The Mystery of the Missing Sign

February 2nd, 2018 by

There is an important key to understanding astrology and each astrological sign, based on what is unconscious, or hidden, within it. I first came across this baffling revelation some 30 years ago and it blew me away.

Imagine the zodiac with its 12 signs. A perfectly balanced circle, equally populated with fire, air, earth and water signs, interacting with each other in grand cosmic harmony. The zodiac is a poetic masterpiece of utter perfection and the more one studies it the more secrets it reveals and the more fascinating it becomes.

Each of the 12 signs contains all the other 11 signs within it. No sign can be understood separately. Just take the signs that are opposite each other as an example. What is the orderliness of Virgo without the chaos of Pisces? How can Libra create peace if Aries didn’t start a war? Each sign must be understood in its relation to the other signs.

But one particular sign is missing, or hidden in the unconscious of each sign. It’s like the weak point or the handicap of each sign. To find out what is this missing part in each sign, we simply count 8 signs ahead in the zodiacal wheel. 8 signs from Leo is Pisces, so it means that Pisces is the unconscious aspect of Leo. 8 signs after Pisces we find Libra, which means that Libra is the unconscious of Pisces and so on. Why 8? Because the 8th house is the house of the unconscious, the house ruled by Scorpio. The 8th house is our master key in this exercise.

What happens when we remove this one sign from the wholeness of each sign? Then we get character, individuality, uniqueness and the actual meanings of the 12 astrology signs that we know. We discover that each sign can be understood through the very sign it lacks from its conscious psyche.
astrology wheel
So what does all this nonsense mean? Let’s go through the zodiac and you’ll see. This is a very simplified version of the principle, but if you get the general idea you can study it further yourself.

Let’s begin with Aries. Why is Aries so straightforward, outgoing and blunt? Aries lacks Scorpio. The sign that is about depth of emotion and introverted brooding. What about Scorpio then? Why is that sign so deep and intense and often struggling with serious emotions? Scorpio lacks Gemini, the happy-go-lucky joker in the zodiac, forever young and playful. Imagine you don’t have an ounce of Gemini inside of you, then you’d be like Scorpio. What about Gemini then, what does this sign lack? Why is Gemini known to be flaky and indecisive? Gemini lacks Capricorn, the serious, responsible workaholic, the spine of our society. Take a look at a Gemini and you can literally see that they are the way they are because they don’t have Capricorn. What about Capricorn then, why is Capricorn so serious and preoccupied with work and status? What could Capricorn be lacking? Capricorn lacks Leo. Sunny, charming Leo, with its natural self-love. If one doesn’t love oneself, one can at least earn the respect of oneself and society through work. That’s the Capricorn way. What about Leo then? Why is Leo considered the most ego-driven sign? It’s all about me and my need to express myself. What could Leo possibly lack to make it that way? Leo lacks Pisces, the sign of compassion and lack of boundaries. If I don’t feel the oneness with others it must mean I stand out, I’m special, and that is the key to understanding Leo. What about Pisces? Why is Pisces often so chaotic and confused? What do they miss? They lack Libra, the sign of balance and harmony. Obvious when you think about it, right?

What about Libra? Why is sweet and love-sick Libra so concerned about being liked by others? What does Libra lack? Libra lacks Taurus, strong, solid and resting within oneself. No one can push a Taurus around. So if you don’t have Taurus within you, you’ll have a hard time saying no to people, just like Libra has. What about earth-bound Taurus? Why is Taurus so grounded? It’s the sign of enjoying the physical senses, food and money. What could Taurus miss that made it so rooted? Taurus lacks Sagittarius, the sign of the spiritual quest. The sign of traveling the world and the expansion of the mind. Certainly when you lack that sign you’ll be more concerned with what’s for lunch than anything else.

And Sagittarius, why are they always so restless and on the run? Always busy with a new spiritual understanding. What are they looking for? Sagittarius lacks Cancer, the sign that represents home, family and traditional values. Surely if one doesn’t have roots one becomes a restless soul on a quest. What does Cancer lack then? Why is Cancer famous for living in the past and honoring family and old traditions? Cancer lacks Aquarius, the sign of innovation, revolution and experimentation. And what does Aquarius lack? Why are they so rebellious and alternative? What makes them break convention? They lack Virgo, which represents the daily grind. Virgo is the Wikipedia of the zodiac, traditional, earthbound and analytical. Without the restrictions of convention, the mind can fly high and wild. And what about Virgo then? Why are they often so petty, critical and eager to drown themselves in work? What do they lack? They miss the fierceness, fun and power of personality represented by Aries.

And with that we come full circle.

Of course it gets much more complex when studying the individual birth chart where the Ascendant or the Moon can be in the very sign that the sun sign is lacking.

But that’s a different topic, for another time…

Moons and Moods

September 6th, 2017 by

We astrologers are often asked about the significance of various moon phases and moon phenomena. When a special moon phase approaches, like a blue moon, lunar eclipse, equinox moon etc.,  social media buzzes with fantastic predictions. For example: ‘The equinox full moon in Sagittarius will trigger a major shift in human consciousness’. Or the recent solar eclipse, that was supposed to cause a collective planetary awakening of sorts.


Blog-astrology-moon-taritCan we agree that nothing like that happened? We’re still the same silly species as always. The collective human consciousness didn’t change after the eclipse. (If it did, it passed by my nose.)


It always puzzles me, that after each ‘significant’ moon phase, people don’t wonder about the fact that nothing happened. They didn’t wake up different. If they did, it’d be because of other factors. Still some astrologers will say that something amazing will happen next time a special moon phase is announced.


This moon hype gives astrology a bad name, and I’d like to explain a few things about it.


Astronomically these moon phases may be rare and spectacular, but astrologically the movement of the moon has little significance, both collectively and individually. It’s not to be confused with the fixed moon position in the birth chart. That is an extremely important factor, but the transits of the moon are not.




First, because the moon moves very quickly. It only remains in the same spot for a few hours. It’s not even full moon at the same time all over the planet. The moon stays two and a half days in each sign. It takes the moon about 28-29 days to complete a full cycle (which is equal to the menstrual cycle it also represents). So, the moon has to do with short cycles.


Blog-astrology-moon-taritThe moon deals with our moods. It’s a feminine celestial body representing feelings and emotions, those we are aware of as well as those hidden in our unconscious. As the moon hurtles through the different signs, our moods change. Obviously, instability is the very nature of our moods. One moment we’re excited and the next we’re melancholic. It never lasts very long, and rarely has much significance. Within 29 days, we’ve pretty much experienced all the different moods, as the moon passed the different planets in our birth chart.


Let’s compare the transits of the moon to the planets that have tremendous transformative potential- Saturn, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune. Saturn takes 29 years to complete a cycle. Pluto takes 248 years. That means when Pluto hits a significant spot in your chart, it remains there for a few years. Anybody who has experienced a Pluto transit knows how deeply it transforms us. When Saturn hits a vital spot, it remains there for 8-10 months. Enough to trigger significant changes in our lives.


It’s not that the transits of the moon have no significance at all. The moon works as a trigger. It will stir existing feelings and emotions, that we weren’t aware of or have repressed. Unexpressed feelings which have been building up for days, weeks or months can suddenly find their release during moon transits. We cry, get angry, fill up with love/hate or just kind of lose it. That’s also why police and ambulance staff around the world report extra activity during full moons. People’s moods are triggered and we get in the grip of passions. We’re moonstruck.


Moods and feelings come and go as fast as the moon moves. The planets that bring about real and lasting transformation, are Saturn and the outer planets.


Next time there is a spectacular moon phase, go outside and enjoy its splendor, but don’t expect the world to wake up different.


The Pliable Mind: Healing, Resourcing and Retraining the Brain

July 5th, 2017 by







When my partner Karam and I hold workshops, we always introduce the  powerful tool “felt sense“ on the first day since. By bringing awareness inside the body, we become aware of the felt sense. It is the embodiment of one’s ever-changing sensory/energetic/emotional landscape. It moves our focus from actions and things happening outside of us in the world to qualities of our present, internal experience (e.g. textures, colors, sensations). While experiencing, tracking and describing the felt sense with precise adjectives it actually deepens our internal experience of that present moment. This is very valuable in resource-oriented healing work.

A resource is a pleasant memory, a hobby, person/s, animals, nature or skills that strengthen us in times of difficulty. It can also just be the quality of the present moment when we rest in it without wanting to change anything. The more resourced and rested in ourselves we are, the easier it is to deal with and contain our issues and problems in life.


Traumas and wounds of the past have shaped our brain by creating neural pathways (nerve cell connections) in the brain that can stay active throughout our life and constantly recreate the same experience on a physical, energetic, emotional and mental level. In order to allow for deep healing,  it appears essential to create new neural pathways, healthy, content, relaxed, strong ones. And this happens by regularly and over a longer period of time resourcing ourselves and connecting on a sensory level to the felt sense.


This gives us the chance to ground the healthy, good and whatever positive experience you might experience in your body and create new neural pathways. Every time we create a new “healthy“ pathway the old ones become weaker. If we are alert, engaged and motivated in our resourcing the brain releases neurochemicals that enable brain change.


Many mysterious illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, allergies as well as anxiety and depression are rooted in an impairment of the brain and today we have possibilities of healing this. We have hundreds of trillions of connections in our brain, that’s more neuro-connections in our brain than stars in the Milky Way galaxy. We all have a galaxy in our head and it can be accessed, healed and rewired in a simple way by orienting towards health and goodness in our life, by resourcing and creating new pathways through daily exercises.

A Different Life

May 1st, 2017 by

Shahaf a different life Ilario  In the summer of 2012, film producer Saskia Vischer accompanied me to a Silent Retreat led by Tyohar in Umbria, Italy. There, between the ancient olive trees and the resort swimming pool, a seed was sown that would in time blossom into a documentary feature film touching the spirit of PachaMama village. Emerging from deep silence the blessed seed began to sprout, filming between 2013 and 2014 in Costa Rica and Ecuador and then post production and completion of the film in Switzerland, Denmark, Poland and Israel, weaving together three years of a cinematic journey into a 90-minute documentary that premiered in Tel Aviv in 2016.

Shahaf a different life benchA Different Life is a fragile and intimate piece, particularly by way of its four main characters lending their power, beauty and frailty to the film as their stories unfold, revealing the magic in their lives and the chaos that ignites it. A different life is an existential film about transformation and rebirth, taking an optimistic perspective to existence.  Through the stories of the four main characters, some of the pillars that support the community are cinematically portrayed. These are the elements of Silence – meditation and awareness, Emotional Healing, Red Road tradition (Native spiritual practices), and Community in the day-to-day duties of work and family, reflecting the everyday struggles shared by all of humanity.

Shahaf a different life KateEach character upholds a pillar and provides insight into its essence, through his or her work in the world and presence in the film. The film reveals their core beauty through a poetic approach to film-making, allowing each character to touch the audience with the potential to inspire magic and transformation. The power to evoke change by way of inspiration and beauty is art’s greatest gift to us.  The quality of silence and meditation is weaved into the story through the character of Tyohar and his work in PachaMama, sharing about truth and pointing the way to remembrance of our true essence. During Silent Retreats, the residents and visitors of PachaMama in silence assemble twice a day and he reflects to them their true nature as it reveals itself within the letters they address to him. The cinematic choice to not represent Tyohar visually but to allow his voice and his words to speak directly to the audience allows the audience to become personally addressed by Tyohar, turning the cinematic experience into a Satsang- a meeting with truth, where the viewer can ask himself the questions the heroes are dealing with.  The narration, recorded live in several Silent Retreats, also allows Tyohar to offer the viewers a glimpse into PachaMama from its founder’s perspective, giving further depth to the portrayal of this unique place. The three women leading the film’s story, Irama, Chandani and Kate, are the light beings that flicker in the dark inner world of the artist. They are the definition of strength and beauty, walking their journey tall and leaving a trail of stardust behind them. This trail of stardust is an inspiration for the audience and is my inspiration for making the art of cinema.

Unlearning, Unwinding and being Here

February 16th, 2017 by

Spring 1997. I’m a Marketing manager, recycled engineer, looking at the different options for my one week vacation. Staring at the pamphlets I collected randomly. Beaches of Cuba? Pool side in Florida? Hiking in Vermont? Satori? This last one grabs my attention. What is this? A different vacation, one week in the beautiful countryside of Quebec. I have heard of meditation before. This can be different. Let’s go.

Fifty people in a room and this question: tell me who is in. Who is in… hour after hour. Two days of getting myself naked beyond raw. I’ve told my life story to strangers, talked about my pains and heartbreaks. Really there is not much left to say. I ask for an interview. ‘This has been very interesting, thank you for the experience. I know we are not finished, but I feel I got everything I could from this. I am going to leave quietly. Thank you for everything.’
Her eyes don’t leave mine. What more to say. I feel discomfort in my body and mind. My heart is racing. She’s totally still. Seconds of silence that seem like an eternity. Apprehension as she looks like she’s about to say something. Is she? ‘Say something’, I wish to myself.
That’s it. She is about to talk. She slowly and firmly says ‘Tell me who is in’.
I stayed. And eventually, everything shifted. I got it. I found it in my heart. In the heart of the moment. This moment, the moment when ‘who is in’ came clear. And changed my life.

Twenty years later, this process has become one of my favorites.
Elegant, efficient, a one-way ticket to the core of one’s being.
‘Who is in’ is a koan. A koan is not a question, it’s a quest, that takes us on a journey within. It’s a Zen device which acts like a shortcut, an arrow, piercing through the layers of self, masks and personality.
When we put all our energy in the service of this search, like we do in the workshop, the dive inwards is radical. Each partner allowing us to explore a different part of our own psyche.
This is an adventure for the mind, a spiritual boot camp, a moment out of time.

How often do we get a chance to spend three days with ourselves without interruption, placing all our energy actively in the service of seeking our true nature?
It takes courage to dive into oneself, and even more to truly look at what we discover.
But then…

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