Paul Horwich, in a long NY Times essay wrote:
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
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
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.
Watching the NSA/PRISM surveillance scandal unravel is disconcerting on a score of different of fronts. The most salient, as the Pentagon Papers’ papa Daniel Ellsberg puts it, is the “possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution.”
“Possibilities” like this also crop unsavory mushrooms, like Congress’s own Lollypop Kid, Rand Paul, co-opting the fracas to rally support for his presidential bid in 2016. One disaster begets another.
With an eruption of this magnitude in the global theater (OMG, even China’s databases have been mined) and given the omnipresence of online bobble heads — logorrheic pundits, Armageddonites and wannabe journalists, it’s wise — just like the NSA — to sift your information discreetly. What (and how much data) should you pay attention to?
But first, consider how we gorged on data shortly after 9/11 — and what little good that yielded. Meaning, no matter the quantity, it was impossible to escape our primitive desire for Old Testament style vengeance. Lots of information doesn’t necessarily soothe the primitive instincts.
By not disciplining our reptilian brain, we were, simply put, distracted into a war with Iraq. Today we blame President Bush, but societies always have the king or simpleton that best mirrors their collective mindset. Or as Joseph de Maistre put it: “Every country has the government it deserves.”
There was very little ‘presence of mind’ after 9/11 but lots of aping. We all took on the habit of borrowing opinions from experts to weave together a narrative that made sense, made us feel safe — or vindicated. And so began the great divide between tree houses. The Fox and the Peacock. The red and the blue. The Hatfield and the McCoy’s. The underpinnings on the dumbing of America.
The New Yorker‘s George Packer described this post-9/11 dementia as: “Too much information and not enough understanding of power: globalization and violence merged to create a particular kind of psychosis, with well-founded fears and judgments warped into paranoia and hallucination by nonstop media saturation.”
The weeks after 9/11 were charged with an otherworldly sensitivity. It’s true, people were kinder to one another in the subway, kinder to themselves. But shortly thereafter an eerie, robotic re-engagement kicked in. To be disconnected from the agitated hive-mind felt unsafe (“Honey, what’s the color of today’s Terror Alert?”)
To heal as a nation we were instructed to “shop more”. I remember talking to friends in Germany — a revelation. Europeans considered us with disbelief — and then confirmation (Americans were not only obnoxious, but ignorant too!) How could we be so naive? So self-absorbed with the current version of our Manifest Destiny (the American Dream) — that we’d no connection to the historical and global implications of our pursuits, ideologies and childlike trust in fools?
I mention 9/11 because, well, origin, how the tale began, is good to throw into to the NSA/PRISM whirlpool. Post 9/11, cryptologic storehouses like the NSA (humorously dubbed by insiders as: No Such Agency) were shored and granted carte blanche under the Bush/Cheney congress and its comfy-sounding Homeland Security rubric (a term George Orwell would have envied). To continue shopping at Wal*Mart was critical, and to have that sort of post-shock nonchalance meant surrendering our privacy. But more important was the notion to not look back, not to scrutinize how the big suck would be implemented.
If you put all of the above together — civilian surveillance, hypnotic info glut, media manipulation/distraction — and push it through an astrological funnel, you’ll land in the center of the United States’ natal Mercury Pluto opposition. The lone opposition in the USA’s birth chart, the very spine that all of the various planetary relationships that comprise a chart teeter. Read more
Once again the cosmic gyre converges into the midpoint of the Uranus Pluto square. Astrologers have pondered this particular alignment — the very moment we’re living through — since the late 60s when the counterculture bloomed and generational divides quaked. Then, the two planets formed a conjunction; a confluence that planted a seed of sorts. Ideals of personal freedom (fueled by volatile social activism) pushed forward, touched the cultural imagination, but quickly quelled into the narcissistic sleep of the 70′s ‘me’ decade. What was missing back then is what we’re getting now. The dynamic of the square, a force that won’t be contained. Conjunctions set ideals, squares put them in motion.
Statistically this particular square is nearly unprecedented — meaning it is rare that two trans-Saturn planets connect by exact angle and then disconnect, reconnect, disconnect, reconnect so many times through their cycle. This is akin to someone scratching her fingernails down a blackboard and then doing it over and over again after you’ve asked her to stop. Take note: We have four more Uranus Pluto squares to live with between now and March of 2015. That’s a whole lot of scrapin’ going on.
Squares tease forth antagonistic forces from incompatible elements within the zodiac. Incompatible elements (in this case fire and earth) display — literally — as ignitions, explosions, sinkholes, and figuratively — well, that sinking feeling you get trying to balance your dwindling finances. Or maybe it’s the phone call from your son announcing his engagement to his boyfriend.
Historically, Uranus Pluto signatures carve deep impressions into the Halls of Time. For instance, Columbus’ discovery of the New World occurred during a Uranus-Pluto square and the Reign of Terror, during the French Revolution, marked an opposition between the planets. Defining moments in history that are taught, years later, in history classes – those tumultuous markers that earmark progress at any price.
So. What about the current signs? My observations: We’re experiencing the Uranus Pluto square as a fascinating and freaky sort of Future Shock. Our moment in time is similar to the accelerated shifts in art and philosophy associated with the Renaissance. Hybrid innovation that made the Renaissance into a bright diadem — sparklingly amidst history’s dark annals.
But what took three centuries to unfold during the Renaissance is moving at an exponential rate during this century. With technology dominating every facet of life, we’re trapped in a dazzling quickening. A disorienting leap that’s left the elderly befuddled; clinging to nostalgic reveries of the past (“I no longer recognize my country!”) While those in their 20s — many of whom crawled directly from the womb and began typing on a computer — are clueless regarding the legacy they’ve inherited. Yesterday a client, born in the 80s, asked me who John F. Kennedy was. Read more