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Dreams, Spirits & the Occult: The Secret World of Carl G Jung



From New Dawn 174 (May-June 2019) (

On 11 February 1944, the 68-year-old Carl Gustav Jung – then the world’s most renowned living psychologist – slipped on some ice and broke his fibula. Ten days later, in hospital, he suffered a myocardial infarction caused by embolisms from his immobilised leg. Treated with oxygen and camphor, he lost consciousness and had what seems to have been a near-death and out-of-the-body experience – or, depending on your perspective, delirium. 

He found himself floating 1,000 miles above the Earth. Seas and continents shimmered in blue light and Jung could make out the Arabian desert and snow-tipped Himalayas. He felt he was about to leave orbit, but then, turning to the south, a huge black monolith came into view. It was a kind of temple, and at the entrance Jung saw a Hindu sitting in a lotus position. Within, innumerable candles flickered, and he felt that the “whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence” was being stripped away. It wasn’t pleasant, and what remained was an “essential Jung,” the core of his experiences. 

He knew that inside the temple the mystery of his existence, of his purpose in life, would be answered. He was about to cross the threshold when he saw, rising up from Europe far below, the image of his doctor in the archetypal form of the King of Kos, the island site of the temple of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine. He told Jung that his departure was premature; many were demanding his return and he, the King, was there to ferry him back. When Jung heard this, he was immensely disappointed, and almost immediately the vision ended. 

He experienced the reluctance to live that many who have been ‘brought back’ encounter, but what troubled him most was seeing his doctor in his archetypal form. He knew this meant that the physician had sacrificed his own life to save Jung’s. On 4 April 1944 – a date numerologists can delight in – Jung sat up in bed for the first time since his heart attack. On the same day, his doctor came down with septicæmia and took to his bed. He never left it, and died a few days later. 

Jung was convinced that he hadn’t simply hallucinated, but that he had been granted a vision of reality. He had passed outside time, and the experience had had a palpable effect on him. For one thing, the depression and pessimism that overcame him during WWII vanished. But there was something more. For most of his long career, he had impressed upon his colleagues, friends, and reading public that he was, above all else, a scientist. He was not, he repeated almost like a mantra, a mystic, occultist, or visionary, terms of abuse his critics, who rejected his claims to science, had used against him. Now, having returned from the brink of death, he seemed content to let the scientist in him take a back seat for the remaining 17 years of his life. 

Although Jung had always believed in the reality of the ‘other’ world, he had taken care not to speak too openly about this belief. Now, after his visions, he seemed less reticent. He’d had, it seems, a kind of conversion experience, and the interests the world-famous psychologist had hitherto kept to himself now became common knowledge. Flying saucers, astrology, parapsychology, alchemy, even predictions of a coming “new Age of Aquarius”: pronouncements on all of these dubious subjects – dubious at least from the viewpoint of modern science – flowed from his pen. If he had spent his career fending off charges of mysticism and occultism – initially triggered by his break with Freud in 1912 – by the late 1940s he seems to have decided to stop fighting. The “sage of Küsnacht” and “Hexenmeister of Zürich,” as Jung was known in the last decade of his life, had arrived.

All in the Family 

A young Carl Jung    

Yet Jung’s involvement with the occult was with him from the start – literally, it was in his DNA. His maternal grandfather, Rev. Samuel Preiswerk, who learned Hebrew because he believed it was spoken in heaven, accepted the reality of spirits, and kept a chair in his study for the ghost of his deceased first wife, who often came to visit him. Jung’s mother Emilie was employed by Samuel to shoo away the dead who distracted him while he was working on his sermons. 

She herself developed mediumistic powers in her late teens. At the age of 20, she fell into a coma for 36 hours; when her forehead was touched with a red-hot poker she awoke, speaking in tongues and prophesying. Emilie continued to enter trance states throughout her life, in which she would communicate with the dead. She also seems to have been a ‘split personality’. Jung occasionally heard her speaking to herself in a voice he soon recognised was not her own, making profound remarks expressed with an uncharacteristic authority. This ‘other’ voice had inklings of a world far stranger than the one the young Carl knew. 

His parents Emilie Preiswerk & Paul Jung 

This ‘split’ that Jung had seen in his mother would later appear in himself. At around the age of 12, he literally became two people. There was his ordinary boyhood self, and someone else. The ‘Other’, as Carl called him, was a figure from the 18th century, a masterful character who wore a white wig and buckled shoes, drove an impressive carriage, and held the young boy in contempt. It’s difficult to escape the impression that in some ways Jung felt he had been this character in a past life. Seeing an ancient green carriage, Jung felt that it came from his time. 

His later notion of the collective unconscious, that psychic reservoir of symbols and images that he believed we inherit at birth, is in a sense a form of reincarnation, and Jung himself believed in some form of an afterlife. Soon after the death of his father, in 1896 when Jung was 21, he had two dreams in which his father appeared so vividly that he considered the possibility of life after death. In another, later dream, Jung’s father asked him for marital advice, as he wanted to prepare for his wife’s arrival. Jung took this as a premonition, and his mother died soon after. And years later, when his sister Gertrude died – a decade before his own near-death experience – Jung wrote that, “What happens after death is so unspeakably glorious that our imagination and feelings do not suffice to form even an approximate conception of it.”1

Tables & Knives

Jung’s mother was involved in at least two well-known paranormal experiences that are recounted in practically every book about him. Sitting in his room studying, Carl suddenly heard a loud bang coming from the dining room. He rushed in and found his mother startled. The round walnut table had cracked from the edge past the centre. The split didn’t follow any joint but had passed through solid wood. Drying wood couldn’t account for it; the table was 70 years old and it was a humid day. Jung thought: “There certainly are curious accidents.” As if she was reading his mind Emilie replied in her ‘other’ voice: “Yes, yes, that means something.” 

Two weeks later came a second incident. Returning home in the evening, Jung found an excited household. An hour earlier there had been another loud crack, this time coming from a large sideboard. No one had any idea what had produced it. Jung inspected the sideboard. Inside, where they kept the bread, he found a loaf and the bread knife. The knife had shattered into several pieces, all neatly arranged in the breadbasket. The knife had been used earlier for tea, but no one had touched it nor opened the cupboard since. When he took the knife to a cutler, he was told that there was no fault in the steel and that someone must have broken it on purpose. He kept the shattered knife for the rest of his life, and years later sent a photograph of it to psychical researcher JB Rhine. 

Spirits Afoot

By this time Jung, like many others, was interested in spiritualism, and was reading through the literature – books by Zöllner, Crooks, Carl du Prel, Swedenborg, and Justinus Kerner’s classic The Seeress of Prevorst. At the Zofingia debating society at the University of Basel, he gave lectures on “The Value of Speculative Research” and “On the Limits of Exact Science,” in which he questioned the dominant materialist paradigm that reigned then, as today. Jung led fellow students in various occult experiments, yet when he spoke to them about his ideas, or lectured about the need to take them seriously, he met with resistance. Apparently, he had greater luck with his dachshund, whom he felt understood him better and could feel supernatural presences himself.2 

Cousin Helene Preiswerk

Another who seemed to feel supernatural presences was his cousin, from his mother’s side of the family, Helene Preiswerk. In a letter to JB Rhine about the shattered bread knife, Jung refers to Helly – as she was known – as a “young woman with marked mediumistic faculties” whom he had met around the time of the incident, and in his “so-called’ autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections he remarks that he became involved in a series of séances with his relatives after the incidents of the bread knife and table. Yet the séances had been going on for some time before the two events, and at their centre was Helly, whom Jung already knew well and who, by all accounts, was in love with him. This is an early sign of his somewhat ambiguous relationship with the occult. 

Helly would enter a trance and fall to the floor, breathing deeply, and speaking in old Samuel Preiswerk’s voice – although she had never heard him. She told the others that they should pray for her elder sister Bertha, who, she said, had just given birth to a black child. Bertha, who was living in Brazil, had already had one child with her mixed-race husband, and gave birth to another on the same day as the séance.3 Further séances proved equally startling. At one point, Samuel Preiswerk and Carl Jung Sr – Jung’s paternal grandfather – who had disliked each other while alive, reached a new accord. A warning came for another sister who was also expecting a child that she would lose it; in August the baby was born premature and dead.4 

Helly produced further voices, but the most interesting was a spirit named Ivenes, who called herself the real Helene Preiswerk. This character was much more mature, confident, and intelligent than Helly, who Jung described as absent-minded, and not particularly bright, talented, or educated. It was as if buried beneath the unremarkable teenager was a fuller, more commanding personality, like Jung’s ‘Other’. This was an insight into the psyche that would inform his later theory of “individuation,” the process of “becoming who you are.” Helly did blossom later, becoming a successful dressmaker in France, although she died young, at only 30. 

In Jung’s dissertation on the séances, On the Psychology and Pathology of So-called Occult Phenomena, he describes Helly unflatteringly as “exhibiting slightly rachitic skull formation,” and “somewhat pale facial colour,” and fails to mention that she is his cousin. He also omits his own participation in the séances, and dates them from 1899 to 1900, whereas they had started years before. Gerhard Wehr politely suggests that, “[T]he doctoral candidate was obviously at pains to conceal his own role, and especially his close kinship relationship, thus forestalling from the start any further critical inquiry that might have thrown the scientific validity of the entire work into question.”5 

In other words, Jung the scientist thought it a good career move to obscure Jung the occultist’s personal involvement in the business. 

The Poltergeist in Freud’s Bookcase

In 1900, the 25-year-old Jung joined the prestigious Burghölzli Mental Clinic in Zürich. Here, he did solid work in word-association tests, developed his theory of ‘complexes’, and initiated a successful ‘patient-friendly’ approach to working with psychotics and schizophrenics. It was during his tenure that he also became involved with Freud. From 1906, when they started corresponding, to 1912, when the friendship ruptured, Jung was a staunch supporter of Freud’s work and promoted it unstintingly. 

Carl Jung standing in front of Burghölzli clinic, Zurich circa 1909

There were, however, some rocky patches. One centred on the famous poltergeist in Freud’s bookcase. Visiting Freud in Vienna in 1909, Jung asked him about his attitude toward parapsychology. Freud was sceptical and dismissed the subject as nonsense. Jung disagreed, and sitting across from the master, he began to feel his diaphragm glow, as if it was becoming red-hot. Suddenly a loud bang came from a bookcase. Both jumped up, and Jung said to Freud: “There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorisation phenomenon!”, Jung’s long-winded circumlocution for a poltergeist, or “noisy spirit.” When Freud said “Bosh!”, Jung predicted that another bang would immediately happen. It did. Jung said that, from that moment on, Freud grew mistrustful of him. From Freud’s letter to Jung about the incident, one gets the feeling that he felt Jung himself was responsible for it. 

This isn’t surprising; Jung did manifest numerous paranormal abilities. While in bed in a hotel room after giving a lecture, he experienced the suicide of a patient who had a strong “transference” on him. The patient had relapsed into depression and shot himself in the head. Jung awoke in his hotel, feeling an odd pain in his forehead. He later discovered that his patient had shot himself precisely where Jung felt the pain, at the same time Jung woke up. More to the point, a visitor to his home once remarked about Jung’s “exteriorised libido,” how “when there was an important idea that was not yet quite conscious, the furniture and woodwork all over the house creaked and snapped.” 

The Red Book

The personal Red Book of Jung resting on his office desk (credit Lance S. Owens).

It was Jung’s break with Freud that led to his own ‘descent into the unconscious,’ a disturbing trip down the psyche’s rabbit hole from which he gathered the insights about the collective unconscious that would inform his own school of ‘analytical psychology’. He had entered a ‘creative illness’, unsure if he was going mad. In October 1913, not long after the split, Jung had, depending on your perspective, a vision or hallucination. While on a train, he suddenly saw a flood covering Europe, between the North Sea and the Alps. When it reached Switzerland, the mountains rose to protect his homeland, but in the waves he saw floating debris and bodies. Then the water turned to blood. The vision lasted an hour and seems to have been a dream that had invaded his waking consciousness. Having spent more than a decade treating mental patients who suffered from precisely such symptoms, Jung had reason to be concerned. He was ironically rather relieved the next summer when WWI broke out and he deduced that his vision had been a premonition of it. 

Yet the psychic tension continued. Eventually there came a point where Jung felt he could no longer fight off the sense of madness. He decided to let go. When he did, he landed in an eerie, subterranean world where he met strange intelligences that ‘lived’ in his mind. The experience was so upsetting that for a time Jung slept with a loaded pistol by his bed, ready to blow his brains out if the stress became too great. 

A page from Carl Jung’s Red Book (Liber Novus) depicting “Philemon,” Jung’s image of the Wise Old Man archetype.  

In his Red Book he kept an account, in words and images, of the objective, independent entities he encountered during his “creative illness” – entities that had nothing to do with him personally, but who shared his interior world. There were Elijah and Salome, two figures from the Bible who were accompanied by a snake. There was also a figure whom Jung called Philemon, who became a kind of ‘inner guru’ and who he painted as a bald, white-bearded old man with bull’s horns and the wings of a kingfisher. One morning, after painting the figure, Jung was out taking a walk when he came upon a dead kingfisher. The birds were rare in Zürich and he had never before come upon a dead one. This was one of the many synchronicities – “meaningful coincidences” – that happened at this time. 

There were others. In 1916, still in the grip of his crisis, Jung again felt that something within wanted to get out. An eerie restlessness filled his home. He felt the presence of the dead – and so did his children. One daughter saw a strange white figure; another had her blankets snatched from her at night. His son drew a picture of a fisherman he had seen in a dream: a flaming chimney rose from the fisherman’s head, and a devil flew through the air, cursing the fisherman for stealing his fish. Jung had yet to mention Philemon to anyone. Then, one afternoon, the doorbell rang loudly, but no one was there. He asked: “What in the world is this?” The voices of the dead answered: “We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought,” words that form the beginning of Jung’s strange Seven Sermons to the Dead, a work of “spiritual dictation,” or “channelling,” he attributed to “Basilides in Alexandria, the City where the East toucheth the West.” 

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Ghosts in the House 

By 1919, WWI was over and Jung’s crisis had passed, although he continued to practise what he called “active imagination,” a kind of waking dreaming, the results of which he recorded in the Red Book. But spirits of a more traditional kind were not lacking. He was invited to London to lecture on “The Psychological Foundations of the Belief in Spirits” to the Society for Psychical Research. He told the Society that ghosts and materialisations were “unconscious projections.” “I have repeatedly observed,” he said, “the telepathic effects of unconscious complexes, and also a number of parapsychic phenomena, but in all this I see no proof whatever of the existence of real spirits, and until such proof is forthcoming I must regard this whole territory as an appendix of psychology.” 

Scientific enough, no doubt, but a year later, again in England, he encountered a somewhat more real ghost. He spent some weekends in a cottage in Aylesbury rented by Maurice Nicoll (later a student of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky) and while there was serenaded by eerie sounds, while an unpleasant smell filled the bedroom. Locals said the place was haunted and, on one particularly bad night, Jung discovered an old woman’s head on the pillow next to his; half of her face was missing. He leapt out of bed and waited until morning in an armchair. The house was later torn down. One would think that, having already encountered the dead on their return from Jerusalem, Jung wouldn’t be so shaken by a traditional English ghost, but the experience rattled him; his account of it only appeared 30 years later, in 1949, in an obscure anthology of ghost stories. 

When his lecture for the SPR was reprinted in the Collected Works in 1947, Jung added a footnote explaining that he no longer felt as certain as he did in 1919 that apparitions were explicable through psychology, and that he doubted “whether an exclusively psychological approach can do justice to the phenomenon.” In a later postscript, he again admitted that his earlier explanation was insufficient, but that he couldn’t agree on the reality of spirits because he had no experience of them – conveniently forgetting the haunting in Aylesbury. But in a letter of 1946 to Fritz Kunkel, a psychotherapist, Jung admitted: “Metapsychic phenomena could be explained better by the hypothesis of spirits than by the qualities and peculiarities of the unconscious.” 

A similar uncertainty surrounds his experience with the I Ching, the ancient Chinese oracle, with which he began to experiment in the early 1920s and which, like horoscopes, became part of his therapeutic practice. Although he mentioned the I Ching here and there in his writing, it wasn’t until 1949, again nearly 30 years later, in his introduction to the classic Wilhelm/Baynes translation, that he admitted outright to using it himself. And although he tried to explain the I Ching’s efficacy through what would become his paranormal deus ex machina, synchronicity, Jung admits that the source of the oracle’s insights are the “spiritual agencies” that form the “living soul of the book,” a remark at odds with his quasi-scientific explanation. Ironically, his major work on “meaningful coincidence,” Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (1952), written with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli, provides only one unambiguous example of the phenomenon, and readers who, like me, accept the reality of synchronicity, come away slightly baffled by Jung’s attempt to account for it via archetypes, quantum physics, statistical analysis, mathematics, JB Rhine’s experiments with ESP, astrology, telepathy, precognition, and other paranormal abilities, all of which read like a recrudescence of Jung’s “I am a scientist” reflex. 

Age of Aquarius

In the 1920s, he plunged into a study of the Gnostics – whom he had encountered as early as 1912 – and alchemy. It was Jung, more than anyone else, who salvaged the ancient Hermetic pursuit from intellectual oblivion. Another Hermetic practice he followed was astrology, which he began to study seriously around the time of his break with Freud. Jung informed his inner circle that casting horoscopes was part of his therapeutic practice, but it was during the dark days of WWII that he recognised a wider application. In 1940, in a letter to HG Baynes, Jung speaks of a vision he had in 1918 in which he saw “fire falling like rain from heaven and consuming the cities of Germany.” He felt that 1940 was the crucial year, and he remarks that it’s “when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius.” It was, he said, “the premonitory earthquake of the New Age.” 

He was familiar with the precession of the equinoxes, the apparent backward movement of the Sun through the signs of the zodiac. By acting as a backdrop to sunrise at the vernal equinox, each sign gives its name to an ‘age’ – called a ‘Platonic month’ – which lasts roughly 2,150 years. In his strange book Aion (1951), he argues that the ‘individuation’ of Western civilisation as a whole follows the path of the ‘Platonic months’ and presents a kind of “precession of the archetypes.” Fish symbolism surrounds Jesus because He was the central symbol of the Age of Pisces, the astrological sign of the fish. Previous ages – of Taurus and Aries – produced bull and ram symbolism. The coming age is that of Aquarius, the Water Bearer. In conversation with Margaret Ostrowski-Sachs, a friend of Hermann Hesse, Jung admitted that he had kept this “secret knowledge” to himself for years, and only finally made it public in Aion. He wasn’t sure he was “allowed” to, but during his illness he received “confirmation” that he should. 

Although the arcane scholar Gerald Massey and the French esotericist Paul Le Cour had earlier spoken of a coming Age of Aquarius, Jung was certainly the most prestigious mainstream figure to do so, and it is through him that the idea became a mainstay of the counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s. This was mostly through his comments about it in his book Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky (1958), in which he argued that UFOs were basically mandalas from outer space. During his crisis, he had come upon the image of the mandala, the Sanskrit ‘magic circle’, as a symbol of psychic wholeness, and he suggested that ‘flying saucers’ were mass archetypal projections, formed by the psychic tension produced by the Cold War that was heating up between Russia and America. The Western world, he argued, was having a nervous breakdown, and UFOs were a way of relieving the stress. 

Jung wrote prophetically: “My conscience as a psychiatrist bids me fulfil my duty and prepare those few who will hear me for coming events which are in accord with the end of an era… As we know from ancient Egyptian history, they are symptoms of psychic changes that always appear at the end of one Platonic month and at the beginning of another. They are, it seems, changes in the constellation of the psychic dominants, of the archetypes or ‘Gods’ as they used to be called, which bring about… long-lasting transformations of the collective psyche. This transformation started… in the transition of the Age of Taurus to that of Aries, and then from Aries to Pisces, whose beginning coincides with the rise of Christianity. We are now nearing that great change… when the spring-point enters Aquarius…” Ten years later, The Fifth Dimension (whose very name, appropriated from the title song of The Byrds’ third LP, suggests the cosmic character of the Mystic Sixties) had a hit song from the hippie musical Hair echoing Jung’s ideas, and millions of people all over the world believed they were witnessing “the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” 

Jung the Mystic

Jung reading (1956)

Jung died in 1961, just on the cusp of the ‘occult revival’ of the 1960s, a renaissance of magical thinking that he did much to bring about. He was also directly responsible for the “journey to the East” that many took then, and continue to take today. Along with the I Ching, Jung gave his imprimatur to such hitherto arcane items as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Taoism and Zen, and without his intervention it’s debatable if these Eastern imports would have enjoyed their modern popularity. That he was in many ways a founding father of the Love Generation is seen by his inclusion on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, although Jung himself would have thought “flower power” sadly naïve. 

Although for all his efforts he has never been accepted by mainstream intellectuals, his effect on popular culture has been immense, and our contemporary grass roots, inner-directed spirituality, unfortunately associated with the New Age, has his name written all over it. Jung himself may have been equivocal about his relationship with mysticism, magic, and the occult, but the millions of people today who pay attention to their dreams, notice strange coincidences and consult the I Ching have the Sage of Küsnacht to thank for it. 

The above article first appeared in Fortean Times 265 and is reprinted with the kind permission of the author.

This article was published in New Dawn 174.

The Stoics’ Secret to Staying Calm in the Storms of Life

Why Tranquility is a Choice (But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy)

Sebastian Purcell, PhD · Oct 30 ·

Image for post
(Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash)

Since nearly its inception, around 300 BCE in ancient Greece, Stoicism has had a mistaken reputation for promoting a robot-like, unemotional attitude. But the goal of Stoicism isn’t to eliminate emotions so much as bad responses to emotions.

There is an old story that illustrates the point. Aulus Gellius, a Roman author, was traveling on a ship with a reputed Stoic philosopher when they met a strong storm. As the waves crashed over them, Aulus looked over at the philosopher to see how he was responding. To his surprise, the Stoic man was just as afraid as the rest of the crew.

The storm passed and afterward, Aulus asked the philosopher why he responded as he did. In reply, the man took out a copy of the Discourses by the famed Stoic philosopher Epictetus (50–135 CE). He then pointed to a passage, which explained that the impressions we receive from our environment are not under our control. We only have the power to assent to those impressions or not (NA 19.1.1–21).

The fear that we feel when a wave is about to crash over us, in other words, is natural and not up to us. A Stoic philosopher will experience it just like any other person. What is under our control is whether to give in to that initial impression, to let it become terror for example, or not.

What Stoic philosophy specializes in is supplying techniques, or “spiritual exercises,” to help us deal with such strong emotions to stay calm. In fact, in a single chapter of his Discourses, Epictetus explains that there are five such exercises to help you achieve a tranquil, happy life.

Philosophically, I am going to forward the view that there is a logical organization at work in Epictetus’ chapter — he wasn’t writing a “listicle.”

Practically, I want to explain these ideas in a way that you can use them yourself. A point of context proves helpful to start, one relayed best by a story.

What Exactly Is a Spiritual Exercise?

When I teach in a classroom, my university students are regularly treated to my abilities as an artist. Those abilities extend from drawing oblong circles, to crooked lines, to wobbly stick figures.

To help me draw better, an art student once showed me that if I took an image and turned it upside down, I would do better at copying it. She had me try it and indeed I was better. But I still wasn’t what anyone would call “good.”

This point illustrates the basic Stoic idea about life: living a good life is an “art” in the classical sense, meaning that it is a craft (Latin: ars, Greek: technē).

When you’re learning a craft, like drawing, someone can explain the intellectual points to you, like turning an image upside down, but you still need to practice it to get better. The one without the other is mostly a waste of everyone’s time.

The Stoics thus developed a host of practices (Greek: askēsis) that aren’t physical so much as mental. Pierre Hadot, a French scholar of classical antiquity, decided to translate the Greek term askēsis as “spiritual exercise” to express this point. In French “esprit” means both “mind” and “spirit,” so the idea is that these are exercises for your mind rather than your body.

The Stoic’s view, then, holds that to live well you need spiritual exercise. What follows are “spiritual exercises” in this sense.

1 What To Do When Things Go Wrong

In his chapter on what value we should place on outcomes, Epictetus begins by considering the commonest source of our worries, namely whether something we hope will happen — an election result for example — will in fact happen. He writes:

“What am I going to do?” “How will I do it?” “How will it turn out?” “I am afraid that this [bad thing] will befall me or that!” All these are the expressions of people who concern themselves with the things that lie outside the sphere of moral purpose (Discourses IV.10).

When Epictetus mentions “moral purpose,” he means those things that have value for your life as a human being. What makes you good as a human is how you respond to events, whether you maintain that upstanding, good individual within.

Whether or not your favored candidate wins the election, your character isn’t at stake.

Whether or not that person you like also likes you back doesn’t change who you are.

Whether or not you are promoted, your moral character is untouched.

Whether or not you are laid off, your moral character is up to you.

Whether or not you become a parent, who you are is not at risk.

Of course, your circumstances will change, but the heart of Stoic ethics holds that the measure of a person’s life — its value — doesn’t change by those circumstances.

Good people are good people whether they are rich or poor, employed or unemployed, live in a democracy or a tyranny.

Likewise, the bad aren’t made better by owning Lamborghinis and dressing in luxury attire.

How to Apply This

To apply this lesson, you only have to ask: is this under my control? If it is, then take the appropriate steps to correct the situation. If it isn’t, then give it up to “god.”

If you believe in some divine being, then give it up to them. If you don’t, as the Stoics believed that god was the soul of the cosmos, then you can put your worries off on that.

It is this line of reasoning that inspired what is known as the Serenity Prayer, usually attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

2 What To Do When Goals Unravel

Epictetus continues beyond this first point. Bad events are easily separated from whom we are. But what do you do when your goals unravel? He replies:

If a person has great anxiety about some desire, for fear that it will turn out incomplete and miss its mark…. [D]esire none of those things which are not your own, and avoid none of those things that are not under your control (Discourses IV. 10).

His point is that your goals can only unravel if you have chosen objectives that are not your own, that are not under your control.

Here are some examples.

  • You publish an article that gets only 30 views.
  • You write a book that flops.
  • You apply to a job and are rejected.
  • You ask out your crush and strikeout.
  • You try out for a team and you are cut (I discuss my own experience here).

The problem in each case is that you desire what you can’t control. Do those things make you better or worse as a person? That is Epictetus’ point.

Also, remember that even beyond living a good life, mere happiness doesn’t consist in getting things. Even if you do achieve your goals, we each face what social scientists call a “hedonic treadmill.” The idea is simple: our brains adapt to things. Just like getting into a hot tub, the waters of life only feel hot for a while.

Get a new car … and soon it becomes old. Buy a new house … and shortly it’s just where you live. Upgrade your phone … and in six months a new model comes out.

How to Apply This

When you are facing a setback like this, you need to pause your thoughts and reconsider your goals. Ask yourself: Are these goals under my control? If not, why did I want them in the first place?

You’ll probably find that the sources at work turn on what you are ashamed of and your fear of vulnerability.

Another way to approach this task is to think about your life after the event in more detail. How is it different? In what ways, very concretely, would it be better? If it matters a great deal, ask other people who have been there.

The reason you have to do this is that social scientists have found that we’re often terrible at imagining the future because we either leave stuff out that should be there or put stuff in that won’t be.

For example, imagine that you win a free car. It’s your choice, pick whichever one you want. Imagine its color, its feel while driving it, everything about it. Now, what was your license plate number? … or did you forget to put that in?

Often what’s making you feel bad about an outcome is a result of not understanding what achieving that goal would be like in the first place.

But what if it’s something I’ve been trying to accomplish my whole life?

3 What to Do About Life-Long Commitments

Epictetus continues his discussion with just this point, writing:

Did not Homer compose his works for us to see that there is nothing to prevent the persons of highest birth, of greatest strength, of most handsome appearance, from being the most miserable and wretched — if they do not hold the right kind of judgements? (Discourses IV.10)

Yes, what is true of one-off projects is true of your life-projects also. But even if your projects go well, you can only live well if you hold the right kind of judgments. Let me give you a story.

Pete Best is the most famous musician you have almost heard of. He was the drummer in a small band called The Beatles. But at one point, the other members of the band decided to replace him with Ringo Star, and like that, Pete Best became almost famous.

When asked about his experiences, however, Pete said that he is happy with his life — that he is better in every way. And he continues to make his own music. His secret?

He has the right kinds of judgments about what living a good human life is. Most of us don’t become rock stars and many of those who do, don’t live well anyway.

How to Apply This

When a major setback like this happens, you need to stop and ask: How is your life still a good human life? Often you’ll find that the source of your anxiety and depression is a series of comparative judgments. You think:

Person P has Y thing, and I’m just as good as P, so I should have Y thing too!

But why is having that thing important for living a good human life in the first place?

One way I’ve found out of this predicament is to focus on people who I admire and lived well, but who didn’t have that Y thing. In short, I reverse the line of reasoning:

Person P didn’t have Y thing, and they are just fine. I’m no better than P, so why should my life be worse without Y?

Let me explain with a personal case. One of my life’s aims has been a simple one: to be a father. But it turns out that my wife and I cannot have biological children — frustratingly for reasons that cannot be determined medically. We decided, as a result, to adopt.

What struck me about the whole process is the sense of loss that followed after being denied something I had just assumed would happen naturally. Still, as a philosopher, I know that many of the people I study lived well and had no children at all (biological or adopted).

If their lives weren’t diminished, then why should my life be?

4 What About Death?

You may be lucky, however, and never encounter a serious life-setback. Nevertheless, because you’re human, you stand within the arc of time’s bending sickle. Epictetus next turns to this point asking:

But if I die in so doing? — You will die as a good person, bringing to fulfilment a noble action (Discourses IV.10).

Stoic philosophy perhaps shines brightest in death’s shadow. The key to dying well, they teach, is to know what you are dying for.

I covered James Stockdale’s story in another article. He received the congressional medal of honor for his valor in the Hanoi torture camp, and he saved the lives of many, many men stationed behind enemy lines. He was also a practicing Stoic throughout his adult life.

But in that piece, I didn’t tell the end of his story. The truth is that Stockdale only lived by accident. He realized that under torture he could not hold back information that the enemy knew he knew. And they had learned that he knew more about camp resistance than he was letting on.

If Stockdale divulged what he knew, then the prison guards would kill many of his men and he did not want that to happen. And so the night before they were to torture him, they strung him up in a room and left him there. Stockdale somehow managed to swing to the lone window in the room and break it. Then, with bound hands, he grabbed the shards and slit his wrists. Sometime later the guards found him in a pool of blood and decided to revive him.

The reason? The international community had just learned of the torture camps and North Vietnamese officials did not want the world’s opinion to turn further against them. The last thing they needed, then, was a dead, high-ranking American POW.

Chance stepped in to save Stockdale, but he was prepared to die for his men. He knew what he would be dying for.

How to Apply This

Epictetus tells you explicitly how to apply this lesson, writing:

What is it, then, that you wish to be doing when death finds you? I for my part should wish it to be some work that befits a human, something beneficent, that promotes the common welfare, or is noble. … If death finds me occupied with these matters it is enough (Discourses IV.10).

The point is simple: it is enough to try, earnestly, to help people. Learn to live for others.

5 What About The People We Love?

This last point, though, seems to expose us to the special difficulty of loving other fragile beings. They too, just like us, stand in the arc of time’s sickle. Epictetus addresses this point in discussing the mourning of one man for his friends. He writes:

Why did he regard any of his friends as immortal? (Discourses IV.10)

On this point, Stoicism is often mistaken for coldness. That’s not Epictetus’ point. Rather, he has in mind the same notion that structures the entire chapter: we are human beings with human value.

It is not a happy thought, but of course, our friends and loved ones will pass. That is a fact of human existence. What redeems them, though, is not a long life — not even an infinitely long one. It is rather the value of their actions as human beings.

Death has no value — neither yours nor theirs. And this is a freeing notion, because it means that no one’s life is diminished for having been made shorter.

It is open to us all to live well, even if we cannot all live equally long lives.

How to Apply This

I research all the world’s philosophical traditions because I think that’s the best shot anyone has at learning how to live well. In another piece, I covered the Day of the Dead practices from Mexico. These practices find their historical origin in the ethical philosophy of the Aztecs.

Where I think they help us in applying this Stoic lesson is in the practice of remembering our loved ones and our ancestors. It is one matter to recognize that death does not diminish their life, and another to practice respect for them.

While face painting has become all the rage for social media posts, the heart of Day of the Dead is just to build a small memorial to those who have passed in your home. Then set aside some time to talk about them and to recall what they did that was good in life.

This is one way to actively remember our relationships with others and to express gratitude for what is good in our own lives.

Living The Examined Life

Epictetus forwards logical reasons why there are just five spiritual exercises to remain calm in the storms of life. Each explains why tranquility is a choice, but not an easy one.

In reality, this is just one practice, called “detachment,” which is exercised in five different domains. Like many Stoic terms, detachment can be mistaken for something negative. But like its parallel Buddhist practice, what you are learning to detach from is something harmful.

Those harmful things arise in five areas of life:

  1. external events,
  2. individual projects,
  3. live-long projects,
  4. facing the end of life,
  5. supporting our loved ones.

To explain the value of these spiritual exercises, I’ll leave you with a final quote from Epictetus.

You should do this for “calm, then, for peace of mind, for sleeping when you are asleep, and being awake when you are awake, for fearing nothing, for being in great anxiety about nothing” (Discourses IV.10).

For more philosophy as a way of life, using all of the world’s traditions, join my newsletter.

Sebastian Purcell’s research specializes in world comparative philosophy, especially as these ancient traditions teach us how to lead happier, richer lives. He lives with his wife, a fellow philosopher, and their three cats in upstate New York.


Sebastian Purcell, PhD

Philosopher. Analyst. Happiness Researcher. | I Recover ancient wisdom for modern life |



Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

Book: “The Zen of Creativity”

The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life

The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life

by John Daido Loori 

For many of us, the return of Zen conjures up images of rock gardens and gently flowing waterfalls. We think of mindfulness and meditation, immersion in a state of being where meaning is found through simplicity. Zen lore has been absorbed by Western practitioners and pop culture alike, yet there is a specific area of this ancient tradition that hasn’t been fully explored in the West. Now, in TheZen of Creativity, American Zen master John Daido Loori presents a book that taps the principles of the Zen arts and aesthetic as a means to unlock creativity and find freedom in the various dimensions of our existence. Loori dissolves the barriers between art and spirituality, opening up the possibility of meeting life with spontaneity, grace, and peace.

Zen Buddhism is steeped in the arts. In spiritual ways, calligraphy, poetry, painting, the tea ceremony, and flower arranging can point us toward our essential, boundless nature. Brilliantly interpreting the teachings of the artless arts, Loori illuminates various elements that awaken our creativity, among them still point, the center of each moment that focuses on the tranquility within; simplicity, in which the creative process is uncluttered and unlimited, like a cloudless sky; spontaneity, a way to navigate through life without preconceptions, with a freshness in which everything becomes new; mystery, a sense of trust in the unknown; creative feedback, the systematic use of an audience to receive noncritical input about our art; art koans, exercises based on paradoxical questions that can be resolved only through artistic expression. Loori shows how these elements interpenetrate and function not only in art, but in all our endeavors.

Beautifully illustrated and punctuated with poems and reflections from Loori’s own spiritual journey, TheZen of Creativity presents a multilayered, bottomless source of insight into our creativity. Appealing equally to spiritual seekers, artists, and veteran Buddhist practitioners, this book is perfect for those wishing to discover new means of self-awareness and expression—and to restore equanimity and freedom amid the vicissitudes of our lives.

From the Hardcover edition.


Taurus Full Moon October 31, 2020

Wendy Cicchetti

The Taurus Full Moon is also a Blue Moon — the second of two Full Moons occurring in one month. The unusual repeat of the lunar cycle causes October to be a more intense time, overall. For some, it will be a monumental period that marks a turning point by which we can measure the progress (or demise) of an aspect of our lives. For others, it may simply be that there is a stronger focus on emotional ups and downs — or on life being much fuller than usual, whether with people or plans, requests, obligations, etc.

This lunation provides an opportunity to finally deal with a situation that has been stuck or has proven to be a sticking point. When Taurus is presented with an obstacle, it is often used as an excuse not to move forward. Of course, there can be strength in saying no. But there are other clues, besides the Blue Moon, that a situation could — and should — change quite suddenly now, despite the many reasons why we think it cannot.

Uranus in Taurus exactly conjuncts the Full Moon, putting the lens on some sort of breakthrough or breakdown. Perhaps the former needs the latter! Either way, a sense of the unusual pervades this lunation, encouraging us to embrace what we do not instantly recognize or approve. This may sound counterintuitive, and with the Moon involved, we could be tempted to fall back on old habits and patterns. Try as we might, we find that they don’t really bring answers, solve problems, or satisfy us — though they do briefly intensify any illusions that we hold onto.

Since significant Uranus activity signals great, forceful winds of change, we can expect rapid growth as we tread on unfamiliar territory. Whilst unsettling in some ways, the journey will likely be exciting and offer a glimpse of a much better way of connecting with life. Grip something stabilizing to avoid feeling completely overwhelmed; preferably something that provides a sense of safety rather than harmful activities or behaviors.

Venus disposits the Moon and is around 5° of orb to the same degree of Libra that the Sun was crossing at the time of the previous Full Moon on October 1. As that Moon was conjunct Chiron in Aries, there are echoes now of a healing opportunity appearing that was illuminated by the previous Full Moon. Venus provides the means to progress via specific actions or gestures. Since Venus in Libra is the classic peacemaker, she wants a win–win situation for both parties in one-on-one relationships. She can bring a peace offering now, whether in the form of a physical gift or a kind, loving, or affectionate gesture. She can also be seductive and make an offer not easily refused!

One of Venus’s current challenges is a lack of aspects with other planets, so we may not feel easily supported, and/or we will find it difficult to reach out to others. Looking back on memories of past successes, or on kind deeds from others, can provide some needed impetus, however. For instance, if you feel you cannot easily bridge a communication gap with someone to show them you care, think back to a time when they, or another, managed to do this for you. What did you like about that gesture? Maybe it made you feel special and respected, for example. Now is the time to consider what you could do to connect with the person so that they feel appreciated or acknowledged. Although we cannot anticipate others’ reactions — or know their true needs — we can demonstrate that we care. Doing so will be especially helpful if a recent development cast any doubt.

Unaspected Venus may also signify an internal disconnection, letting us know that it’s time to turn kindness inwards and value what is within us. When Venus does not make major aspects with other planets, she is rather out on her own, intensifying the Venusian qualities. Meaning, we may feel a great deal of yearning and a strong need to love and be loved. Yet the status of the planet without a supporting cast indicates a possible lack of suitors or friends, or disconnection from family — for a variety of reasons, including being in an isolated location. If we cannot reach out, we can redirect the channel of love and kindness inwards. Recognizing our own merit and good qualities is powerful!

This article is from the Mountain Astrologer, written by Diana Collis.


“Loving” features around 300 photos that offer an intimate look at gay relationships between the 1850s and 1950s


SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Oct. 29, 2020, 1:19 p.m.

When Texas couple Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell stumbled onto a 1920s-era photograph in a Dallas antiques shop some 20 years ago, they were startled to see a relationship that looked much like theirs: two men, embracing and clearly in love.

As Dee Swann writes for the Washington Post, the image spoke to the couple about the history of love between men.

“The open expression of the love that they shared also revealed a moment of determination,” Nini and Treadwell tell the Post. “Taking such a photo, during a time when they would have been less understood than they would be today, was not without risk. We were intrigued that a photo like this could have survived into the [21st] century. Who were they?”

In the decades that followed this initial discovery, the pair came across more than 2,800 photos of men in love—at first accidentally and later on purpose. The result of their trips to flea markets, shops, estate sales and family archives across Europe, Canada and the United States is a tome titled Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s to 1950sFeaturing around 300 photos spanning more than a century, the volume is available through Italian publisher 5 Continents Editions.

Military men
This photo, one of many images of military men in the collection, was marked 1951 with the note “Davis & J.C.” (Courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © Loving by 5 Continents Editions)
1880 portrait
This portrait was dated to about 1880 and featured the note “McInturff, Steve Book, Delaware O.” (Courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © Loving by 5 Continents Editions)

According to Vice’s Vincenzo Ligresti, Nini and Treadwell gradually developed ideas about recurring motifs in the photos. They suggest that between the 1880s and 1920s, posing under an umbrella symbolized a romantic union. Over time, the couple posits, jewelry like wedding rings and bracelets became more popular, peaking among sailors and soldiers during World War II.

Some of the earliest images in the collection are daguerreotypes, the first popular type of photographs, which were commonly used to create portraits in the mid-19th century. Others are glass negatives, tin types and photo postcards.

Vice notes that some of the pictures were taken in photo booths, which first appeared in the U.S. in 1924. These devices allowed couples to capture their likenesses without exposing their relationship to anyone else. Other images in the collection were apparently taken by friends and family. In some cases, outside individuals appear alongside the couples, reflecting the fact that their relationships weren’t kept secret from everyone.

Nini and Treadwell found photographs at flea sales and antique shops in the U.S., Canada and Europe. (Courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © Loving by 5 Continents Editions)

Jerry Portwood of Rolling Stone notes that some readers may question whether all the pictures really reflect same-sex romantic relationships.

“You may scoff and think: Maybe it’s just guys horsing around (despite the kissing and legs wrapped around in intimate bedroom or picnic scenes) or that we’re unfairly placing our contemporary notions upon innocent, youthful friendships,” he writes.

But, Portwood adds, this is something the collectors have considered. Nini and Treadwell acknowledge the existence of historical “friendship photos” that might look romantic to modern eyes. But they developed rules to exclude pictures depicting platonic relationships.

“We look into their eyes,” the couple writes in the book. “There is an unmistakable look that two people have when they are in love. You can’t manufacture it. And if you’re experiencing it, you can’t hide it.”

Couple in a field
Nini and Treadwell selected photos for the collection based on a look of love in the couples’ eyes. (Courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © Loving by 5 Continents Editions)
Gay men kissing
Many of the images appear timeless, showcasing expressions of love much like snapshots of today. (Courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © Loving by 5 Continents Editions)

When Nini and Treadwell found that first photo for the collection, they were unofficially married. At the time, they couldn’t get legally married anywhere in the country. In 2006, reports Vice, they married in Massachusetts—the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Tremendous changes in U.S. culture’s attitude toward LGBTQ people has taken place in the years since the couple’s initial discovery—and even more since the last of the photos in the collection were taken in the 1950s. Yet some readers say the photo book provides a sense of the continuity in men’s same-sex romances over the past 170 years.

“Flipping through the book, it wasn’t that I felt that I learned a great deal about being LGBTQ, but what gave me comfort was the feeling that we’re not going anywhere,” writes Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic. “Seeing ourselves in the past is as much about being certain of our present and, dare I say, our future. When we see them as connected, we feel more whole, and that’s what love is about for many of us anyway.”

Editor’s Note, October 29, 2020: This article previously stated that Loving featured 2,800 images from Nini and Treadwell’s collection. The collection as a whole contains more than 2,800 images, but just 300 or so are included in the book.

Livia Gershon

About the Author: Livia Gershon is a freelance journalist based in New Hampshire. She has written for JSTOR Daily, the Daily Beast, the Boston Globe, HuffPost, and Vice, among others. Read more articles from Livia Gershon and Follow on Twitter @LiviaGershon

(Contributed by Suzanne Deakins, H.W., M.)

Astrology Of November 2020 – The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

by Astro Butterfly (

November 2020 brings us the final Jupiter-Pluto conjunction and the first Eclipse of the season. November is also when Mercury and Mars (finally) go direct. YES!

The intensity of the last couple of months will continue to increase and will eventually reach a peak in mid-November, after which we’ll finally get to relax a bit.

The good news is that the incredibly intense and fear-inducing Jupiter-Pluto conjunction will soon be gone. From the 2nd half of November 2020 onwards, we will finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In November we have the Scorpio season (until November 21st) and then the Sagittarius season (from November 21st onwards).

Scorpio is associated with the underworld – with all that is dark, secret, and mysterious. Sagittarius on the other hand is the shooter that reaches for the stars. Sagittarius is a fire sign that gives us hope and faith for a better future. 

Disclaimer: there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ signs. Scorpionic keywords like darkness, secrets, or underworld, may sound more frightening than the hope and faith that are traditionally associated with Sagittarius.

But we need both, and both are beautiful in their own way. 

We first need to go down into Scorpio’s underworld, which is a metaphor for the secret corners of our psyche. It’s there and only there where we will find incredible riches we didn’t know existed.

And it’s a result of this process that we’ll eventually find the light at the end of the tunnel. This light is nothing but the light within that is inevitably revealed to us when we go deep within ourselves.

Scorpio and Sagittarius work together to get us there, we cannot have one without the other. 

In November we have many events and celebrations that remind us of the process of finding light in the darkness.

On November 1st we celebrate All Saints day (after the night of Halloween, which is as Scorpio as you can get).

Diwali is also celebrated in November; Diwali is the Indian festival of lights that symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. In Thailand, we have Loy Krathong, the beautiful Lantern Festival of light. 

All these festivals are a symbol of the inner workings of Scorpio and Sagittarius. What’s interesting is that the Light festivals are in the Northern hemisphere, where the days get shorter in November.

So the light that is being celebrated is not the literal light of the Sun, but the inner light of hope, truth and knowledge. 

Now let’s have a look at the most important astrological events of the month:

November 1st – November 6th, 2020 – Mercury Square Saturn

On November 1st, 2020, Mercury (at 25-26° Libra) is square Saturn in Capricorn.

This square is pretty important because it occurs exactly at the degree where Mercury changes direction. This suggests a rather sudden – and definite – change of plans.

Things will be expected to go one way, but then Mercury changes direction at the exact degree of the square so that things end up going a very different way.

Mercury and Saturn are not normally associated with surprises, but this particular configuration suggests a change of plans and a different outcome. 

November 3rd, 2020 – Mercury Goes Direct

On November 3rd, 2020, Mercury goes direct at 25° Libra, so things will finally get back on track.

Mercury retrogrades are necessary because they ask us to revisit and pay attention to those areas of our life that are up for a review anyway.

If we wouldn’t pay attention to those topics stirred by Mercury retrograde, if we wouldn’t make the necessary changes, we wouldn’t be prepared for the future.

And while these Mercury Retrograde readjustments are necessary, it is indeed a relief to get on with life. There are other aspects we need to pay attention to this month anyway. 

November 9th, 2020 – Venus Square Mars

On November 9th, 2020, Venus (at 15° Libra) is opposite Mars in Aries. The opposition of the two relationship planets will teach us a lesson about boundaries.

Both Venus and Mars are in their domicile signs, so they are both strong. This is an important encounter because Mars is just about to turn direct.

So whatever message Venus has for Mars, you can bet it is an important one. It’s almost like it changes his entire worldview – as a few days later, he finally changes direction. 

November 10th, 2020 – Mercury (re)enters Scorpio

On November 10th, 2020, Mercury – now out of retrogradation – moves into Scorpio for good.

In the first week of its stay here, Mercury will fix some loose ends as he moves through the retrograde shadow zone. Some themes from mid-October may be revisited and finally completed. 

November 12th, 2020 – Jupiter Conjunct Pluto

On November 12th, 2020 Jupiter is conjunct Pluto at 22° Capricorn. This is the 3rd and final conjunction (the other two occurred on April 4th and June 30th).

The conjunction occurs exactly at the degree of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in January early this year.

The fear and panic associated with Covid will reach a peak around November 12th after which it will begin to subside. It is not that the virus will be gone after November 12th, but the fear and tension associated with it will slowly reduce. 

November 13th, 2020 – Mars Goes Direct

On November 13th, 2020, Mars finally goes direct at 15° Aries. It’s been a long ride, and when we talk about Mars in Aries, we mean literally a ‘ride’.

Normally, Mars in Aries can’t stop because – this is the most action-oriented Mars out there. When Retrograde, Mars in Aries is forced to slow down and to find new ways of doing things.

It’s not like we worked less or were less active in the last 6 weeks, when Mars was retrograde. On the contrary. Mars retrograde is usually associated with an increase in workload.

It’s just that we had to put more effort to get things done. Thankfully by now, Mars has learned new ways of doing things, and he’s ready to “move on”. 

November 15th, 2020 – New Moon In Scorpio

On November 15th, 2020, we have a New Moon (which is also a Super Moon) at 23° Scorpio.

This is a great New Moon because it makes favorable aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune. The ruler of the New Moon, Mars has just turned direct and has big plans!

The whole Lunar Month will carry this energy of “moving forward” and we will help us get unstuck. What a relief! 

November 17th, 2020 – Mercury Opposite Uranus

On November 17th, 2020, Mercury (8° Scorpio) is opposite Uranus in Taurus.

The opposition occurs at the same degree of the Full Moon in Taurus on October 31st. Expect more revelations and exposures. This is going to be interesting! 

November 16th-19th, 2020 – Venus Square Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn

On November 17th, 2020, Venus squares Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn. Apart perhaps from Venus square Jupiter, these are not the most “I’m looking forward to” type of transits.

But the good news is that Venus is the last personal planet to square “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” Capricorn trio which means that soon we will be ‘done’ with the Capricorn stellium’s lessons. YES!

November 21st, 2020 – Sun In Sagittarius, Venus In Scorpio

On November 21st, 2020, we have a change in energy. Venus leaves Libra to move into Scorpio and the Sun leaves Scorpio to move into Sagittarius.

Our focus will shift from relationships and intimacy (Libra-Scorpio) to uncovering the truth and finding the light within (Scorpio-Sagittarius).  

November 28th, 2020 – Neptune Turns Direct

On November 28th, 2020, Neptune turns direct at 18° Pisces.

Right now only Uranus and Chiron are still retrograde. If you have planets or angles around 18° Pisces you will feel the energy of the transit more strongly. 

November 30th, 2020 – Full Moon And Lunar Eclipse In Gemini

On November 30th, 2020 we have a Lunar Eclipse at 8° Gemini.

This Penumbral Eclipse marks the official beginning of the Eclipse season. Just when we thought we were ‘done’ with retrogrades, stelliums, T-square, and other intense aspects, the stars have other plans.

But more about the Lunar Eclipse in my special Eclipse report – stay tuned!

Astro Butterfly