It was an honor to have my new book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology reveiwed by Mary Plumb, The Mountain Astrologer‘s resident book maven. Please consider ordering a subscription to TMA this Christmas season — for yourself or as a gift for someone special. Here is Mary’s review:
“I have been a fan of Frederick Woodruff since I found his Astroinquiry website. This eBook, subtitled The Best of Astroinquiry.com, Vol. 1, is a collection of some of his most popular essays from the past ten years.
Woodruff is a longtime astrologer — practicing “what would be considered psychological-spiritual astrology” — and although he identifies himself as a “skeptical mystic,” my best attempt at defining his style is that he writes as a post-intellectual, post-conceptual, back-to-the-precious-human-body, direct-personal-experience kind of guy.
Effectively communicating with clients, he says “doesn’t need a lot of highfalutin intellectualizing or contemplation or meditation. All you need do is sense yourself, your am-ness, your first-personal giveness and there you are.” His integration of the teachings that he has studied — e.g., Gurdjieff, Chogyam Trungpa, Carl Jung — informs his work and a subtext to self-inquiry or self-awareness (and humor) runs quite naturally throughout these essays.
The essays herein include “Create Your Own Archetype and Call it You,” “Pluto in Capricorn: Death is the New Black,” “Make Facebook Your Slave — Some Tips,” “Depression and Solar Consciousness,” and “Outer Planets and the Nostalgia for Samsara.”
Woodruff’s advice to aspiring astrological writers is spot-on and funny as can be: “Please consider how you employ the words ‘transformation,’ ‘changes,’ ‘challenging’ and ‘archetype’ in your prose. Changes and challenging transformations have been going down on the planet since the first cavewoman read Clan of the Cave Bear, so saying that a transit is going to bring ‘big changes’ or ‘challenge’ me is like telling me that I will finish half a bottle of wine with dinner tonight. This is not news.”
He includes select words of poets, teachers, and mystics. About one such entry, he writes: “Rumi composed a small eruption of a poem…” Frederick Woodruff does something similar with many moments in his writing, as he takes readers through passages and thoughts that provoke and inform.”
— Mary Plumb
The Hunger Games captured our imagination because everyone watching the film was thinking, somewhere in the cellar of his unconscious: “Jesus, that could be me.”
Such is the economic climate of the times. Especially for creative souls — which is to say all of us, because we all create something in order to survive.
Unlike Katniss, artists have been slowly inculcated — over the past twenty years — to fight for eyeballs, the Internet culture’s new currency: ‘Likes’, ‘followers’, clicks.
What would have passed as a simple ‘help wanted’ query ten years ago — listing a job description and how much you’d be paid — is now a promise that if you work for free perhaps a lot of people will see what you are doing and ‘like’ your Facebook page.
Up-and-coming actress Paris Berelc could only compete for a recent audtion after she confirmed to the producers that she had over 1-million followers on Instagram.
And no one’s exempt, not even acrobats. Force of nature Rovela answered a call for talent from Oprah and balked when she was told she’d be paid with ‘exposure.’ “Fuck that,” she declared (sorta), on her blog, to much fanfare and clicking on the Internet. Read more
Since Trump’s election, the majority of my clients feel agitated, hopeless or haunted by a fuzzy, low-grade anxiety. To say that’s understandable is a whopping understatement.
My initial response: “Turn off, tune out and drop in.” This is a distorted variation of Timothy Leary‘s defining counterculture-era phrase from the 60s: “Turn on, tune in, drop out”
And here’s what I mean:
I no longer hound dog the news, not because I’m in denial, but the ongoing clusterfuck is too incestuous, too convoluted to unravel amidst the coming-at-you-every-five-minutes barrage of infoglut. It would take every iota of my psychic force to gain a sliver of objective truth — and I’ve other shit I want to do.
But this obsessive entanglement is what ensnares most folks: Once online their nervous system is tweaked, twanged and poked — like a cyber-driven form of Chinese water torture. And there’s a method to the madness.
Big media is complicit with Trump in myriad tacit ways. Trump is the grift that keeps on giving. As some internet advertising maven said once: “Anger makes people click.” Within our carnival culture, clicking means money.
Trump is one of the angriest human beings on earth (natal Mars in Leo is conjunct a Leo ascendant — translated: righteous anger stoked by entitlement and a hybrid form of narcissism that has yet to be properly diagnosed).
And Americans are some of the angriest people on the planet. They are also — in the era of the homogenous online ‘hive mind’ — desperate for acknowledgment, for some sense of being a unique individual — so it’s a great match. People get the president they deserve or at the very least the president that mirrors their shadow.
My favorite form of self-torture is to trawl the comments section of any article I come across online. This is akin to flipping the lid up on the American Id.
Should the comments sections be uncensored, like, on Youtube, then — OMG — turn back! Or brace to be soaked in our culture’s kookoo watering hole. The Internet has unleashed a Pandora’s pox of rage and spread it virally into everyone’s home (and head). Historically this is unprecedented. But take heart. Amidst the horrors there are opportunities. Attached to ‘full exposure’ is the potential for full illumination.
I do occasionally check in with three websites. Democracy Now, The Intercept (though I wish Glenn Greenwald had a mean editor) and a new site I’m loving, The Outline (kind of like a non-puerile Gawker with political undertones and smart sardonic reporting). Those three sites give me enough info to have a cursory idea of the State of the Nation.
And then I get on with living.
The Shadow Knows
The mechanism of psychological projection works like this: The unconscious conjures an image related to some unsavory quality within the self and projects that image onto someone (or some condition, political party or ethnic group.) An adversarial relationship is established. The only way free from this position is through recollection. Reabsorption of the projection.
Projections are weird because usually — intermixed with the projection — is a lot of energy, passion and force. So when that’s blasted out and lands on someone or something outside, a huge chunk of one’s vitality is lost too.
Self-inquiry facilitates dissolving — the realization that the projection is coming from inside one’s own home.
After that insight, you can go to work on recollecting. Owning the projection to regain access to the psychic force that went missing. This is what maturation is all about. But with a Trickster like Trump at the helm, it’s doubly difficult to pause, evaluate and reclaim. But this is a necessary discipline should you wish to drop in on what you’re interested in creating in life.
Which is really the point of this post. If you feel you want to do something more than react, rant and re-post articles from the New York Times about Trump’s latest outrage, well, start recollecting. That method allows you to turn off and tune out. You’ve made a clean break. Now you can DROP IN.
When a projection is owned, the rearrangement within the psyche creates a blank spot or hole within the fabric of one’s familiar sense of self. This hole can act as a sort of portal into whatever you’re wishing to align with or do or create in your life.
The quirky thing about projections: Not only does the projection rob you of vital force it acts as a distraction — a way to avoid engaging with life because, well, “I’ve got so many fucking things I want to complain about!”
When the complaining stops what do you do?
Drop into the hole and see where the portal leads you. If you need assistance book a session with me and we’ll work it through.
You don’t need to have all the specifics about what it is you’ll be involved with (or maybe you do — maybe you want to take to the streets and protest, run for political office or just clean out your garage — it doesn’t matter.) What matters is that you’ve regained the drive for doing whatever. You’ve dropped into your life and out of the swirling, distracting miasma of Trumplandia.
It’s mid-year. How in the hell did that happen? (Time — the revelator).
As I noted last year I haven’t had the time to compile music for a proper mix on Mixcloud. I miss doing that as the process is actually meditative but — well, here’s a bunch of tunes on Spotify. I’ve been spinning this collection since the dawn of 2017. There are some rhyme and reasons to the order and flow — though a lot of serendipity too.
Paul Horwich, in a long NY Times essay wrote:
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