Tag: self care Page 1 of 4

Playing With Subjective Experience

An art and hobby festival highlights the benefits of creative play; I offer attendees opportunities to fiddle with their subjective experience.

Flyer for the Art & Hobby Festival

“I’m sorry, I had such a hard time getting here,” said the woman who looked a bit frazzled as she walked into the room. I was sitting at my workshop table arranging journaling prompts. I could tell that she had physically arrived, but she hadn’t really mentally arrived yet. “Well, now you’re here,” I replied. “And that’s all you need to be.” She sat down on an adjacent empty chair and looked at me with a face that said, “I’m listening.” I explained that Pluto, the planet and archetype of primordial energy and deep, slow-to-process transformation, was transiting and it might be making things a little hard for everybody right now. I live for moments like this, where the injection of new ideas alters the way a person looks at a situation and changes their experience of it.

The woman and I were at the Spring 2019 Art & Hobby Festival, held in Marbletown, NY. The event, dreamed up by Allison Braun of Smell the Damn Roses, is meant to give people options to “try new things” and play. Presenters are display their hobbies, aka offerings, through hands-on activities at tables. The presenters are also given a time slot to do a workshop featuring their hobby aka skill. Allison has invited me several times to showcase EVOL because my offerings are a gateway to exploring inner worlds and self care. Taking a play-filled approach eases the exploration for those who might think that self care isn’t their “thing.” I ask attendees, “Who are you?,”  and the straightforward, unexpected question often causes people to reflect on something they might not be thinking about. I set up my table to be a reflection workshop. I provide prompts, paper, and writing instruments for people to spend a few minutes having a conversation with themselves.

Spring 2019 Art & Hobby Festival

My definition of self care is inclusive, too, because I say that it is a practice that brings awareness to a state of consciousness. Self care doesn’t have to look or be a certain way–it only has to serve your growth, wellness, and evolution. Self care as a hobby improves mental health because you can determine what brings you joy–like taking time to try new things–it’s the practice of checking in and noticing how your experience is while you’re doing the activity that matters. It’s you plugging in to the power of your presence. Being present means you acknowledge the factors that are affecting your momentary experience.

Another reason I like to do the festival is the opportunity to talk to people about how environmental factors, including astrological ones, can affect mental well being. Often, it’s the first time people hear about evolutionary astrology, which is soul focused and emphasizes the ability to transmute experiences through spiritual growth. Evolutionary astrology says that what’s happening in your life is set up as a lesson, ie, give us the opportunities to challenge previous courses of actions (cause and effect, aka karma). It also says that through transmuting aka integrating the lessons of the things that happen around us, we move toward different expressions of actions and reactions. The more aware we are of our tendencies, the more informed we can be to make conscious choices. If we choose differently, we break karma.

Jeffrey Wolf Green’s book Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul is a foundational text in the body of knowledge of evolutionary astrology. He writes that

Pluto’s house and sign placement describe two simultaneous phenomena. One the one hand, the natal position of Pluto describes the … individualized patterns in identity … on the other hand, … Pluto points to the evolutionary desire.

A seminal work in evolutionary astrology

Pluto was active in the astrological weather during May, which was a serendipitous coincidence with mental health awareness month. It provided a brilliant circumstance to be sitting at the table and having honest and authentic conversations with people during the Spring 2019 Art & Hobby Festival, like the one with the woman.

“Let’s look at your chart,” I told her. We considered at the placement of Pluto that was specific to her, and together we considered aspects, aka how the mix of energies of Pluto and the other planets moving through the sky at that moment were working off each other and giving her a certain flavor of experience. We talked about what her comfort zone (the natal position of Pluto) was and how to gently step outside of it, take mindful action, and grow (the sensation, force of evolutionary desire). It’s a psychological process that can be stressful as well as beneficial.

“Wow,” she said at one point. “I feel better knowing that I’m not crazy.” Her mood shifted and she left in a different mental place and with many things to reflect upon. Astrology is a science of mixing and experimenting; each sign, house, placement (of celestial bodies) produce unique reactions when considered with other celestial bodies. The woman, by learning about her natal Pluto placement, was able to let go some of the “Why?” and move toward “What now?” as in, taking informed action. The reflections cause by our conversation will inform her self care if she sticks with and applies the practice.

I call EVOL offerings self care “practice” because that’s all we can expect ourselves to do—try it. Each time we bring awareness to our mental state, we can interface with the factors that might be influencing our experience. An understanding of our unique astrology within the larger cosmos can help us understand where thoughts are coming from. When the inner landscape, mental health, is more understood, movement toward peace, ease, and acceptance is greater. We learn to EVOLve through reflection applied to a self care practice.

NOTE: Seek out a mental health professional when necessary. Changing your subjective experience isn’t always as straightforward as the example in this post. There’s no shame in getting help. Self care supports movement toward wellness, but no one does self care alone, and anyone can benefit from mental health care.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Reflection Prompt

What is your intention this month? What’s your challenge around that intention? How is your story evolving around integrating challenges and achieving the intention? Reflect upon this. This is self study (svadhyaya) in action.


December is an ending and a beginning: the secular calendar year runs out and the sun starts to run in. The Winter Solstice is the main celestial event; this provides a journey to access the month’s energies, a window that invites us to be led out of ignorance (darkness, long nights) and brought toward awareness (the light, long days). We are moving toward the sun.

The astrological vibe comes  through Sagittarius, the archetype of the explorer, which sees things beyond the immediate. The Sag in you feels the space and time worth exploring. It is the archetype through which we can tap into quantum nature of existence. Through the Sagittarian lens, we see that reality is ours for the shaping.

But what is reality anyway? Just a bunch of information.

Data bits

The moon cycle is this: New Moon in Sagittarius on December 7/8. This is the time to reflect; plant thought seeds; see how the mind garden grows; tend to the ecosystem. Dec 22 is the Full Moon in Cancer, a time to reflect on what is appearing around you, and the Winter Solstice. A portal to transcend a previous version of yourself and activate with the light of the sun.

Remember the power of information. Consider where you where, how you were feeling, what you were thinking about around the time of the New Moon. Do the same for the Full Moon. Ask yourself if there are any themes that connect.

Let’s not forget the effect that Cancer has on our mind filters: this archetype is ruled by the moon, more comfortable in the Full Moon, exalted in emotion and nurturing exchanges. The vibe to home is strong.


Are your exploring with your emotions as your compass? Do they lead you to your idea of home? What information is there?

Consider that home is a piece of information. It’s relative to the eye of the (be)holder. Many people have different homes, and those can house ceremonies that center around the home as a landing place. It’s the place we return to once we’ve done our exploring.

Consider, too, our home as a species: Earth, third rock from the sun. The Sun has the power to activate our life. Plants respond to the sun and grow. They make the world a habitable place for our biology, comprised of strings of DNA that are activated by light–the moment of conception. We are because the sun does. It shines. Bodies respond. They go toward their destinies, navigating with gut feelings and a moral compass. And after we see the world, we go home, full of new information from traveling beyond our known universe.

There are worlds out there. Go.

REFLECTION PROMPT: What do you want from your journey of exploration into new worlds?


Reflection Prompt

Can you embody the light out there? Can you light the path for those around you? Reflect upon this. This is self study (svadhyaya) in action.

We meet a Gemini full moon on November 23. It’s officially Sagittarius season, but wait–

The vibe of Gemini, the archetype of the trickster, makes things a little janksy rn.

We’re coming out on the other side of Scorpio season, aka the time of year when the deep deep, the subconscious, seemed to be bursting out from our insides. What we’ve kept inside and largely unconscious was vying for our attention. How did you do?

And now, the holidaze is upon us, too. All the face stuffing, gift giving, end-of-year partying can be overwhelming (possibly triggering, too, when we bring in family obligations).

It’s adding to the energetic crunchiness–and are you even dealing with Mercury being retro rn?

I’m saying! It’s all the feels.

Emotional information overload. But the Sag in you wants you to explore it out. Go beyond your know boundaries of what you can handle (or not).


Mercury retrogrades do us the solid of allowing us insight and direct-access to our intuition, which is basically information in a pure form. All of the containers (labels, judgments, even well meaning classification and taxonomy) divide us from the information and its sources.

The time around emotional overloads are very good points of departure. They are times when we want to ride the Witness, engage the ability to achieve distance, make space between the stimulus and sensation, and see what’s there. That’s when we get some really great direction about where to goStrong emotional reactions are cues that some archetypal dissonance is happening. On a deep level, something isn’t vibing. Where is that in you? And when you locate feeling, then try and locate the source (the trigger, the exchange), so you can start to establish self care to counteract.


You can de-fuse your emotional bombs.

Remember, self reflection is just a practice. The Witness practice. The more you do it, the more you obtain information through the distance and space you make between yourself and a situation. The more you can map the cause-effect relationships, and the more you can make conscious choices. The closer you come to understanding what’s ticking before you explode and melt down.

There’s so much potential to transform with all the information. Go out there and get it.

REFLECTION PROMPT: Recall a situation that felt really emotional. Then, write 5 “If, then” statements, like a play-by-play retelling of the scene. “If he did x, I felt y.” What do you find? Is this exploring new ground in yourself opening up things you didn’t see before?

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