Wishing you and yours a happy Winter Solstice.
Many claim that today's solstice will not only be the longest, darkest night of the longest, darkest year, but is safe to claim as the official start of the Age of Aquarius – the age of freedom and personal liberation from collective karma, ego-soul splits, and oppression (more on this later).
2020 has certainly been full of hard and painful endings and not-yet composted grief and loss. It has tested and stretched many of us beyond our limits, and especially challenged our sense of self and control over our lives and circumstances.
Here at the Van Tuyl household, being suspended in uncertainty between endings, beginnings, and more endings and beginnings has been a constant all year.
This very moment, we are waiting for my 87 year old mother’s Covid test results. A few other residents and staff at her nursing home recently tested positive after months of utmost care and minimal contact with visitors from the outside. Despite being only 3 minutes away, we had to suffice with FT calls and talking to her behind a glass window. When she qualified for hospice care due to sudden, short-lived dips in her health, dementia and degenerative ataxia, it was always a complicated experience for us. We were happy to be able to visit her in person but also endured spikes of anxiety and concern if it was going to be the last time.
This Covid incident follows at the heels of another scare requiring all of us, including my 82 year old dad who lives with us, to get tested after my 17 year old daughter was exposed to a friend who’d tested positive. We fortunately all tested negative.
My daughter is in her senior year of high school, and grieving the many perks, celebrations and social activities that she’d looked forward to since her freshman year. Hopefully, she will still have a senior ball and more than a drive-through graduation. It has been harder going through and slowly recovering from knee surgery all year as a competitive dancer, and bravely claiming in the midst of unraveling and sadness, while sitting out all (virtual) season, that dance is central to who she is and what she wants to major in, something that was so hard to admit and invest in precisely because it was so near and dear to her heart. Only to discover after finally getting to dance and enjoying her much-missed and needed outlet that she needs to go through the same surgery all over again on January 12. Her ACL didn’t properly heal, something that happens in about 10% of surgeries.
My 20 year old son also overhauled his life this year after hitting a wall last Fall following the sudden death and suicide of two peers. Early January, he took off by himself to help out at a very remote Wwoofing (organic farming) eco resort and village on the Ogasawara islands in Japan, only reachable by a 25 hour ferry ride from Tokyo, once a week.
He stayed on this beautiful world heritage site, helping his host and the locals cut firewood, clean and renovate their place, and tend to the needs of guests in broken Japanese until the end of March, a week before total lockdown of flights!
This occurred around the same time my husband, 51, felt torn about leaving an IT role at a non-profit to venture out and expand his services to the general public. For the past few years, he and his team had been working diligently on innovative technology to improve the lives of thousands of kids with autism and on the spectrum and their families by making it easier to access and coordinate their private medical information and care.
I spent 8 months grieving and deciding whether or not to give up my therapy office of nearly 20 years. My lease ended the beginning of this month and I went ahead and said goodbye to my beloved physical sanctuary that looked and felt like a crystal cave to me. It helped to absorb and support the breaking down and metabolizing of undigested trauma, e-motion, overwhelm, loss and pain during thousands of sessions.
The lesson we all learned this year, each in our own way, is that going through the full blown yin-yang process of endings and beginnings is not the same as looking for a silver lining and replacing the “negative” with a “positive”. That would sound something like, “Don’t complain. So many people are going through so much worse. Think about all the people who lost a loved one due to Covid or the many people with so much less — fill in the blank —struggling in the world. At least we have a — fill in the blank: roof over our heads, jobs, our health, one another, etc etc.”
While a gratitude practice helps to see the big picture, it is heat, not light, or just insight, that truly transforms constricted, stuck parts of ourselves. Seeking the big picture is not the same as fully grieving, metabolizing and alchemizing endings into new beginnings and post traumatic growth—if the endings were traumatic or stirred up old trauma. We need to make space for all in order to spiritually compost and birth it into a higher form.
The big picture can help with perspective shifting but it may still be necessary to work directly with the ego and its rigid attachments and expectations that life will or needs to unfold exactly according to our timeline and plans for us to feel secure and safe.
This mindset may sound sterile, robotic, boring and oppressive to our free-spirited self but this kind of thinking is sadly more of the norm than the exception. Avoiding or killing the ego is not the answer either, but quite popular among spiritual seekers and sensitive souls like us. It’s the reason why anxiety and depression have become widespread epidemics in their own right and are often no longer traceable to stagnant energy and buried pain that’s stuck in an incomplete grief or post-traumatic growth cycle. When key steps in processing this pain are bypassed, it’s easier to lure us into becoming sleepwalking zombies with workaholic tendencies, overmedicated lives, and all sorts of addictions and predictable patterns to cope and manage.
The yin-yang symbol re-minds us that new beginnings and meaning emerge from deep within. It usually requires some ego-mind breaking down to access these hidden layers and bigger truths.
This means that we need to get more comfortable with a bit of mental dis-order: stretch ourselves beyond the familiar, surrender to the unknown and instinctual, and trust the uncertain and messy disintegration and reintegration processes that mark our transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.
We are each still in the throes of this journey.
In regard to my mother: perhaps it was the energetic and healing work that I and my friends from the Sacred Stream did for her, perhaps it was her dementia, or a combo of both, but her strong sense of mental order–– but not so ideal emotional state––shifted from chronically disgruntled to steady inner peace and gratitude.
Her before state: permanently stuck in bed and all that she couldn’t control — the temperature, what she wore, ate, drank, saw, or heard or when people tended to her needs — was always slightly off. The suffering this produced was constant, even if caused by just a few degrees or minutes.
It was easy for us to say, of course she is bitter and quick to take her suffering and frustrations out on anyone and everyone, wouldn’t you? It’s related to something deeper — her inability to control her life — and she can’t work through it. It’s her dis-ease and we can buffer and absorb this energy. That’s what family is for.
We could have stopped short here, but we didn’t, because this kind of scapegoating doesn’t help her soul and frankly stunts our growth too.
We don’t always get what we want or pray for, but in this case we did. I give credit to mystery for supporting our requests and re-aligning her with her true nature and inner sense of harmony: she let go of the kind of control that only offered her a false sense of security; she is able to trust life and feels safe, loved, and confident that we will never abandon her and neither will her caregivers and the Great Mystery; and she is able to feel gratitude and receive care, sustenance and attention. All of this now magically happening at the exact right time.
Thanks to her ego structure disintegrating and reintegrating this year, we have been gifted the precious opportunity to be fully present, open and wholehearted with her, which has helped us heal past hurts when this wasn’t so and slowly grieve her declining absence in our lives. (In the meantime, we received good news: her Covid test results are negative, and the outbreak at her nursing home is minor and under control).
My daughter was also able to dig deep and reorganize her sense of self to move bouts of depression and stuck grief along by examining her beliefs and assumptions about life. Her many discoveries about our ego hang-ups — aided by a mushroom trip that I learned about after the fact! — sparked her interest in psychology, healing, nature, spirituality and a much broader perspective and career interest in performing arts and creative expression that she wrote killer college essays on. A whole new world opened up for her that we enjoy bonding around, and it’s exciting and hopeful for me to see what the next generation is capable of when trusted and supported in finding their truth and clarity.
My son similarly accessed greater meaning in life during his moneyless adventure, living from the land, and surrounded by ocean and ancient traditions, wisdom and culture that allowed him to strip away all that he’d known and relied on for stability. He loved getting in touch with his wild, raw and primal true self and learning the ins and outs of eco-resort accommodating. We’ve enjoyed a salt-water aquarium he set up and appreciate how much goes into keeping a delicate marine environment in perfect balance to support life. He is ready to transfer to a 4 year university with fresh insights and interest in philosophy, economics, racial and environmental justice and conservation.
My husband proceeded to switch jobs right before the pandemic. Extrapolating his technological expertise and applications to the larger medical field required tackling a steep learning curve and has been more challenging and complex than his previous role. It occurred right when we all needed to transition to virtual health care and now makes perfect sense that here’s where he belongs and is most needed right now.
And this year, I also transitioned my entire practice and 1-1 clientele online. I offered two Soul Authority online courses, a 9 month Own your Natural Genius Zone total transformational course and an Advanced Ancestral healing course. While it’s not possible to replace the unique experience of in-person meetings, it was delightful to discover how amenable soul authority and trance work were to online sessions, especially when we closed our eyes.
It was an honor to assist my many clients and students in unpacking and exploring their lives and mindsets in brand-new ways, and courageously integrate months, years and even decades of soul fragments into a powerful, reborn self precisely because of 2020's many challenges and losses that cracked them wide open.
The big perks of virtual services are, of course, greater reach and accessibility to audiences far and wide. My ancestors, as they’d done once before, guided the evolution of my practice, career trajectory and online courses in ways that are slowly coming into greater focus. Expanding my impact is apparently on the top of the list and what better way to do this then by focusing my energy and capturing my signature frameworks and the incredible transformations that I’ve had the honor of guiding into book two, Soul Authority for Transformation Trailblazers: a 7 Step Ego-Eco Alignment System for Re-Naturing our De-Natured Minds and Daily Modern Lives (I wasn't kidding when I said that the title and subtitle will probably go through a dozen revisions : ).
Barely a week went by after giving in and committing to this grand endeavor before book writing resources and mentorship, including a scholarship, fell into my lap. Magical and auspicious signs, some passed on by clients, reassured me that I was on the right path and more uncanny synchronistic guidance, opportunities and gifts met me half-way and gave me the courage to trust and follow the bread crumbs.
The book mentorship helped me to conceptualize and flesh out the core premise and skeleton of my book in no time. When this was in good shape, the publisher of North Atlantic Books discovered my “groundbreaking” work (gasp - this went beyond my wildest dreams) and asked to see what I’d written up so far (thanks to a student following a hunch from her spirit guides to reconnect with him!). Over the course of the next few weeks, while getting my proposal together and researching the streams of influence for this book, I was synchronistically directed to an ancient Taoist text and made a major discovery about my Soul Authority system, my soul’s purpose and a wicked joke that my ancestors pulled on me two decades ago and finally filled me in on (I will need to tell you the details next time, considering the length of this letter : ).
Last Friday, the last work day before today’s very special Winter Solstice, I was offered a book deal. My head is still spinning because of the divine timing and the generous support I’m receiving in getting my work out in the world. It feels 100% right and I am grateful, honored, excited and as ready as I'll ever be (no, I don't agree with advice to power through if you don't feel ready for the next step –– we bypass enough as it is! My methods are about sustaining balance right at your edge and about steady expansion.)
On this solstice night, Jupiter and Saturn will come so close in the sky, they will appear as one large planet. The last time Jupiter and Saturn kissed in the sky was in the year 1226.
According to intuitive astrologer, Rachel Lang, in the Dec 2019 article, 2020 is Just the Beginning of the Great Transformation, “this [Jupiter-Saturn] transit suggests a new beginning for us all and a turning point in our history. It shows us the best way forward is to bring our unique and individual ideas together in community spaces, building teams and coalitions to create change. It’s a liberating influence that starts with questioning your beliefs and thought patterns.”
Many astrologers claim that this Winter Solstice also marks the official start of the Age of Aquarius. The last time we were in this 2150 year astrological age (12 constellations of the Zodiac) was roughly 25,800 years ago (there is much debate around the exact start of the Age of Aquarius but the perfect storm of pandemic, political and planetary upheaval in 2020 and this great planetary conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, meeting at exactly the 1st degree of Aquarius, does seem characteristic of a final cosmic push and dramatic transition from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius).
Intrigued and wondering how your spiritual growth has been impacted by larger forces as we enter the Age of Aquarius?
I’m a novice when it comes to astrology but found this article, the Age of Aquarius – the Next Chapter, and a description of the last six ages starting with the Age of Leo, very resonant and eye-opening.
It was especially heartening and hopeful to read that Aquarius is a democratic, egalitarian sign and that the hierarchical top-down systems of the past will cease to exist. What was also fascinating to learn is that the twin fish in the Pisces sign represent the Ego and the Soul, artificially split and in constant battle. Apparently, in the Age of Aquarius we will reconcile this Yin-Yang dilemma and learn to work together toward greater humanitarian goals guided by an overarching, integrated higher self –– my name for this transformation and mode of operating: Soul Authority.
As you tap into your second sight and third eye vision during this darkest day, ask yourself these questions:
How unwavering is your trust in mystery taking care of you and your deepest needs, especially if you don't see any signs of this? My mother at one point perceived everyone or everything (aka life) off by just a few degrees or minutes. She was miserable and is now at peace. Nothing has changed other than her ego-mind perception that all is happening exactly at the right time. Is 2020 testing our ability to hold polarities and our trust in mystery through this onslaught of loss and hardship?
What do we do when our ego-mind counts and fixates on weeks, months, years, decades, and even lifetimes of not being met by life and the Universe? It's not hard to argue, by just looking at the impact of patriarchy and racism, that there is some truth to this claim.
What exactly happens when our souls, in the exact same circumstances, see life differently and are able to overrule our ego-mind's perception, and explain that we may not get what we want and when we want it, but the Universe does deliver exactly what we need, nothing more, nothing less, to grow and expand, all in divine time. The trick is getting our ego-minds and souls to work in synch so this becomes an easeful and enjoyable process.
Speaking of . . . stay tuned for my next piece on the funny/not funny, wicked trick that my Taoist ancestors played on me twenty years ago and finally let me in on. A part of me wishes I’d known about this secret much sooner (because of the curse and big heartache it would have spared me), while another part gets and appreciates that it went down precisely as it did.
Wishing you happy holidays, and as we enter this Age of Aquarius, ever-growing trust and surrendering to your natural genius and all the mysterious ways that life is supporting your rebirth and powerful emergence.