January 28th, 2018

We Are Earthlings: The Introduction to my New Book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology

ORDER YOUR COPY OF Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology..
 
“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.” — Alan Watts 

 
Astrology is a real experience. A lived sensation.

And yet.

Astrology spans so many centuries, so many cultures and so many schools or categories of knowledge, that often the student of astrology is confused by —and distanced from — this simple fact. And yet: astrology is a lived experience.

Sidereal astrology or tropical astrology? Perhaps spiritual astrology — or evolutionary. Or maybe archetypal, Jungian astrology. But maybe the Hellenistic school is truer. And what about Vedic astrology?

What these schools or different approaches represent are collections of rules and laws based on a particular nomenclature unique to each school but always involving the same underlying principle. Namely the manner in which human beings have anthropomorphized the planets in the solar system to mirror or echo the human psyche.

Although I practice what would be considered psychological-spiritual astrology — I recommend to students that they invest the time to explore the different schools, find one that’s a fit and then — once immersed — let it all go — so as to develop his or her’s own unique astrological experience.

In much the same way that, say, after mastering French you wouldn’t go to Paris and continue to spend all of your time referencing grammar, syntax, and spelling. You would simply talk to people and do things. This is how astrology works best.

You learn the language and then set is aside. There is always time to study and learn more — but it’s best to acquire astrology’s basic codex and then just jump in.

Astrology is a lived experience. In the same way that your relationship with your husband or sister is a lived experience. The rules and laws of astrology — what does the 5th house represent, what’s the central drive of Gemini, what does the square connote between two planets? — those impressions are sketches. Hints. Segues towards your lived experience. They are not ‘etched in stone’ absolutes anymore than the color red should only be used in one specific way in every painting that you will ever paint. Read more



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December 16th, 2017

Solstice 2017: One Wedding and a Funeral

Charles Dickens pulled off a literary first when he gave a detailed account of the aftereffects of spontaneous human combustion in his epic novel Bleak House. The recounting went like this: While sitting and dozing in his cluttered room, Mr. Krook — a grizzled, alcohol-steeped rag merchant — abruptly burst into flames, leaving just a rancid smell and a gruesome pile of skeletal ash in his wake.

Dickens, a writer of keen detail and authenticity was always taken at his word by the public. And so one of the most horrifying images from the 19th Century claimed a spot in the collective imagination.

Even today, tales of spontaneous combustion continue to flare up (sorry) in the tabloids. And if those are not genuine, still, the impression of a human being inadvertently bursting into flames is a striking symbol — both mythic and alchemic.

I recalled Dickens and Mr. Krook while contemplating an illustration to mark Saturn’s entry into Capricorn on December 19. The image is fitting while Saturn closes in behind Pluto’s smoldering trail; a path that appeared like a flash fire after the tiny dynamo entered Capricorn in 2008.

The two planets will conjoin in January of 2020. Take this as an alert from the solar system’s public warning system.

Actually, why wait until 2020 when the world is poised to shift — radically — in just a few days? WINTER IS COMING. And we’re all invited to what is the equivalent of a wedding between Shiva and Father Time. Or One Wedding and a Funeral.

Through A Lens Darkly

The solstice horoscope for 2017 is dreary — sobering. Just as the Sun seems to halt (sol = Sun — sistere = to make stand), the solar stillness is permeated with Saturn’s zero-degree presence in Capricorn, having just entered the sign the evening before.

The life-giving radiance of the Sun merged with Saturn’s leaden pall imparts a somber hue to the start of the New Year. Saturn’s ‘moment in the Sun’ is a preparatory exercise for a shoring up of resolve as we move towards 2020.

Ponder this: As the planet astrologers associate with the reality principle blends with Pluto — the solar system’s black hole generator — what kind of altered consciousness might this tease out from the depths?

True. The promise is both unnerving and exciting — sort of like the surge of energy one experiences right before purging whatever has been hoarded throughout a lifetime. And that’s always a good thing, after the fact. Yes?

We haven’t experienced Saturn making a conjunction with one of the outer planets — Uranus, Neptune and Pluto — in close to thirty years. The last time was in 1988 when Saturn touched off Uranus in Sagittarius and the Soviet Union collapsed. An event that seemed to materialize out of nowhere (a very Uranian theme).

But where Uranus accelerates and shatters, Pluto slowly dematerializes until a flash point is struck — sending everything over an event horizon.

Something to consider: Will Saturn’s upcoming meeting with Pluto burnoff the hallucinogenic fugue that’s defined the global culture since 2008? The solstice chart hints at the start of this process.

Lead Head

On the somatic level, Earthlings experience Saturn like this: “Here! Stop. Look at this event in slow motion. Study this until you’ve aged a bit.” In other words, time suspended allows us to look deeply, to become absorbed within the field that is the Capricorn matrix — that is to say — our collective experience of reality — the goatfish being the most pragmatic sign in the Zodiac.

Because modern Western culture lives primarily from what Gurdjieff called the ‘head center’ — a limited, intellectualized perspective that distances us from the world of feeling — both emotional and physical — the pressure to face facts, to engage in a heartfelt way with the world can seem brutal.

Saturn, with persistence (and constant wake-up calls), ultimately, paves the way for the crown of wisdom. This is doubly so while transiting Capricorn, a sign the planet melds easily with. But the ‘arriving’ of the wisdom can feel one step removed. Delay: One of Saturn’s most grinding tests.

But who wants to see that deeply and clearly? Wouldn’t it be easier to keep reading online op-eds or watching televised talking heads that ‘explain everything’ to us?

When you put the demand to awaken against the fuzzy stupor we’ve lived through since 2008, the perspectival switch is startling. Suddenly the peripheral is emphatically in front of us — and in a high-def way: Depleted bank accounts or life savings that have evaporated, health insurance uncertainties, ‘entitlements’ from the government on the chopping block, trickle-down economics that defy gravity and float back into the wealthiest’s wallets.

Both Capricorn and Saturn tangle us into the corporeal realm of finances — the reality of frugality and austerity; two words that seem anti-American. A bore. Read more



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May 27th, 2017

Why Astrologers Need to Study Wittgenstein

Paul Horwich, in a long NY Times essay wrote:

“The singular achievement of the controversial early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was to have discerned the true nature of Western philosophy — what is special about its problems, where they come from, how they should and should not be addressed, and what can and cannot be accomplished by grappling with them. The uniquely insightful answers provided to these meta-questions are what give his treatments of specific issues within the subject — concerning language, experience, knowledge, mathematics, art and religion among them — a power of illumination that cannot be found in the work of others.”

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 fury by disregarding traditional formulations of logic.)

And because of this sketchy dance, between chilly logic and the nimbus of mysticism, I find Wittgenstein to be the most satisfying of linguistic rebels. His mix of the effable with the ineffable mirrors in a direct way how human beings toil with making sense (or a muddle) of astrology. Read more



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March 15th, 2017

Outer Planet Transits & Nostalgia for Samsara

“The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.” —Camille Paglia

Dead men walking. Women marching. Alternative facts. Reality show presidents. Anti-Christ-Palooza. Terrorists and Tiaras. Bitcoin. Gold coins. NSA. GMOs. WTF.

Signs, symbols, and Zeitgeist stingers. Time traveling omens from Armageddon are the stock and trade of our modern day narrative. The stories and anxieties we lay down and fret about until the Ambien kicks in.

Doom tales monopolize our inner landscape because speeding up to the end means a new beginning is just around the corner. Or over the cliff. That’s one theory. The catch, of course, is the way we resist other narratives. It’s wise now to think beyond the parameters of being a garden-variety human being.

This is the nut of the ‘message’ from the ongoing transits of Neptune and Pluto through the closing section of the zodiac, while Uranus in short fuse Aries keeps broadcasting, “Come on! Speed it up. (Or blow it up). Hurry! Go faster (and furiously.)”

When food, money, energy and optimism are scarce we become attached to whatever sort of hoard (be it our meager amount in savings or the way Plutocrats hog all the wealth and investments in their seemingly exempt world) we’ve come to associate with as a means to see us through to the new phase. Or at the meanest level, it’s outsiders who are closing in on our turf — and must be turned away.

So we’re looping right now. Sort of like the routine animals demonstrate before being eaten by a predator. You’ve probably seen videos like this on those nature shows you watch on Youtube. The prey runs around and around in a hysterical circle before the killing bite is administered by the predator. Right?

This entire article is included in the new book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology. Order below!

For the past ten years, Frederick Woodruff’s AstroInquiry has become the ‘go-to’ spot for readers in search of illuminating commentary on astrology, popular culture, spirituality and the pitfalls of New Age charlatanism.

Woodruff’s 40-year career as a professional astrologer, artist, and pop-culture critic have honed a perspicacious writer who doesn‘t pull punches as he explores radical new views on astrology, the shortcomings of New Age magical thinking and the precarious minefield that dots our tech-obsessed cultural landscape.

Thankfully, he’s funny and also keen on suggesting creative ways forward for everyone.

And now there’s an e-book that collects Woodruff’s most popular and provocative articles into one comprehensive and engaging book. You won’t want to miss any of them!

This volume includes:

• The Truth About Mercury Retrograde
• Planetary Ennui: The Nostalgia for Samsara and the Outer Planets
• How To Make Facebook Your Slave and Preserve Your Creative Drive
• The Power, Beauty, and Wonder of the Horoscope’s 12th House
• Imbeciles at the Gate: How The Internet Destroys Astrology
• How To Escape From the Torture of Self-Help Hell
• Depression and the Solar Consciousness
• Secrets of the Heart: Love is an Action Not A Feeling
• Create Your Own Archetype & Call It You: An Escape from Evolutionary Astrology
• Redefining the Oxymoron of Sex and Marriage
• Death is the New Black
• How To Write About Astrology (Especially How Not To)
• Astrology, Ants, Hives, Essence, and Types: A Gurdjieffian View
• Final Notes About the Life-and-Culture-Changing Uranus-Pluto Square

Order your copy now!

 

 

 



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November 13th, 2016

American Dada: Some Suggestions to Consider

trump_tower

Who could possibly want to read another take-apart or close reading of the 2016 presidential election? Not me. And yet…

Rather than opinionate I’ve tried to cull some out-of-the-loop views to consider, punctuated with some random insights. So I’ll just toss these out there like bird seed. Peck at what you like and leave the rest. And if you skip the whole thing, well, who could blame you?

The nature of reality is that it will not be cornered or tracked or predicted; in the same way that a dream you have at night — free from your ego’s edits and preferences — is a wild card narrative unfurling beneath your closed eyes. Reality and dream — only our waking state appears to separate them.

The Internet has taken the entire contents of the collective unconsciousness and the savage qualities of the id, and placed the amalgam at our beck and call, on phones and monitors across the globe. This is a form of dream overload.

Anytime you have a screen of any sort (be it your iPhone’s or your desktop computer’s) you’ll have a projected dream moving across it, right there in front of your face. And we have been trained for this response; first by cinema and then by television — though now we are participants, content creators, Tweeters, bloviators, in the dream narrative that shimmies and glows everywhere on our devices.

We are tethered to them in a symbiotic loop cycle, always tapping and poking the images and the data forward. Everywhere I go now it’s people shuffling about with their heads tilted down and scanning, scanning, scanning their phones for the latest tidbit or section from the collective dream field.

The dream bubble most liberals and Democrats floated within depicted a new world, with the first female president and all that was wonderful with a Clintonian dynasty redux. And the dream bubble of the GOP and its advocates was, of course, completely polarized from the other. The dynamism of life is continually oscillating and pulling the rug out from us — it just burns more when we’re the particular group experiencing the yanking. The collective dream field of the two factions never allowed for intersection or integration — the victor of this malfunction was Trump. And so here we are.

• A good way to actually integrate your experience of the past week is to view the entire event as a happening within a dream narrative. Imagine you went to bed and had this particular dream. What does it tell you about yourself? I don’t mean this to be a navel-gazing experiment, but an actual process of gaining insight to shadow parts of the psyche. Why? Because most of that regressed material is usually projected out onto what is perceived as the enemy or the tyrant or the monster or ogre — and, wow, with The Donald, we seem to be getting the entire package of horrors. Or are we?

What if our projections actually feed into the monstrous narrative that we’re terrified of? What if like Dave Chappelle offered in his opening monolouge on SNL, we gave Trump a chance, wished him luck and waited a bit to see if he can do a good job? How hubristic is it to assume we know exactly what’s to come (and many of us are acting that way)? It’s sort of embarassing, especially after what you’d think would be the humbling aftereffects of the election.

What if you settled into the notion that Trump is a human being like you are, with a heart, and longings, and wishes — a complex psychological history that feeds into his fear of being a failure and doing a bad job? Can’t we all relate to these qualities? What would happen I wonder if we each held this upcoming period in abeyance, supported by good wishes? I’ve been playing with this notion when I wake up in the morning and feel as tho someone has stomped on my head. It’s an interesting experiment in thought projection. Play around with it.

• “Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Here’s a ‘real’ world issue: The endless glut of news and opinion that’s vomited out of computer monitors worldwide has eroded our ability to think for ourselves.

To attempt to manage and metabolize the spew of data, updates, breaking stories, scandals, Wiki dumps, investigative exposes isn’t humanly possible. In fact, it’s fucking crazy-making.

Worse is the inability to know what is factual and what is fiction. This later predicament has grown exponentially throughout the year. And social media is the main culprit.

Forty-four percent of Americans get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center, filling a void left by the declining ranks of newspapers. By comparison, only 2 in 10 U.S. adults get news from print newspapers today. Facebook vets nothing and Mark Zuckerberg is groaningly disingenuous when he said: “Voters make decisions based on their lived experience.” Right, Mark. And many people are actually living their online life locked completely within Facebook’s echo chamber and gated community.

• Something I’ve suggested to a lot of friends and folks writing to me since Election Day: Round up a copy of the Masterpiece Theater miniseries I Claudius. (Or search for the production on Youtube, I think the entire series is posted up there.)

Situations like the ascendancy of Donald Trump have occurred since the dawn of time, in various permutations — though the 1976 mini-series based on Robert Graves‘s book, gives you a decidedly Western version of the wild ruptures within politics: The backroom games, shadow government, the Mafia-like forces that corrupt and poison, the descent of greatness and ascent of madness.

Much of this has to do with what Nietzsche wrote: “Insanity in individuals is something rare — but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” The point being, grasping the concept that when it comes to mobs of people very little ever changes. Individuals have opportunities to evolve, but socio-cultural evolution is glacial at best. I Claudius demonstrates that ‘interesting times’ are always happening. Yes, some phases are more devastating than others, but always this predicament haunts human beings attempting to govern themselves. We are incredibly slow learners. We need to face that. Read more



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