August 24th, 2015

Redefining the Oxymoron: Sex and Marriage

philip-lorca-dicorcia

The revelations related to the vicious hack of the Ashley Madison website (the cheating spouses’ watering hole you’ve read about everyday for the past week) have — once again — shocked puritanical America. In the way puritanical America is always shocked whenever it discovers that people are having sex outside the confines of the missionary position (and sanctity of marriage).

Recently, several of the Scarlet-Lettered individuals — publicly exposed victims of the hack —  have committed suicide. I’m very sad about the suicides (I’ve experienced that shock first hand to understand the impact). These extreme reactions point to a gigantic schism within the culture’s attitudes about sex. Judeo-Christian prohibitions that inextricably link sex and shame, forever and ever, until the end of time.

To sustain porn star-like passion within a monogamous relationship is sorta oxymoronic. It’s not impossible (there is now Viagra and Addyi — female Viagra), but the misconceptions people project onto monogamy — the levels of romantic passion they expect to be constant, over time, aren’t germane to the natural arc of a relationship.

Those sustainablility dreams are borrowed from the realms of fairy tales and online porn. Symbolic idylls meant to instruct or entertain. But people being people, we literalize what shouldn’t be made literal.

This delusion hasn’t been helped by New Age, Oprah-esque goofiness: If you dream it — goddamnit you’re entitled to it.  Think hard enough about a new car and you’ll either win the lottery or the death of your spouse will free up his life insurance policy so you can buy one.

The Ashley Madison hack is throwing the epidemic of romo-sexual magical thinking into high relief.

Astrologically the events surrounding the Madison hack mirror the slow-building Saturn/Neptune square, to be exacerbated when Saturn finally moves into Sagittarius next month. This is an astrological wake-up call for each of us, but especially for the Neptune in Libra (1942 to 1956) and the Neptune in Scorpio (1956-1970) generations. They will feel the harsh light of reality the hardest. Why?

Both of those groups tend to project otherworldly expectations onto their interpersonal relationships. Dreams that flesh and blood people can’t realistically fulfil.

The Saturn Neptune square will highlight the psychological phenomenon of splitting. Splitting occurs when seemingly disparate parts of our nature come close to meeting or merging.

You have an image of yourself as being an easygoing, helpful fellow, but you also house a tyrannical control freak. These two parts of your nature are split apart, distanced from meeting. Gurdjieff called this ‘buffering.’

The Ashley Madison hack exposed the unrealistic hope and dreams that accompany matrimony.  On one hand, there’s the impulse to merge for the sake of secure companionship; but then, on the other, there’s the unfettered instinct for raw, lusty roaming.

Familiarity usually dents the libido and then the marriage goes missing in the forest of subterfuge … you can follow the breadcrumbs: Ashley Madison’s numbers? Over 39 million members.

For heterosexual men, this dilemma is also known as the Madonna/Whore syndrome. For straight women, I’m not sure what it’s called. Maybe something like: Protector/Gigolo? But you get the idea.

With the square planetary aspects in astrology, there’s the promise that after the shock of a revelation there might come the application of newfound wisdom. Regarding the Madison hack, I think it’s time for men and women to confront what the impact of pornography has had on the ‘sanctity’ of relationships. As online porn has fueled a new level of intensity for the erotic-exotic. Acts that would have been the (mental) craftsmanship of the Marquis de Sade.

Pornography as pagan art, has always been with us — will always be with us — but never to the degree that the human brain is now steeped in it. Kids as young as five are Googling ‘pearls’ and landing on images of nude women with their face and neck drenched in semen. How does a child’s brain process this sort of image?

Or never mind Google, perhaps the kids caught the Grammys on network TV. Porn creep is ubiquitous.

These are discussions the Saturn Neptune transit might broach. A reality check, a truth-telling about security and sex. Not an inquiry based on shame, but one of curiosity with, perhaps, the definition of marriage redefined — made realistic: Its limitations highlighted, its benefits celebrated.

And hopefully soon, before more people kill themselves because they were horny but also married.
 
 

 
 

Photograph: The Hamptons by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, 2008.


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August 15th, 2015

Astrology, Cycles, and the Active-Passive

no_future_astrology

 
“The future isn’t what it used to be.” –Yogi Berra
 
Human beings are funny.

We’ve had civilised cultures established on the planet for thousands and thousands of years — with our ability to self-reflect, gather information, theorize, analyze, etc. and yet we still write about the future as if it’s something that can be predicted.

And so data is gathered and compared and parceled out and cross-referenced to past events as if that cross-referencing will reveal something literal about how something will play out in the future — but it never does.

And yet we keep doing this. Why?

“The future” is just a term for utter unpredictability. And this makes people insane. Especially in a science-obsessed culture like ours that equates knowledge and information with the ability to classify and then predict. As if it were that simple and easy.

It is so funny.

After I posted this on Facebook my friend, astrologer Kate Petty commented: “But there are predictable cycles.”

And this is true.

Astrology as a spiritual path is a wondrous mixture of the mystical with the linear. I think this is why some astrologers attempt to make astrology into a science, but science is too limited to contain astrology. It’s like trying fit the ocean into a Dixie cup.

Usually, at least initially, when we consider the mystical we do so from a passive posture within the soul. And for this reason a lot of people don’t gravitate to a contemplative life. Read more and you’ll see why.

When you begin to sense and feel, in your bones, the ineffable presence, the totality of reality — or True Nature — as some traditions call it, you’re humbled to the point of obliteration.

Those same spiritual traditions call this obliteration process “ego death” and, as I’ve experienced that experience, it’s a fitting term. To soften it some and echo Jung, I’ll bring up one of his quotes: “There is no coming into consciousness without pain.”

More about obliteration:

Humans are a peculiar phenomenon because they are half-animal and half-human. Because we’ve become distanced from the natural expression of our instincts (the fallout from a psychic posture like the ego) we disconnect from our connection to the natural cycles and rhythms of nature and the heavens.

And this is where astrology, as a spiritual practice, offers us an opportunity to realign, reconnect and live as conduits of something much more magnificent and mysterious than the ego’s Hitler-esque, control freak tyranny.

OK, so hold on — I’m going to make a jump here: Read more



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August 02nd, 2015

Critter Rescue: Meditate Like a Mouse (or Lion)


 
Gone are the days of celebrities helping us reconnect to the necessity for some kind of connection to our bodies (and minds). (Remember Cher‘s workout video?… OK, nevermind.)

Cartoonist Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne) has created this whimsical (but incredibly wise) animal-filled animation that just might bring you back to the meditation practice you abandoned years ago (or last week). Read more



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July 27th, 2015

David Roell: Mercury’s Maven and Maverick

Astrologer David Roell R.I.P. (1952-2014)

“When once you grasp that astrology is in the earth and of the earth and covers the entire earth and everything in it, when you take an abstract astrology out of the sky and put it on the earth and in the ground and make it tangible and real, you will be astounded at the sheer scope and scale and power of it. We have hardly uncovered a tenth of it. As vast and complex as astrology is, it amazes me we have learned as much as we have. Astrology is reality itself.” — David Roell, (1952-2014)

 

“I’m picturing carloads of naked dancing girls, every Monday around 10 a.m.. My reward for getting the newsletter out. My mind, as you can see, races sideways.” David emailed this to me one morning, shortly after meeting his Monday morning deadline.

And I responded: “Yep — the Roell mind running sideways, zig-zag, up, down, and occasionally into the velocity of your leg that’s about to kick a hornet’s nest.”

But forget the naked dancing girls and consider the quote that opens this tribute for my Mercurial-minded friend and fellow astrologer David Roell who died — too young, at 62 — a year ago on July 27 — at his home in Maryland.

I want to highlight his achievements up front, to pique your interest and the desire to explore more of David’s kaleidoscopic command of astrology. George Harrison once remarked: “The Beatles saved the world from boredom.” And David did exactly the same for astrology.

Roell’s earth-based theory of the zodiac, of which he refers in the opening epigram, is the cornerstone of his astrological legacy. His grand idea is carefully articulated in the forward to his reprint of George McCormack’s classic Long Range Weather Forecasting. It’s also available online, in his article The Right Theory of Astrology, featured in his newsletter — the same newsletter that was emailed weekly, to thousands of eager subscribers. Read more



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July 23rd, 2015

Mercury & The Sun in Leo: Time for the Tarot

thoth-sun

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve taken a break from working with the Tarot during our sessions. But: Good news! of the rare sort:

My friend and colleague Glenn Wright (known to longtime Internet Tarot aficionados as Jess Karlin) recently announced that he is offering online Tarot readings.

This is akin to astrologer Liz Greene or Robert Hand offering affordable, instantly accessible, one-on-one astrological sessions via PayPal. Kinda amazing, yes?

Glenn’s Tarot knowledge is encyclopedic — and grounded in years of devotion to the art.

His book Rhapsodies of the Bizarre: Origin of Occult Tarot is the last, great academic study to be published within a niche that’s glutted with goofy post-modern Tarot effluvia.

My own testimonial (and instances of hopping over the “Physician Heal Thyself” aphorism):

I’ve scheduled several readings with Glenn over the year, at critical junctures and, well, the results were so multifaceted it took me a week to unpack all of the layers; though his insights were utterly practical — spot-on and eerily, instantly applicable. Read more



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