Libran Reflections

A7_10_yin_yangzOur Libra workshop last weekend was one of the highlights of the year so far.  It was a profoundly moving weekend, full of depth, penetrating insight and personal revelation.  We were exactly twelve in number for the first time this year, one for each zodiac sign, which felt very auspicious, balanced and symmetrical.  We drew more women than men, so weren’t quite so balanced by gender this year, despite the fact that Libra stands for balance of male and female, of yin and yang.

libra_tiresiasThis gender imbalance did put me in mind of the story about that wonderful Libran figure from Greek mythology, Tiresias. He is given the honour by Hera of being able to experience seven years of life as a woman, a trans-sexual initiation that enables him to settle a debate between Hera and Zeus as to who experiences the greater pleasure, man or woman.  Tiresias famously answers that women enjoy 9/10ths of the pleasure, while men enjoy only 1/10th – for which he is blinded by Hera – on account of his indiscretion in letting the cat of the bag, and revealing such a great secret! Thus Tiresias becomes the blind prophet or blind seer – one of a line of Libran archetypal figures who must relinquish their sight in order to maintain balanced judgment.

Justicia from our Libra Altar

Justicia from our Libra Altar

We see this theme reflected in the figures of Themis and Justicia.  Both figures are blindfolded and carry a set of Libran scales in one hand and the sword of justice in the other, a motif translated directly into the tarot card of Justice, with the difference that the figure in the Justice card is not always blindfolded.  Yet for me, this process of blindfolding is important as it inevitably sends us into a deeper level of contemplation beyond the myriad distractions of the visual sense.  Perhaps if Paris had been blindfolded when he (inevitably) chose Aphrodite as “the fairest” ahead of Hera and Athene, he might have chosen more wisely, and the consequences of his choice might have been less catastrophic!  We decided to incorporate the blindfold into one of our processes on the workshop this year and it definitely made the experience more powerful and allowed our participants to access an experience of balance within themselves, which might have been more difficult had they had their eyes open.

Our astrodrama pieces were some of the most powerful we have ever done – we went further than normal as we embodied not only the Venus position, but also the planets aspecting Venus, together with the ascendant, chart ruler and descendant of the chart.  So we were able to explore how the principle of attraction works for each person and find out where the blocks are – and gently allow a process of transformation to unfold around that through our play.  As always on The Alchemical Journey, we work with our birth charts during the weekend, not by way of analysis but rather through experiential play – using music, mask, movement and simple theatrical constructs to enable spontaneous embodiment of the astrological archetypes.  This way of approaching the chart allows people with little or no astrological knowledge to engage fully with the process with only minimal input from me as facilitating astrologer – as one or two people with no astrological knowledge discovered, this weekend.  We experienced some marvelous revelations and the whole experience was profoundly moving.

Embodying the Astrological Archetypes

Embodying the Astrological Archetypes

Our Libran altar was magnificent as always, and a big thank you to Colette for putting it together and to Celia and Anthony for their contribution of the doves statue.

Our Libra Altar - Centrepiece of our Workshop

Our Libra Altar - Centrepiece of our Workshop

Our walk in the Libran dove was sublime, and we were blessed, as we so often are, with beautiful weather more becoming of late summer than beckoning Autumn. Here is a photo from our walk, taken at Baltonsborough Flights, one of my favourite places in the Zodiac. This weir gushes out water, and we always approach it in silence to appreciate the wonderful sound it generates as it comes into earshot. It is right on one of the wing tips of the dove, at the point where it meets the third eye of the Sagittarian figure, and appears to be flying out of the archer’s forehead. We’re not sure why it should be called the “flights” yet it corresponds so beautifully, of course, with our landscape bird who takes flight from this point!  It’s a special place, a well-known wild swimming hole, and so full of wonderful symbolic resonance.

Our Group at Baltonsborough Flights on the Libran Dove

Our Group at Baltonsborough Flights on the Libran Dove

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