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It is the first week of Summer with a Full Moon headed our way. Though the Sun is at it’s height, it is the sign of the Moon that welcomes Summer; Cancer, the mysterious realm of inner life.
Just as the Moon can expand and contract, so can inner life. Expanding to meet something of significance, and contracting when bored.
Full Moons have a way of jump-starting this feeling of expansion. They catch your eye on a normal night and make you say- ooh, look at that!
A Full Moon in the Season of the Moon always falls in the sign of Capricorn, which represents reality. If it is true what philosopher Gaston Bachelard said, that we are all born poets, then reality would find us better when our inner life is expanded, and things are taken less for granted. The poet always is saying- ohh look at that! Just as a child does.
More kids are around too as Summer has begun. They will help us remember this great gift of expansion.
Mercury in Gemini moves direct on Tuesday after being retrograde for about 3 weeks. Something heady likely has been untangled a bit and now it’s time to stride forward with a bit more knowledge.
Venus in her last week of Cancer, finding beauty in things that anchor you in a place of home. Trining Neptune, don’t forget to enlarge your reality of home to a comfortable cosmic coziness.
Mars in the early degrees of Leo and approaching an opposition to Saturn. There is a stirring up of sunshine, that is a stirring up of pure being that will help answer all of these serious existential questions that linger with Saturn in Aquarius. What stirs up your pure being? What puts you in touch with your own sunshine?
Squaring both of those planets is Uranus in Taurus, a slow and steady reawakening of something substantial. Something certain. Something to count on. Something to build on. What is this for you?
Jupiter in Pisces just went retrograde on Sunday the 20th. This week the planet of faith pivots and turns back in the early waters of dreams. It found something here, something to put faith in, and is now turning back to secure it. Even if you don’t know what this is it doesn’t matter. Pisces is vague, but strong with emotional power. Maybe it is a feeling that’s been found. Whatever it is, it’s special, and worthy of spirited protection.
The Moon will begin the week waxing gibbous in Scorpio, the sign of the profound. During moon season this is the ability of the shell to amplify it’s ambient sound, and heighten feelings to a richer intensity. Not your ordinary Monday!
Tuesday and Wednesday host a very big Sagittarius Moon, and this sign loves bigness. Go big or go home, but in the Season of the Moon the two need not cancel each other out! The galaxy within is of an adequate immensity.
Thursday is our glorious Full Strawberry Moon, as the Algonquins named it, to signify the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in the northeastern U.S. It also often appears reddish, as it shines through more atmosphere now than other times of the year.
As mentioned before, this Capricorn Full Moon represents the reality that comes forth with an expanded inner life. The Beatles sing about Strawberry fields where nothing is real, but there is something very real in this non reality. John Lennon’s childhood had some tragedy, most of all the death of his mother by a speeding car when he was only 17. Strawberry Field was a girls orphanage with a foreboding feel to it on the outside. But the young Lennon would climb the wall to find that on the inside it was full of wildflowers and secretive gardens. Through the poetic expanse of this reality came one of the best songs ever recorded. This is how an expanded inner life makes reality more real. If nothing else on this night, give that song a listen, maybe with a ripe box of strawberries!
The day after the Full Moon, Neptune will go retrograde for 5 months! Dreams and ideals will be retracing their proverbial swim tracks until the beginning of December, in search of targets that are realer than real.
An Aquarius Moon begins to wane gibbous throughout the weekend. Aquarius is the water bearer, in other words, one who is aware of having an inner life. Aquarius is evolution, a process that strives and grows through striving. Cast a wide net this weekend-see what significance your inner life wants to explore. Summer is here with quantum fireflies galore!
As always, happy astro pondering!
Astro art by Johnnie Day Durand
“Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.” ~C.S. Lewis
Gemini season skips along, happy with tricks and surprises. The twins know a thing or two about how to keep things fresh. It has to do with duality: merging two worlds: the world of light and the world of matter.
In the world of matter, you get dressed, go to work, feel hungry, have lunch and so on. In the world of light you have ideas, you laugh from a real place, you recognize the beauty of something, you remember some important reasons for why you do what you do, you connect to a higher world.
Like frogs, we must come up for air if we are in the water too long. But our air is actually light, and our water is the world of matter and time.
As Arthur M Young explains in his book the Reflexive Universe, light is outside of time. Clocks stop at the speed of light.
He says, light is pure action, like the smile without the cat.
Leo the lion walks with his heel not touching the ground. Cats have an instinct for higher worlds, even though they fall off of furniture in the funniest ways.
Mars, the planet of will, is newly in Leo. How can you use your will to be more like a cat, and find those higher worlds, even if it be just a patch of sunlight in an empty room.
Mercury moves backwards in Gemini this week- retracing some steps in search of time mixed with timelessness.
Venus advancing in Cancer, like a gentle dancer, favoring moonlight, where two worlds seem to combine, and create such longings for things divine.
Jupiter with a couple months of Pisces right now before it goes back into Aquarius for the rest of the year. Jupiter is a spirited growth, in Pisces, the classroom is an ocean of imagination. A world of light within. No time no space, just a place of unity and infinite possibility.
Saturn in Aquarius squaring Uranus in Taurus. A paradigm shift in the making. New truths begin quaking. Truths of existence and values of time. Things that leak in on the peripheries and lead to epiphanies. Better it be some blowing trees than a deadened sales pitch.
Neptune in Pisces a growing intuition into the nature of light.
Pluto in Capricorn the changes that make you better equipped.
The moon begins the week in Leo, the cat that favors sunshine- channel your inner feline to decipher that which is divine. The Cheshire grin is above you as this moon waxes crescent.
By 11 o’clock Eastern Time on Tuesday she will grow in Virgo, the sign of work. That cat knew that the sun supplies it, the Virgin knows best just how to apply it. She tends to routine but doesn’t let it obscure the richness that comes from two worlds in a stir. The Virgo Moon will wax through Wednesday and Thursday.
Friday and Saturday host a Libra Moon as she reaches the second quarter. On these final Gemini days a Libra mood breezes through trees that sway, filtering the sun into dazzling fairies, whatever you do at this time keep it airy.
A Scorpio moon heralds the first day of Summer, which occurs very late on Fathers Day Sunday, 11:30 pm Eastern Time. After we celebrate the Dads, and look back on the springtime we had, maybe before to sleep we drift, we can feel a certain Seasonal shift. With Scorpio sensors tuning in, Springtime ends and Summer begins. The Sun is now at its utmost height! Cheers to the timeless world of light!
As always, happy astro pondering!
Astro art by Johnnie Day Durand
Philosopher Bertrand Russell said “What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.”
Taurus is the sturdiest sign in the zodiac. It is life’s way of building upon something certain. As inventor, cosmologist Arthur M. Young says, “life can only start at the molecular level” because “molecules obey laws.”
A new Season begins on Monday, April 19th, with the Sun and Mercury moving into sturdy Taurus.
Have you ever asked yourself, in a good grand sweep of a way, what it is that you are building?
Young sees purpose to be synonymous with light and absolute freedom. The problem is, with absolute freedom it can’t fulfill any goals. It must then descend into matter where it loses its freedoms in various stages until, at the molecular level it has none. Having no freedoms it responds perfectly to natural laws, and therefore becomes something one can count on. It becomes certain and definite in a universe built on uncertainty (freedom). It becomes the means in which a goal can be carried out.
He talks about the particular point, when light’s involution becomes life’s evolution. This happens at the molecular level right before plants learn to grow. Rocks can’t grow. The plants have managed to recapture a freedom. Young calls this transition “the turn”, and says it is essentially a remembering of purpose.
Colin Wilson said, “We all instinctively turn towards meaning, towards situations that will stimulate us, as a flower turns to the sun.”
Just like these daydreaming sunflowers we must turn our heads towards the “sun” this Season, towards the stable nucleus of a sense of purpose. If we can’t do this, we will be building something anyway, but our blueprints are vulnerable to the secret ownerships of others whose opinions we deem way too valuable.
The Lyra meteor shower will also occur this week with its peak activity on the 22nd and 23rd. The shooting stars will have to compete with some bright moonlight, and will emanate from the constellation Lyra, which represents Orpheus’ lyre of Greek mythology. The most famous myth of Orpheus is his descent to the underworld to free his lover Eurydice. After charming Hades and Persephone with his music, they allowed them to leave together, back up to the world of the living on one condition: that he not look back until they were in the full daylight. Of course, moments before they reached the light he did look back, and she disappeared forever. Orpheus, in his doubt, lost everything he had worked so hard for.
Voltaire said “Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.” Heisenberg eradicated certainty from the measurable world. Yet, at some level, certainty is needed. Just as life builds on the law-abiding molecules, people build upon the certainties of meaning.
Do you know what you are building?
Happy building and happy astro pondering!
Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand
Have you ever wondered what it is that exists at the utmost root of things? It was not long ago that science responded to this question with the atom, whose name means indivisible one. But as we know now, atoms can be split and there is a whole weird quantum world beyond it. So what is it then, that is most fundamental to our existence?
In his book, The Reflexive Universe, inventor and cosmologist Arthur M. Young sees this answer to be clear: it is action, not matter that is most basic to the universe we live in. He also sees this universe to be purposeful in it’s evolution.
“Science builds its edifice on mass, length and time. The suspicion of purpose only occurs in action, which combines all three. Is it possible that there is something present in the whole that is not in the parts?”
Who, if anyone, does not long for a sense of wholeness? Wholeness beckons us from grocery aisles with green marketing logos and from the bulletin boards on the way out that features happy yoga people in a moment of bliss. But have you ever considered that wholeness is what lies in your decision to drive to the store in the first place?
As Young points out; you can’t make a decision one and a half times. Actions come in wholes.
It was Max Planck who first came up with the notion that action comes in wholes, or quanta. He discovered the constant, an elementary quantum of action, which lead Einstein to discovering that light exists in discrete quantity of energy, or photons.
Unlike the atom, this quantum of action can’t be split apart. It’s a notion of true undivided wholeness, you might even say, the true atom.
Young explains that light itself is pure action because “light is not seen; it is seeing.” A photon can not be seen twice. It’s detection is it’s annihilation.
“Light is pure action, unattached to any object, like the smile without the cat.”
-Arthur M. Young, The Reflexive Universe
Emerson said “A right action seems to fill the eye and be related to all of nature.”
The Aries New Moon (Sunday, April 11th) is an invitation to ponder a “new atom”. A new answer to what exists at the utmost root of all existence. A new point of view that sees wholeness as inherent in the nature of action, decision, and purposive activity.
This New Moon receives a square from powerful Pluto in lawful Capricorn, empowering us to, as Young advises, “ use law instead of being blocked by it”. For Young, deterministic laws of nature are what is necessary for us to have means to achieve a goal. Rather than a question of determinism versus free-will, he sees determinism as the agency of free-will. How could you plan to start your car if you couldn’t count on the keys starting the ignition?
With goals and the means to carry them out, actions can vibrate stronger with purpose!
A New Moon, a new atom, a new you! On the most fundamental level, you are free as a photon! You are light and laughter! Beyond even time itself, for as Young points out, “clocks stop at the speed of light.”
Happy actions, and happy astro pondering!
Astro art by Johnnie Day Durand
After practicing the art of negative capability, Mercury, the planet of perception moves forward in Aries on Saturday, April 3rd. Looking becomes forward looking. A type of looking that generates excitement. A perception that is fond of future and its yet-to-be contents. When Mercury moves into Aries it becomes clear how great it is to anticipate.
Numerous psychological studies performed in 2007 (professors, Leaf Van Boven and Laurence Ashworth) reported people feeling more intense feelings when contemplating future events than when reflecting on things that already happened. Prospective holidays far outranked the levels of excitement and happiness than the reflected-upon past holidays, even the most satisfying ones.
Anticipation underlies optimism and hope. It provides momentum, and works wonders even in its most simple practices.
To see through the eyes of the Ram is to see the future in lit-up pieces.
Plato saw vision as a a smooth and gentle outward-flowing fire that was emitted from the eye to fuse with ambient light and create a “body of vision.” Empedocles also believed this but added that the fire of the eye was lit by Venus herself.
While science agrees little with this theory of vision, psychologically there is something here. Venus, with her delights, “light” our visions of future events. There may in fact exist an outward-flow of fire when it comes to an important type of vision; the vision of looking forward, the fire of anticipation.
Aries’ forward-fire is more alive when contemplating the future because it is only in the future that we can experience hope. Jean Jacques-Rousseau said “anticipation and hope are natural born twins.” The strength of the Ram is the strength of the Will, again connecting fire to future, as in “I will..”
Fire mixed with future is what nurtures the Japanese concept of “Ikigai (pronounced icky guy), which is seen to be a key to longevity. Ikigai translates most literally into “a reason to get out of bed every morning.” It is a dynamic sense of well-being, one that hinges on a relationship to the immediate (and also faraway) future.
The Sun and Venus have been relearning many active principles, and Mercury is the latest to join the springtime party. The trickster looks forward to looking forward, and experiencing what Camus called “the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.”
How will you ignite some anticipation in your life?
Mercury will anticipate in Aries until April 19th when it will embrace itself in Taurus.
Happy anticipating and happy astro pondering!
Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand.
The first Spring Full Moon comes Sunday, March 28th , in the romantic sign of Libra. Opposed by the Sun with lady Venus, both in the seasonal sign of lively Aries, let’s wake up our senses and engage in a romantic pondering!
When Libra illuminates the night there is a growing awareness of the reality of relations. As it turns out, the reality of relations is the reality of ourselves. This is the interesting viewpoint of neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio.
In his book The Feeling of What Happens, he talks about the relational nature of consciousness itself. The two players of consciousness are the organism and the object. The organism relates to an object and the object changes the organism.
The organism is our body, our brain. The objects are sensory (out there in the world) or mental (thoughts, memories). What emerges from this relationship, is what he calls core-consciousness, and from that, the core-self.
“Because of the permanent availability of provoking objects, it is continuously generated, and thus appears continuous in time.”
He also speaks of two other forms of self: the proto self, which we are unconscious of, and the autobiographical self, which is constructed from memories and future anticipations. But the core self emerges as a “transient entity, ceaselessly re-created for each and every object with which the brain interacts.”
When the object changes the organism, the organism then brings the object into better focus. It is “set out” from other, less important objects.
“Attention is driven to focus an object and the result is saliency of the images of that object in mind.”
The objects hold half of the deck. Who knew! When it comes to a sense of self, we are as much other as we are not other. Things, people, scenery, thoughts, smells, memories all cause changes in us. And these changes are what construct our senses of self!
Watch a child delight at what he/she sees. It becomes obvious that there is no end to stimulus. As we get older, a lot of the stimulus is more under wraps, in streams of thought, and private feelings. But it is amazing to think that any object causes a change. Opening a window, tilting your head to see the blue sky for a moment, indulging in a nice memory or a plan for the future. Changes. Re-creation of self!
Though this is a Full Worm Moon, it speaks to the most human part of us. If we can know that objects change us, and that we constantly re-create ourselves from these changes, we can attempt to navigate a bit, and make the most out of this relationship. We can learn to listen to our changes and respect that they are trying to keep us on track, and towards a place of balance. We can seek out stimuli that treat us well, like a glorious Full Moon in Spring.
It’s the romantic story of the organism and the object. Aren’t they cute!
Happy changes and as always, Happy Astro Pondering!
Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand
In the previous post, the very verdant verity of an inner spring was examined via Erich Fromm’s two existential modes of “having” and “being”. It seems natural to stick with Fromm for this next transit on Sunday March 21st, as Venus, the Love Goddess goes into action-oriented Aries.
Fromm begins his very popular book, The Art of Loving (1956), with this question:
“Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort. Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one “falls into” if one is lucky?”
As the title suggests, he believes it is an art. A “faculty” rather than a “feeling”. A verb rather than a noun. He sees love as an “activity” rather than a “passivity”, centering primarily on giving rather than receiving.
For Fromm, we have it all wrong when we try to make ourselves more lovable to attract love. Thinking this way turns ourselves into self-made commodities, looking for the commodity in others that fit the bill. The problem becomes a passive problem of being loved, rather than an active affirmation of our capacity to love.
Fromm himself was an Aries, born right around the time of the vernal equinox. Spring is a clear display of life, and for Fromm, so is the art of loving. The name of his book is The Art of Loving, not The Art of Love. Love, like life, is not a noun, but a verb.
And what does the dedicated artist of love give to others, and to the world?
Fromm says, “he gives his life”. This, however, is not a sacrifice. He further explains,
“he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness—of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other’s sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him.”
Maybe this is why springtime birds sing so much. They are skilled and knowing artists practicing the liveliest art. The art of loving.
How can you turn love into a verb? Venus will delight in Aries until April 14th, when it will cozy up in Taurus.
Happy Astro Pondering!
Astro Art by Johhnie Day Durand
On Saturday, March 20th, at 5:37 am, the Sun will move into Aries, commencing the vernal equinox, the long-awaited first day of spring.
Buckminster Fuller said, “I seem to be a verb.”
There is some very verdant verity embedded in these words, and in this time of year, when life becomes obvious again. As the green takes back over the scene, we might ask ourselves, where does spring begin within?
Where is the verifiable and veracious place inside from which we renew ourselves?
From his last written book, To Have Or to Be? psychologist and philosopher, Erich Fromm described two primary modes in which people orient themselves to the world: the “having mode” and the “being mode”.
The “having mode” is based upon possessing and owning, whereas the “being mode” is more about “aliveness” and “authentic relatedness to the world”.
He writes that modern society has become overly materialistic, and prefers “having” to “being”. He sees this leading to a loss of one’s inner self. An out-of-touchness with one’s own inner activity.
Of the two modes he writes,
“Having refers to things and things are fixed and describable. Being refers to experience, and human experience is in principle not describable.”
He asserts that in every mode of life, people should ponder more on the “being nature” and not towards the “having nature”.
“The mode of being has as its prerequisites, independence, freedom, and the presence of critical reason. Its fundamental characteristic is that of being active, not in the sense of outward activity, of busyness, but of inner activity, the productive use of our human powers.”
Happiness, from the having mode lies in “superiority over others”. From the being mode, it lies in “loving, sharing, giving.” This is the very verdant peace and naturalness of green. The ease on our eyes and in our hearts. No games, just truth. Just aliveness, in relating to the aliveness in others and the world, and not in some deadened status-charade.
Is this why the Ram’s horns turn inwards? Inwards to a place of verdant inner activity? Towards a true and vernal orientation? The place where “I” is a verb? Life is you, you are life?
Novelist Charlotte Perkin Gilman said “life is a verb not a noun.”
Some scientists now believe that life may have begun on Mars, symbolically the primordial verb.
A very verdant verb indeed. Verifiable in the vernal internalness.
Happy first day of Spring and as always, happy astro pondering!
Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand.
Mercury moves into Pisces on Monday, March 15th, joining the effortless harmonics of the Sun, Venus and Neptune. Into the vibrant vibrato goes the trickster, to see what can be seen through the ultimate fish-eyed lenses.
Having moved through Aquarius since the start of the year, there has been healthy turbulence in the streams of thought. The turbulence has oxygenated the water, and created fresh negative ions. The atmosphere is like that after a rainstorm, perceptually speaking. How can you make the most out of these new lenses? This new soft vision of synthesis?
For starters, soft vision is not to be confused with blurriness. Soft vision is a receptive mental act. At its ultimate, it is what John Keats referred to as ‘negative capability’, a kind of negation of the personality so as to be as open as possible to all different points of view. Shakespeare was said to be an expert in negative capability as his characters diversified from each other with such rich complexities, yet Shakespeare the man remains quite a mystery.
To have negative capability is to be satisfied with ‘half-knowledge’ and not impatient to reach firm conclusions that would undermine the complexities of experience.
Keats said, “Let the mind be a thorough fare of thoughts” rather than a “select party of beliefs.”
Pisces vision is like a waterfall. Not only a stream of consciousness, but the real world of all streams. The real world of all accumulated thought, Chardin’s ‘noosphere’. The reality that if libraries were to contain all the written works of history, and then the human race was nearly wiped out, a new generation could use this knowledge instead of starting from scratch.
When Mercury is in Pisces, the real world of all streams is more apparent. There is a desire to synthesize, and to open your senses as wide as they can go. Through the lenses of the fish, peripheries are extended and centers are strengthened. Outside of the hard outlines of a fact and reason, the mind gets a holiday, and can begin to think about nothing, which can lead to everything, as Einstein and other geniuses have proved.
Mercury will be in Pisces until April 3rd when it will burst forth in willful Aries.
Happy soft eyes, happy open mind, and as always, happy astro pondering!
Astro art by Johnnie Day Durand