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Mars Retrograde 2018: Revising How We Take Action

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The planet Mars is going retrograde on June 26th and will last until August 27th. This is something that occurs every two years, with the last one occurring in 2016 from mid-April until late June. This energy started building up when the pre-shadow began in mid-May as Mars started slowing down. Some of the themes of this retrograde may have begun sometime since then.

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Retrograde periods are when a planet appears to be moving backwards in the sky due to its position around the Sun relative to Earth’s position. It is a period of re-working how we orientate ourselves with the themes and energies of that specific planet. The most significant retrogrades are those of Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

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Mars: Assertion, Willpower, Courage, Desires, Sex, Aggression, and Anger

Mars is a yang/male planet that is associated with how we apply action in our lives. When retrograde, its energies get amplified as it ends up being opposite the Sun and appears at its brightest when looking at the night sky. This is like the ‘Full Moon’ for Mars as it receives the most light from the Sun.

During this retrograde, Mars themes will be highlighted very strongly which ultimately help to facilitate some sort of adjustment. This could influence where to best apply our efforts, how we use our willpower, our motivations, our desires, a shift in our sex lives, and how we deal with aggression and anger. When a planet goes retrograde, the circumstances that manifest help us to ultimately express the energies of this planet in a new way.

Due to its energies being amped in retrograde motion, this can also be a time where many people can get more easily angered or irritated. This can be potentially the most negative manifestation of this period. People who have strong Mars energy or many of those who are dominant Aries or Scorpio may notice these effects the most.

There can be a build-up of inner tension which eventually can be expressed outwardly, sometimes in a passive-aggressive way.  If this applies to you, it would be wise to find a healthy way to release anger and ease tension in a way that is not harmful to you or the people in your life.

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Any frustrations that occur at this time could be as a result of things not flowing smoothly and wasted efforts. If this occurs to you, it would be good to consider that something needs to change with the way you are applying yourself and pay attention to signs from the Universe.

Usually, this occurs when taking new initiatives, but not in every case. If so, it may be better to revisit old tasks, projects, and efforts and you may find that doing this can be more productive. However, this will not make you immune to all of its effects which ultimately should help you in your personal development.

As Mars is also associated with sex, sometimes what happens is that a shift in our sex lives could occur or could involve getting back together with someone from the past. In some cases, there can be a change in a relationship or even a friendship.

For example, some people may begin a sexual relationship with someone who they are already acquainted or friends with. In other cases, the opposite may occur or some may try to rekindle a relationship with an old partner. However, this won’t apply to everybody and everyone will experience this retrograde in different ways in which many are expressed throughout this article.

Mars Retrograde In Aquarius and Capricorn

The majority of this retrograde will occur in Aquarius with it ending in Capricorn where it will move forward again. Its themes may be oriented around the collective, groups, colleagues, friends, as well as humanitarian and social issues. It may even be connected to how we assert ourselves with our intellect or how we apply our innovative selves.

Mars will then return to Capricorn on August 12th/13th where Pluto and Saturn are currently located. This can bring in themes of re-orientation connected to our goals, ambitions, careers, responsibilities, and perhaps apply ourselves with better structure, resourcefulness, and in a more solid way.

Mars Conjunct South Node and Out Of Bounds

In the weeks leading up to this period, Mars has been travelling near the South Node of the Moon and will also pass over it again during the retrograde. The South Node is associated with the past and could be connected to what can be holding us back. It is even considered to be a place where energy can dissipate. This could be about letting go of old approaches of how we use our Mars energy, but in this process, themes connected to the past may resurface during this time to help us make the changes.

On July 7th/8th, Mars will be going ‘out of bounds’ and will stay like that until September 24th which is almost a month after the retrograde ends. At that time, we will still be in the post-retrograde shadow period (until October 8th) which is when things related to Mars begin to move forward more smoothly.

A planet is ‘out of bounds’ when it travels beyond the limits in which the Sun travels in from our vantage point on Earth. This is generally a time when that planet expresses itself in unusual, unique, independent, unconventional, innovative, and even creative ways. It is sort of like it is exploring new territory beyond the normal constructs of society or how it usually expresses itself.

Mars Square Uranus, Eclipses, and Mercury Retrograde

A major factor of this Mars retrograde is that it will be in a square with Uranus which will be strongest during the last week of July and the first week of August. Uranus has similar energy to a planet being ‘out of bounds’ so therefore this aspect emphasizes what was mentioned above. This configuration can also trigger rebelliousness, impulsive actions, disruptions, sudden changes, and perhaps a need to break free out of inhibiting situations.

Circumstances that can come up can make it even harder to focus and direct our energy, and therefore it is best to be adaptable and to surrender that what isn’t working. However, it would be wise to be cautious about taking impulsive action in case you may do something you may regret. It would be wise to think things over and reflect when triggered. Mercury will also be going retrograde at that time so we may easily not see things clearly.

This entire Mars retrograde period will also be occurring while three eclipses take place. We will have partial Solar Eclipses taking place on July 12th/13th in Cancer and on August 11th/12th in Leo. However, the most potent one, which is also strongly connected to Mars retrograde, will be a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on July 27th/28th.

The Lunar Eclipse will be aligned with Mars while it is in a square with Uranus which can carry some of the Mars/Uranus themes mentioned above over the following months even after the retrograde is over. Eclipses in general trigger changes which ultimately depends on how it is interacting with your natal astrology chart (personal astrological blueprint) based on your exact birth time. These themes of change are strongest in the month of each eclipse, however, they still can unfold over the following 3-6 months.

Due to the fact that the eclipse in late July is a Total Lunar Eclipse near the South Node, combined with the Mars/Uranus configuration, this really emphasizes the fact that this is a period of really letting go of certain aspects of our lives that are not serving us. Perhaps any wasted or challenging efforts we experience as a result of Mars retrograde may help to show us this. This Lunar Eclipse, also referred to as a ‘Blood Moon’, will be the longest Lunar Eclipse of the 21st century, lasting just over four hours.

I will be releasing more content about these Eclipses and Mercury retrograde as we get closer to those dates. You can join my mailing list here to ensure that you are notified when I release my latest content.

What To Reflect On During This Mars Retrograde?

Are you asserting yourself appropriately in your life? What are you being shown by the Universe? How is the outside world responding to the way you take action? How do you feel inside? What adjustments do you need to make in order to proceed more effectively with your goals and aspirations? Which of your past decisions, ideas, or initiatives should you revisit and experiment with? What do you need to bring to an end? How can you express yourself in ways that are unique, creative, and unconventional? What are your true inner desires?

These are some examples of what to reflect on during this time. The retrograde ends on August 27th. From that point on until early October, many of the challenges of this summer will dissipate and most (or all) of the areas that were triggered during this period should move forward more smoothly with increased clarity. Any changes that have occurred will help to facilitate a better way for us to express ourselves.

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Looking for insight on how this period is affecting you? 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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Our Biology Responds To Events Before They Even Happen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.

Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that.  After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)

The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.

It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.

For example, a study (meta analysis) published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.

Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).

As HMI explains:

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The Results

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)

It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)

The Takeaway

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.

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Consciousness

Studies Show That Writing In A Journal Can Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being

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If you have read any of my previous articles, you may already know that I am a huge advocate of keeping a journal, or diary or notebook – whichever term you like best to describe the act of writing out your thoughts on paper, or if you prefer, typing them out on a screen.

Personally, journaling is something that has helped me get through some really tough times in my life and is also a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

Scientific Evidence To Prove How Journaling Helps

Psychologists from the University of California were able to investigate the effect of journaling by inviting 20 volunteers to visit the lab for a brain scan before asking them to write for 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Half of the participants wrote about a fairly recent emotional experience, while the other half of the participants wrote about something neutral.

Those who chose to write about an emotional experience showed more activity in the part of the brain called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. In turn, this relaxed neural activity that is linked to strong emotional feelings.

According to Lieberman, men seemed to benefit from writing about their feelings more so than women, and writing by hand seemed to have a bigger effect than typing on a keyboard. That’s an interesting note: could men benefit from journaling more because in general they tend to keep their feelings to themselves? A journal can certainly act as a safe space for emotionally deprived men to vent.

“Men tend to show greater benefits and that is a bit counterintuitive. But the reason might be that women more freely put their feelings into words, so this is less of a novel experience for them. For men it’s more of a novelty,” Lieberman said.

Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.

A study conducted in 2013 found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes a day journaling for three days in a row before a scheduled medical biopsy were fully healed 11 days later. On the other hand, 58% of the control group had not yet recovered. The study concluded that just one hour of writing about a distressing event helped the participants to better understand the events and reduce stress levels.

Lead researcher on expressive writing at the University of Texas and author of Writing To Heal, James W. Pennebaker, has found that by translating our experiences into our own language by writing it out, we are able to make the experience more comprehendible.

Pennebaker says: “Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are — our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves…writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”

The Most Efficient Way To Cope With A Big Life Change Is To Journal

Journaling will help you to get over a break-up or cope with other up and down relationships in your life. While it may seem to be overanalyzing, studies have shown that venting about a past relationship actually helps to speed up emotional recovery and can help build a stronger sense of self-identity following a break-up. I don’t know about you, but this is something that I wish I would have done after break-ups that leave you feeling lost and like you don’t know who you are anymore.

By venting I don’t mean to your friends. While this certainly can help, the act of writing, with a pen or pencil, will provide you with the most health benefits.

“Writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert, told Fast Company. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit, and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

Journaling Can Provide Long-Term Benefits

Journaling helps you to cope with the experience at hand but it can also help to prepare you to face similar experiences in the future.

“Journal therapy is all about using personal material as a way of documenting an experience, and learning more about yourself in the process,” Kathleen Adams, a psychotherapist and author of Journal to the Self, told the Huffington Post. “It lets us say what’s on our minds and helps us get — and stay — healthy through listening to our inner desires and needs.”

The process of journaling allows you to get to know yourself through your feelings and experiences. It’s just plain and simply writing out your feelings. This is different than just thinking because it is more streamline; you aren’t going back and forth or writing the same thing down over and over again.

You can start right now, or the next time you’re feeling particularly stressed about something. It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined! Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to look back at the big events that happened in your life in 20 years or longer and see how you were able to deal with the situations? It could even provide you with some insight on how to handle situations you are faced with in the future.

We are constantly being faced with challenges. This is what life is all about, but our reactions to those challenges is what defines who we are. Are we strong and capable or are we weak and playing a victim? The choice is ours!

Much Love

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Consciousness

Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says

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Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

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