“Everyone being allowed to learn to read — will ruin in the long run not only writing but thinking too.” –Friedrich Nietzsche
The internet has fostered the madcap idea that — given the collapse of print publishing and the world of editors and agents — everyone should be writing. Something.
Or recording music.
Or painting. Drawing. Doodling.
But — uh oh — so many can’t.
Years ago the author Maya Angelou exclaimed to whomever (whoever?) was listening that everyone in the world had a book inside of him (or her) that was just waiting to be written. Uhm, checkmate! Another author, the gadfly Fran Liebowitz, interrupted Lou and said: “This may be true, but please don’t write it.”
I agree. There is nothing more heartbreaking than when an amateur following what she thinks is her calling discovers that it’s simply the ominous groan of a foghorn declaring: “Danger! Treacherous rocks ahead. Think of your mortgage.”
One of the most egregious areas of online self-publishing are astrology blogs. Holy Kazemi! Here we discover why the masses consider astrology disposable and relegated to the back pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.
I’m amazed when I consider my career and what was required to first learn astrology and then become a good astrologer. Where did my stamina to attempt writing come from? It was a surprise. The one skill doesn’t necessarily confirm the other. One might read a chart but can’t write about it worth a damn.
So, over time I discovered that I had a knack for writing about astrology too. The keyword is knack — and, well, unfortunately knack-ness is not something that can be taught. Grammar (which I’m horrible at) and speling (forget about it) and The Elements of Style can be mastered, but not the inherent nature of a knack. Slippery as a glowing fish.
Too, coupled with knack — and this is crucial — one must have the interest of the reader uppermost. To care about the reader and the investment of her time, this is golden. When I care about my reader I’m forced to be a better writer. So the knack, and this sort of ‘reader empathy’ can not be taught. I’m sorry. As my mom would often say, just before pissing off my father: “There, I said it.”
If you fancy yourself an astrologer and a writer please learn how to write economically and always consider what you are conjuring in the reader’s mind that deflates or inspires his interest in astrology. Think how quickly, easily your writer’s thread can unravel into the warning signs of pre-dementia due to the nature of your subject — an occupational hazard for sure.
It’s the nature of Pisces that containment, definition and rules do not apply. You grab ahold of a fish and, well — plop. Conversely there are millions upon millions of fish in the sea. So, there’s that equation. One lost, one found, millions more in circulation.
Consider this: The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Neptune are all transiting this zone of the fish. The predominant vibration is — very loudly: The sky is the limit.
Jupiter, the planet that governs Pisces and disperses all things Piscean throughout the solar system is busy bestowing blessings and bounty. So lots of fish, lots of inspiration and visions and dreams of the future — something Pisces loves doing and having. Without all of that Pisces dreaming and imagining there wouldn’t be a sign like Aries which follows Pisces. Aries works with all that dream substance and sets the creation in motion.
The keyword for our current Pisces congregation is: Extremes. Not so much how extremes show up or manifest; but just extreme. Meaning you could have an extreme relationship with food and it shows up as anorexia and not obesity. The word extreme means: Beyond the ordinary or average. Pisces and Jupiter dislike both.
Doubt the theme? Check out the stock market right now. It’s as if the financial disaster of 2008 never happened. And as everything climbs and bulges there are new efforts in place that are grinding away to erode the safeguards and regulations that could prevent a repeat of the sort of suffering the 2008 crash unleashed. Silly rabbit! …tricks are for sociopaths.
Pisces and sociopathology often go hand in hand. Nothing against Pisces people, some of them are the most compassionate folks you could ever share a drink with. But if there aren’t social contracts in place, if conscience is unplugged, corruption can erupt like Vesuvius. The Piscean impulse runs riot.
Keep in mind that how things play out on the human level is different from how things unfold on the cosmic level. It’s true, we are part and parcel of evolution — but humans reside on a lower level of the Ray of Creation, which means we can turn the most wonderful opportunity for optimization into a greedy mess. Too, extremes can flush shit away in life. Watch as the Pope, one of our culture’s most sacrosanct Piscean symbols, uhm, ‘retires’ from the world aquarium — with all of the lurid hubbub that’s dampened his career still swirling and gurgling around his red shoes. Read more
So a bunch of my clients have asked me about Mercury turning retrograde this week (like, in a few minutes). Most were concerned about ‘spacing out’ or losing emotional control because Pisces is considered amorphic and undisciplined. I don’t understand these associations. Einstein was a Pisces, and he overturned our entire view of the universe. If that way of delineating reality is supposed to be unfocused or undisciplined, well — Jesus — bring it on. We need more of it. Especially now when all the fallout of the Pluto in Capricorn transit keeps breaking free and cluttering the cultural landscape.
Pisces is associated with Jupiter. Neptune has nothing to do with the sign. The outer planets are not aligned with the signs the way the inner planets are. The outer planets hang out in some other neighborhood, though we are able to detect them in our solar system. Dane Rudhyar called them ambassadors from some other galaxy, and I’ve always liked that notion. Why? Because the outer planets’ light does not reach us in the same way that light from our Sun and Moon — and the sunlight that is reflected back to us all the way out to Saturn — returns back to us. Ultimately astrology is all about light and its reception and how that infiltrates and impregnates and makes the world appear ‘here’ — right before our eyes.
Jupiter is similar in some ways to Mercury, if Mercury weren’t so active assimilating data. Which is to say Jupiter works from a level of mind that is associated with wisdom, which is a kind of synthesized understanding of data. What Mercury gathers up and names Jupiter embues with vitality and juice, cooking it up to share with others. Which is what Pisces loves to do: share insights and wisdom — especially if those insights will change up the world around her. As the last sign of the zodiac Pisces is the wisest, the most artistic and the most abstract. Pisces seals the seeming split between the emotional or feeling realm and that of the mind. And shows us that feelings and thoughts are always intertwined and inter-related.
So anyway, Mercury will touch off all of the Pisces transits underway via its retrograde; this is like a mega-vitamin for the mind. All of the brainstorms you’ve had during the last couple of weeks will now get a chance to have the missing ingredients added to the mix to bring everything to consciousness — or not. Allow for messes and mistakes, or as musician Brian Eno once said: “Honor thy error as a hidden intention…” Have fun. Get some smart wisdom.
Recently I clicked into a podcast with the author Mitch Horowitz that forced me to put away my painting (I usually multitask) and sit down to catch each illuminating insight from Horowitz’s encyclopedic memory.
I was fascinated to learn of the various magical, mystical, and spiritual movements that have influenced American history, from Plymouth Rock to the Twin Towers. A complete chronology of which Mitch details in his award-winning book Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation.
Mitch currently works as the vice-president and editor-in-chief at Tarcher/Penguin. And he is completing his second book, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, a history and defense of the positive-thinking movement, which will be available at the top of 2014 from Crown. You can find Mitch online at mitchhorowitz.com.
We spoke yesterday about astrology, conspiracy theories, the post-election political landscape, his own horoscope and of course tomorrow’s Mayan-inspired End Days prophecy.
Frederick Woodruff: How do you see astrology’s connection to the political history of the United States? We all know about Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, Joan Quigley, but what else can you share about the cosmic art and its influence on US politics and policy?
Mitch Horowitz: I actually write about this in my new book One Simple Idea. Seen from one perspective, Ronald Reagan’s personal interest in astrology was fairly casual, and limited to reading the daily horoscope page. But in actuality both Ronald and Nancy Reagan were deeply attached to the social and spiritual mores of Southern California, where they spent almost three decades of their adult lives. They were proud of those ties, and I think rightly so.
In my new work, I go into the deeper aspects of Reagan’s connections to that world. In a sense, he was indirectly a product of the positive-thinking movement, whose phraseology runs throughout his speeches. His first employer was a mind-power mystic and one of the shapers of chiropractic in America, B.J. Palmer, who gave Reagan his break into broadcasting.
One of Reagan’s Hollywood friends was an author named Eden Gray, who Tarot fans will recognize as a seminal, early author of Tarot guidebooks. Reagan spoke openly of his friendship with psychic Jeane Dixon, his belief in UFOs, his longtime interest in astrology and other mystical thought systems, and, most significantly, of the work of LA-based occult scholar Manly P. Hall, whose influence can be detected in Reagan’s earliest speeches. Read more
New Moons are the best time to learn astrology. Not by reading or studying the subject but by taking advantage of the opportunity that a New Moon affords us to feel our way forward in our quest.
Today’s New Moon is in Sagittarius. If you’ve ever wanted to grasp the fundamental principle embodied by this symbol now is the time to do it. You don’t need a fancy approach, just your eyes and your heart.
Look at the symbol of the centaur archer, everything you need to know about what the sign typifies is there, in its picture. Make the associations: Half-human, half-animal, a bow and an arrow. And more importantly an arrowhead and an aim.
What does this amalgam evoke? What is conveyed on the essential level? Meaning, if we strip things down to their pure being-ness, what is there as a movement within the soul, the essence of which is captured in the symbol? The answer imparts direct knowledge of what the Sagittarian ‘instinct’ is about. And that information will stay with you long after any passage from a book.
So, this is how you learn astrology. Books are good, teachers are important but you need a ritual that is beyond the sphere of acquired knowledge. A ritual that involves each of your centers, the intellectual, the emotional (your heart) and your moving center (your body). Applied this way, astrology becomes a kind of spiritual discipline or practice. An active way of receiving.
Forget all the stuff about archetypes or Linda Goodman or your Sagittarius mother-in-law. Those are each several steps removed (or worse, degraded by their immersion in carnival culture) from the simple is-ness of the symbol. Learn to identify the essential level of the instinct within your own experience as it’s made into an image, i.e., the picture of the centaur. Again, forget all the keywords or hackneyed associations. LOOK AT THE PICTURE. See.
We live within and are tethered to the wheel of Time; meaning we ‘move and have our being’ within the entire Zodiacal circle — a symbol of Time. As astrologers it’s good that we familiarize ourselves with the Zodiac’s truth, each unique component (sign) — not only because we are born ‘into’ the wheel, but because we also contribute to it via our process of expression (within Time) that is in and of itself a particular configuration of Time’s body, also known as the birth chart or horoscope. (Yes, reread that paragraph because you don’t want to miss the point.) Read more