Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

January 1, 2015 § 15 Comments


“The journey itself is home.” ~ Basho

“The only journey is the one within.” ~ Rilke

January 1st 2015

As we move from one year to the next, we can not help but reflect upon where we’ve been & where we are going. Who we have been & who we wish to become.

on-the-road-again-susanne-van-hulst“On The Road Again,” by Susanne Van Hulst

The Uranus/Pluto square which began in 2012 comes to a close in 2015.

“Lives have been turned upside down,” notes astrologist Sarah Varcos, “perspectives forever shifted, circumstances reshaped beyond recognition. We have lost the things, people and places we thought we could never live without and discovered new ways of being we thought were never possible.

“Some people have been touched more deeply than others. Some in resoundingly positive ways. Others have faced what has looked and felt like devastation.

“In very basic terms Uranus is sudden, unavoidable change and Pluto is destructive and/or creative power. When these two work together shocks and surprises are guaranteed, as is rebirth from the rubble of destruction and the possibility of a new life if we rise to the challenge and steel ourselves to ride the waves and see where we finally come to rest..”

Phoenix_detail_from_Aberdeen_BestiaryAberdeen Bestiary detail (12th C.)

Pluto—named after the Greek god of the underworld—associated with intense growth at any cost, barreled through our lives, ripping up all false truths and shallow roots, often painfully.

“Nothing and no one has been protected from the destructively creative grace conjured by the cosmos these past few years,” notes Varcos.  “The challenge for so many has been to let go and trust, to embrace the changes brought about no matter how devastating they may have felt at the time. To look into the darkness, of self, of other, of life and to recognize that within it lays the deepest wisdom, the most enduring truths.”

shadow, shell, golden ratio, golden mean

On a collective level, the conversation surrounding rankism & the struggle of the marginalized has deepened & broadened, rising in visibility. (“Spectors of Oppression: Human Dignity & The Meaning of Difference.)  In the spirit of Pluto, it has been intense, uncomfortable & necessary.

“This past year has been about acknowledging and owning the personal and collective shadow in order to recognize that it is not some dreadful realm to be feared, rejected and denied but simply another part of ourselves to be embraced, accepted and, in doing so, brought into the wholeness of all that we are.”

Pluto & Proserpine“Pluto & Proserpine”

Varcas notes that the theme for 2015 could be summed up as “show up, own up & step up; no holds barred!” (Read it here.)

This year we are asked to live the truths we’ve discovered over the past few years of struggle, not just when we feel motivated, but as a constant ongoing statement of who we are.

Taylor James, human metaphors is, site credit: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/human-metamorphosis-15-pics“Human Metaphmorphosis” series by Taylor James

For me, these past few years have entailed tremendous personal loss as well as profound self-discovery & growth. I’ve found my ability to survive (and even thrive amid) these times has depended greatly on my perspective of each trial as an initiation into deepened levels of awareness. Transformation is an essential touchstone of my journey. (Self Renewal & The Art of Transformation.)

Learning to know myself, accept who I am & act as much as possible in accordance with my own authenticity has been essential (Authenticity & The False Self.) 

This focus on self-reclaimation lead me to make contact with the singing center of my own being, which I came to recognize as Soul, the inner Wisdom Keeper. (Soul-Retrival.)

soul, angelic being

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? 

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

so that other people will not feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone

and as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others.”

~Marian Williamson, “A Return To Love.”

sparkler gif

Happy New Year.

On on, brave travelers!

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§ 15 Responses to Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

  • Alec E McCloskey says:

    Astonishing work here Tai. My past year definitely coincided with “acknowledging and owning the personal and collective shadow”. Where you find all of this research and inquiry is in a parallax place!

  • Alan says:

    Happy New Year, Tai. Thanks for continuing to inspire.

    Teachers keep on teachin’
    Preachers keep on preachin’
    World keep on turnin’
    Cause it won’t be too long

  • Tanja says:

    Hello Tai. Just wanted to say Happy New Year and thank you for always inspiring me. I haven’t responded for a while, but I regularly read your blog as it’s one of the few things that always make sense, always resonates. Like you, I experienced great personal loss this year, (a death in our family and personal illness) as well as some big positive shifts. Only the beginning I feel, still plenty more room to grow, so onwards we go! Wishing you much joy, happiness and love for the times to come.

    PS. As a suggestion for future blogs. There are now more and more people becoming intolerant to electromagnetic pollution (myself included, I was diagnosed by a doctor in Paris last year). This is a real, and often terrible illness – a tough one at that, as we’re all so used to living our lives ‘connected’. It’s also still a relatively unknown illness – or better still, it’s ‘unrecognised’ by the authorities as there is a lot of money at stake in doing so. Another thing it meant for me, was a loss of work (I worked via the Internet) and friendship (one friend in particular, who did not understand, hence believe what I was experiencing) – in fact, in the beginning, the response from some doctors and friends led me to believe that it was all in my mind etc. Anyway, not meaning to rave on, I just thought I’d mention this as a possible topic for you to consider. Thanks again.

    • Tai Carmen says:

      Thanks you so much for sharing your fortifying feedback, Tanja!

      I am so deeply sorry to hear you also experienced that devastation of losing a loved one this year. It really can not compare to anything else & seems almost impossible to wrap one’s head around. It really does become a case of just having to put one foot in front of the other & mothering ourselves through the grieving process.

      I’m glad to hear, though, that you’ve felt some positive shifts as well!

      Heres to more of those for all of us. And thank you for the post theme idea! I’ll definitely look into it. It seems terribly relevant. I’m sorry to hear you’ve suffered from it. Getting back into balance within our own systems is hard while the greater system is so out of balance, but it seems to be one of the callings of our time. I wish you Godspeed in your recovery & rebalancing. (I highly recommend acupuncture & Chinese medicine to step in where Western medicine has failed. Also creative expression is soul-healing in a way that soothes the nervous system & promotes overall balance. Probably nothing you don’t know! But thought I’d throw in my two cents!:) )

      On on!


  • Suzy says:

    Beautiful post and images. Thankyou for your generosity in sharing your experience and wisdom.

    • Tai Carmen says:

      Aww. Thank you for your generosity in commenting, Suzy. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Means a lot. 🙂

      Happy new year! On on,


  • Karol says:

    Happy New Year Tai and as always THANK YOU – thank you for this gift to start the new year with – it has been exactly as you described, and my first thought was – oh, I forgot about the influence the planets have – and then gratitude that it is over – and finally HOPE – You are truly a beacon of light – and always at just the right time….

    • Tai Carmen says:

      That’s wonderful to hear, Karol. I’m so pleased the post resonated & could provide some helpful context & reminders.

      Here’s to the receding influence of those tough love planets!

      Happy new year to you as well. 🙂
      Onwards & upwards!


  • meghan says:

    Reading this was just what I needed. My brother, who was also a big fan of yours, killed himself in August. I have had to deal with this sudden and deep tragedy, all the while it has pushed me to my limits but that has shown to be a good thing since I now know I can survive. Reading this came at just the right time for me.

    • Tai Carmen says:

      Dear Meghan,

      I’m so deeply sorry to hear about your loss. Having lost both my parents & experienced my own version of unexpected & devastating loss, I think you have exactly the right approach: you do now know you can survive even the unthinkable.

      While I wouldn’t wish the experience of losing a loved one on anyone, and never would have chosen what we went through, it having already happened, I can see how the experience has absolutely made me stronger & given me a far deeper capacity for empathy, as well as gratitude. I view my own trials very much in terms of the heroe’s journey—how in every legend & great tale the hero has to lose more than s/he ever thought they could stand in order to pass through their initiations to the next level of their journey, but when they finally do make it through, they are forever changed. It is up to us as contentious journeyers to make sure those changes are in awareness, empathy, commitment to being part of the solution, etc, rather than simply bitterness, defeatism, etc. I admire your courage & send strength, support & understanding from my heart to yours!

      I’m honored this post could serve its purpose. And again, I am so sorry you had to go through such a traumatic experience—and feel very much for the pain of your brother. Be mindful after such a shock you might be subject to experiencing some PTSD. Here’s a resource that discusses some natural strategies: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/newsletters/research-quarterly/v23n2.pdf

      Please feel free to write for any support (tai@taicarmen.com). I believe we are all each others’ keepers.

      On on,


  • 64doors says:

    This is beautifully written, as are the heartfelt comments and stories of ferocious strength therein.

    It reminds me of the part in Lord of the Rings (movie) in which Samwise is telling the exhausted and hopeless Frodo that the ones written about in legend were normal people, no stronger than any other, who sacrificed and suffered greatly but kept plugging along and saw the journey out to the end. We think that we must be special, or fabled, to have tales written of us upon death (not that we would ask for this), but each of us is a hero whose story is being told, honoured and celebrated. There is just such a place I go in spirit, where an endless celebration is being held for every one of us that moves on; eternal bonfires on the beach beneath stars that never set and golden cascade waterfalls on the White Tower parapet. This celebration details our hardships and how we overcame them.

    Though I have not witnessed the celebration of those who have ended their journey through suicide, I am sure there are special songs for those. The hurt that is left behind when we choose to change our minds and remove ourselves from the lesson…it is to hand those who love us our suffering and ask them to bear it because we could no longer. To carry those woes and use them to become stronger ourselves honours the one who left.

    This is the way of physicality, moments can change everything. When we glimpse what awaits it helps us to recognise the reasons for being here. Some have simply learned what they came to learn and some want to be anywhere but this when the pain is too strong. I am so humbled by the story of the sister who moves on, and by your story of your parents. To be able to speak these things makes us stronger as well, to be able to share our walk with others, our pain and sorrow.

    Thank you for creating such a space, with such hope and heart.

  • 64doors says:

    An essential and powerful post. To accept the change that our world endures over centuries, to relax and surrender to what will be is most important. This post leaves me with that wonderful all is well feeling. It has been a time of loss, yes, and a time of finding. Just so honored to be breathing and alive in this era. ~*❤ *~

  • Tai Carmen says:

    I’m so glad you were left with that feeling 64doors. That was definitely my hope in writing this post. I felt the same, by the end of writing it. 🙂

    You are right! We must never forget what an exciting, tremendous opportunity & privilge it is to be alive in this era, despite its many challenges.

    On on!


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