Of course, we’re all going through a transition right now; not only into a new year but a new decade. Not everyone knows it, but we are also transitioning into a new solar cycle – Cycle 25 – which is already well under way and due to fully take over from the previous cycle, which lasted approximately 11 years, during the middle part of 2020. What a huge transition Cycle 24 marked in my life, over those breakthrough years since 2009; during which life altered in more ways than I can possibly describe; yours too? Looking around me, I see how we have all shifted through a major gear change over the course of that last cycle which, on a much bigger scale, marks an even bigger transition of ages taking us into a new era. To those who question how intricately we are entangled with our star and its motions through change (and whilst waiting for even more “hard” science to emerge demonstrating this quantum truth that we are connected… see a handful of references below) I can only assure you, I know it because I feel it!
Because I‘ve realised, over that last cycle, that I am acutely sensitive to transitions, to a whole other level to most other people I know, yet in a way that makes far more sense to me in the light of my Asperger’s Syndrome. The sensitivity I speaks of relates to all the different sizes of “wheel” in the full gearbox of life, from the minor to the grandiose….including those cycles of the sun I just mentioned. My awareness of “space weather” would not have occurred (starting in around 2011) had I not started to clock how my health symptoms, so compellingly, correlated with announcements of certain solar events that were occurring around the solar max period (part of its eleven-year transition from quiet times to active times), such as sunspots, solar flares and solar winds. This set me off on the process of tracking my own, quite bizarre and highly variable, health symptoms against such “space weather” events (yes, making it into one of my “special interests”) until I had so much confirmation that the link became quite obvious to me and my only confusion was that there weren’t more people talking about it. Even amongst my friends, I began to notice how their migraines and emotions were being impacted by these sun events yet nobody seemed to be interested to the degree I was, coming from a place of such acute awareness that these events really affect how well my days go, all the time, even when the “space weather” occurring is relatively minor according to space weather watchers (who largely approach such news from other points of view than human health). So, was it just me?
This baffled me for years, as I preceded to tell people about it, to no avail but, again, it made more sense as I came to realise some key differences about myself: I am classified as a highly sensitive person (which accounts for just 20% of the population), an empath (an even smaller proportion of the population than that), an INFJ personality type (approx 1% of the population, so a most particular and rare “type” with direct bearing on this topic due to its particular stack of traits; oft described as “the mystic”) and, to cap it all, a female with Asperger’s along with the oft-associated sensory processing “challenges” (I refuse to call this a disorder) due to picking up much more sensory detail than the average person. Put all this together and I am quite the unusual package; so maybe that was why I noticed what others didn’t (perhaps you can relate). See Dr Elaine Aron’s website for more on assessing your highly-sensitive traits (I score full marks) and Dr Judith Orloff’s book “The Empath’s Survival Guide” for doing the same with your empathic traits (again, full marks). For resources on Myers-Briggs personality traits, which can help you do a fine-tuned assessment of whether, and in what nuanced ways, you are either introverted or extroverted and how this affects your awareness of subtle details, see one of the various websites offering Myers-Briggs assessments. All of these links can be found in my HSP Resources page in the menu above.
Then, (if you don’t mind going a little more off piste with me) I can add that I was conceived in the Summer of Love (itself, a major transition phase), born in the full-blast of the lively solar maximum energies of 1968. I am, thus, a member of Generation X, whose members are “currently under immense pressure to live up to their path and the life purpose that they came here to lead” (Elizabeth Peru: see this article) in order to welcome in the new Aquarian age that those people with flower in their hair sang about (its happening right now). Oh, and I was born under an extremely Out of Bounds moon (another rarity); a trait associated with “breaking out of social constructs” and “bold groundbreaking genius” mixed with a “distinctly Aquarian quality” held in common with many other maverick thinkers operating outside the box. In fact, with wonderful consistency, “The Out of Bounds Moon is found in the charts of many who step outside the boundaries of this world in more-or-less concrete ways” (see Steven Forrest’s excellent blog or “The Book of the Moon” ( link below), from whom all the above moon quotes are taken) so what’s the betting such an out-of-bounds person would be more far in touch with the larger rhythms and cycles of the cosmos than, necessarily, those to do with domestic life on Earth. If you happen to have an out of bounds moon yourself, check out the inspiring list of other such individuals (Albert Einstein, Peter Gabriel, Sir Christopher Wren, Yoko Ono, Ram Das, Edgar Mitchell…the list goes on and on) and celebrate your place in amidst such great company.
I only discovered these things about myself over the last 3 to 4 years, culminating in the Asperger’s diagnosis in 2019; and then the “interesting” experiences I was having began to make more sense….clearly I was born this way. Newly realising my super-sensitive, empathic type (which means I have the tendency to feel more sensations, from more diverse and subtle sources than usual) combined with my Asperger’s traits (manifesting as a tendency to notice sensory details, log them, compare them and spend time wondering about why they occurred) made this acute awareness of transitions fall into place for me. There are two distinct traits that are quite typical to the Asperger profile; we’re often not so very fond of unplanned change or disruption to our routine and we fixate on things, looking for patterns. No wonder I notice these large scale transitions the same way I might, say, bristle at a place that was once quiet becoming quite crowded or noisy suddenly, or a disruption to my daily routine by something more unpredictable. There’s hyper-vigilance at play here, and it makes no distinction between cosmic or domestic change-overs of energy; it simply picks them all up and analyses them.
So (without planning to) I made this “tracking” of my relationship with transitions, especially the change-over of sun cycles, into a special focus over most of the last solar cycle; and for long enough that I was able to notice patterns taking shape, not only in my current life but going back across a whole lifetime in which I had always felt, noticed and logged more sensory data than most, storing it up in visual and sensory memories that I could draw on later (and now it was all proving just so useful to me). Its as though I was devised as a finely tuned, transition seeking, instrument…to my detriment and joy, in almost equal proportions…but now I was, at least, starting to get some tangible use out of it, in my lifelong quest to understand the intricacies of life rather better (as I’ve always been on a mission to do). Did I mention I have synesthesia (search my bog for more posts on this)? Not only do I take in a lot of detail but I cross-reference my different senses, which helps me to store and recall emotional and other data via sound, smells and visual cues when I need it later, something which helped me enormously when I set about feeling into how I responded to other sun cycles as they peaked, ceased and transitioned into the new (I was able to draw diagrams of particular years as I “see” these in pairs forming linked circles in a continuous spiral of time…)
Discovering my affinity to sun cycles was the big one to point this transition-thing out to me, or should I say “shed light on it all”. I realised I was registering sun-events in the body as physical symptoms, provocateurs and life themes, to a high degree, all along…to the point I could track my health, my circumstances, even my alternating cycles of more inward or outwardly focused life phases, according to the transitions, peaks, troughs and alternating polarities of different cycles of the sun (each sun cycle is really only half a cycle in a full circle of 22 years…each with the opposite polarity to the previous half; the interesting thing is my life has progressed in identical-length segments, of alternating fixations, too). Who notices this kind of thing? A highly-sensitive, empathic Aspie who misses nothing and uses their own body as a laboratory for exploring the fascinating business of life, that’s who. And although I knew this “ability” was all part of my mirror touch synethesia and highly-sensitive, empathic nature, I only learned from Dr Orloff last night that there is such things as Earth empaths, who “are attuned to changes in our planet, our solar system, and the weather” (Dr Judith Orloff – “The Empath’s Survival Guide”); yes, that’s me. She goes on:
“If you are this type of empath, what happens to the earth is intimately connected to your body. The beauty and health of the earth nourishes and sustains you. The ocean and tides affect everyone, but especially you. You are sensitive to changes in the weather and daylight. Earth empaths may be more prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, becoming depressed in the winter when the days are shorter or darker”.
Another component of this, which I have long been aware of, is that Earth empaths sense, in their own bodies, when the Earth is under threat. “Earth empaths often have premonitions about natural disasters or feel them intensely in their bodies as they are occurring” (Dr Judith Orloff – The Empath’s Survival Guide), something which has certainly happened to me, more than once, registering as unusually intense pain or agitation in the hours before some earth quake or other natural event is announced in another part of the world. Its often easier to explain this away as coincidence or due to a build up of atmospheric pressure that affects the whole globe causing some sort of migraine-triggering tension in the air but, deep down, those of us who experience this kind of thing (and there are case examples in the book) know its more than that. The thing is, Earth feels constantly under threat these days and I know this has been part of what feels like a sort-of pathology building up in my system for the last decade or so; as Earth is tampered with and abused more and more, so do I feel like I am being, likewise, messed with at the energetic level, and I know I am far from alone in feeling this way amongst sensitives. Deep down in my soul, I feel that I am a guardian of the planet and that, whatever it is that I do, I do it for her.
Why is this relevant to anyone else…in fact (I’ve got into querying lately) why is anything that is of “particular” (or “peculiar”) interest to me of interest or use to anyone else, given I seem to be having such a bizarrely unique experience of life? Because I can see how, at whatever scale we are affected by them, we are all impacted by transitions in similar ways. I think we all recognise that somewhat discombobulated feeling at the start of a new calendar year, trying to make ourselves feel better about our potential for achieving something fresh by setting new year’s resolutions, for instance; or the feeling of stepping into the unknown that marks the start of a brand new decade in uncertain and fast-moving times. Yet, how many of us give such transitions that much thought, whilst to me they are everything, a true specialism… so I have learned a thing or two about what all these transition phases have in common and how we rely on the contrast with what came before to push off from the edge. Just like the sun “sparks” itself back to life, at the start of a new cycle, by creating a shock wave just as the opposite polarity energy bands of the previous cycle melt down to a point of neutrality at its equator, sending that wave out like a tsunami towards its poles, to crash against weak bands of opposite polarity energy that have already formed there, generating a thrusting new burst of activity up from its surface as it embarks on a whole new direction of “spin” (metaphorically speaking). Whilst it might not change directions, the sun does, quite literally change its polarity in each eleven year cycle…as I suspect we do too (I can certainly see that trend in myself; a tendency to gravitate towards the very opposite circumstances to those that were the theme of the previous cycle). Its this alternating polarity of focus that keeps us moving forwards in our ever-evolving lives; and the sun is doing this right now!
For me, I realise, such transitions are my area of expertise since I feel them “happen” through every cell of my being, and with every extrasensory nerve fibre of my human self…like the way I often feel weather systems come in long before the weather starts to change. They are, in a sense, my specialism…and my hardest thing to bear…for, within every transition, there is an overlap point of one cycle with another that triggers overwhelming sensations and even pain. I’ve realised, that point where opposites lie, as it were, on top of each other or where they are forced to be unnatural bedfellows for a time can be deeply uneasy phases in our lives, whatever kind of transition we are in. For instance, we could be waiting out our notice period in a job we can’t wait to leave yet we are still stuck on that commuter train day-after-day, now feeling every assault of our old routine even more pointedly than ever since we have now allowed ourselves to admit how much we have been struggling with it for so long…and still a few weeks left to go before our final day at that miserable desk. Yet, within that point of friction, we grow ourselves, making clearer what we do want, starting to visualise that alternate life with our oh-so powerful imaginations, tuning into our psychic awareness of other timelines that just wait for us to experience them (we often forget we have so many choices at other times of our lives but transitional times seem to act as the reminder of them) and holding as precious all our most tender intentions for the new era that awaits. Excitement is squeezed out of all the pressure points and this is so important since it it how we take flight to brand new skies that offer very different vistas of experience. So, what I want to remind us all of is, we are not passive traversers of cycles; we work with them like expert hoop jugglers and we get to play with how they overlap, which ones to lay down on the ground as “done with” and which to spin even higher…
So, I have learned both the exquisite pain and pleasure of transitions though my most intimate sensory experiences since, for me, even a sunset can cause pain in my body at certain transitional times of year, such as around the winter solstice when those transitions are most prolonged by the long angle of the shorter days. Afternoons from the gloaming through to a couple of hours after dark are an oddly turbulent, energy-draining, painful time for me and I often have to stop what I’m doing to lie down at that time of day, in winter. Though there is no obviously logical reason for this, I have drawn the conclusion that I am hyper-sensitive to the ionosphere (my other space weather reactions “at a distance” support this) or “what the earth is going through” as it turns away from the sun…and I suspect, it also has a great deal to do with breathing patterns and blood sugar levels, which I notice become shallow and bottom out at these times unless I consciously intervene; also these transitions seems to tamper with my metabolism and trigger lactic acid as though I am doing exercise. Again, none of this would be possible if my body wasn’t already “wired” to sense these broader events taking place “out there”. Morning transitions are also much harder during winter dawns than in summer, so I tend to start my days slowly and stiffly; making my usable portion of day rather short compared to most of modern humanity, who are required to be productive for the same length of day in winter as in summer (a testament to how humans have done their best to over-ride the circadian cycles in their quest for profit). My body isn’t having any of that; hence one of the reasons I am unable to “work”.
When the solar cycle is also transitioning on top of the annual cycle, the effect is magnified (I can confirm this was absolutely the case in 2008-2009 and also in 1996). So, I have been forced to teach myself to go soft, to allow what is, to be self-nurturing, patient and gentle at these times; there is no override button! I don’t force life, or myself, to do or be anything in particular when these triggers come up for me (since to do so means even more pain); rather, I step back and I watch…and I learn. We are all so eager to “get things going” and to “know how things will turn out” by forcing them one way or another but we do well to allow in a little “give” to our human-made structures of life when important transitions happen; yes, to go soft enough for something new to be made of our lives, as though we allow ourselves to turn back into soft sculptor’s clay, from our typically hard-baked forms…ready for a brand new shape to be crafted out of our raw materials all over again; potentially, many times in one lifetime (every cycle…) and each one more accomplished and more inherently “who we are” than the last.
Funny I should think of clay since Ehlers Danlos can feel like your entire body has been turned into painful play dough; I kid you not, and I won’t pretend the last few months haven’t been alarming at times. Behind the worst of my Ehlers Danlos symptoms, I now see, lies the painstaking way I confront any kind of transition phase from within my physical body, perhaps due to the slow and considered way that it processes sensory data, making a meal of every detail in order to hyper-analyse it and “check it out”…which is my Asperger’s way through and through. Through my tendency to compare and seek-out patterns in seeming chaos, I’ve realised that my EDS symptoms have always been most pronounced during times of transition…which is why they have not always been so pronounced in every phase of my life and why they have come up for me so strongly over the last few months. They respond acutely to actual space weather events; my teeth get loose in my mouth and my organs seem to shift downwards like a multi-organ prolapse during the rare solar spots or incoming solar winds of this solar minimum (like today, with a solar wind from, potentially, three holes in the sun’s atmosphere headed our way) and I became so incapacitated during the solar minimum 2008- 2009 that I was hospitalised twice (with issues I can now tie in with EDS) and remember very little other than spending my time on a sofa.
If my relationship with solar events sounds surreal then Dr Judith Orloff makes extremely matter-of-fact reference to it:
“Earth empaths may also be sensitive to solar flares. These magnetic storms on the sun affect the magnetic fields around the earth as well as around our bodies. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tornados seem to occur after intense solar activity. During these periods, you may experience headaches, mood swings, anxiety, or heart palpitations. Studies* have shown an association between solar flares and increased depression, anxiety, suicides, and episodes of bipolar disorder. Revolutions, riots, and unrest across the globe are also associated with solar flares. Remember, the sun is responsible for life on earth, so when it goes through changes, we feel it ninety-three million miles away. This experience is amplified for empaths”. (Dr Judith Orloff – “The Empath’s Survival Guide”.)
Of course, I react to the peaks too; I’ve written about that before (its where this blog started, several years ago). Yet, while solar maximum was like the long-running fairground ride I longed to get off in Cycle 24 (it had two peaks, in 2011 and 2014, so it felt like I had utterly “burned out” by the second one), solar minimum always seems to bring a particular kind of “fun” as the new cycle’s sunspots start to emerge within the dregs of the previous cycle. A bit like how a longing for a change, a quite different kind of future, can start to cause havoc with our daily life, once we start having such daydreams (the status quo gets rocked just as soon as such aspirations occur to us; since they sew the seeds of discontent that may, one day, lead to a breakthrough). Once the merest possibility of that alternate future starts to tempt us, we grow impatient and it’s impossible to put the thought back in its box, hankering after it all the time; but that overlap phase of two potnential lives run in parallel, before one is quite ready to happen, can be…interesting. This is what it feels like, to me, at the end of a solar cycle once the new one starts to get active.
So, I had to laugh when I finally realised my big EDS health crash of July last year (as written about before…this “event” really coloured the whole of my year and set in motion all kinds of realisations that have altered everything that I know about myself) coincided with the first measurable sunspot of Sun Cycle 25.
I can now track other such “pointed” health episodes back to the first tentative signs of reverse polarity sunspots (the first signs of the new cycle arriving) that occurred in December 2016, April 2018 and May 2019. Of course, my first major health crash of 2008-09, which set in motion this whole new phase of my life centred on health and recovery, also my “spiritual breakthrough”, began during the deep solar minimum (the deepest dip of the entire space age) between Cycles 23 and 24. I can also report that pronounced eras of “softness” (both physical and circumstantial; often detrimental-seeming yet ultimately cathartic and game-changing) accompanied the solar cycle transitions of 1976, 1986 and 1996.
By seeing these patterns with what I have come to know about myself over the last few years, I am able to appraise how EDS and my most exaggerated levels of high-sensitivity, Aspie traits and other “out of the box” quirks flare up, yet also serve me so well (being somehow appropriate) at those times. Appropriate yet challenging, I should qualify…yet we grow out of challenge. Thankfully, there’s one thing we know about cycles; they keep on cycling and we will be back in solar maximum before we know it (predicted for 2023-25). I tend to be more together, more active and directional, more resilient and in better physical shape at those times looking back over all my cycles but there’s one thing I know I have to be careful of (from last time); that I don’t overdo it and burn myself out!
Perhaps that’s what all the cycles of life are here to teach us; how to find our own personal balance between extremes. We try this side of the circle and we try that side…and we take from them what works, leaving behind the rest. Along the way, we hopefully learn self-nurturance and to hone our lives to suit our own gifts and preferences, not to the demands of other people. We become experts at our own lives…or, at least, that’s the opportunity that lies there waiting in potential and it’s up to us whether we choose it. And, when we sense a new cycle coming, we learn not to be so prescriptive but to open to it in softest curiosity, prepared to see what it has to offer before we set about trying to design it to look just like the last one (oh, the comforting lure of familiarity)…
When we are soft and curious, we notice things instead of assuming we know all there is to know; and we allow that humans only know a small fraction of what is possible for us to know and that much more lies up ahead; things we might pay attention to this time around whereas an earlier version of us would have dismissed it out of hand. Like I noticed the first out of bounds moon phase since 2011 last week, though I had completely forgotten about this “happening” again in 2020 (since it is only possible for 9 years out of 18 given it relies on the moon’s declination being more than 23⁰28′ either north or south of the equator). I felt it first…so I checked the charts and, there, to my astonishment, it was in the process of occurring that very 24 hour period; so now tell me I don’t genuinely feel what I do, via my oddities and things, I now know, I am connected to. Yet, if you’d told me about the out of bounds moon and its effect a decade ago, I would probably have laughed.
If these oddities take me rather too far into territory where my body is no longer practical for common use, thus I’m not “out there” being a scientific genius, recording milestone music, flying to the moon or building groundbreaking monuments because my health is rather too poor for all that (reference to some of those other out of bounds moon types mentioned above) then I take comfort from the following. As well as the out of bounds moon often correlating with “feelings of being an outsider, of not fitting in, of not having a place in this world” which can be “painful” it “can also lead to radical forms of existential creativity” (Steven Forrest, The Book of the Moon”) and that’s me to a tee. What he describes is exactly where I am at as I look at the universe through highly individualistic eyes (neither scientist nor astrologer…just sensitive me, feeling everything), trying so very hard to wrap my head around new perspectives that break outside the mould of normality, gleaned (first) from my own personal experience and then turned over to my highly analytical, if unconventional, Aspie mind. Over the cycle that I have (been forced to) tune into forces outside of myself (that’s what forces do…they force; I could not have argued if I tried), because of their undeniable link to my health foibles, I have learned to surrender to a far bigger picture of life than that to which most people subscribe (including me, a decade and a half ago) and, having done so, I feel far more like myself…that inherently mystical, INFJ personality type…than I ever have, though it was always in there, locked away beneath the layers. What is a mystic? “A person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect”. Yes.
So, I do feel like I’m learning to work with transitions in a whole new way, from my pulled-back stance on the world, and that this has merit all of its own; and, based on what I have learned so far, I feel resoundingly positive about the ones that are happening right now. Even when they can seem so challenging at ground level and so very alarming to our logical minds, I sense we are, generally, headed in the right direction, which is not what you will hear on the news so, perhaps in my own understated way, I am holding space for those best possible outcomes to slip into gear. In all honesty, I suspect all of us sensitive types are playing an important role, doing just that…since we tune into, and fixate upon, what is quite indisputable to us (being our experience) yet so quickly scoffed at by the masses; yet in knowing this stuff so intimately, we allow it to manifest within the experiential realm, which is to make it as real as anything else.
Each overlapping pair of cyles, however mundane, presents an opportunity to up-cycle to a new level of experience and we choose this just as soon as we stop trying to enforce what the new cycle will look like in advance (which creates a repeat…and then stagnation). Nature abhors stagnation so will keep pushing those transition phases hard to help you to choose the new; for goodness sakes, dare to choose something different this time. When we reach for that higher level of the circle, it becomes an up-cycle or, more accurately, a spiral; and its how we evolve!
We all have our own versions of these cycles, depending on our life focuses and levels of awareness, and it doesn’t take being so painfully aware of them as I am to make them a little more conscious and to work with their full potential. So, enjoy your transition into the new, whatever form it takes…and here’s hoping you really get to make the most of its soft potential during this time of many transitions overlapping (a highly potent time) since we all get to make of the next phase what we will. If I’ve helped you to realise this, even just a little, then I have played my part and my attempt to share this somewhat amorphous topic has been well worth the effort.
Highly Sensitive Person website (resources including self-test, compiled by Dr Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person)
The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic – an ebook by Susan Storm
Dr Judith Orloff – “The Emapath’s Survival Guide“.
* Sources relating to “space weather” referred to in Dr Judith Orloff’s book as follows: Michael Forrester, “Increasing Solar Activity and Disturbances in Earth’s Magnetic Field Affect Our Behavior and Increase Our Health,” The Mind Unleashed (September 2014); Jacqueline Marshall, “Solar Flare: The Sun Touches Our Psyche,” Washington Times (March 2012); R.W. Kay, “Geomagnetic Storms: Association with Incidence of Depression as Measured by Hospital Admission,” The British Journal of Psychiatry 164, no. 6 (March 1994): 403–409, doi:10.1192/bjp.164.3.403.
Geomagnetic Disturbance and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk; Short-term geomagnetic disturbances driven by solar activity have been linked to a broad range of adverse health effects – written by Carolina Leticia Zilli Vieira (DDS, PhD in cardiology sciences) who is a research associate in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Triggering The Birth of New Cycle’s Sunspots by Solar Tsunami Mausumi Dikpati, Scott W. McIntosh, Subhamoy Chatterjee, Dipankar Banerjee, Ron Yellin-Bergovoy & Abhishek Srivastava – Nature
Steven Forrest – The Book of the Moon: Discovering Astrology’s Lost Dimension
My earlier post on the Out of Bounds Moon – “Out of Bounds” on Spinning the Light. Disocvering your moon phase may turn out to be even more meaningful for you than working with your sun sign…it was for me…because it relates to your humanness (which, I suppose, for me was my biggest mystery; the rest seems more obvious).
My earlier post on the INFJ personality type – Are You a True Rarity