October 11th, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Earnest Hemingway

 

Pardon the melodrama but I’ve gotta start somewhere — with something.

I did everything except what I’d intended to do throughout the summer.

But I’m a wizened Cancer and I know better about how my creative flow creates.

We’re always hearing about athletes stoking themselves, like Mount Vesuvius, into their ‘peak zone’. Or muse-possessed artists working non-stop until stigmata appears on their hands and feet. And then there’s those mothers who raise Mack trucks up with their bare hands should a child be pinned beneath an axel. Yes, those sorts of super states are factual, but they are also highly romanticized. And not part of my creative reality. Just thinking about exertion like that makes me want to take a nap.

The lunar association with Cancer is both a horror and a gift. There is the always satisfying absorption of solar light, holding an impulse and molding it into something original. But there is also the dark side of the moon that, heretofore, only Pink Floyd have ever explored publicly. And there’s the rub.

Until a Cancer learns about this other half of their nature they remain caught in the constant waxing and waning of the light, waiting for a moment’s pause to gather their bearings, hit the perfect note. But of course that moment never arrives, that promise of perfection remains allusive. And so there are many stillbirths and the bad moods — the loss of persistence, that follow.

The dark half of the moon is the bardo that a wise Cancer (or any creative person) eventually learns to abide in. They come to see it as part and parcel of the creative way: To have no sense of light — no direction or purpose. The only poet I’ve ever read who wrote about this place was T.S. Eliot and he illuminated it perfectly in his masterpiece Four Quartets.

Eliot illustrates the dark of the moon by evoking the subway “when an underground train…stops too long between stations. And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence. And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen. Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about.”

This is the realm of the pre-conscious. Or the pre-conceptual. In this place all is perfect but also motionless. Life-less. The journey into form has not commenced. The options and the potentials are limitless, but what to designate, what to bring the solar gift of light to?

The dark side of the moon is a borderless landscape of nascent pre-things. A realm where every impulse, idea, thought, word and image is poised like a cat ready to pounce. All it needs is a mouse. Or carrot (not to mix metaphors — so scratch that.) This is the realm Cancers might access but only after they’ve paid the price of admission. And often the price of admission is a lot of doing (seemingly) nothing.

And from the nothing comes the something. Read more



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October 01st, 2013

Reviving the Question: What’s Your Sign?

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Human beings give undo importance to the the question: What do you do? Americans, especially, seem fixated on the question. As a Cancer-ruled nation (the zodiac sign, not the disease), how we make money, consume and survive fascinates everyone. Nothing wrong with fascination, except for how mechanical the question eventually becomes.

The inquisitiveness with ‘what you do?’ is amplified in a bustling gathering like a party, where there might be lots of unfamiliar folks milling about the watering hole. The animal in us wants to feel secure, so an answer to the vocation question telegraphs relief, helps us orient and relax. “I’m a clerk. Oh, and you’re a nurse. Cool.” Our cards are on the table. As if our job comprises the entirety of what we’re about as a person. In the early 70s, counterculture party peeps, still high on the dawning Aquarian Age, devised a much more interesting question: “What sign are you?” I miss that question, and I’m all for restoring the quirkiness of that social strategy.

I attended a party last night where the notion of small talk wasn’t appealing — I mean, if I’d a choice between banal dialogue and watching The Real Househusbands of Hoboken, I’d probably have stayed home and downloaded the torrent. What can I say? I’ve a Moon in Scorpio with Pluto on the ascendant, sometimes my intensity and aversion to the low-grade shrill of chitchat gets the best of me. During a party I can usually toggle over to Venus and let her Gemini-informed esprit take over, but last night Pluto’s Darkman archetype set the conversational tone. Too, a couple of gin and tonics had lubricated things up enough that I became daring and announced to everyone I met, right out of the gate, that I was an astrologer. Usually I don’t.

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