Moon in two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on August 15th at 12:29pm Universal Time. You can click here to so what that is in your time zone.

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Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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