May 12th, 2016

To A Cat — Lili: Feb 29, 2000 – May 11, 2016

lili_woodruff
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France

 

Like my own life, I considered that my Bengal cat Liliuokalani would live a really long, long time. Like forever.

Yesterday, after a quick decline (her heart trouble bloomed in about a month) the vet, a hyper gentle, sensitive soul, administered ‘the shot’ and I held Lili in my arms while all the force of her feline instincts rallied to capture: One. More. Breath. Her frame twisting and turning, fighting against the void — her mouth yawned wide, her eyes dilated into black full moons — as she force-rode the border between living and no-thing. And then completed.

All of that moment is seared into my memory screen today. Hard to shake. It’s one of the bookends between our time together. The joy and sweetness of the very first day I met her and the bitterness of the ‘closure.’

In Portland two years ago I watched my stepmom go through similar contortions the day before she died — not as feral, but her body’s elongating and recoiling in the bed — a leg suddenly jutting skyward like a showgirl’s and then slowly curling downward/inwards towards the comfort of a fetal position. My aunt leaned over to me in the hospital room and said, “Well, she always was limber. Used to be a dancer you know.”

When they left me alone with Lili’s body I stood above her and marveled at the mystery. The eerie kind of invasion that overtakes the mind when confronted by life’s literal demarcations: One minute prior there was an animated beast cuddled in my arms — now — just this shell thing. A beautiful thing, but not Lili. A beautiful Bengal cat rug. Gurdjieff remarked once that: “Time is breath.” This must be true.

What’s timelessness about? I’m curious about this.

Even at home, an hour or so before taking her to the vet, Lili came shuffling out from the bedroom after she heard the distinct sound of a can of tuna being opened in the kitchen. Despite the fact that she’d no appetite. And then later in the living room, beneath a chair, she made a small lunge towards a sparrow that had landed on the outside deck. Bird was gone. But her attention wasn’t. She shifted again, fascinated now with a spider that was moving up the sliding glass door’s edge. Could she reach it to swat it? No awareness that in an hour she’d be lugged over to the vet and no longer be alive.

I want that. Not an unconsciousness towards the reality of my death, but a vibrant curiosity towards the last rattle that rides the demarcation. In her song Sweet Bird Joni Mitchell sings:

Out on some borderline/
Some mark of in-between/
I lay down golden in time/
And woke up vanishing.

Seems we’re always on this line, but we ignore its patient persistence to finally blur and then cut. We fill up the space and the time about our death with ideas, beliefs, theories, something some Buddhist told us, or maybe grandma’s ideas about Jesus and family reunions in heaven. Read more



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May 05th, 2016

The Best of my 2016 Facebook Posts (So Far)

best_of_facebook

Like many writers, some of my better efforts — especially of an astrological nature — inadvertently (from laziness) show up on my Facebook page and not on AstroInquiry, my website.

Because many people still do not interact with Facebook and because Facebook’s algorithms have become more restrained as of late — (meaning although I have thousands of followers/friends on the social network my posts seem to only reach people who live in teepees in their backyards) — I’ve decided to reclaim ownership of my writing and create periodic updates like this one to publish on my network: The MeBook.

I’ll do this periodically as my agitation builds to a tipping point. Maybe four times a year. I dunno.

Enjoy. Or maybe not.

Or just fucking follow me on Facebook and save me the pain.

 
If you’ve ever pondered the planet Mars’ rulership of the sign Scorpio, consider this quote from Scorpio president Theodore Roosevelt: “Get action. Do things. Be sane. Don’t fritter away your time. Create. Act. Take a place wherever you are and be somebody. Get action.” When Ted was a kid the doctors warned him that because of his questionable health any sort of heightened activity would kill him. And that warning was disregarded to the fullest extent of his body’s wild, unfettered spirit. The Scorpio spirit personified.

pince_astrology

Camille Paglia unleashed in a rip-roarin’ Salon piece: Covering the Don, the Clinton Creature and the Prince! Fab.
As I mentioned in another post: Camille’s the only critic I’ve read that’s tuned into and teased out Prince’s Scorpio ascendant (ala the voodoo element). There’s always mention of Prince’s manipulation of sexual imagery and bombast, but with Prince it was transgressive in a way that made his 80s peers — especially Madonna — seem conventional.

Too, his persona’s decadent arc: Rent-boy to silk and lace dandy — yes! — also very Scorpio ascendant. The extremes. The larger arc, with Scorpio’s all-or-nothing demeanor? S&M rent-boy to monkish Jehova’s Witness. All the same trajectory.

Nothing in the 80s can match his LP Dirty Mind and its taboo-shattering (a song dedicated to incest, etc.) array of tracks. Yes, the themes, lyrically, were transgressive, but the construction of the music itself was voodoo-ish and hypnotic. Once the album got on your turntable it was impossible to turn it off. Spooky magic.

Learn Astrology Via Cartoons!

Here’s a Mars in Pisces individual in the planning stages of his day:

Mars_in_pisces

My last Prince post; ’cause it’s gotta stop now.

So I just finished playing Purple Rain from top to bottom, something I haven’t done in years because we’d played the record so many times in its entirety back in the days (it’s probably the last album that required that sort of commitment — total immersion or nothing).

And I’m speechless — but will write some stuff out anyway.

PR reminds me of a masterpiece painting, like something from Caravaggio. A bizarre comparison but Caravaggio had a prescience that brought Hollywood glamor lighting/chiaroscuro charisma to the most solemn of subjects, and Prince does that with PR. He’s showing/playing you the joy of creating some kind of prototype of musical perfection. Like a Mozart concerto or Miles Davis solo.

Celebratory giddiness is pressed hard against the ache, devotion, and itch of unrequited love, religious fervor and sexual obsession. We kind of forget about that amalgam when we think of Purple Rain. The muscularity of the musicianship is shocking. Airtight. Like a coded transmission from another galaxy: “I’m not a woman I’m not a man. I am something that you’ll never understand.” A gorgeous thoroughbred horse standing proudly amidst admirers.

But really: No words. Just put it on again.

Presently. (Full Moon in Scorpio conjunct my natal Moon.)

damien_moon_scorpio

“People who have a nice, healthy connection to their crotch have a better connection between the head and their heart, and in a land of sexually healthy people we’d have less crime, less poverty, less divorce, less drug use and fewer right-wing Republicans.” –Larry Flynt

Read more



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February 20th, 2016

Henry Leroy Finch: The Desecration of the Sun

solar_disc

The gradual disappearance of the sacred from the world, and the consequent shrinking of the human being, starts with the desacralizing of the cosmos in the Biblical law and in the empirical science of Aristotle and culminates in the flattened-out, merely measurable universe of post-Renaissance science

The sacred has withdrawn into the domain of private inner experiences where the sacred and the spiritual, as gifts from above, are confused with the grasping and exploiting “psychological.”

It is not surprising that the most blasphemous act of modern science has been the desecration of the sun, by copying on earth its release of hydrogen energy (by a mathematics and physics no longer connected with wisdom and the good, as for us the sun is no longer connected with the wisdom and the good), wiping out whole cities in seconds.

Nothing could better illustrate, at one and the same time, our secret contempt for the dead, dull, natural world we have conceived and for the egotistic power-structure which we call “civilization.””

— Henry Leroy Finch

From the essay: The Sacred Cosmos: Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff
 

 



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February 11th, 2016

Tarthang Tulku: Time and Non-Locatability

When_your_numbers_up

In the following quotes from Dynamics of Time and Space, Tarthang Tulku uses the word time in a broader sense than just psychological or linear time.

When we lose contact with time, we have cut the dynamic central to our lives. Subjectively, there is the sense that time is flickering, like a film not properly adjusted on its reel. There is strain that goes nowhere.

These structures are in place before consciousness fully forms… they give rise to nervous agitation or uneasy pain.

If the momentum of time’s forward conducting persists, the agitation and its underlying ‘flickering’ intensify. Suddenly there is an abrupt break, as if the reel of film…had snapped. Everything freezes –movement vanishes. Pain has been transformed into the fixed and rigid structures of linear time.

Consciousness emerges into a temporal order in which time is a hostile force…Time in its pastness grinds us down feeding us the lifeless recordings of the past and the seductive fascinations of the future.

Caught in this fabricated past and future, we are divided against ourselves. Our knowledge and energy are spread across the linear length of the temporal order. Thus, when we set a goal, we assign a part of our constructed identity to that goal. Now it is as though a part of us was ‘out there’ in the future along with our projection, pinned against the temporal horizon of the present moment.

Increasingly confined, we find it deeply disturbing just to inhabit the successive moments of our lives. The specific ‘point’ of time that we occupy lacks all capacity to hold time’s dynamic. Life goes out of the present, drained away ‘across’ time.

We may respond by withdrawing into a dull numbness that has a quality almost like being shocked or stunned. In our worn-out dullness, we are like a baby that has cried itself into exhausted sleep.

If we could awaken at this point to the feeling of pain, we would actually be close to the original dynamic of the time that we have lost. But this alternative is not available, for we are too closely identified with the pain.

As ‘I’ merge with ‘having the pain’, I become the victim of what objectified time has presented. I possess the pain and am possessed by it; in this feedback I repossess it, tightening its hold. Awareness arises only in the wake of recognition, and so can lead only in the direction of further identification.

Accepting the reality of the pain assures its continuation.

Through a direct focus on the painness of pain, this ready interpretation can be recast or re-projected. If there is no ‘I’ as subject — no one making efforts with regard to the pain — there will be no pain to be identified. As pain enters experience and is projected into awareness, it is received without labels and identifications and reactions. There is nothing to be conditioned and no one to be caught. Without the subjective framework, pain is stripped of its solidity.

In this new arriving of what time presents, the logic of temporality defeats itself. The past is gone, the future not yet arrived, the present too short: ‘I’ am nowhere.
 

 
Opening Collage When your numbers up by: TrashRiot, © 2015



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February 05th, 2016

Astrology, Ants, Hives, Essence and Types

bill_domonkos
“Astrology deals with only one part of man, with his type, his essence — it does not deal with personality, with acquired qualities. If you understand this you understand what is of value in astrology.” — G.I. Gurdjieff

 
People are akin to ants in a massive colony.

Planets have no interest in the personal affairs of human beings, any more than you are fretting right now about a particular aphid on a rosebush in your backyard.

Astrology — when distanced from its function as a psycho-spiritual practice — becomes, then, the art of tracking cycles that impact hives. Human hives. Be it the outer planets marking glacial permutations or ‘personal’ planets allowing for hive events to register, to possibly find their way into the consciousness of those so attuned.

An example of what I’m talking about:

Here’s a news story from today, The World Economy Seems Trapped in ‘Death Spiral’ that’s a great example of the current Venus Pluto conjunction — which is presently abuzz amidst the chattering astrosphere of social media — bringing into focus the glacial qualities associated with the slower moving transits of Saturn and Neptune, and the even slower waning square between Uranus Pluto.

A ‘world economy’ in a death spiral would impact sundry hives and then, via trickle down, one might experience how, say, unemployment or starving to death would influence his or her relational (Venusian) life with other humans.

Love, which has been assigned in astrology’s lexicon to the planet Venus, is radically different from the hive’s relationship to love as some kind of melodrama lifted from a Harlequin romance novel. Love, as related to the planet Venus is, for lack of better words, conscious love; love as a function from within the cosmic dimension. Gurdjieff‘s student A.R. Orage describes conscious love, as experienced by human beings like this:

“The conscious love motive, in its developed state, is the wish that the object should arrive at its own native perfection, regardless of the consequences to the lover. ‘So she become perfectly herself, what matter I?’ says the conscious lover. ‘I will go to hell if only she may goto heaven’. And the paradox of the attitude is that such love always evokes a similar attitude in its object. Conscious love begets conscious love.”

Hive ‘love’ — love based on the instincts or emotionality — only understands love from childish notions of ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ or ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ — preferences colored by what Freud deemed the overlay of Family Romance, i.e., the fact that men and women do generally marry their mothers and fathers — an oddly creepy, but not surprising condition, that’s part and parcel the mechanisms within a smaller hive structure — one’s family system and gene pool.

Here’s another way of putting it:

Once accustomed to the coping mechanisms that allowed you to survive your mother and father you will then find safe harbor, seemingly, with someone else that allows for the same sort of behavior that allowed you to survive your neurotic parents. This is living predicated by the instincts — in this example, the survival and social drives.

As Gurdjieff mentioned, astrology is applicable through the study of types for those aligned with essence. We have a hint about types when we consider the twelve types of the solar Zodiac and also the twenty-eight lunar types associated with the lunar cycle’s ‘mansions’.

Gurdjieff noted that before psychology can be applied to a human being there must first be a complete understanding of the laws governing mechanics.

As he explained to his primary student P.D. Ouspensky:

“Before speaking of psychology we must be clear to whom it refers and to whom it does not refer,” he said. “Psychology refers to people, to men, to human beings. What psychology” (he emphasized the word) “can there be in relation to machines? Mechanics, not psychology, is necessary for the study of machines. That is why we begin with mechanics. It is a very long way yet to psychology.”

When we are separated from our essential nature, we mutate into automatons attuned to hive-mind consciousness. We harbor the possibility of becoming conscious beings — but this demands a process of return (the necessity of working with a teacher); an awakening which then makes applicable the insights of psychology and then, later, astrology.

When one lives from his or her essential nature (and not from the amorphic conditions associated with an acquired personality) astrology then holds many possibilities for fostering self-observation. One cannot ascribe unique personal qualities to an ant.

Modern astrology puts the cart before the horse. Much is written about human nature as if the person being written about is a creature with a permanent center of Being. In most literature related to the Kabbalah humans are referred to as “The Creatures” — having no command of their animal natures, the term is fitting.

To possess a genuine “I” is a very expensive thing Gurdjieff explained. Much labor and effort is involved in acquiring a permanent, unwavering sense of consciousness that expresses essential qualities rather than reactivity and habitual responses — the hallmarks of machinery.

Tho essence is not something one acquires, it is intrinsic to humans. This explains — beyond the biological motivations in place during motherhood — why babies are such fascinating creatures to observe. Babies are pure essence. Inculcation into the hive, over time, occludes essence but does not destroy it. It retreats into a kind of cold storage.

The expression of essential qualities once returned, can be understood (witnessed) as acts of spontaneity. The individual responds to the environment in ways that confirm his or her seamless flow or ‘oneness’ with the environment. In other words, there is no subject-object relationship with reality. One is in accord with the Prime Mover, a conscious creator within the very realm that astrology defines and tracks. From this orientation, astrology can be said to ‘work’. Types can then be explored and psychology’s language employed.

If you read the volumes of astrological material that are written each month related to planetary transits and how each of those motions are supposed to manifest within your life, you can’t help but consider that you are either already dead (in that you aren’t experiencing the myriad of blips and burps on the cosmic scale) or that astrology, as presented by buffoons, is being misinterpreted and misused. (Let me assure you, it is the later condition.)

Ask yourself what might assist in your process of awakening the essential qualities in your nature. (See this post for some suggestions). Then, as Gurdjieff notes, astrology can be understood and might possibly be of assistance in your awakening.
 

 
Opening Animated GIF by: Bill Domonkos, © 2015 (Photo: Internet Archive Book Image, 1906)



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