REDEMPTION SONG: READING FOR THE PISCES NEW MOON SOLAR ECLIPSE

Use your imagination and go with the flow of the Universe – it is a Pisces New Moon, after all, says Hannah Ariel.

“You must conceive of possibilities beyond your present state if you are to be able to find the capacity to reach toward them” – Idries Shah

The Pisces New Moon of March 8 is not simply opening a door for our intentions – it will be a New Moon Solar Eclipse; a powerful moment of accelerated evolution. This one lands us in the deep deep sea of 19 degrees Pisces, just a few degrees away from the South Node at 21 degrees, also in Pisces. In Astrology, Eclipses always take place near the nodes of the moon – the elliptical plane where past and future storylines collide.

During a South Node Solar Eclipse, the moon meets up with the south node and experiences its lunar energy in reception to solar energy. From planet Earth, we experience this exchange as a powerful portal that transcends linear time, and orbits us right into our future potential – the story we long to step into.

A Solar eclipse is a magnificent and mysterious phenomenon that opens our psyche to a whole new paradigm. A solar eclipse in Pisces? This is an act of redemption.

Pisces is represented by two fish ever moving between worlds in an infinite conception of possibility. Yes, they go with the flow; yes, they fluidly embrace wherever the tide may take them. But the energy of Pisces can bring forth huge waves of creative potential from the depths of our unconscious experience.

Pisces season is always a time to take notice of what wordlessly surfaces from within you. What waves of consciousness are crashing now? What reality have you been subconsciously merged with for so long that you are finally swimming out of it? How are you becoming more aware of your own intuitive understanding of your life story, as if for the first time in ages?

Pisces is a compassionate ocean of deep revelation, and it is only by diving deep into its mysteries that we can know our own instinctual capacity to fully get in touch with the parts of us we long to know better.

During this Pisces New Moon Eclipse, we are karmically being called forth to release and work with what has been building up inside our psyche for goodness knows how long. It’s a portal for stepping boldly into the immensity of our imaginations; to see through the stories of the past that no longer feel right; to reflect, and then recreate our vision for the next six months. There will be a peculiar mysticism to the way this unfolds though, as Pisces ruling planet is Neptune.

It is Neptune’s job to reveal the reality behind the reality; it is dissolution; it is our own subjective processing of our experiences that is veiled even to ourselves. It is the experience we don’t realize we are experiencing until the curtain drops. For the next six months, life will have funny ways of revealing the waves we’ve been subconsciously riding, and how they are actually bringing us to where we need to be.

Jupiter, still in Virgo, will be opposite this moon reminding us that everything is manageable. We expand by taking things one day, one step at a time. The shadow side of Jupiter though can be blowing things out of proportion, so take care to cultivate compassion as you are finding your way. This is not the time to fall victim to circumstance or judge yourself or others for what they believe.

This IS a time to trust that there is a positive and practical way for you to take your experiences, and roll with their teachings in a way that makes sense to you. It may also be a time where we are tempted to self-sabotage – as the South Node can sometimes find us falling into old patterns. In Pisces, this would be old patterns of escaping reality – opposed to working with the deep swells of energy that are being subjectively experienced

Also on the south side of things, is Chiron. Astrologically, Chiron points to where we may feel like we don’t know what we’re doing. It is how we misjudge ourselves, believing we are in some way wounded – that we don’t have what it takes, or we don’t have “enough” in some areas of our lives. We believe – and fall victim to this belief – that we are at a disadvantage somehow.

In Pisces, this may lead us to feel that we are disconnected from the path of our spirit, due to a mistaken belief we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The greatest shadow of this energy is thinking that we have no true purpose, are forever lost in an abyss of puzzling storylines we just can’t make sense of. So if you feel like you are just slipping through a foggy unreality, hold on!

For Chiron also shows us how we can effectively work to heal ourselves and others – by directly engaging with the very thing that we’re afraid will fail us in some way. So the more we work with what’s coming up, the more we take that positive and practical Jupiter energy and apply it, we have an opportunity to heal our lives beyond recognition. The reality of this Pisces New Moon Solar Eclipse is that we have so much divine experience, having swum through these waters for lifetimes, that we have all the information we need to imagine a way through.

And this Pisces New Moon Eclipse is just the beginning of learning how to use it. So, allow yourself to step into what is coming up at this time in your life, no matter how foreign it feels, no matter how confused you think you are – and use your imagination. Let go of your fear, and like a fish kept safe in water, feel your way into a future storyline with a deep rolling wave of universal trust. Step into this beginning with the sense that everything is unfolding with perfect timing.

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

BRAINWASHED: IS LANDMARK A CULT?

When I did the Landmark Forum, I was following in the footsteps of the most badass people I know – and I learned some invaluable life lessons. So why did I find myself asking; ‘is Landmark a cult?’ By Ruby Warrington. Images: Alex Prager for Garage Magazine.

 

Half way into day three at the Landmark Forum, I was ready to run for the hills. Along with 150 or so other people, from every walk of life, I had been cooped-up in a windowless basement in midtown Manhattan for almost 13 hours a day straight, whilst being told that everything I knew about myself, about my beliefs, and about the world, was an illusion. An illusion created by my “always listening” mind (Landmark speak for the ego) to avoid taking full responsibility for my life.

The course leader was busy psyching the crowd up for the “big reveal” – the key teaching of the Forum that would come later that day, embracing which, we’d been promised, would lead to a life of “infinite possibilities”. So long as we “enrolled” everybody else we knew into the Landmark conversation too (at $600 a pop), and then committed to an on going ($900+) study of their “curriculum for life”.

All around me, people had already been having life-changing epiphanies as they’d worked the course – coming out from behind their “rackets” (“fixed ways of being that result in persistent complaints”) and calling friends and family members they had been “pretending” things were cool with to “cough up the fur-ball” of their most shaming truths (‘Mom, I never come visit because actually it felt like you never really loved me’).

Encouraged to publically share their breakthroughs, there had been tears, and there had been cheers. And here I was, feeling an almost physical repulsion to the teachings. Earlier, we’d been asked to identify our “strong suits” – coping mechanisms we’d adopted at key points of trauma in our lives, which had become “ways of acting and being you rely on to produce results and make it in life.” Which, obviously, had to go, along with all the other “stories” you told yourself about…yourself.

I’d identified one of my strong suits as what I always considered a healthy degree of scepticism, or discernment. It’s what made me a good editor. But now it felt like a straight jacket. I’d paid my money and I wanted a breakthrough too! But all I could think, as I took in the scenes around me, was; “OMG this is actual brainwashing in action. Why did nobody warn me Landmark is…a cult?!”

The “c-word” hit the headlines last week, in the aftermath of the HBO documentary Going Clear – an inside expose on the Church of Scientology. And watching the opening scenes, in which they described the Church’s central process of “auditing” members in order to process their limiting beliefs, I was taken right back to that basement room in the Landmark HQ.

Was Landmark Scientology lite?

The dictionary definition of “brainwashing” is; “to make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure”. True, nobody forced me to do the Landmark Forum – I actually decided to sign up because I knew so many amazing, go-getting, and seemingly highly-evolved individuals who’d done it, and I basically wanted a piece.

But the constant pressure throughout the course to “enrol” our friends, co-workers, and family members definitely crossed over into coercion territory in my book – echoing the way Scientologists are asked to “disconnect” from any people in their life who don’t adopt the teachings of the church. It’s also the kind of behaviour that gets organisations labelled “cult”, opposed to simply “community” or “club”.

The fact that during Landmark I was also confined to that one windowless room for three consecutive 13-hour days, with minimal breaks for food, and asked not to take notes or go to the toilet (this used to be enforced rigidly, but nobody actually stopped me when I did sneak out for a restroom break), also felt a lot like “systematic” pressure to adopt their teachings.

Then there was the bizarre lingo and double-talk they used to scramble my synapses and “re-program” my thinking. Overall, by the time I left, my scepticism very much intact, it felt simultaneously like a narrow escape…and like there must be something really, really wrong with me.

Watching Going Clear (named for the ultimate goal in Scientology – a mind that’s completely “clear”, or washed, of negative beliefs), the phrase that kept returning to me was; “the Emperor’s New Clothes.”

You know the story right? About the sneaky tailor who convinces the Emperor his “invisible” new suit is actually made of the finest cloth. In fear of questioning their leader’s beliefs, the Emperor’s subjects go along with it – complementing him on his beautiful new clothes, despite the fact they can see for themselves he’s naked.

And this desire to conform is something I felt they played on at Landmark, too. Deeply rooted in our most basic psychology, human beings are pack animals after all. Positioning yourself as the outsider is also something akin to suicide on a primal level. In ancient times, distancing yourself from the tribe was a sure-fire way to get killed by predators, or die from lack of food and warmth. Going along with what’s being indoctrinated therefore is not only preferable, it’s the only truly “safe” option.

Did that explain why everybody around me was whooping and cheering when the “big reveal” finally occurred…while it seemed to me like the biggest “racket” on the planet?

Coming out of Landmark, I immediately wanted to speak to the switched-on women I knew who’d done it too. I was desperate to know if they’d felt the same as me – or if I was, in fact, a hopelessly repressed freak-a-zoid, too scared of facing my own demons to even acknowledge their existence. The overarching response I got was that yes, it was a huge shame that there was so much cult-like emphasis on “enrolment”, and the accompanying financial hard sell. Because the teachings in and of themselves were awesome…right?

And here comes the really interesting part. Seven months on, I can see that they were absolutely right – and that the Landmark Forum was one of the most pivotal experiences on my inner journey to date.

We are all slaves to our monkey minds; we do self-sabotage with the stories we choose to believe about ourselves; and we do have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to “look bad”, and to see beyond the illusion of reality, in order to evolve into the highest expression of ourselves. It is in this place of ultimately authentic self-expression that a life of infinite possibility lies.

Behind all the crazy linguistics and mental manipulation, these are the central teachings of Landmark (and of Scientology, from what I’ve read, not to mention Buddhist philosophy!). With hindsight, I can see how having them strong-armed into my psyche over that one mind-bending weekend last September forced me, on some deep level, to accept and work with limiting parts of myself I used to believe were unassailable.

I’ve since had the kind of searingly honest conversations with my mother that have taken our relationship to a whole other level. I no longer blindly accept what my belief system tells me, and look instead to the cold, hard facts of life.

And if I railed against actually calling any people in my life to “get complete” during my Landmark weekend (I had a lengthy email exchange with my mom, and called a friend to confess a very innocuous white lie), I have since embraced the concept of not sugar-coating stuff for fear of upsetting people, or getting a bad reaction – and seen massive benefits. All common sense stuff, actually, “but delivered in an environment of startling intensity,” as another journalist wrote about Landmark.

As for the “big reveal”? You’ll have to do the Forum and find out what it is for yourself. And if that means I’m now “enrolling” you – well, there must be some chinks in my sceptical strong suit after all.

Have you done the Landmark Forum? What did you get out of it? Connect and share your stories on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

To find out more about the Landmark Forum and their courses visit Landmarkworldwide.com