Be Yourself, No Matter What They Say

by Lanvi Nguyen.

Some are mathematicians, some are carpenters’ wives
I don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they do with their lives

INTELLIGENCE for Taurus, by Eric Francis

Download PDF: A4 / US Letter

For all the hype in advertising and self-help about how unique we all are, our society is growing increasingly hostile toward those who express their individuality. Tribal influences are at an all-time high. Call it our new style of internet-driven bubble living, or the seeming political imperative to choose your team or pick your side, actually being oneself has grown increasingly dangerous.

And now, that’s what you’re being called upon to do, as the single most meaningful factor in your growth, your wellbeing and your healing process.

By “actually being oneself,” I mean living based on your own values, your own worldview, and your own priorities. I mean making your own choices. I mean allowing yourself to be driven by your curiosity. I also mean saying what you, personally, think, feel and believe, and bringing this directly into your relationships.

“Actually being yourself” means making no effort to hide who you are, or to divide your character, keeping some portion tucked away in the back room of your psyche.

Based on a diversity of factors, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for you to contain yourself in ways that are unnatural. The challenge is that Taurus is the master of appearances, and one of the great guardians of stability. There is something about existence that it sometimes feels like you’re the only one who understands. The world is changing too much, too fast, for no good reason. Part of your idea of integrity is being consistently who you are, and respecting the status quo.

That said, you’ve been restless in recent years, and this has been gradually ramping up to the point where you’ve had to do something about it. Hopefully that thing was to express yourself in some tangible and focused way. I may have mentioned that many of my most deeply respected artistic heroes are born under the sign Taurus. There is potential contained in Taurus that I see in few other signs (though remember, everyone possesses every sign, and gets to express it to a greater or lesser degree).

When someone with strong Taurus gets going, there is little that can stop them, and their work has the power to change society. The world needs people who embody this energy to do what you do, and what you love to do. To get yourself going, you must express your being beyond the filters of appearance, or any fears of what someone else might think. I’ve noticed that there are two major pathways associated with your sign.

One is embodied by the Eagle Scout who as an adult has Emily Post books on his shelf, and who knows what every fork in the table setting is for. The other taps into a kind of creative force that is like striking a pressurized well — an oil well, or water in the desert, or music or poetry or paintings or novels that just won’t stop.

It’s easy for most people to be conned out of this second potential incarnation, because everyone who opens up access to their creative force “threatens” most of the people around them. This is because so few people succeed in actually doing so, and they have their regrets, and they typically don’t like when others get pumping. It’s a Harry Potter kind of thing — muggles don’t get it. Art is a kind of magic, or so it seems to most people who don’t do it much. Your magic is what you’re brilliant at. If you’re an accountant and you love doing tax returns, that’s your form of magic.

So this is not just about a missed opportunity to become a great painter, actor or musician. Much more ordinary things are involved: usually, the work someone really wanted, no matter how seemingly glamorous or ordinary. I am talking about vocation, which you might say is the theme of this reading. Vocation is what you are called to do, whatever it may be.

In Western civilization, a lot of life is in the doing, not just being. Maybe if you’re a monk, it’s in the being. What you do is very, very important. And now, it has to be what you really want. And if you can engage that, you will get a result.

The astrology of this is pretty easy to see. I’ll get into it in more detail soon. You probably recognize what I’m getting at — a big piece of the picture is Uranus in your birth sign for the next seven years. This is the self-expressive piece of your astrology at the moment, a new factor that’s developed over the past year, which represents one of the sea-changes in your experience of yourself. Uranus is original and unpredictable, which are qualities you will be adopting under this influence.

There is also an Aquarius connection. Uranus is the modern planet associated with Aquarius, where much of the action in your chart moves in late 2020. The presence of Uranus is a kind of identity rearrangement to prepare you for a whole lot of Aquarius energy coming your way.

Another piece, equally relevant, is Chiron in Aries for the next eight years. The two transits are working together, in parallel, to help you effect both inner and outer revolutions. Chiron in Aries is the inner activation. Yet my perspective is this: Of the two — Chiron in Aries, in your 12th house, or Uranus in Taurus, in your 1st house — Chiron is the one running the whole program, from deep behind the scenes.

Uranus is certainly about change, though Chiron is working with you or on you a lot deeper. You are experiencing the only kind of change that works: like the corny old Buddhist-monk-meets-hot-dog-vendor joke goes, “from within.”

Speaking of Your Vocation: Jupiter Conjunct Saturn

Let’s start with that important distinction — vocation versus career. There is something of the essence of life contained in this distinction, particularly here in a society where most of us have so many choices for what to do with ourselves.  Let’s do something my Taurus therapist taught me to do: go to the dictionary.

Cue: Doug Harper’s Etymology Online.

CAREER: 1530s, “a running (usually at full speed), a course” (especially of the Sun, etc., across the sky), from Middle French carriere “road, racecourse” (16c.), from Old Provençal or Italian carriera, from Vulgar Latin *(via) cararia “carriage (road), track for wheeled vehicles,” from Latin carrus “chariot” (see car). Sense of “general course of action or movement” is from 1590s, hence “course of one’s public or professional life” (1803).

VOCATION: early 15c., “spiritual calling,” from Old French vocacion “call, consecration; calling, profession” (13c.) or directly from Latin vocationem (nominative vocatio), literally “a calling, a being called” from vocatus “called,” past participle of vocare “to call” (from PIE root *wekw- “to speak”). Sense of “one’s occupation or profession” is first attested 1550s.

“Career” shares a word root with “car.”

“Vocation” shares a word root with “vocal.”

Heck, I did not know that till right now. Taurus rules the throat and the voice. (Just about anyone with strong Venus, or Taurus, has a beautiful voice.) So think of it this way: career is like driving around in your car, presumably at a high speed. Vocation is like singing. And vocation is a spiritual calling. So your spiritual calling would ideally feel like singing, not like going to work. You would feel called, or drawn, not like you have to push yourself. This is the feeling to remember, on the physical level.

I bring this up on the occasion of a conjunction forthcoming in your 10th solar house (or 10th by whole signs, for Taurus rising) — the one that addresses career, and that might address vocation. The 10th is what in common lingo we call aspirational. It’s about what we reach for. It’s about your responsibilities in life. It’s about what you’re known for. The 10th represents your relationship to authority, including to parents and family authority, corporations, governments and your ability to govern your own life (this last one is the essence).

For you, this is about the sign Aquarius. Ruled by Saturn, Aquarius is an excellent sign to have on the responsibility-focused 10th, granting you a diversity of advantages where both career and vocation are concerned: anything related to Saturn is helpful to the 10th. There is organizational ability (involving people and work processes), an affinity for groups, and the potential for integrity.

And in late 2020, there is about to be quite a conjunction here, which rings your chart like the great bells of Notre Dame Cathedral. The conjunction is between Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system. Together, they equal more than 2,100 times the volume of the Earth (and 400 times the mass, with a combined 141 natural satellites [meaning, moons], at minimum).

This is a big conjunction, of two miniature solar systems in their own right, that happens just once every 20 years, and which arrives with the feeling of society turning over a new phase of history. (Recent presidents who took office under this conjunction were Kennedy/Johnson in 1961, Reagan/Bush I in 1981 and Bush II/Cheney in 2001.) This is the “beginning of a new era” conjunction. As we approach the election of 2020 and whatever is ahead in 2021 and beyond, most people can feel change of this magnitude coming on yet again.

Yet for you, this conjunction is especially personal, as it is on the fixed cross and you are born under a fixed sign — and the 10th house is involved. It is directly associated with your mission in life. Now put this all together and you can see that big possibilities are on the horizon, the potential for you to take a major step up in the world. Yet the question is: how do you get there? Or more appropriately, the question is, where is there? Where do you feel drawn? What is your calling?

Another Conjunction — in the 9th and Capricorn

Before the 10th house is the 9th house. Before your highly expressive, worldly conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the 10th, there is one that happens in the 9th house, which addresses matters of spirituality and personal philosophy.

The 9th house takes us beyond the deeply personal worlds of the 7th and 8th, which are about one-on-one relationships and the most private family matters (finances, wills, trusts, estates, sexuality and so forth).

There’s a major conjunction brewing in your 9th, between Saturn and Pluto. It takes place on Jan. 12, 2020, about a year ahead of Jupiter-Saturn on Dec. 21, 2020. The two events are related, as one cultivates the ground for the other. Saturn-Pluto conjunctions are rare, and like all Saturn-Pluto contacts, they are potent, and tend to change the world around us.

This fits the conjunction happening in your 9th — the house that guides you into the wide world, but moreover, that prepares you for what you will experience when you’re working at a higher level of responsibility. The 9th is in many ways about preparation, and the 10th is about achievement, power and authority. In an astrology workshop long ago, Barbara Hand Clow pointed out that one of the problems with the world as we know it is that people try to get to the power of the 10th without going through the process of the 9th — which is about spiritual growth, education and ethics. You can think of the 9th as a place where you explore inwardly, and learn, and grow, and then take that exploration beyond yourself.

One example of the 9th is higher education: college, university and advanced degrees. These are the phases of education that (at least in today’s world) are intended to prepare you for your chosen career or your vocation. This is supposed to be the education you get because you want it, not because a truancy officer is going to arrest your parents, or send you to juvenile hall, if you don’t show up for school.

Ideally, higher education is something you get fully involved with, as a means of self-exploration. You explore topics, and places, and relationships, that take you beyond that of your immediate family and home locale. For higher education to be successful, you must be fully invested (which these days typically includes spending a lot of money, and that puts pressure on the choices that a person makes, tending to weight things from an orientation on career rather than vocation; career is supposed to be more lucrative, though that’s a misperception).

The 9th also represents your spiritual calling, and that can include where you want to travel in the world, and why. It’s about you, your relationship to your beliefs, the code you live by, your ethics, your connection to what you think of as God or your higher self. So the theme of this house is where you open up to the wider world, by many possible means. This is what you’ve been occupied with for a while, on a diversity of levels — and it’s where the focus of action in your chart is right now.

With your chart oriented on Taurus — whether Sun or rising — you have Capricorn on the 9th house (counting from the Taurus Sun, or whole sign houses from your Taurus ascendant). Capricorn has many assets, though one of them is not how juicy and lush it is. Capricorn is not the sign of the wide view, though it’s in the house associated with that theme. Capricorn leans more toward duty than spiritual calling. So there is a seeming contradiction here. Having Capricorn on the 9th house feels a little more like going to business school rather than a yoga teacher retreat in Bali.

Even if you do something you want (such as an advanced degree in a field you love), there is likely to be some Capricorn-esque feeling of obligation associated with it. The 9th is supposed to feel expanded; Capricorn can feel confined, like a convent. This, it would seem, is the very thing you’re breaking out of now.

Transits modify the signs, and you’ve been experiencing some that are radically reshaping Capricorn. There are three I have in mind. One, from the past, happened from late 2001 through 2005, when Chiron passed through. I know that was ages ago; in internet years, a century ago. Yet this era 2001-2005 contains valuable information for you. (In case you have not noticed, I read old transits like an archeologist reads the layers of history compacted into the ground.)

The difference is that unlike the layers of an archeological dig, past transits still continue to influence your present environments, both mental and physical. I suggest you get a new perspective on what developed in the years when Chiron was in Capricorn, which was the immediate post-9/11 era. I will not dwell on this except to say that beneath the global trauma, and the national trauma that Americans in particular experienced, this was a distinctive time in your life that bears a direct or indirect — relevant, in either case — relationship to what you’re experiencing now.

There were some events in that era that revealed the scope of your worldview, and pointed to some ways to a wider, more comprehensive approach. You may have hit certain limits. You may have made some preliminary changes to your beliefs, or began an experiment that continues to the present day. And no matter how difficult or unsuccessful this may have felt, no matter what the seeming result, it’s highly probable that you at least made the first necessary step and created an opening for the future — one that you’re now in a position to work with and benefit from.

Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn

You are aware of the developing conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This is a rare event, happening about once every 37 years in our era. It’s part of the Saturn-Pluto cycle, which had its last major whistle stop in 2001-2002 (the Saturn-Pluto opposition). For reference, the immediately prior Saturn-Pluto conjunction was in 1982, in Libra, coinciding approximately with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction at nearly the same time — just like now.

So, on some level, our current moment has some resonance with the changes of the very early 1980s. Speaking on a global scale, the thing we have to watch out for are authoritarians, their attitudes and their values — and this goes for each of us on personal levels. On the left and on the right, we are seeing what seems like ever-increasing blind acceptance of authority. An essential part of your spiritual and psychological process is divesting yourself from authoritarian views.

Beginning in 2008, Pluto entered Capricorn. If you were following astrology at the time, this was perceived as an ominous transit that would have some big implications. That turned out to manifest immediately; within months of the Pluto ingress of Capricorn, the “subprime mortgage crisis” melted into the Big Short and the Great Recession.

For you personally, the cracking open of your spiritual and worldly reality continued. You had to get yourself into a larger world — a new city, a new profession, a different university, something. Pluto drives evolution, and Pluto in Capricorn is like breaking through the layers of false belief to get to the underlying reality of existence. To get a better sense of this process, it will be helpful if you look to the Capricorn reference reading (available to everyone). Keep that feeling in mind: cracking through a shell of a certain kind. The shell was made out of what you were told you believed. The egg inside is your personal spiritual truth.

In late 2017, Pluto was joined by Saturn in Capricorn. Years of Pluto penetrating through your various thought structures and belief systems are now accompanied by a clear-up squad. Saturn is a fantastic bulldozer, a clearer of space. This amounts to space for you to decide what is true for you, rather than what others would have (or have had) you believe. Saturn represents the cultivation of integrity on some of the deepest levels available.

My impression is that it’s not easy to have Capricorn on the 9th house. There is a little too much about what is supposed to be right, or conforming to dogma, rather than what is simply observably true. This is the central quest of the Capricorn 9th — to get beyond doctrinal thinking, which first means learning to identify it for what it is, and then exploring what is actually true for you.

Inner Exploration Helps with This

All through the Pluto-in-Capricorn era, there has been significant movement through Aries, and this has created some big inner bursts of revelation. For you Aries is a distinctly inner region — so at the same time you’ve been busting out into the world, your inner sense of who you were was getting inwardly shaken up and awakened into full consciousness. What is interesting is the ongoing degree to which your personal growth spurts coincide with global shakeups. It’s as if whenever something huge is going on in the news, you are rapidly evolving inwardly, and stretching further and further into the world.

In many respects, this relationship between your 12th house (Aries) and your 9th (Capricorn) is still going at full force. I will do my best to explain this a few different ways, and will eventually stumble on one that you can relate to.

You can think of this process in three parts, which you can investigate individually: activity in the 12th (now focused on Chiron, so please study the Aries reading), activity in the 9th (Saturn and Pluto, so please study the Capricorn reading) and what the two are doing together — the point of action and expression.

The essence is this: You need to come to your own conclusions about yourself and about existence — and what you want from both. In order to reach these conclusions, which are really observations, you will need to get past the conditioning you have that is blocking your view, which means recognizing it for what it is. The way you do that is with experimentation and experience. It is said that travel keeps a person young. This is the idea. Keep learning, keep moving, travel whenever you can, and confront yourself over and over again with the world as it is, rather than as you think it is.

These are high-impact transits. You will need to make a special effort to be gentle with yourself. And you will need to express yourself outwardly, and see what emerges, and then observe and make adjustments based on what you express. I cannot emphasize this enough. You need a feedback mechanism to work with. The 9th and 12th both have an abstract quality. The square aspects that connect them demand a tangible quality, though this will only manifest if you take the action called for by a square, which is expression.

Thinking about things, or contemplating thinking about them, will not do the work. It will not get you far. The actual work is in some form of action — creative, expressive, written, artistic, teaching, or whatever gets the energy from the inside to the outside, where you can see what you’ve expressed and evaluate it. Notice I did not say “study” or “travel.” Those are implied. Those are commonplace uses of the 9th. This is not merely about searching, though searching is included. Were your transits solely from the 9th house, study or travel might be adequate, but they are not: there is another side to the equation.

In my long experience with people on the spiritual or self-help path, there is often a constant obsession to learn and to improve oneself — and little impetus to take the risk of making something, putting it in the world, and gauging the response. That includes both one’s own response to the whole experience, and what is learned when the ideas are released to a version of the public or a population, no matter how small. Think of yourself as provoking a conversation, ongoing.

Overcoming Obstacles

There tend to be three obstacles to doing this. One is confidence, such as the feeling, “I don’t know enough to do this.” The next is the thought that I’m not really a [writer, artist, performer, teacher, whatever], I’m just a person living my life. The third is a concern — the most significant — which is about rocking the boat. Anything that’s real is going to get a reaction, and that reaction might be a controversy.

Yes, this happens, though it’s also part of relating to a community as anything other than a person lurking in the shadows. We happen to live in times when anything can be considered “controversial,” to the point where it’s becoming meaningless.

The 9th house includes publishing. Not long ago, it verged on ridiculous for an astrologer to bring this up for their clients as a general topic (I have seen it ridiculed, way back in the 20th century). But offering one’s story is a fact of life today, for every person with one of those things in their pocket. Everyone now publishes, whether it’s to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, a blog or a professional media outlet. You have extra power here: you have influence. And I suggest you be careful, because what you express will have impact.

Care includes practicing basic hygiene when it comes to what you say in public forums. If any facet of your work involves public communication, read a basic article on libel. Make sure what you say is true, and that it can be proven with documents or secondary sources. Ask other people to review your work before you publish it in any form, even something as seemingly innocuous as a blog post.

The Problem with Belief

We have special issues these days, one of which is people thinking that just because they believe something, it’s true. Writing something does not make it true. Reading something does not make it true. What makes it true is verification, and this includes information coming from supposedly spiritual sources (readings, channelings, visions, proclamations, etc.). I suggest you set a high standard for truth, and then work to meet that standard, whether you’re the one offering the idea, or accepting it.

That said, you have considerable power to bring truth as you see it to public awareness. Your own search for personal truth is really something much wider, and you would be wise to maintain this awareness — though still maintaining the boundary of owning your ideas, your observations, and your angle on reality.

I do not suggest you ever think you’re speaking any form of “universal truth.” Stick to fully claiming your own point of view, and express yourself from there. Strive for balance and a circumspect approach to what you describe. Keep looking at yourself, and at any topics you’re describing, from new and different points of view. Keep your perspective expanding rather than contracting. Very little is “right” in the world, though some things are true enough, as long as you shift your perspective.

There are tricks for this. You can physically walk around something you’re looking at. You can travel somewhere by one route, and travel back by another route. You can engage with people you disagree with, and allow them to challenge your perceptions or observations. You can look at the history of issues. If you’re addressing a spiritual matter, investigate the deep background. If you’re involved in a political discussion, dig up the history (learning that of the word “progressive” will be a real eye-opener). Use the dictionary! Share your thoughts. Ideas increase by being given away, though you also grow and change when you share your ideas.

The Psychological Dimension of the 9th House

The Saturn-Pluto conjunction in the 9th would seem to be a struggle to set yourself free from something. One way to think of this is breaking out of the religious dogma of your childhood, on whatever level it was imposed, including by some other name. Religion is not always dressed up as such. It is an inherent brain function, which can latch onto anything from the stock market to the virtues of breath mints.

Much of what manifests through these channels are the belief systems and personal philosophies of our parents. When you are a child, these are more powerful than any religious dogma. The philosophies of our parents tend to dominate our thinking, for one because we have so few ideas of our own, and also because if we don’t agree with our parents, we risk not having their approval. This is religion. Our parents are as “gods and goddesses” to us. If we risk displeasing them with something they don’t agree with, that is religion, plain and simple: it’s like being afraid God will get revenge on you. And this kind of transaction is what lurks beneath all forms of religiosity.

Given that some of our parents have beliefs and belief systems that extend into what is genuinely perverse, destructive and toxic, this is worth taking apart in a fully conscious way, accounting first for the fact that to question them is sacrilegious.

Years ago, Martha Lang-Wescott pointed out a delineation of the 9th that I have not seen covered anywhere else, so I will mention it here, as it seems relevant given your transits to this house. She said to check the 9th for information about the hidden psychological legacy of mother. I have taken her suggestion and over the decades investigated innumerable charts for this topic — and have found it to be dependable. (If you are reading your natal chart, investigate, in particular, what is closest to the 10th house cusp, on the 9th house side, and gradually expand from there.)

The hidden psychological legacy of mother is something that society is in denial over. In our era, men are blamed for everything that is wrong. You can flip on the TV or any random website and see this being discussed. This is not merely some kind of social or political bias; it’s a serious psychological blind spot.

Mother is powerful, she is influential, and her logic in many ways dictates the course of a child’s life. She is the dominant parent for most of the post-World War II generations. My own mother pointed out the ways in which the mothers of women, in particular, tend to run their lives from behind the scenes — and I have seen this true in the case of many, many clients, even elderly ones whose mothers departed this plane of reality long ago.

Under this astrology, it’s essential that you deconstruct your mother, all she stands for, and her influence on you. This includes her worldview, as well as how she treated you, and how she treated your father, the other men in her life, your siblings and others. Listen inwardly for her “voice” telling you things. Some may be wise and true. Some may pass for wisdom. Some may be insidious, designed to sabotage your confidence and sense of autonomy.

There is a taboo on challenging mother and her “logic.” It is now time for you to break this taboo. Remember that what you are looking for, per Martha’s suggestion, is the hidden psychological legacy of mother. So it may not be obvious, because it’s a hidden legacy. But it will always come with an authoritarian flavor. Also, this is not a discussion about father — that is another discussion. But it is very much a discussion of how your mother treated your father, and the example that this set for you. This includes how she treated other men around you.

Parallel Realities of Uranus and Chiron

I began with a discussion of Uranus in your birth sign. This is the freedom to let your freak flag fly. However, that only gets you so far. It’s also serving as a kind of adaptation model getting you ready for the 10th house transit of Jupiter and Saturn in late 2020. You are going to need the ability to hang loose under that influence.

Then there is Chiron moving through your 12th. As I’ve written before on a number of occasions, one of the most interesting features of Taurus or Taurus rising is where Aries is placed in your chart — as the sign before yours, it’s in the 12th place or 12th house. (Whenever there is “the house before something,” it has a 12th house feeling. Hence, the 10th is the house of mother, and the 9th is what’s hidden about mother.) We are doing this reading for Taurus, so Aries is the 12th house, the hidden dimension.

The 12th is veiled. Aries wants to be outgoing, and define itself boldly. Yet the 12th is turned entirely inward, like its own private universe. There is a contradiction here, and it’s part of what makes you who you are. It’s natural and essential that you seek yourself within yourself, wherever else you may do so — though this is not always easy, and it is not usually supported by the world.

It will be easy to get distracted by Uranus moving through your sign, and I suggest you guard against this. The real point of orientation for you is Chiron in Aries. That’s the crux of your growth. Chiron will help you pull focus where you need it, which is inwardly. This inner orientation will afford you unusual freedom in the world, though that’s not really the point: the point is the freedom you are seeking within yourself. There will be many points of expression.

The Salacia Factor

There is an additional factor in the 12th, currently in a long conjunction with Chiron. That is Salacia, a slow-moving object in an orbit close to that of Pluto, on the edge of the solar system. Salacia is about sexuality. Like Chiron, it can manifest on every level, though currently we seem to be getting a reaction on the most contracted one, driven by fear. Society is currently in a crisis over sexual boundaries, ideas, concepts and definitions. And that is being driven by the Chiron-Salacia conjunction, and amplified by contacts over in Capricorn. [I describe all of this in detail in the Aries and Capricorn reference readings.]

I am being polite when I say crisis. There is in fact an all-out sex panic going on. The reason this is relevant to you is because so much of your growth and awareness is focused around Chiron in the 12th, and that’s actually in a conjunction with Salacia.

In Vedic astrology, the 12th covers “the pleasures of the bed.” That’s one of the things we find in the hidden dimension of that house. Yet the 12th has a boundless quality, and can defy conventional boundaries. And as you know, everything going on in the 12th is seeking expression in some form. However — inward first, then outward.

The theme here is the extent to which the inner journey of Chiron in Aries, the crux of your growth, is infused with a sexual theme. This will help: there is no way to grow and develop as a person without opening up your sexual awareness. I recognize there are certain philosophical and religious camps that would prefer this not to be true, though that does not change reality. And in any event, Chiron is awakening this aspect of your consciousness.

We are not talking about what you “identify as.” That’s the contemporary retreat from sexual reality — claim one of the letters in LGBTQIA, or the theoretically lowly position of being ‘cis’-gendered and heterosexual — and you don’t really have to do much else, as long as you’re happy staying asleep.

The point of awakening is to your actual sexuality, which is integrated with your whole reality. There will, however, be points of focus, and specific points of healing that you will of necessity want to focus on. Here is one thing I suggest you keep in mind as you do this: Nearly all of our sexual ideations and experiences are dictated by three main factors: family, religion (including certain dogmatic secular philosophies) and advertising.

The place where all three of these factors subvert your autonomy and freedom of self is your sexuality. Therefore, the single easiest way to remain powerless is to ignore this issue. If you are interested in claiming back your power and autonomy, this is a place to explore. Your sexual energy is one and the same as your chi, your prana, your vital force, your life force, your kundalini or whatever you want to call it — on the most practical level of actual expression and actually creating your life and actually getting things done.

And when you do, you first discover certain inner complexities that are like running your energy through a Byzantine maze. The second thing you’re likely to come up against are the philosophies and psychology of others that are designed specifically to keep you trapped within your fears. When you run into these things, you get to decide what to do: mainly, to raise your energy, or to cut back and retreat. To raise your awareness, or dim the lights and go back to sleep. To express yourself, which feels dangerous, or to be good and quiet and try to appear saintly so that you don’t harsh anyone else’s comfort zone.

Overall, the movement of your energy is from the inside out. You are here to challenge yourself and express yourself. You have no need for the university where debate is not allowed and where speech must be purified. Rather, you are entering a new relationship with the world, where you get to change it, and it gets to change you. Remember, whether things are challenging or you’re experiencing smooth sailing, it’s all an experiment. You are an ongoing experiment — in being yourself.