It’s the Winter Solstice 2018 for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and Summer Solstice for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere. Wherever you are, the solstices are not only astronomically important but important markers in human life as well. Personally, I’ve always used the solstices to to reflect on what I’ve achieved and make new goals and targets.
Everyone always says how quickly the year has passed. So much has happened this year that I look back on it in absolute awe. I’ll be posting the yearly horoscopes soon so be sure to pop back in.
I’ve completely lost track of how many flights and bus journeys I’ve taken this year but I can say with a degree of confidence that I’ve taught about 8,000 children (not all at once of course). Of all the things I’ve achieved, that is the one that pleases me the most.
2018 is a year that won’t be replicated! But it’s onward and upward for 2019.
Rumi says that if light is in our heart, we will make our way home.
When I was in India, it was a great blessing to be amongst so many brilliant Jyotish astrologers. I’ve learned so much but one thing that stands out in my mind is how devotional our sidereal friends are. To be an astrologer in India means you learn palmistry, gemology, numerology, vastu (feng shui), meditation, mantras, mudras and yoga. It’s a whole being practice.
For a long time, I’ve felt my astrological practice has been lacking. My personal circumstances were such that I had to battle for my astrological qualifications. And I mean battle.
Until very recently, I thought the battle was primarily a financial one as well as an intellectual one. I actually believed that once I had all those certificates (and paid off the accumulated debts!), I might be able to say I am fully qualified as an astrologer.
Well guess what? Even with an FAS diploma, an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, an honorary PhD and several international conference lecturing places, I still don’t regard myself as being fully qualified as an astrologer!
When I was at the Sedona Vedic Astrology Conference in Arizona, I finally realised what was missing in my astrological education. And it is something I can only give myself. It’s devotion to astrology. Oh I study astrology and I practice it every day. But there’s just something about my nature that dips in and out of things without really committing to anything.
I’m going to start practicing meditation and yoga again. I’ve been pounding on the treadmill and throwing heavy things around for years. But there isn’t that whole body commitment that there is in yoga. And my monkey mind can definitely use some practice in keeping still.
I also don’t think enough about what I put into my body. In Sedona, I was out for dinner with Komilla Sutton and a group of other Vedic astrologers. As we were talking about what we were going to order, I said I was going for the prawn curry. The astrologer sitting next to me said “all those poor little souls” and suddenly, I didn’t fancy chomping on them. So in 2019, I’m going to pay more attention to what I put into my mouth. I’m not sure a vegan or vegetarian diet is good for my blood type but I can be more mindful.
I’m going to pay more attention to what comes out of my mouth too. It’s high time I got to grips with a few more mantras. And I can do way better with my Bengali studies.
And speaking of Bengali, watch this space for some MEGA news. I can’t say too much just yet but my progressed Jupiter is on my natal Sun so expect something HUGE!
At the United Astrology Conference, there is always an astrologers’ memoriam that is always terrifically moving. I think it’s pretty safe to say all 1500 of us had experienced the loss of a friend and beloved starry colleague. There sure was a lot of sniffing and nose blowing in Chicago.
I had to leave the conference straight afterwards as I had a bus to catch. On my way to the taxi, I ran into Chris Turner (who invited me back to Australia!) and Donna Van Toen. Chris told me it was her last UAC. I was tempted to take a photo of the three of us together. But I stubbornly thought “It won’t be the last time we see each other”. I didn’t want to tempt fate.
Donna has always been a terrific support to me. She was the one who got me into UAC 2008 in Denver when I was completely unknown on the international scene. She also brought me to SOTA, not once but twice. In 2014, she nudged me and said it was time to get back on stage. When all the controversy surrounding the tropical versus sidereal zodiac was raging earlier this year, it was Donna who reached out to me to tell me I was doing a good job. If you know anything about Donna, then you know she doesn’t say these kinds of things unless she means them. So it meant the world to me.
Her last words to me were, “I’ll see you in India!”
I said, “No, I’ll see you at SOTA first!”
I was in Riga when I learned that Donna had succumbed to cancer. We knew she had been ill of course. But I think I really didn’t believe something as trivial as cancer would be the end of her sojourn here on planet earth.
We will honour Donna at IVC 2020 as she was one of our speakers. I will miss her terribly. But as we know from the solstices, the light grows and it fades but it never goes completely away.
Journey well my friend. And comfort to your family and friends.
Astrology is all about the search for light and honouring cycles. How wonderful it has been, in these cold and dark mornings, to step out the front door and see beautiful Venus on my way to school. This year for the December Solstice, we are gifted with a Full Moon to light our paths on the longest night here in London.
I intend to spend the evening meditating and maybe doing some quiet chanting.
I am full of gratitude to everyone who has made 2018 so special. Thank you to the parents of the children I have taught for trusting me to educate your child. I especially thank those who attended my lectures on astrology in education, the conference organisers who invited me to speak and those who had invited me into their homes to meet their families and furry friends as I travelled so far away from my own home. I thank Armand Diaz and Margaret Gray, Mj Patterson, David Cochrane, Yasmin Boland, Sheri Horn Hasan and Christos Archos for interviewing me. And of course, thank you to my best friend Gopal Bhattacharjee, his wife Churni and all the rest of my friends in India for all your kindnesses and for helping me to see the world from a completely different perspective.
Have a blessed Solstice wherever you are.