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Retrograde Explained: How to Use Stars for Your Improvement

A lot of people hearken to the words of astrologers whenever retrograde is mentioned. “Don’t sign a contract when Mercury is in retrograde.” Or, “New relationships during Venus retrograde are bound to fail.” Statements like these always make people extra cautious but what does “retrograde” really entail?

In case you don’t know what retrograde is, let me fill you in.

Retrograde is a time when planets in the sky appear to move backwards in their orbit. They aren’t actually moving backwards. They are moving further away from the sun (because orbits are perfect circles) or earth, which creates the appearance of moving backwards from our perspective. This can potentially cause them to move backwards into a previous sign, at least from our point of view. This process of “moving backwards” has many implications on how the energy of that planet is acting.

In general, when a planet is in retrograde its energy is distorted and/or reversed. This affects the different aspects of life the planet is said to “rule over”. Let’s take the most common one for example, Mercury retrograde. Mercury rules over the mind, intellect, communication, travel, technology and many other things. When Mercury is acting normal or “direct” all these things will work fine. However, when Mercury is in retrograde, these things will typically not act as planned. Because Mercury is said to affect our minds, we may not be able to come to proper conclusions as easily. We may have distorted perceptions about a situation and our communication with others may be affected because our ability to reason is distorted. 

Of course, all these things happen seamlessly between the planet going from direct to retrograde. The first Law of Alchemy tells us everything outside of us is also inside of us. In many ways, the shifting states of the planet appear as normal as the changes we experience from one day to the next. Because of this, humans have to use astrology to know “oh a planet is in retrograde, things may appear normal but they’re not”. 

Some aspects of retrograde are very beneficial if used appropriately. In many cases, the retrograde phase is a time for reflection or personal growth. The energy of a planet is distorted and provides a new way to observe ourselves. As with a kaleidoscope, turning the wheel changes the picture we see in it. During retrograde, we are turning the wheel and seeing a different part of ourselves.

Additionally, retrograde is part of a natural cycle. In Western society we try and ignore cycles in favor of routine. We like to have consistent application of our time and energy and we get upset when life requires us to adapt to an unforeseen circumstance. Although, in reality everything always has and will be a cycle. Farmers don’t get bent out of shape when the seasons change. They act accordingly.

Learning to slow down and adapt our behavior to retrograde is not something most people are used to and you may get some weird looks for following it. I remember when I was looking to buy a house last year. I had been looking at houses for a couple of months and I finally found one that looked good to me. However, Mercury had entered retrograde not too long before finding the house. My real estate agent was trying to find me a house, so when I brought up my hesitation, naturally there was some confusion. Well the house ended up getting bought by someone else because I decided to wait. About a week after Mercury retrograde ended, I looked at the house again and it just didn’t feel the same to me. The parts of it I found appealing, now seemed like extra work. I felt great relief knowing I didn’t get a loan for a house I would later not want. 

I will admit, there are times when it feels like listening to a retrograde forecast is pseudoscientific. Do I really have to change my behavior because of a planet in the sky? No, you don’t. For the most part, I go about my business albeit with some increased awareness about the present moment. However, I do believe it can be very beneficial when making big decisions. 

Okay, but what if I can’t wait?

Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of postponing a decision. Sometimes the situation simply requires action. In those cases, I think of the sailors out at sea. A storm comes in out of the blue and now we have to deal with it. We do our best to handle the situation regardless of the forces acting against us. I believe in these situations humans are able to rise to the occasion.

Just because a planet is in retrograde doesn’t mean we should stop living our life for a few weeks or months. In fact, the majority of the planet doesn’t pay attention to them so your “reasons” will become “excuses”. However, it can be a time to be more gentle with ourselves. Most of my work is done on a computer. I can’t just stop working during a retrograde period, but if my computer randomly loses internet connection or is slower than normal, I take a moment to laugh about it.

There are many lessons to be learned during retrograde periods. They offer an extraordinary time to grow as the impurities of your character will be highlighted. If we don’t resist the lessons being given to us we will find, overtime, the retrograde periods aren’t as serious. They become the changing seasons and we become the farmers planting seeds. We know when to harvest crops, save food and start anew. We adapt to the cycle and it ceases to be a bump in the road.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out some of my other posts. Also hop on over to the Videos tab and check out my recently started YouTube Channel. If there is a specific topic you would like to learn, leave a comment below or email me to set up a private lesson.

To my fellows, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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Website Update

Hey everyone. This is an administrative post notifying my readers about my new videos tab. I recently started making videos for YouTube and decided it would also be a good idea to host them through my website. I would love to hear feedback on what you think of the video quality, subject matter, and anything you liked or think could be improved upon. I plan on splitting my time between making videos and writing blog posts but I will do my best to keep both updated regularly. I hope you are doing well and I look forward to hearing your feedback!

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Personal Philosophy

My Adventure to the Grand Canyon: A Soul’s Discovery

This past week, I took a trip to see the Grand Canyon. At the last minute, the other person I was planning to go with had to cancel. Although hotel reservations had been made, no money had officially been spent. So, I still had the opportunity to back out. I talked about this with a close friend in my circle and he brought up how this would be an opportunity for growth. It would be just God, myself and over 1000 miles of road. Oh yeah, I was driving. Here are some of the spiritual takeaways from my solitary five day trip.

Adventure is what YOU make of it

Early on in the trip I started to experience some frustration. I was almost through New Mexico, had been driving all day, and was still several hours away from my destination. Originally the plan had been to stop and get a hotel in Roswell, NM. However, when I arrived there I was making such good time I figured I could get all the way to Flagstaff, AZ. Without realizing, I had turned the adventure into a mission.

“I have to see the Grand Canyon,” had become the purpose of the journey. It was no longer about self discovery. Although the Grand Canyon was the destination, this slight shift in perspective turned it into the sole reason for the trip. Every other aspect of the trip became a peripheral concern. I would only be fulfilled upon achieving my goal. 

I started to wonder why I took this trip. I thought to myself, “I’m driving over 1000 miles one way, far from my friends and family to see what? A big hole in the ground?” 

I had to reflect on my reasons for going on the trip alone. By going alone, I could adhere entirely to my own schedule. I would have time to be with myself and ponder my experiences. I would be free from external influence and the beauty of the trip would be entirely of my own understanding. Reflecting on my reasons for traveling alone centered me and enabled me to redirect my energy towards the original purpose. Getting to know more about myself.

The following day, after spending the night in Gallup, NM, I did things I wanted to do. I was only three hours away from Flagstaff, so I hiked the Red Rock Trails, saw The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks, and talked to several Natives about the Navajo culture and tradition. Looking back, I enjoyed those parts of the trip more than actually seeing the Grand Canyon, which I assure you, is much more than a “hole in the ground”.

Benefits of Prolonged Solitude

Most people do not find spending five days alone very appealing. I definitely didn’t. At least at first. It is one thing to sit in meditation and practice stillness. However, I found the experience to be more like moving to a place where you know no one. Every interaction has to be formed from scratch and there is little emotional security. Of course we all have phones to touch base, but if I spent the whole time talking with friends back home, part of me would know I am avoiding the experience I set out to have. 

During the time with myself, I had a lot of conversations with what I choose to call God. After all, God was the only one there to hear my thoughts and I don’t feel the need to talk out loud as much as I used to. As I talked, I became much more aware of my fears. An emotion would rise up in me and the only thing I could do was sit with it. I had no way of ignoring the them. After feeling it for awhile I would ask myself, “what is at the core of this?” 

Being on the road for 16 hours kind of forces you to dive deeper. I gained a lot of perspective about my own triggers and emotional habits. I had time to think about why I like and dislike certain things. The specific parts of something which invoke emotion in me. I reflected on my past and the experiences that shaped the way I think and feel. 

After an extended period of self discovery, I reached a place of peace and serenity. I found the later moments of the trip were spent largely in marvel at the nature around me and the forces that created the landscapes. It was profoundly spiritual to ponder the nature of creation, as many of the landscapes took millions of years to form and had been there millennia’s before any human witnessed it.

Engaging Your Inner Child

When you spend such a long time with yourself, you get an opportunity to recreate what “fun” means for you. There aren’t other people to give their two cents about which activities you should do. At first it is kind of uncomfortable but it’s a good practice of giving into your heart’s desire. 

Towards the end of the trip I was feeling exhausted from doing so much and being from central Texas, the snow was becoming a challenge in and of itself. I realized that growing up, our vacations had never been very relaxing. We would spend all our time sight-seeing and doing things. This way of travel has its own merit, but is not a very relaxing way to spend a vacation. Because of this, I knew my emotions were a call from my inner child to spend vacations how I never got to. Lounging around, playing games and eating. 

I had a small internal battle because part of me still thought that was an “improper use of time”. I can do that at home after all. Although, once I recognized it as an opportunity to love my inner child, I knew it was the right thing to do. The other part of me had got its way the first half of the trip, walking through national parks and going on tours, now the child got to be in charge. 

I always had difficulty understanding how to heal my inner child before this experience. I had read about it and could make some connections, but this was my first really big opportunity to do so. Once I made the decision to go along with the warm feeling of excitement in my gut and ignore any internal parenting, I found myself having a great deal of fun. It was the most refreshed I felt in a while. I found my energy levels increased. I was no longer restraining myself to activities I felt were “adult” like. I simply did what my heart told me I should do.

Now that I am back from my trip I feel I have gained a lot more awareness about myself. My motivation to work on my goals has been renewed. It’s an experience I have seldom felt from vacations before given the draining nature of constant motion. It is something I plan on doing again down the road and I believe everyone should provide themselves with the opportunity for self exploration.

If you have ever taken a spiritually impactful trip, let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear your takeaways and what you learned about yourself. If you enjoyed the article make sure to check out some of my other posts.

To all my fellows, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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Personal

Power of Breath

It has been written about in many ancient cultures; the value of breath. There are many words in Sanskrit (used by Hindus and Buddists) that emphasize the value of breath. Prana is a word to describe life force energy and relates to breathing. Pranayama is the practice of controlling your life force energy and involves breath work.

More recently, practices like holotropic breathing (1960s) and Wim Hoff breathing have emerged as forms for optimizing breath. Holotropic breathwork was developed by Stanislav Grof as a natural way to achieve altered states of consciousness. Wim Hoff developed his breathing technique to optimize the use of the body. Scientists actually did case studies showing Wim Hoff breath will reduce inflammation and increase activity of whiteblood cells resulting in quicker healing.

Despite the intuitive nature of breathing, many people overlook its value. The human body can go many days without food, a few days without water, but only a few minutes without breathing. The irony in this is the body can survive for a long time by breathing “wrong” and the results, while inconvenient at best, are ignored.

Our lungs have three lobes (superior, middle, inferior) and depending on how we use our diaphragm, the amount of air we take in varies. Each lobe is filled with air sacs called alveoli and they are what takes oxygen into the blood. The deeper we breath, the more alveoli come in contact with air. However, most people get by with only filling the superior lobe. This is known as chest breathing and can easily be noticed by the lack of belly movement. 

For many people, this does them “just fine” for most of their life. In fact, most people don’t even realize they are doing it as breathing is an automatic function. People who are very angry, anxious or have trouble letting things go, often breath through their chest. This shallow form of breathing results in less oxygen and more carbon dioxide build up which results in higher levels of stress and tension in the body.

So what can be done about this? First off, let me just say I am not a doctor. If you have serious breathing issues, go see a professional. However, if you simply want to breathe better, here is how.

  1. Imagine there is a string attached to your belly button. As you breathe in, this string is being pulled outward, inflating your belly like a balloon.
  2. On the exhale, imagine you are breathing fire out your nostrils like a dragon. Don’t put any force on your belly. Just let it fall naturally.

It seems very simple, however if you have been breathing incorrectly for a long time, you will have to consciously remind yourself to practice this. Especially, when you become triggered or distracted with other tasks. Eventually, it will become more automatic and you will not need to focus on it as much, however that may take awhile. 

Even before this becomes an automatic process for you, there will be many benefits. You will feel more relaxed as your blood is oxygenated. You will have more energy. You will feel more centered and in control of your emotions. It is really quite profound if you have never experienced it before.

The biggest challenge I feel is for those of us who exercise a lot. Core workouts naturally put weight on and tighten the muscles around the belly making this more difficult. That’s not to say stop doing crunches, but you may need to stretch your abs and diaphragm. 

To stretch your diaphragm:

  1. Bend forward at the waist with your arms hanging in front of you. If you have back problems you may rest your arms on your knees. Exhale as much as you can.
  2. Slowly move your arms upwards in an arc while inhaling into your belly.
  3. At the top of the arc, slightly lean back with your arms in the air stretching the belly just a little more. Only arch your back as much as you feel safe doing so. If you have back problems this can be skipped.

There are many yoga poses to stretch the abdominal muscles: Cobra pose and Upward Dog pose are a few. As well as core twists to stretch out the obliques. In essence, you will lie face down on your belly, and lift your torso up with your arms while keeping your hips and legs on the floor. However I am not a yoga instructor and for safety purposes I suggest you watch a YouTube video or two on cobra and upward dog. 

At the end of the day, breathing is the most important thing for living. It influences the entire functionality of our body and mind. It can be used to achieve higher states of consciousness and optimise the use of the body. Many problems can be solved simply by breathing correctly. Sadly, our culture ignores this and our lifestyle habits often promote inefficient forms of breathing. If you really want to take charge and level up, breathing correctly all day, everyday, will give you momentum like you never imagined.

I hope this article helped you or improved your life in some way. If you have more specific questions or topics you want to learn, check out my book a lesson tab and don’t forget to follow me on social media! 

To all my fellows, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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Sexual Transmutation: The Basics

For many young males, November is the start of sexual disciplining practice (whether they realize it or not). The idea of “No Nut November” started around 2011 as an internet challenge encouraging men to not masturbate for 30 days during the month of November. What started as a joke, turned into a popular fad for young males. Ironically, sexual discipline has been written about in nearly every ancient culture and spiritual practice around the world. No Nut November is perhaps a resurgence of this knowledge into the conscious mind.

While the practice of No Nut November (NNN) is primarily targeted towards males, the principles of sexual discipline can benefit any females reading this article. There are many health benefits related to sexual transmutation in addition to being a spiritual practice.

In ancient times, the practice of sex was very sacred and held many more repercussions than it does today. A large portion of women would die during childbirth and depending on the time of year, carrying a child could put significant strain on the woman. In more spiritually advanced cultures, the people also understood the divine union taking place during sex and with the occurrence of an orgasm. 

Not that it kept civilizations from using contraceptives. Birth control practices and abortions date back as far as 1850 B.C. from what we can gather. A variety of plants or less effective forms of condoms were made. In many cases these were ineffective. Abortion methods often had some level of risk involved as they were design to induce a miscarriage. 

The difference between then and now isn’t as big as some may think and like today, only a select few on a spiritual path ever seek sexual transmutation. Here’s why.

Disassociation

As spiritual beings, we come into this incarnation to experience duality. One of the biggest dualities we experience is spirit and body. We have the higher self/soul/superego on one hand, and on the other we have animal instinct/id on the other. When walking a spiritual path, this internal battle will arise time and time again.

Whenever we engage in a practice which inherently goes against the animal instincts of the body, we are disassociating with that part of our “self”. A dog will never choose to miss a meal for the purpose of spiritual growth. The dog sees its entire being as “the dog”. As humans, we have the ability of mind over matter. We can make the decisions to not eat, partake in sex, and consciously overcome our fears. All of these function as ways of disassociating with the finite lifespan of the physical body.

When we choose to abstain from sex for a period of time, we are consciously making the decisions to disassociate from the physical body. As a result we identify more with the spiritual body. We become less bound by the needs of our body and gain the capacity to make decisions from the perspective of soul.

Cultivation of Energy

When a human abstains from sex, they will naturally accumulate energy in their body. The Taoists write about the three Dan T’ian fires. They are generators of energy within the body and each serves a purpose. The Lower Dan T’ian fire sits in the same place as the Sacral Chakra from Yogic traditions. It is responsible for generating energy within the body. If it is depleted too often by sexual orgasms, the body must draw upon the Door of Life for energy. This area is connected to the adrenal glands and the kidneys. 

This is very important, specifically for men, as each ejaculation releases an incredible amount of energy. It contains the power to create life and consciousness. A man who ejaculates too frequently will have to draw on his energy reserves (door of life) and is likely to experience fatigue, irritability, and a weakness of spirit as he too frequently is releasing his own life energy. 

For women the process is a little bit different. Menstruation releases energy and would be equivocal to the ejaculation of a man. Because of this, women aren’t able to build up as much energy as man would, but they are also not as heavily depleted from intercourse as a man is (we all know the joke of men falling asleep after sex). What this means for women is they are naturally more intune with the cycles of their body. However, excessive orgasm can still drain energy from the kidneys.

Health Benefits

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding sexual behavior. My personal philosophy is balance and pragmatism so I will do my best to address both sides.

On one hand, if an individual cultivates too much sexual energy in their body without ever releasing, it can be damaging. In western science this has been connected to prostate cancer for men. A less serious and more common example would be increased stress and overactive sexual thoughts. This is a result of the energy building up yet remain stagnant.

On the other hand, something I have found only to be addressed in spiritual traditions, is the use of sexual energy to replenish and heal the body. When sexual energy is transmuted and moved up through the body through exercises like Qigong or Yoga, it will nourish the cells of that organ. Everything is connected to a field of energy and the process of living draws energy from this field. Some things take more energy, some take less, regardless, sexual transmutation restores the energy in this field. When there is a positive surplus of energy, the individual will feel vitality and energetic. 

The key difference being, illness can be brought about with stagnation of energy where health can be brought about with motion and circulation of energy. 

Spiritual Connection

The last thing I want to touch on is the necessity of sexual energy in the rising of kundalini energy. Kundalini energy is the name I will use, however, it has been known as The Sleeping Dragon in Taoism and The Descent of the Holy Spirit in Christianity. What is important to know is your sexual energy is required to move kundalini energy up the spine. The sexual energy acts as the driving force behind the rising of energy and if it is too frequently depleted, there will be less to move upward.

The practice of celibacy originated from this knowledge. Over time it has been distorted into being associated with hyper rigid religious views. Most people are also unaware of its purpose and if they engage in it, it is likely because of the shame they received from others. However, many monastic traditions practice celibacy. These practices are found around the world. It is not inherent to any one religion.

Unfortunately, the amount needed is fairly ambiguous. It varies depending on the stage of life, as well as the individual’s physical constitution; some people inherit more energy from their parents. I believe the best practice to simply be diligent. Temporarily abstaining from intercourse will allow the energy to accumulate and with proper transmutation exercises, the energy will have an opportunity to rise. 

It’s also important to know the rising of kundalini energy and spiritual experiences are related but not the same. It is possible to have spiritual experiences and not have the kundalini energy rise a significant portion. Kundalini energy is a very specific type of connection to divine oneness and deserves an article all its own. 

This is all I care to touch on for now. Sexual transmutation and discipline are very valuable things to know and very extensive. I plan to elaborate with more articles in the future. 

Please know I am not preaching abstinence in this article. I simply believe people should have as much information as possible to make their decisions off of. If you are called to walk a spiritual path, know that many aspects of our world are the exact opposite of what you are seeking or have been brought up to know. In many ways, it has always been like that.

Whatever path you walk, I support you every step of the way!

If you have specific questions regarding sexual transmutation, check out my book a lesson tab to meet with me one-on-one. Make sure to link up with me on social media to make sure you get all the updates about new content.

May your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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Home of Mystic Matt

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog. I started this blog for a few reasons and I will do my best to not repeat things you can find on the “My Story” page.

Growing up I always knew I should end up working for myself. I wouldn’t say I have a problem with authority, but I believe whatever control someone has over us, we voluntarily give to them. I don’t like being controlled so most every job I have had was to fulfill a personal goal.

It got to the point where every job was just draining me and I would rarely have energy to do the things I liked and I couldn’t find a way to prioritize my lifestyle choices and work 40 hours/week being told what to do. I found that instead of doing things I was passionate about like playing violin, exercising and reading, I would binge watch TV or play a lot of video games because that’s all the mental bandwidth I had. Finally, I decided I would take the leap of faith and make everything work out for me despite what I had been told all my life by other people.

That’s where this blog comes in.

I spend a lot of time reading a lot of books most people (in my world at least) don’t give much credit to. Usually about ancient spiritual topics and practices. I believe that certain texts wouldn’t still be around today if they held no relevance. Humans aren’t stupid. If something is still present and being talk about that originated thousands of years ago it has to hold some importance. My interest lies in discovering what the people thousands of years ago meant when they talked about it, instead of the wonky game of telephone that has been played over many generations.

A big reason I am doing this publicly instead on my own is I really enjoy these conversations. Whenever I meet someone likes to talk about esoteric and metaphysical topics it brings me a lot of joy. I’m not big on talking about sports games or popular movies. I like to uncover secrets and find out how things work. I feel if I openly share knowledge that I have found, then people will be more likely to share knowledge they have found.

And just to be open and honest, it’s a way for me to make money off my passions.

So that’s pretty much it. If this type of stuff suits your fancy, I would suggest sticking around but if what I talk about is considered witchcraft or you just don’t have interest, that’s cool too. Everyone is here for a different reason and it’s not my place to put judgement.

If you do plan on sticking around though, make sure to sign up for my email list or follow me on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube to get notifications on new content.