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Jyotish: Marianne's Style of Practice

Training: Marianne trained in the traditional manner of shruti (that which is heard) learning directly over many years from her Jyotish mentor, Dennis Flaherty. An internationally acclaimed Vedic Astrologer, Dennis was one of the original foundational westerners who trained with the great Indian astrologers, B.V. Raman, Chakrapani Ullal, Bepin Behari, and Gayatri Devi Vasudev and brought Jyotisha to the west in the early nineties. Through Dennis's vast library of historic symposiums, Marianne also learned from these illustrious teachers, as well as from some of Dennis's colleagues and peers such as David Frawley, Dennis Harness, James Kelleher, Hart de Fouw and Robert Svoboda.

Qualifications: Marianne was awarded the title Jyotish Visharada from the Council of Vedic Astrology, after completing 600 hours of study with her mentor, Dennis Flaherty, and passing with highest distinction the CVA qualifying exam. Two years later, she was awarded the title Jyotish Kovid, the highest CVA qualification, after completing another 600 hours of study and passing the CVA Kovid exam with highest distinction. Her study continues, however, as learning never ceases. She also holds a certificate in Buddhist psychology and psychotherapy from Amida Trust in the UK, an orientation that informs her counselling style. Yoga sadhana has been her life path, beginning in the late sixties. She has taught yoga in Dublin since the late nineties. For more about Marianne, see "My Story", "My Story 2", "How I Came to Vedic Astrology" and "What in My Chart Enabled Me to Become a Jyotishi".

Marianne's Style of Practice is: (some personal reflections)

Humanistic: Each person is as a unique expression of divine consciousness, as perfect as a snowflake. So much energy can be wasted in the futile attempt to change what is given into something else. As Lord Krishna makes clear in the Gita, benefit in life comes through following one's own dharma, through embracing the karma that is given. Everything is good for something, and my style of practice supports people in seeing that. "Good" and "bad" are relative categories, and the cosmos unfolds its truth in ways infinitely mysterious. 

Yet the karma of an astrological chart is not deterministic either. In the face of negative karmic patterns, humanistic astrology offers prevention and protection, not "prediction". The future remains a potential, open always to the grace of God. A reading should inspire people with hope and empower them with understanding. It is a spiritually uplifting encounter, meant to instil a deeper understanding of the ultimate spiritual purpose of life. It is a form of sadhana in itself, which cultivates joyful participation in divinity and acceptance of whatever forms that participation is taking through time.

Contemporary: As much as I honour the ancient tradition of Jyotisha, I incorporate a contemporary understanding into my practice that interprets the classical teaching in the context of our modern time and place. I encourage dialogue in sessions and welcome all questions. I recognise with humility my own human imperfections and strive to empty myself as much as possible to become a worthy container of the light of Jyotish. I serve as a facilitator for the client, providing a sacred space that is nurturing, supportive, uplifting and truthful, so that people can take the knowledge they gain and use it to make purposeful choices based upon genuine understanding of their karmic gifts.

I recognize keenly the reality of human suffering in the face of certain karmas and meet people always from a place of compassion. Even if only one flower appears in the chart, it can be watered for maximum results. I support clients with practical suggestions towards ameliorating pain and maximizing pleasure in life. It is the path I take for my own life as well.

At the same time, I want to emphasise that ultimately the karma does not define the client. You are not the karma. What you are is infinite spirit caught up with the particulars of this individual existence, and your true purpose is transcendence.

Life Affirming: The highest purpose of Jyotish is inspirational, in the original sense of the word: "to inspire = to breathe spirit into". It understands the dharma of this life in its sacred context and reveals the way that dharma leads to moksha or enlightenment, the destiny of every life. This most important point is life affirming in the truest sense. If the ultimate purpose of existence is enlightenment, then everything that leads towards that goal is worthwhile. And all experience does! Everything sets up the conditions for what comes next. All of life forms a beautiful rainbow, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Life on this earth plane is based on duality, and everyone faces a mixture of challenges and gifts. Quickly labelling a karmic configuration as positive or negative is meaningless, as the question swiftly arises: "Good or bad for what?" As ordinary life unfolds, good can come from bad, and bad from good. But this way of speaking belongs to the perspective of relativity. It is useful only within the limitations of ordinary life. From an ultimate perspective, these distinctions dissolve. All experience serves the process of awakening. All paths in the fullness of time lead to transcendence. And life in all its multiplicity is a form of divine grace. Always.

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Meditation for the Month:

"Thoughts come and go.
Feelings come and go.
Find out what it is that remains."
Ramana Maharshi

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