March 02nd, 2014

Time and the Retrograde of Mars and Saturn

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To stall is to procrastinate. That’s the usual association we make with the word. And procrastination implies a conscious kind of non-action on the part of the procrastinator.

But there is another definition taken from the world of aviation. A mechanical stall is a malfunction in the flight of an aircraft in which there is a sudden loss of lift that results in a downward plunge. “The plane went into a stall and I couldn’t control it.”

Can you relate?

With both Saturn (the prime timekeeper) and Mars (momentum itself) in retrograde motion, our direction, our sense of time, our desire (Mars) for a forward direction (Saturn) — all of our leaning toward and lunging for is, well, suspended — left dangling. So when someone asks you, “What are you up to?” You can say, in all honesty, “Just hanging around.” Or if you’re a more melodramatic type: “Man, I’m going down.”

So, while you’re falling why not pick a card — any card.

Of all the various versions of the Tarot’s Hanged Man (Pamela Colman Smith’s glowing, haloed figure or Aleister Crowley‘s eerie ankh-hung Spiderman) I like the simplicity of Robert Place‘s rendering — taken from his Alchemical Tarot deck. I also think Place’s Hanged Man is more true to the initial stages of frustration one experiences when she first notices that her airplane has gone into a stall.

Place animates his Hanged Man with a thrashing motion of the body and an angry, perplexed countenance. The man is definitely rebelling. And all that he has acquired within the normal, forward motion of time, is falling from his hands. Read more



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February 25th, 2014

Living the Dream

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A woman novelist said to Gurdjieff at one meeting:

“I sometimes feel that I am more conscious when I am writing. Is this so or do I imagine it?”

He replied:

“You live in dreams and you write about your dreams. Much better for you if you were to scrub one floor consciously then to write a hundred books as you do now.”

– C.S. Nott from Teachings of Gurdjieff: A Pupils Journal



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February 12th, 2014

The Authentic Art of Living

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“What do I know?”

Whoever ponders seriously this question understands little by little his relation with “Who am I?”, echoes of which resound down the centuries since man first appeared on this planet.

For these seekers, to be, to know and to do are the facets of the same reality.

To dream of knowing oneself and nothing more, without looking for the slightest hint of an intentional manifestation fully integrated with the surrounding reality, is tantamount to a kind of desertion.

As for trying “to do” without being aware of “being”, without looking at every step for a way to be in accord with an inner presence, is the worst kind of abdication. The human condition is a perpetual challenge, which man can not ignore without abandoning his true nature.

He who wakes up to the deep meaning of his life and perceives how he makes room for the force and the difficulties of the innumerable relationships offered to him, acknowledges, by the same token, the very point of his existence. He discovers the possibility of seizing hold of the present, in order to bring together in a supreme effort the unfathomable experience of the past with the immediate prospects for the future, for which he wishes to feel himself responsible.

Taking into consideration his potentialities as well as his limitations, choosing the best influences for him, he has for aim to work always according to his being, in order to affirm himself at each moment, in constant submission to the demands of the life of the universe.

This would be the authentic art of living and the visible manifestation of a real individual culture.

–Henri Tracol

from The Taste for Things That are True
 

Some Thoughts on Henri Tracol by John Robert Colombo


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January 24th, 2014

Astrology’s House of the Rising Sun

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“And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and God, I know I’m one…” — Alan Price

“Mystery is the only addiction I wholeheartedly recommend.” — Scott Peck

 
My friend and colleague Wonder Bright posted a post on her site yesterday where she dove into the contradictions related to astrology’s 12th house. The sort of diving a lot of 12th house Sun people do. An inquiry that’s easy to understand, given astrology’s grab bag of 12th house horrors.

As defined by classical astrology, the 12th house of the birth chart is a cluster of fallen positions, people and milieus. And modern interpretations are no better, creating what I call a ‘death-by-euphemism’ blanketing; where New Agers and their notions of transformation and the collective unconscious (huh?) have defanged the 12th house to the point of parody.

Traditional astrology explains that because the 12th house makes no proper Ptolemaic aspect to the ascendant, the 12th house and its activities go ‘unseen’. This same idea applies to the 2nd, 6th and the 8th house too. Over time, the life events and conditions associated with each of those houses can become problematic. In other words: If I am not consciously aware and actively involved with the circumstances involved with each of those houses I will, most likely, fuck things up.

Jesus, there’s nothing like an individual’s relationship to money (2nd and 8th houses) and the consequences related to finances, to drive said person to the brink of addiction or crime; which, of course will land them in the 12th house, that of prisoners and jailers and drunkards and debtors (and a bunch of other Charles Dickens‘-like characters), where he or she will abide and live like a slave (a classic 6th house theme.)

So all of this seems valid to me because the ascendant is the particular lens through which I view reality and reality views me. If certain of my activities and affairs fall beyond my eye of awareness (my ascendant), well, most likely there will be blood. And sweat. And certainly tears.

Personally, and maybe because I have Leo rising and Leo doesn’t like to think of anything related to the self as being artificial, I have never jibed with the Jungian confluence of the first house with the persona, the mask that one wears to present himself to the world.

Mmmmm. No, sorry. My Leo nature is the real deal. Read more



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January 18th, 2014

Essence and The Necessity of Personality

“In order to develop from any of the three ordinary types into higher orders of being it is necessary to crystallize and temper essence into a permanent and unifeid “I.”

This is done mainly by instigating a struggle between essence and personality.

Both essence and personality are necessary for this work: essence must have personality or it will not wish to develop. Personality provides the material to study, the obstacles to overcome, the temptations to resist, the delusions to invalidate, and in the process of struggling with and testing itself against personality, essence gains in strength and maturity.

This battle is what Islam calls the holy war (jihad) and in this war the more evenly matched the opposing sides, the greater the intensity of combat and the more thorough the destruction and renewal entailed.”

– Kathleen Riordan Speeth

from The Gurdjieff Work © 1989. Tarcher/Putnam


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