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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January 14th, 2014

Jessica Murray: “Respond to These Times”

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My recent interview with astrologer Jessica Murray generated a good amount of reverberations within my site’s comment section, on Facebook and via personal emails; most of which were steeped in low-grade agitation. Each alluding to the question: “Now what?”

Apparently the title I chose for the piece (“A Way Through”) wasn’t the most perspicacious, in the sense that readers took it literally, whereas I was using the term as a way to frame an open-ended inquiry, not present a list of ‘how to’ steps or specific solutions.

When I informed Jessica as to the questions the interview set in motion, she was kind enough to forward a response to share with you. Which you can now read and comment on below:
 

jessica

“I imagine that all astrologers who write about transits for a general audience of unseen readers come up against this conundrum: Although we know our readers would like us to be more specific – to pinpoint acts and events that would make sense to them in their own world — without seeing our specific natal charts, we can’t do it.
Unless we’re addressing a particular client’s chart, all we can do is make informed generalizations; to try to say something that’s relevant to everyone living under the same sky… an exciting and demanding sky, right now, full of tumultuous transits.” Read more



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January 11th, 2014

Finding a Way Through: An Interview With Astrologer Jessica Murray

jessica_murray_astroinquiry

Jessica Murray is a professional astrologer with a fascinating personal history that involves writing, publishing, political activism and a command of semiotics. Semiotics is field of study, some would call it a science of sociological code-breaking, that involves reading the language of signs.

The concept of semiotics is easier to grasp if you think of it as a system that attempts to understand how human beings create meaning from the manner in which reality displays itself, be that through events, words, images and objects.

Ideally, astrology benefits from the semiotic approach because astrology too is a language, a language that is brought to life by the linguist’s ability to skillfully interpret signs and symbols. If we think of an astrological chart as a signature of the soul, you can see how a confluence of astrological and semiotic insight would make for a formidable astrologer. And Jessica is very much one of contemporary astrology’s most creative and vibrant authors. Her close readings of the sociopolitical landscape are both dazzling and educational.

Jessica lives in San Francisco and writes regularly for her website Mother Sky. She has published two books, Soul-Sick Nation and At The Crossroads, both available here.

Our discussion centers around themes related to the ongoing and unprecedented Uranus Pluto square, a planetary component of the unfolding “Cardinal Cross Years,” which comprise our current historical moment — a time when “the modern Western mind … with its machines and weapons and power games, has grown so out-of-whack as to be needful of tough-love intervention, like a self-harming child…Our goal must be to get in touch, on a gut level, with the fact that the breakdowns we see around us are signals of incipient breakthrough.” Read more



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January 10th, 2014

Questions and Answers With G.I. Gurdjieff: The Illusion of Doing

gurdjieff_and_pets

Man is a plural being.

When we speak of ourselves ordinarily, we speak of ‘I.’ We say, ” ‘I’ did this,” ” ‘I’ think this,” ” ‘I’ want to do this”—but this is a mistake. There is no such ‘I,’ or rather there are hundreds, thousands of little ‘I’s in every one of us. We are divided in ourselves but we cannot recognize the plurality of our being except by observation and study.

At one moment it is one ‘I’ that acts, at the next moment it is another ‘I.’ It is because the ‘I’s in ourselves are contradictory that we do not function harmoniously. We live ordinarily with only a very minute part of our functions and our strength, because we do not recognize that we are machines, and we do not know the nature and working of our mechanism.

We are machines. We are governed entirely by external circumstances. All our actions follow the line of least resistance to the pressure of outside circumstances.

Try for yourselves: can you govern your emotions? No. Read more



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January 08th, 2014

Why Write And Read Poetry?

frosted

“No poet ever wrote a poem to dishonor life, to compromise high ideals, to scorn religious views, to demean hope or gratitude, to argue against tenderness, to place rancor before love, or to praise littleness of soul. Not one. Not ever.

“On the contrary, poets have, in freedom and in prison, in health and in misery, with listeners and without listeners, spent their lives examining and glorifying life, meditation, thoughtfulness, devoutness, and human love. They have done this wildly, serenely, rhetorically, lyrically, without hope of answer or reward. They have done this grudgingly, willingly, patiently, and in the steams of impatience.

“They have done it for all and any of the gods of life, and their record of so doing belongs to each one of us.

Including you.”

–Mary Oliver
 

Photograph Frosted by Stephan Amm


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