The Washington Post just launched a new section called Well+Being. Articles cover Food, Fitness, Mind and Body. Here is how you can learn more:
This from the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London. These are virtual so anyone can join:
The Summer 2022 webinars start on 8th May - take a look at the full details and book now at https://www.cpalondon.com/seminars.html
Webinars are real-time, online seminars in psychological astrology. You are able to interact with the tutor and other students as the session happens via a chat box. Experience a MISPA seminar live from anywhere in the world through your computer browser or app. If you can't make it live you can still book and receive four weeks access to the recording of the event afterwards.
Lost and Found: Working with the 12th house in the birth chart
Sunday 8th May 2022 - 15.30-18.00 BST
Planets in the 12th house are often ‘cut off’ early in life, they may feel invisible to us, neglected or unrecognized. They can also be misinterpreted by others, leading to a sense of separateness or exclusion. At the same time, they give access to other realms, and ways of being, even to memories out of time. As these energies become consciously integrated they have much to offer in terms of vision, compassion and insight. Unintegrated planets here can be the source of our “undoing”. How do we “find’ these energies and begin to live them well?
Rage Hard: Reclaiming Mars Energy
Sunday 15th May 2022 - 15.30-18.00 BST
Will, drive, aggression, masculinity. These words often have negative connotations in our modern world. Mars is in crisis right now as we struggle with criminality, patriarchy and high rates of suicide. The warrior has been demoted to a safe fictional character or demonised in war, gang violence or as the sexual predator. Have we forgotten how to honour him?
In this re-evaluation of Mars, our driving force in life, we will look at why Mars is so important to every one of us and what terrible problems he can cause in life if we try and ignore him. How can we restore him to a noble figure?
Angels & Daimons, Signs & Wonders
Sunday 29th May 2022 - 15.30-18.00 BST
“I sit and wait… does an Angel contemplate my Fate?” sings Robbie Williams in his song, “Angels.”
In our modern culture of billions and trillions of email messages, text messages, and instant messages transmitting back and forth across the world from smartphones, tablets, and personal computers, it’s easy to forget the original instant messengers: the angels (from the Greek word “angelos,” meaning: “messenger, one that announces”), known in ancient Greece as daimons. In our modern culture saturated with technology, social media, ultra-high definition, and everything we need seemingly within grasp or easily delivered, are angels and daimons even relevant? And what do they have to do with astrology?
Influenced by James Hillman’s “The Soul’s Code,” among other sources, this webinar explores angels, daimons, the Roman genius, and the North African genie – all variations on the same theme of the spirit that is born with us, within us, the spirit that remembers our soul’s reasons for being here on earth. How can we approach the natal chart with the daimon in mind? How might we experience transits if we imagine a daimon behind the scenes? We will look at chart examples for glimpses of the daimon within, and we’ll see how angels and daimons and genius and genies show up archetypally via the imagination of popular culture in movies, literature, and songs, and how they can enhance our astrological imagination, keeping us in close contact with soul.
The Sun and the Moon in the astrological chart
Sunday 19th June 2022 - 15.30-18.00 BST
The Sun and the Moon are the two great luminaries in our sky. The Sun keeps its shape and brightness and lights up our days, and the Moon waxes and wanes through the night sky in relation to the Sun. They are intimately related to each other in the heavens above us, and also in the astrological chart. Here we shall look at the relationship between them so to remember how fundamental they are to our natures and how we might honour them as we develop through our lives.
The Astrology of Grief
Sunday 26th June 2022 - 15.30-18.00 BST
This webinar will focus on the universal, and yet intensely personal, experience of grief. "Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love." (Rabbi Earl Grollman). We will explore the multi-layered astrological landscape of loss and grief and use the medium of enduring myths and stories to help us recognise and release the old griefs, personal, familial, ancestral and collective, which are stored in our bodies and souls.
[Freya’s Tears - Anne-Marie Zilberman in the style of Gustav Klimt]
Along the Edge of Self and Chaos: Venus, Mars, and the Birth of Eros
Sunday 3rd July 2022 - 15.30-18.00 BST
The Greeks said variously that Eros was the child of Nyx (Night) and Chaos who then created the entire world; and also the child of Venus and Mars whose arrows could inflame any heart with love. Audre Lorde wrote that “The erotic is the measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.” Something about Love creates and recreates the entire world. Yet Love also often unnerves and overwhelms us, taking our entire world apart.
In the astrological sky, Venus and Mars – planets belonging to the Night sect – tell part of the story of our relation to the erotic. Often repressed yet also objectified and used by a Day-centered world, when these planets come forward in us they frequently do so with intense need and a sense of urgency and possibility. In this webinar we will explore myths of these two archetypes drawn from the Greco-Roman tradition but also the earlier Egyptian and Mesopotamian stories, to understand each planet on its own terms, and how they subject us (Mars) and seduce us (Venus) away from the order of our Daytime selves into the rich, polymorphous, chaotic space of Night.
There is probably nothing more fascinating or scary than the Dance Macabre which, in a time where death was all around. Wikipedia define it as consisting of the dead or a personification of death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and laborer. It was produced as memento mori, to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now-lost mural at Holy Innocents' Cemetery in Paris dating from 1424 to 1425.
In this Atlas Obscura podcast, Caitlin Doughty, from “Ask a Mortician,” gives us a dance lesson in the two-step we were all born to do.
I have just found a great site - Cafe Astrology - that offers an ephemeris. Here is January 2021 which can not only be used to track planetary movements, it also show void of moon times and eclipses.
May the stars be with you!
Are you feeling extra anxious and stressed now? Many of us are. Consumer Reports has offered a few ways to reduce stress during this pandemic. Read the full article in the above link and here are the toplines --
The Basics: Eating, Sleeping, Exercise
Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet can help you manage stress and reduce anxiety, and may help maintain a strong immune system. These goals may seem unreachable when you’re stressed out, but they don't have to be.
Before you give in to a food craving, ask yourself whether you're really hungry or whether you're actually feeling frustrated, sad, empty, or lonely. Once you identify the feeling, it's easier to consider better choices. Here, other strategies for reinforcing healthy eating.
Whether you go to the gym regularly or like to walk, jog, or ride a bike outside, your exercise regimen has probably been disrupted, too. That means you’re probably not getting your usual stress-relieving dose of the feel-good neurotransmitters endorphins that exercise provides. But most areas still allow solitary outdoor walks and runs (as long as you socially distance), and today, there are more ways to exercise indoors than ever. And you may not need a whole lot of physical activity to improve your mood; even a 15-minute walk can make a difference.
And though it’s not surprising that stress can keep you from sleeping well, a lack of sleep and an abundance of stress can create a vicious cycle: lying in bed awake can lead you to ruminate even more, and those swirling thoughts can further keep you from dozing off.
Basic bedroom sleep hygiene—keeping the room cool and dark, staying off electronics before bed—is a good place to start. Some sleep apps may be helpful as well, by blocking out outside noise, for instance.
Breathe . . . Deeply
Stressed-out people tend to take quick, shallow breaths, which further exacerbates the fight-or-flight response.
Interrupting that cycle through a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply—aiming for five to six deep breaths per minute—just for a quarter-hour or so a day is a surprisingly effectively way to relieve feelings of anxiety and stress.
Corsica recommends diaphragmatic breathing, a form of slow, deep breathing that involves a purposeful expansion and contraction of the diaphragm and belly. A small study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2017 found that people who engaged in 15 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing 20 times over 8 weeks showed improved attention and mood, and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, compared with a group who didn’t do the breathing sessions.
Focus on the Short-Term
It's hard right now not to wonder how the pandemic will resolve, but thinking shorter-term has been found to be a more useful way to handle the stress, according to a study led by Neupert and published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
“My lab’s study found the best recipe for dealing with everyday stressors is to try to simultaneously plan ahead about what you can control and stay in the moment mindfully,” she says. “That means recognizing what’s going on in the present without trying to change it. That’s what we found was the best combination for resilience to stress.”
These findings might be especially relevant now, she says. Mindfulness—which has been defined as staying focused on the present—has long been known to help reduce stress, and there are techniques you can use to get better at it, such as yoga (you can search for "yoga for anxiety" or "restorative yoga" online, and if you're new to yoga, here's how you can get started) and meditation (the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center provides free online guided meditations).
Mapping out and following a plan for the week or just the next day can also help, by giving you a better sense of control, experts say. Clinical and forensic psychologist Paula A. Madrid, Psy.D., of New York City, recommends creating a daily schedule of simple, reasonable actions to take: call a friend, try a new recipe, work in the garden. If you’re working from home, shower and dress, says UC Irvine's Garfin.
Look to a Positive Future
It may feel like we've all spent an eternity social distancing, but the pandemic will eventually end, Madrid points out. And while there’s no way to know what details of your life may change permanently, it’s fine to put your imagination to work in a positive way.
“Project your mind to the future, to a year or even a few months from now, to give you a sense of relief from the present,” Madrid says.
Planning a future winter vacation or figuring out the details of your next landmark anniversary party can remind you that there are happy activities to look forward to down the road.
Working on projects or skills that you can use after the pandemic—learning a language, taking an online knitting class, or reorganizing your home—may also be helpful, says Corsica: “Tasks that distract you in the here and now but also benefit you in the future are wonderful.”
Keep Up Key Connections
Whatever communities are most important to you—whether it’s your religious congregation, gym buddies, or book group—try to stay in touch.
You may not be going out, but technology today provides us with multiple ways to connect with other people. For instance, your gym or house of worship may be holding livestream or recorded sessions online. And you can “see” friends and family on your smartphone, tablet, or computer by using video conferencing services like Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom, many of which offer free versions (be aware, though, of potential privacy concerns).
If you miss catching a favorite show with a friend, innovations like Google Chrome’s free Netflix Party extension let you share that experience long-distance, too. Playing online group games like Words with Friends can also help you feel connected.
“Try to find whatever ways you feel comfortable with to stay socially connected,” says Neupert. “Reach out via phone, text, video conference when you find yourself missing a social connection or feeling lonely.”
That said, you may feel you’re getting too much contact with others, especially if your family is large and your home is small. “You don’t usually spend this much time with anyone,” Garfin points out. Make sure to carve out private time for yourself, and let each member of your family do the same.
Limit Your Intake of News
Watching and reading endless news stories about the pandemic? Getting accurate information is crucial for well-being during quarantine, according to a review of research published online in February’s The Lancet. Having the right info about the real risks of contracting COVID-19 and the reasons for self-quarantining and social distancing can also help keep you from catastrophizing, experts say.
At the same time, too much information—even if it's correct—can be overwhelming. “Staying glued to the TV, watching the exact same press conference three times, is probably one of the worst things you could do,” Garfin says.
How much is too much? Madrid’s rule of thumb is “Do not watch the news more than an hour a day.”
And limit the number of media options to those that you really need. Stick with trusted, science-backed sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and news from your state or local government and health department sites, which can advise you on issues such as park closings or transit changes in your area. If you're frustrated by the ever-changing guidance and advice, know that it's normal in a new situation. As experts learn more about the coronavirus, you can expect guidance to change again.
Find a Way to Nature
Feeling a connection with nature has real, restorative effects on your sense of well-being and, according to a 2019 study from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, even 20 minutes can measurably reduce levels of stress hormones.
That’s especially true if you can get a little exercise while you’re outside. “It’s helpful to take walks for mental and physical health within social distancing guidelines,” Garfin says.
But if you're stuck indoors, research suggests that soaking in a view of a natural setting—trees, a lawn, a garden—can reduce stress symptoms, as can exposure to household plants or herb gardens. Even sitting near a window that provides sunlight can help improve your sleep and quality of life, which in turn can ease feelings of anxiety. And a small 2015 study from the Netherlands found that gazing at photos of nature helped people recover from stressful events. No pictures of forests or fields on hand? Try a virtual tour of a national park or live cams of waterscapes.
Do Good to Feel Good
Hardship can be easier to bear when you feel it's for the good of the larger community, according to the authors of The Lancet review about quarantines.
Research also shows that giving to others in some way—whether it’s sewing masks, food shopping for an at-risk neighbor, or talking a not-so-tech-savvy friend through setting up FaceTime—can make you feel happier and less stressed, Neupert notes. (Here, a rundown of ways to help.) "And it’s a two-way street," she adds. "People you reach out to can benefit you, too."
Know When to Get Expert Help
Some of us may need, or simply want, more support in coping with anxiety or sadness.
Seek help right away if you've thought of harming yourself or others. If you don't have a mental health provider, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, which offers free, confidential help.
For others, "if you realize that your thoughts, behaviors, or feelings are preventing you from feeling like you’re functioning or able to get through a day, that’s a sign to reach out,” says Neupert, including “if you’re having trouble getting out of bed, or you’ve lost interest in activities, or you feel really hopeless.”
Fortunately, finding counseling or a medication consult via phone or computer is far easier than it used to be. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been training its member doctors in telehealth, and regulations on telehealth have been temporarily relaxed.
If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, ask whether he or she can “see” you virtually (check your insurance coverage first). Many health insurers are also now offering telemedicine services, or your primary care provider may be able to recommend a mental healthcare provider who does virtual counseling.
Your local hospital may also have sliding scale mental health services, and some local health department websites offer contact information for social service resources. Companies, like Amwell and MDLive, offer telehealth psychiatry as well as psychological therapy. (Costs vary depending on insurance; out-of-pocket fees are usually less than $100.)
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a long list of mental health resources, including hotlines and warmlines—for non-emergency situations. The APA has a resource list as well, along with advice for families of those who are struggling emotionally.
Additional reporting by Nadia Torres