“All things, all places, are sacraments to which we pay the reverence of complete awareness. With that attention, a universal resonance comes forth from all around us, and this universality, the sense of oneness — glimpsed only through close attention to the present moment, moment after moment — is the simple, great secret of existence.” — Peter Matthiessen
I’ll be taking some time off from Astro Inquiry for the next few days to join family and friends in what I’ve come, each year, to call the “Holidaze Bardo.” (A bardo is a Tibetan term used to describe various post-death phases, but also to designate times when our usual way of life becomes suspended.)
In reference to the quote from Peter Matthiessen, it’s my true wish that each of you take advantage of the next five weeks to reaffirm and reconnect to the simple, ordinary wonder of your existence; your loved ones’ existence and to the existence of life’s myriad forms — including the existence of the sweet angelic being we call ‘Earth’ that — along with the Sun — supports and sustains each of us.
In the spirit of giving thanks, I’d like to particularly say ‘thank you’ to my peers in the astrological community, both colleagues and clients; and my own teachers and fellow students. And to each of you that visit and support this site and my work and efforts for more ‘complete awareness.’
As my teacher said to me once: “What else is there to do in life but focus on soul work?” Of course there is conventional work, pleasures and leisures, relationship and camaraderie — he wasn’t diminishing the stature of those happenings, but he was addressing priority, for happenings mean little if there is no one truly present, awake, to experience them.
Carl Jung once noted: “…until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” And that might be fine — a fated path for an unexamined life — but one’s true Fate (in the Gurdjieffian sense) is when essence is fully illuminated; lived and worked in service to the all. Then being replaces doing and there is the simple freedom to simply be. That’s a true respite.
Photograph: Silvers Welch Road View by Oldoinyo
“Human beings have two options: being in contact with the Source, or being in a state of disconnection from it.
Being disconnected from the Source is not the loss of a luxury, or something extra — this loss lies at the very heart of human suffering because this Source constitutes your most real nature, the true center of who you are. Without it, life is deadened in all its aspects and becomes meaningless.
We don’t simply lose a sense of peace or contentment, or the intimacy of feeling at home with ourselves, but we also lose the source of all of our real capacities that we need to deal with and live our lives fully and correctly. So this is not a small loss or simply a philosophical one — it is a very practical and immediate one.
Working on regaining the Holy Origin — realizing our unity with our Source — is not supplemental, something to do when everything else is taken care of. It is basic and fundamental. Not to do it is like trying to live your life without your insides, your bodily organs — what kind of life can you live?
Without the connection with your Source, in which your life is lived as a continuity of Being, life becomes a prolongation of hollowness.”
— A.H. Almaas Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas
Photograph: Elliott Erwitt, Wilmington, North Carolina, 1950
This is part 2 of my In A Landscape mixtape. Part one encompassed more of an ambient, ethnic-tinged, bardo balm. Part two? Well, prepare yourself.
The closing mix was inspired by astrologer Kate Petty, in particular her detailed investigation of the various permutations of the ongoing and epic Uranus Pluto square. As she writes in Reclaiming the Apocalypse: “An apocalypse (meaning ‘un-covering’), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge … a lifting of the veil or revelation…”
How to make a mix that channels apocalyptic chic? You can’t. A demiurge must be summoned and control relinquished. Before you know it the tracks are selected, sequenced and you’ve tumbled down a rabbit hole of gyrating goodness. The tonal structure of this mix — like fire and water — should steam and float about your brain like an ember or bubble.
Included: 80s synth classics (Martin Gore‘s remake of Sparks’ Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth and the Eurythmics‘ Jennifer, an ode to looking fabulous while drowning), a 50s R&B scorcher from Ruth Brown. For movement and joint support, several dance and house cuts culled from the discursive Morse code of our data-dotted Age of Anxiety. And a bonus track: A morose rap/narrative from Schoolboy Q that you can dance to too — the best cut from his new LP Habits and Contradictions.
Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said.
A clock has stopped striking in the house
across the road…
When did it start?…
I would like to step out of my heart
an go walking beneath the enormous sky.
I would like to pray.
And surely of all the stars that perished
one still exists.
I think that I know
which one it is–
which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,
stands like a white city…
–Rainer Maria Rilke
Photograph by Carl Wooley
Why does death catch us by surprise, and why love?
We still and always want waking.
We should amass half dressed in long lines like tribesmen and shake gourds at each other, to wake up: instead we watch television and miss the show.
— Annie Dillard
Installation by Eva and Franco Mattes (aka 0100101110101101.ORG)