Astrological Inspiration: Jan 2016

Astrological Inspiration for January 2016

planetJanuary’s new Moon occurs on the 10th in the earthy sign of Capricorn, alongside thinking planet Mercury, which will have shifted into its famous retrograde mode just four days before.

Retrograde is the word used to describe how the planet appears to move backwards along the zodiac belt. Its astrological significance is in human actions and world events that seem to have a backward-looking connection or a tendency to seem to go wrong or at least against the normal flow.

In reality life does not move in a straight line anyway. As humans we perhaps try to make it that way, with our plans, forecasts and forever projecting forward to what we might be or do tomorrow, next week, next month or over the next five years. But how often do events really go to plan and turn out just as we expect? Probably not very often.

So the apparent ups and downs of Mercury retrograde may be said to merely reflect the messy pattern of life and the need to sometimes review and rethink what we are doing and planning.

This month’s new Moon also links to the slower-moving planet Jupiter, said to be the great, beneficial giver of the celestial spheres. Jupiter also happens to be in an earth sign, this time Virgo – and will also have turned retrograde just a few days before, on the 8th.

What does it all mean? Well, Virgo is linked with analysis, criticism and health interests. It might therefore be the case of really wanting to take stock of health issues – particularly anything to do with excess, as Jupiter relates to that as well. January is of course traditionally the time for thinking about weight issues, especially after the feed-til-we-drop push of the festive season! There is a warning with Jupiter in Virgo, though – not to take dieting and exercising to excess, either. And not to be over-analytical of our bodies, our minds or any of our natural abilities.

lettuce with measuring tapeIf we need to ease into an exercise regime, so be it. If moving to salads feels wrong, warming soups and stews could do for a while. If worry about this or that illness symptom is as debilitating or depressing as obsessing over body shape and calorie maths, then maybe that is not the right approach! Jupiter is an all-embracing planet, which means the new Moon message is as much about acceptance as it is about reaching for the best health options open to us. The healthy message of Jupiter in Virgo might be neatly summed in the image of Dr Spock from the ‘60s TV sci-fi series Star Trek, who, like all good Vulcans, advised us to “live long and prosper”!

The Healing Edge

Healthy diet seems an appropriate healing theme this month. The 5:2 diet is still popular in the public imagination. Call me old-fashioned, but it strikes me as being very similar to the pattern adopted by dieters in the 1960s and early 70s, when calorie-counting was the thing. I distinctly remember my own mother, who was very figure-conscious, but loved her food, busily weighing and balancing the Monday to Friday intake very carefully. Weekends were reserved for ‘breaking the diet’ and going a bit wild. The 5:2 may work for a lot of people for the purposes of desired weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. However, it may be worth ensuring that the midweek intake has enough levels of healthy fat; without it, the gallbladder may be busy doing nothing more useful than turning stored bile into gallstones!

With a drive towards cutting down on sugar intake, fewer people are focussing on fat intake now. But too much can of course still be a big problem. The UK government’s dietary reference values, established in 1991, were slightly revised after a report was published in 2014 following a major national survey. Currently they recommend the following intake for fats and sugars (for adults):

Total Fat Intake: a maximum of 35% of food energy. For an adult consuming 1500 calories of food in a day that means that no more than 525 calories should come from fats. On food packs, fat content is often expressed as grams per 100 grams. To compute from grams to calories, remember that fat contains 9 calories per gram, so simply multiply the number of fat grams by 9. As an example, the fat grams in a Waitrose Essential range mince pie* are 9.5g and x 9 = 85.5 calories.

Saturated Fat intake: a maximum of 11% of food energy. For an adult consuming 1500 calories of food that means no more than 165 calories should come from saturated fat. That average mince pie contains 2.9g saturated fat, which equates to 26.1 calories.

sweet marie posterThe government guidelines for healthy eating – which tend to steer away from the focuses of ‘fad’ diets – also suggest that only 8% of total food intake should come from foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar. If you think about it, that may possibly mean that even the 11% of food energy from saturated fat could be quite a ‘high’ maximum. The bottom line is that BOTH fat and sugar intake ought to be kept low. Our standard mince pie contains 15.2g of sugars (within an overall carbohydrate content of 32.2g per pie). It’s official, then, mince pies have the ‘ouch factor’, when it comes to high fat (especially saturated fat) and high sugar. The good news is that mince pie season will be officially over once you read this! Suddenly, a bowl of home-made tomato soup seems quite appealing…but maybe reach for the Ryvita with Marmite or low fat cream-cheese, rather than bread and butter, to go with it!

The Change4Life healthy lifestyle campaign encourages UK residents to ‘eat well, move more, live longer.’ They have some useful tips for making adjustments to fat and sugar intake for both adults and children.

Writing and Publishing Trends

The manuscripts I am receiving for review include some featuring new angles on old subjects and some focussing on advice for a better life, particularly in terms of mental attitudes and daily behaviours. It’s all good stuff and I do enjoy helping authors to assess which areas of a book need more work and those that are already working well. The early part of the year can be busy with people considering fresh projects – but it might depend on how distracted would-be authors are by other, immediate concerns, too. It will be interesting to see what emerges over the coming weeks.

Reflection for the month: How vital is health?

Good health is not a given, so, personally, I say a silent prayer of thanks every day for mine. I sometimes have minor health challenges, as many people do – and, on those days, ask whatever invisible powers might exist beyond the known sphere to please give strength and healing. It seems to help!

One of the factors that is easy to forget about, or simply to underestimate, is just how much the mind and body are linked. It is very easy to feel both tired and lower in spirits when there is a physical challenge for the body to deal with. This seems to be true whether dealing with something like an everyday viral infection, or the impact of a bone fracture, dislocation or muscular tear from an accident – not to mention any more grave diseases.

artists doll relaxing in a chair

Getting through trying times with illness often requires more than just typical medications. More than anything we need to allow time for healing and provide the right conditions. That might mean plenty of bed rest. It might also include items and activities to keep spirits bright – chats with friends, a magazine or good book to read, a supply of nourishing food – and so on.

In our modern, workaholic-oriented culture we can feel guilty about taking time off. And even when we take time out from our paid work or voluntary service roles, there’s the matter of our work at home – whatever we usually do to keep our homes clean and tidy and ourselves and any family fed. Being ill is a time for delegation, as far as that is possible. And if there is nobody on hand willing or able to delegate to, there’s always the option of getting in some ‘freezer meals’ (ie convenience foods – just check the nutrition guideline box for fat and sugar content, when making choices!) All of this matters: after all, good health is vital to life – and perhaps a good life literally is one full of vitality. Good rest, good food and being kind to yourself may all matter more than we think!

Tarot Cross Check

Tarot_1We use the system of Numerology to find the numbers of corresponding tarot cards and, for our new Moon date this month it is 10 that matters, along with 20 and 2. In Tarot these numbers correspond to: X The Wheel of Fortune, XX Judgement and II The High Priestess. The Wheel turning is a lovely symbol for the start of a brand new calendar year. The other cards encourage that we use our judgement along with intuition, to work out the direction to turn that wheel for ourselves. What will you be steering for and aiming towards this year? Will you follow your conscience or your heart? Or, ideally, can it be both?! Happy new year, everyone – may you find an interesting path to travel.