October 28th, 2013

Men In Black

Today while I was shopping in West Seattle I decided to take a break and grab a coffee before heading back to the ferry. I was frazzled. Not irritated exactly, just eager to ditch the compression of Seattle’s traffic, get home and throw some salts into a hot tub and soak and drink some wine.

After I decided on where to stop for the Americano, I moved into a cross walk to cross the street and then instantly, as if materializing out of the ethers behind me, a twenty-something hipster — dressed in black and wearing a black cap and sporting multiple spider-themed tattoos and pulling a black suitcase on wheels behind him — was behind me.

As we moved in tandem across the street, with the suitcase’s wheels clattering and grinding on the asphalt behind him, the guy kept inching closer into my personal space. It was like his presence was crawling up my back as I moved towards the coffee place and I felt flummoxed and startled by how quickly someone could get in your face without ever inviting or eliciting such a meeting. Something was afoot.

Speeding my pace, I aimed for the establishment, lost him and entered with the door of the biz closing behind me just as he popped/kicked the door back open — dragging the suitcase behind him like a ball and chain.

I got in line to order. And then he was in line to order, next to me, but, again, with his presence pushing into the field around me so he might have been sitting on my shoulder fidgeting with his phone, lost in its screen, while I was making a conscious effort to ignore him and focus on the cupcakes in the display case (one of which was flavor-named “Kate” — god knows why. I decided to take a picture of it and send the shot to my friend Kate). But even my cake distraction couldn’t dislodge the guy’s omnipresent vibe. It was something akin to a rash.

I ordered, got my coffee and no cupcake and moved as far away as I could into the jungle of chairs and tables, to find a bench and table out of sight of the dark guy.

Two minutes later, with a coffee and the fucking suitcase behind him, he was sliding in beside me on the bench that served the row of tables in front of us; where he proceeded to methodically, like a scientist unpacking a warhead, free the contents of the mystery suitcase on wheels.

As the gear was excavated, each item, to my irritation, was placed on the same bench we were sharing until so many items were piled atop one another they were edging into my thigh.

At this point I could no longer focus on the newspaper I was reading. Something in me had finally surrendered at the event horizon of his black hole and I was pulled into the guy’s buzzing mandala of Look At Me. And so I was all eyes. Read more



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October 18th, 2013

The Full Moon Eclipse and the War for Truth

Eclipses have a bad reputation. This relates to the days when only kings and queens had their horoscopes prepared — and what might befall a ruler meant the entire village was going to suffer or succeed as well.

The fact that an eclipse involves an astronomical exactitude can, for individuals, translate into a sense of pressure that triggers our sense of increased or diminished awareness. In other words, a lunar eclipse illuminates what is sending you to sleep– distancing you from the awakened state.

Eclipses are anachronistic. Dimmed lunar light tweaks cellular memory — that reptilian/mammalian part of the brain which winds through our DNA like a spiraled tendril. Dreams unhinge, longings feel jammed-to-bursting. Again, it’s about the amplification of awareness — how it ascends or descends.

The early-century occultist Rudolph Steiner had a wild theory about eclipses and I’ll share it here because it’s so fascinating. This is from Dennis Elwell‘s stellar book Cosmic Loom:

He said they serve as safety valves, a solar eclipse carrying out into space the evil that spreads over the earth, so that it might work its havoc in a less concentrated sphere. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, allows evil thoughts present in the cosmos to approach those humans who are willing to be possessed by them.

Kind of creepy. But the point here, if we move away from the moralistic tone, is that eclipses shift or tilt the balance between solar and lunar properties, and how we as humans align with those impressions.

Eclipses are easier to comprehend, in a practical way, if viewed through the lens of Gurdjieff‘s cosmology. Where the moon is associated with emotional habits that support somnambulism, a kind of devolution. And the sun is linked to awareness, presence, a quality of one-pointedness that is ‘now’-oriented; not retro-pulled towards womb memories.

If momentum in one’s life is towards the moon — a calcification of the psyche — the influence of the lunar eclipse will heighten awareness of this dilemma. A solar eclipse does the opposite — assists the ascending solar arc towards the awakened state.

But what of the sign in which the sun abides tonight? Libra is a peculiar symbol. Neither human or animal. Within a menagerie of critters Libra marks the virtues that transcend the passions personified by our animal nature.

Ignited by a full moon in Aries, the Libra sun leans towards warfare in the name of truth and beauty: Noetic forms that inspire a marriage of the human and divine. As this is a lunar eclipse the tendency is to avoid clarity for comfort’s sake. Too bad. We might miss the potential to make and attend our wedding. To actualize the steps that mark progress — from animal to the divine. A struggle is afoot. Bring your best weapons.

The good news? Lunar eclipses syphon into consciousness many of the alchemical forces associated with the final stages of the Work. That place where alpha and omega blend, igniting an inner illumination.

Here is the Alchemist’s Prayer. You might need it tonight:

“Oh, most singular and unspeakable Presence, first and last in the universe, heighten the fury of my fire and burn away the dross of my being. Cleanse my soiled soul; bathe me in your awesome light. Set me free from my history and cut me loose from my boundaries. Unite me with the One Thing hidden in my life, wherein is my only strength. Fill me with your Presence, allow me to see through your Eye, grant me entry to your Mind, let me resonate with your Will. Make me transparent to your flame, and fashion me into a lens for your light only. Transmute me into an incorruptible Stone in your eternal service, like the golden light that surrounds you.”

Illustration: Wilfried Podriech Satty



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October 16th, 2013

Rémi Gaillard and the Beauty of Chaos

Rémi Gaillard is a guy who lost his job as a shoe salesman and then decided to transform the big question mark in his life (as in “What to do next?”) by spreading that question mark all over the world as a culture jammer, (as in people scratching their heads while watching him and asking “What the fuck?)

Think of Rémi like another Banksy but only much more juvenile, a graduate of the Jackass school of agitprop.

Gaillard is a good example of someone taking a scary life event (unemployment) and flipping it into a cue to start doing exactly what he loved most, namely comedy and furries and disturbing the status quo. (Furries? Well, just Google it).

Gaillard’s motto is “C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on devient n’importe qui.”

Translated: “It’s by doing whatever that one becomes whoever.”

I’m needlepointing that into my bedspread right after this post goes live.

As a man interested in comely men, I will vouch, too, for P.E.T.A’s designation of Rémi being one of the sexiest vegetarians on the planet. I’d like to share a tofu burger with him at his earliest convenience.

His natal chart (February 7, 1975 in Montpellier, France — no birth time) shows a not-surprising water trine between Venus and Uranus. Venus (and Mars) in Pisces folks have a strong affinity with animals. Perhaps this is related to the traditional association of the signs Virgo and Pisces (with little and large animals, respectively.) You can think of this signature as someone who loves (Venus) to create chaos (Uranus) by wearing animal (Pisces) costumes. Feel free to add that description to your collection of key phrases for astrological aspects.

Amplifying his comedic nature is Aquarius and Saturn. It might be that Gaillard’s moon resides in Capricorn, too, depending on time of birth, but he’s definitely an Aquarian. And as I remind folks with a strong Saturn or the sign Aquarius exaggerated in their chart: Some of the funniest people in life are Saturnine (dark, sarcastic, often gallows humor-inspired souls) or Aquarian — just loopy peculiar folks, like extraterrestrial walk-ins.

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October 14th, 2013

Why Free-Thinking Astrologers Need to Study Wittgenstein

Paul Horwich, in a long NY Times essay wrote:

“The singular achievement of the controversial early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was to have discerned the true nature of Western philosophy — what is special about its problems, where they come from, how they should and should not be addressed, and what can and cannot be accomplished by grappling with them. The uniquely insightful answers provided to these meta-questions are what give his treatments of specific issues within the subject — concerning language, experience, knowledge, mathematics, art and religion among them — a power of illumination that cannot be found in the work of others.”

Wittgenstein isn’t an easy immersion, but he’s worth your effort because the more you study his philosophy — which was actually, in spots, more akin to mysticism — the more freedom you might gain as an astrologer.

Like the closet mystic Carl Jung, Wittgenstein knew how to couch his propositions to pass the scrutiny of his peers (well, except for his mentor Bertrand Russell who he drove to the brink of fury over his disregard for following traditional formulations of logic.) And because of this sketchy sort of dance, between chilly logic and the nimbus of mysticism, I find Wittgenstein to be the most satisfying of linguistic rebels. His confluence of the effable with the ineffable mirrors in a direct way how human beings toil with making sense (or a muddle) of astrology.

Like many philosophers Wittgenstein focused on the power of language to shape — and entrap us — in our world. And the same limitation develops in astrology with the application of ‘keywords’ and concepts to shape our understanding, to communicate our insights. There is nothing harmful in this application — I mean, none of us are telepathic (yet) — save for the fact that results very rarely achieve the sort of promise astrologers like to imagine being in possession of. Read more



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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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