HOLY F*CK: RELATIONSHIPS AS A PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT

In her latest Holy F*ck column, Alexandra Roxo finds herself on the path to enlightenment with relationships coach Perri Gorman

Lettin’ my hair go full Leo in the Croatian sun…

I met Perri Gorman when someone who I had met once messaged me on Facebook and was like: “I think you would like this teacher.” Perri was leading something called a “Relationship Detox,” and it DID seem appropriate, since I had decided to take a six month break from sex, dating, alcohol and drugs to focus on my healing. But then again, randoms send me FB messages all the time so I couldn’t be sure.

When I got Perri on the phone she was INTENSE. I’m an intense woman too, so when I come head to head with another of my kind I can adopt a “been there done that” attitude. Like, “Oh yeah, I’m not afraid to look at my shadows. I do it all the time.” And “Um duh. I’ve done the work.” But somehow she convinced me to sign up for her class. And it was the best gift ever. She called me out on places I had been hiding from my truth and still living from deep rooted childhood fears. (Ugh when does it end????!) At the end of the class I felt palpable changes. Like major shifts. Like, I had looked at all of my uglies in the face and hugged them and given them space to, well…turn into butterflies. Cheesy, yes, but true!

I sat down with Perri to try and understand this alchemical process a little deeper.

Alexandra Roxo: Your website says “TRANSFORMATION IS NOT OPTIONAL” in huge letters which kinda freaks me out but in a good way. Why did you choose that?
Perri Gorman: It’s a bit of a story. When I was living in Hong Kong back in 2007 my life felt like Ground Hog’s day. I had actually hit a certain level of success, but I was like “Is this IT? Like, Is THIS my life?” I had a magnet on my refrigerator that was my savior, which said: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Oh, I must be in a cocoon I used to think. This part sucks. But just hang in there! After my life began to transform (longer story), my online moniker became and still is Bethebutterfly, and the butterfly is my inspirational creature.

Later, I went to a lecture by someone who was also fascinated by the life of the butterfly. She told a story of going to a butterfly farm and asking the keeper; “Does the caterpillar have a choice?” The answer was no. They either transform or they die. It’s not optional. And in this life, I think it is similar for us. Sounds grim but the stakes are really that high.

AR: I agree, and I also feel like the world needs transformation more than ever. Which is what I experienced on your relationship detox course. It’s hard for me to describe how you work though. It’s alchemy! Can you explain?
PG: Well, I am a guide and I create experiences. I walk people down a path that I have been down to and experienced transformation myself. If I haven’t been able to personally alchemize it (whatever “it” might be) I don’t create the experience. Rather than teaching, I help my students facilitate this in themselves. This part is really important. Often if you just “tell” people something, then either the Ego rejects it and can’t hear it—or the Ego hears it, rejects it and turns on you in the process! So in order to stun the ego, you have to guide the spirit and let the “aha” moments come naturally.

Each person has a different speed at which they transform, too. Mine was REALLY slow—partly because I had so much pain inside, it wasn’t safe for it to come out all at once. It was a process. Think of it like detoxing from chemicals. Since your body stores toxins in your fat cells, it won’t actually LET you lose weight too fast if you are toxic because it would poison the body. Awakening is similar. There is a massive pain body that you need to work through in order to open fully.

With the Relationship Detox specifically, it is designed to reframe your entire experience with relationships and have you see the divine messages that meant for you in each experience. By going through the process you are able to let go of behavior that is no longer serving you and choose something new.

Perri Gorman: relationships guru

AR: In the moments you’re coaching me I always start “strong” and then you get in there and crack me open. How do you always manage to do that?!
PG: I think a big part of my work is feeling “you” underneath the “strong,” which is usually a defense mechanism. It’s there to say “yeah I’m cool, nothing to see here, keep moving!” But if you listen closely there is another voice in there saying, “Hey! Don’t listen to her! I’m in here!”

My work is not for the faint of heart as you know, and I think it’s unique because I live it deeply myself. I am not perfect or enlightened but I have a deep deep practice of looking at my own stuff in every situation. I have unwound some really complex and tricky (and not so attractive) patterns in myself, so I can see the patterns more easily than others in many cases. So if you are like me and you have patterns that fog or trick other people, you come to me and I slice the head off that puppy and you feel so much better!

AR: So how is a relationship a crucible? That sounds scary as hell.
PG: Relationship as a crucible means that you don’t do this fairy tale thing of “acquiring” a relationship and then passing out back to sleep. It means staying conscious within the relationship, and being willing for it to “burn” the patterns in you that no longer serve you. It means looking deeply at the other person as a mirror and using that mirror to look at where you can be a better version of yourself.

AR: Yes! I find the deepest work I do is often in partnership. It’s like boot camp. No hiding! Wanna give us an example of what this can look like?
PG: Sure. Right now in my own relationship (I am getting married in October) I am working on a pattern where I try to fix him when he is down because his pain makes me really uncomfortable. So instead of letting him have his experience, I do things that would make him feel better. That sounds like the “nice” thing to do but it is not the “kind” thing to do. The thing to do is focus on myself, support him how he wants to be supported and not need him to be any way other than how he is.

As I started to look more deeply at it, I was like “Why do I do that? Where does that pattern originate?” It comes from childhood and being afraid that things going wrong were my fault and not wanting to get in trouble. But if I fixed it then that meant I did something good! It’s a rescuer pattern where I get personal validation that I am a good person by making him feel better.

But if we are practicing being conscious, then I have robbed him of his down which it is NECESSARY for him to get through himself to get to the freedom on the other side. By trying to help him feel better, (i.e. distract him from his feelings or helping him cover them with yummy things like a chocolate milkshake) I have helped him numb out and I have kept him from feeling what he needs to feel. So I notice it and then I actively practice doing something different so I can shift that piece of myself internally. It’s a practice.

AR: I love this, and I’ve been on both sides of this same coin. Allowing the uncomfortable is tough. People are always looking to “be ok.” But I wonder if some of us are avoiding the shadow. The truth. The messy side. Hiding under a mask of “zen.”
PG: We all have masks and patterns, which is why relationships as reflection from others is so important. I surround myself with people who can penetrate my defenses so the truth can get through. Of course we avoid it. I don’t think that I ever said “Oh hey, I want to be awake and spiritual.” I was a fucking walking ball of chaos and destruction, and I had no choice. It was transform or die. I had to learn how to use all the energy. For others, they feel dead inside or their relationships don’t work or they are bored. In this sense, it’s like we all have different locks that require a different key.

***

So there you have it. Perri always pisses me off with our work, but then she breaks me down and then I cry and feel so happy and see the light!  It’s an amazing process if you surrender to it.

And next up from Perri: self-love. Something I think gets misunderstood A LOT. Self-love doesn’t just mean treating yourself to a mani pedi. It means cutting off toxic relationships. Releasing self-judgment. Body shame. Sexual shame. Owning your voice. Standing up for your needs. Creating healthy boundaries. Self-love is deep. I’m still learning it more and more everyday.

Perri’s new experience, PRESENCE, is all about coming home to yourself through the path authentic self-love. Not in the “everything needs to be good and nice” kind of way, more like “I will sit here with you through it all—good or bad”—something she admits has been one of the most challenging practices for her, and so a major focus of her own healing journey.

Registration for PRESENCE opens August 1 for a limited time. To sign-up, and to learn more about Perri Gorman and her work visit: Theschoolofalchemy.com

POLITICAL CLIMATE CHANGE: A COSMIC OVERVIEW

We’re living through a time of intense political climate change, as reflected in the Cosmos. Five of our favorite mystics unpack the signs of the times…and weigh in on the way ahead. Artwork: Sammy Slabbinck

Here on The Numinous, astrology is not a tool for “predicting” future events, or explaining things away while abdicating our role in shaping how our lives play out—both individually, and as a society.

Rather, we see astrology as a language of symbols that speaks to our collective human experience on Earth, offering valuable perspective and allowing us to examine the bigger picture—especially useful at times when emotions are running high, clouding our judgement and making it difficult to choose the next right course of action.

As in the case of Britain’s recent referendum to leave the EU, the shock results of which have seen a nation spiral into panic and chaos. Made all the more vertigo-inducing against a backdrop of unrelenting terrorist attacks, and an emotionally fraught US election campaign.

Last month, in an eerie foreshadowing of the central issues to Brexit, New York magazine described the Clinton-Trump race as: “kind of a civil war. It’s a referendum on the country’s feelings about inclusion, about women, people of color, and their increasing influence…how it edges out the white men who have long held an exclusive grip on power.”

In short, it’s safe to say we are living through a period of intense political climate change—as written in the current movements of the celestial bodies. Skeptical? Since the political polls leading up to the Brexit referendum were woefully misleading (echoing the last general election in the UK), the wisdom offered by our resident astrologers below—including commentary on what will be needed of us moving forward—feels as relevent as anything the political scientists have got to say…

PLUTO IN CAPRICORN by Ash Bonelli
We are in unstable times, and have been financially since 2008 when Pluto, the planet of wealth/power, moved into the structural sign of Capricorn—and the extent of financial corruption in the world began to come to light. We’re currently half way through this cycle—during which we have seen a growing divide between rich and poor with the emergence of a super-elite, as well as major differences in values between the generations. (NB. “Even eerier? The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was 1762-1778, the exact time when the U.S. was fighting for its independence from England. It was also during this transit that Thomas Jefferson sounded the rallying cry for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and helped author the U.S. Constitution.” – Ophira Edut)

SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE by Ameila Quint
The Saturn-Neptune square, currently occurring November 2015 through September 2016, is shifting cultural philosophies on a global scale. To give you the big picture, this alignment has caused ideological clashes for centuries in a looping cycle that goes back as far as the Salem Witch Trials and the Crusades!

Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of foreign affairs, expatriates, and immigration—all issues at the heart of the Brexit referendum. Sagittarius also rules expansion, so we’re being called to open our hearts and minds to new ways of relating and thinking. Unfortunately, this change won’t come easy with tough Saturn in play.

On the other hand, Neptune is in Pisces, his home sign. This magnifies the energies of compassion, healing, and spirituality. It’s a call from the Universe to ask, on a societal level, what you believe and why. The Brexit referendum did just that. It’s also interesting that Saturn and Neptune are both associated with karma in their own way, because the reverberations of this vote have certainly been karmic in scope.

JUPITER TRINE PLUTO by Ophira Edut
The announcement of Brexit also coincided with the June 26 barrier-breaking Jupiter-Pluto trine, a rare meet-up between global connector Jupiter and powerhouse Pluto. Trines are generally positive and harmonious—but they can also cause things to move quickly, and this massive upheaval happened in the blink of an eye, or so it seemed.

Jupiter is an excitable, optimistic planet that can quickly overshoot its mark. The hopeful populists did not wake up the morning after Brexit economically or politically empowered, but rather, to a currency that plunged to its lowest value in 31 years overnight.

Jupiter is also the “armchair philosopher” of the cosmos, whose starry-eyed visions don’t necessarily translate into reality. Stateside, we hear echoes of Trump’s “Make America great again” slogan. Um, perspective please? If anything, Trump—with his Plutonian land grabs and abuses of power—is making America hate again. And that’s the last thing this world needs now.

MARS DIRECT by Hannah Ariel
With warrior planet Mars about to go direct in controlling Scorpio (June 30th 2016) our urge to define, defend and protect boundaries is intensified to extremes. Mars in Scorpio demands that our actions reflect our integrity—and as it resumes direct motion, what we “yes” and “no” to becomes an act of personal empowerment.

This is a period of cutting ties, creating new bonds, and ultimately realizing from whence we draw our power—and what we must do with this power once we feel we have it. Scorpio rules creation and re-creation, so there is nothing being destroyed at this time that cannot be re-created.

THE UNIVERSAL 9 YEAR by Felicia Bender
In numerology, 2016 is a Universal 9 year—the number of completion, of letting go, transition, and transformation. It is a year of surrender, in it’s truest sense—a positive, intuitive way of living, that grows we learn to develop trust.

Trust that’s needed in a time where old paradigms are crumbling, dissolving, going up in flames or coming up for serious review. We can see this everywhere, from Trumpmania, mass violence, and displaced refugees, to the spotlight on rape culture, and the Brexit referendum—to name just a few boiling points. Numerologically, this is right on time.

This is the end of a cycle, and we can’t move into the next phase without a sobering and stark look at what has been (since the cycle began in 2008—the last universal 1 year) and where we’re at. The task at hand is to then let go of all that’s no longer serving all of us. This isn’t easy. It’s terrifying. It incites anger and fear and every other possible emotion.

THE WAY AHEAD…
“We can use this Saturn/Neptune square for the overall good. We must work on building a solid foundation (Saturn) that is created from a place of justice for all (Neptune). A place where everyone has their needs met. A society where equality becomes commonplace. But it will take time, patience, respect and dedication to achieve these Neptunian dreams.” – Ash Bonelli

“Saturn rules authorities while Neptune rules visionaries, and these groups were very much square to each other in the Brexit polling results. Still, the only way to make this transit work is to find a balance. In this case, this means steadying dogma with compassion, and laws meant to protect with laws that truly heal.” – Amelia Quint

“If anything, Brexit and Donald Trump’s shocking success is exposing an inconvenient truth: Despite the gains of social policies such as marriage equality, there’s a hate-filled Orlando shooter, a Brock Turner getting a tiny slap on the wrist in the Stanford rape case, millions of scared and small-minded people who would rather tank their economy than allow a Muslim or a Mexican to cross “their” (in some cases stolen) borders. We can’t sweep this under the rug or look the other way much longer…which, while also inconvenient, is a wakeup call we can’t ignore.” – Ophira Edut

“The key? Understand that what must fall away must do so without a net, leaving behind a liminal space—a gap. Understanding that we must make friends with this vortex of uncertainty while the old is cleared and the new is being created. And despite all of our impulses otherwise, we must enter into this space with optimism and a sense of excitement, because here is the opportunity of a lifetime to create something new on a massive scale. This process is not for wimps. It’s easier to criticize and despair. Yet it’s our challenge and our charge to visualize and create a now and a future that is more evolved and humanitarian across the board.” – Felicia Bender

“Stay tuned for how this plays out, as the Sun in Cancer will come into its yearly opposition to Pluto in Capricorn July 1st, reminding us that what brings us comfort can also at times hinder out ability to grow. No matter how much is perceived to be at stake these days, the astrology of the times reminds us that it’s all for the sake of transformation.” – Hannah Ariel

TRANSMUTING TRAGEDY: HOW TO WORK WITH SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE

The Saturn square Neptune astrology of the 17th century Salem Witch Trials is currently repeating. But beyond the cultural tension in the air, there is potential for great progress now too, says Amelia QuintArtwork: Silvia Coco

For better or for worse, 2016 has been a year of change. With tragedy after tragedy it can feel impossible to make any sense of the zeitgeist, but this cultural climate has been building since 2015. Thanks to an astrological alignment of Saturn square Neptune, we’re all revising our belief systems.

What does that mean for you as an individual, and for our society as a whole?

:: WHAT IS SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE? ::

Saturn and Neptune are both very powerful in their own rights. Saturn is the ruler of structure, responsibility, and karma. His mythology is complex, and he also had power to subvert social norms.

Meanwhile, Homer referred to Neptune’s Greek counterpart Poseidon as “Shaker of the Earth”—because the god’s volatile temper was known for causing earthquakes. Neptune was also “god of the deep”, and is associated with the unknown and unknowable aspects of life, including magic and spirituality.

Right now, Saturn is in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is associated with all forms of expansion—and so overseas travel, foreign cultures, philosophy, and religious beliefs are all Sagittarian pursuits, given take you outside your comfort zone in one way or another.

Saturn here is challenging the way we as individuals and a community view our own ideologies and those of others. He asks, “What do you believe in, and why?” Sometimes, we may not like the answer.

In addition, Neptune in Pisces is putting pressure on Saturn in the form of a square aspect. It’s a tough aspect, to be sure. And as a backdrop to current political and world events, it can feel like one step forward and two steps back. But history shows us this is not the case…

:: SIGN OF THE TIMES ::

Saturn square Neptune has been causing ideological clashes for nearly a millennia—and the 17th century alignment of Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces saw the Spanish Inquisition and Salem Witch Trials, both brutal regimes carried out in the name of religious belief. (An aside: It’s curious that Robert Eggar’s The Witch, set during that period, has had so much success during the same astrological lineup centuries later!)

Certainly ideology is a vital topic of discussion now. There has been progress and there has been adversity. As a resident of South Carolina, I felt the unspeakable sadness of the AME Church shooting in Charleston and celebrated the great victory for the black community that was removal of the Confederate flag from the SC Capitol grounds.

Only a few months later, the US Supreme Court ruled laws banning same sex marriage to be unconstitutional, effectively legalizing same sex marriage—something I thought might never happen in my highly conservative state. Outside of the US, Ireland legalized same sex marriage as well.

Then there are the acts of violence that we have become all too familiar with—the Charlie Hebdo shooting, the ISIL shootings at Bataclan and throughout Paris, bombings at Brussels airport in Belgium, and most recently, the shooting at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando.

To list them all at once is a pain too acute to bear, but is necessary in order to acknowledge the common thread: that these are attacks on and because of belief.

They are intended to instill fear and feelings of otherness. But what we have seen at every turn is that humanity refuses to succumb to fear and doubt, and holds instead to the belief that “love is love is love”.

Truly, this is the axis of Sagittarius and Pisces in its most heart-wrenchingly beautiful form—a invitation to use the Sagittarian freedoms of speech, religion, and love to conquer hate and to heal the world around us with selfless Piscean empathy.

:: CULTURAL METAMORPHOSIS ::

If you look just beneath the conflicts, you’ll see that Saturn square Neptune is also a catalyst for incredible advancement in culture and spirituality. The 14th century Saturn in Sagittarius square to Neptune in Pisces saw the denouement of the High Renaissance in the West, including the building of the Royal Library at the Louvre in Paris.

Petrarch also wrote his collection of sonnets during this time, altering the poetic form for centuries to come. In the East, the powerful Ming dynasty assumed control and began construction on the Great Wall of China, one of the great wonders of the world.

These squares are also known for being portals for mystical revelations and supernatural events. An extremely rare alignment of Venus and Jupiter called an “occult” occurred during the 12th century square, and Halley’s comet was observed during the 16th century square. During last year’s square, NASA announced the existence of liquid water on Mars, which brings the possibility of life beyond of Earth closer than ever.

The Divine Feminine also seems to resurface during Saturn-Neptune squares, despite being suppressed throughout much of Western history.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, perhaps the most famous Marian apparition in the history of the Catholic Church, appeared during the 16th century square. In that same period, famous occultist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa wrote De nobilitate et praecellentia foeminae sexus (On the Nobility and Excellence of the Feminine Sex), making a huge contribution to the modern magical understanding of femininity.

In the same way, feminine spirituality has experienced a massive renaissance in pop culture and fashion over the last year—and, for the first time, in America we have the opportunity to vote in a female President.

:: HOW TO WORK WITH THE ENERGY OF SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE ::

The best way to collaborate with this vibe is to know where Saturn and Neptune are transiting in your natal chart. If you don’t know where Sagittarius and Pisces are in your chart, you can calculate your chart here.

Once you know what houses are being activated for you personally, focus on transforming your beliefs in those areas for amazing results.

  • Wherever Saturn is transiting is where you need more structure and stability. Are your current methods and belief systems working for you? If not, how can you realign them to feel more free?
  • Wherever Neptune is transiting is where you need to heal and take a spiritual approach. Is there a dream, message, or vision you want to share with the world?

Finally, give yourself the time and space you need to process any feelings that come up. These are challenging times, and an extra focus on self-care is required. Write, rest, or do whatever else helps you feel whole again. While you’re at it, see if someone near and dear to you needs some extra love too.

The exact dates of Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces are: 26 November 2015, 18 June 2016, 10 September 2016.

A NEW VISION: READING FOR THE SAGITTARIUS NEW MOON

See beyond limitations, and tomorrow’s Sagittarius New Moon has the potential to manifest a breathtaking outcome, says Hannah Ariel.

“When you step further into the story you came to live, not only does the mythic territory open but the self moves and the world of imagination and meaning comes toward you.” – Michael Meade.

Think broader, see bigger, explore, envision, have more faith, hold more space. The Sun entered Sagittarius November 22, and as you may have begun to experience already, this energy encourages expansiveness beyond belief – quite literally. When it comes to Sagittarius season, it makes no difference what beliefs you have preoccupied yourself with, or what you always perceived to be the case. There is a fundamental desire now to move beyond what has been experienced into what could be experienced.

Think of this Sagittarius New Moon as the moment you enter your spaceship and get to dial in the direction of your destination. Now expand your vision as far as it can go. Sagittarius is the spirit that perceives the future – pure visionary consciousness! So where is life taking you to these days? Intuitively, where is the horizon? Which story line are you following? Are you aware of the signposts? Do you see what is possible?

Luckily, this is also a Jupiter ruled Moon. Being the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter opens our eyes to see the bright side and the bigger picture, offering the optimism and inspiration to look beyond our current circumstances. Jupiter has everything to do with opportunity, intuition, spiritual journeying, good fortune, and benevolence.

Because Sagittarius is mutable fire, experiences may take on any of these themes and manifest in a number of forms. Be prepared to spread yourself out a bit more than you’re accustomed to. Set yourself free. The archetype of the constellation itself is depicted as the archer after all, with its arrow pulled back ready to fly. Intend to seek out opportunities that will restore your faith in the boundless potential of your life.

Look to what inspires you and get inspired to go in that direction! Hold the vision in your mind like that arrow shooting toward the sky because with a Jupiter moon, nothing is quite out of reach – hit or miss, with Sagittarius it’s the experience of a meaningful journey that will expand your consciousness and, in fact, show you something even better than what you originally intended.

But let’s look at what exactly Jupiter is up to, to really get the message of this Sagittarius New Moon clear. As Jupiter continues on its journey through Virgo (since August) it is now nearly conjunct the North Node – an evolutionary portal that is currently asking us to be more discriminating on the daily. Jupiter in Virgo wants to heal our relationship to our physical reality by first fixing our attention on the details that aren’t adding up; our routines, our habits, the little things we say and do.

It’s our destiny to understand how we can take practical measures to change what no longer works, and instead organize ourselves around specific, tangible goals. With the South Node (the wisdom of our past life experiences) in Pisces, we can trust the subtle nature of the divine to show up in this process – it’s just a matter of defining which vision, which belief structure, you are looking to serve.

Without honoring the energy of the Jupiter/North Node conjunction in Virgo, New Moon intentions can easily slip through our fingers. It could be easy to accidently let go of control all together at this time, and instead of experiencing a divinely guided reality, be left to clean up a mess you don’t remember making!

Jupiter is also making a square aspect to the Sagittarius New Moon, suggesting there may be a blind spot; it’s in our best interests to pay extra attention to anything we may be prone to overlook. In contrary to the expansive nature of this New Moon, it can be a time where foresight will pay off in a big, unexpected way. A square in astrology is a transit that can amplify the potential of the energy available – when used in the right way – so there is capacity now for an outstanding outcome.

As Mercury will have just entered Capricorn, a cardinal earth sign, it is indeed a favorable period to carry out solid plans. Make good use of the thoughts and visions that are coming to you now. As you have an idea, apply it. Get grounded in it. Understand the potential of its real-life application and see how successful it can be.

One other aspect we will feel very strongly, exact around this Sagittarius New Moon, is the Mars in Libra opposition to Uranus in Aries. If you recall, at the October 11 New Moon in Libra, it was the Sun that was in opposition Uranus – reminding us how uncomfortable we are in certain positions, and ultimately liberating us from roles we’ve played one too many times.

Now, here comes Mars to take action on what’s been uncovered. What breakthroughs in identity have you had? How has your self-perception shifted, especially within your relationships and the people you are attracting? These realizations will act as your best friends during this Sagittarius New Moon, as this opposition will be sextiling it from both sides.

Act out the internal changes and realize every breakthrough and breakdown has opened us up for the journey to come. Fire needs space to breath new life into. Taking action to clear what’s in the way only creates more room for more expansive, meaningful opportunities to come to life for you. Now that’s a whole lot of beneficial astrology, so remember; Make inspired intentions, serve them well, and they will serve you. Bring your imagination to life.

To book a personal reading with Hannah Ariel contact: [email protected]