Special Things; Blessed Be a Blue Moon

Metaphorcast for 8/16-22

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Many of us likely remember last year’s Halloween Full Moon.  It was a Blue Moon, the second of the month, and Mars was right nearby blazing its red fire.  

Maybe you remember where you were, and even who you were when your eyes met these wondrous sky events.  Were you a werewolf taking a breather on a back porch?  A unicorn handing out chocolates from your doorstep?  Reaching back into this memory it becomes clear how this unique event (a special moon on a special night) became a part of you.

It is the last week of Leo Season and there is another Blue Moon headed our way, on Sunday August 22, the same day that the Season will shift into Virgo.  This Blue Moon is of a different kind than last year’s; it is a Seasonal Blue Moon, the third full moon in a Season of 4 full moons.  A Season (from equinox to solstice) usually has 3 full moons.  But just like clovers, sometimes there is a 4th, making it special, unusual, set apart from the norm.

Think back again, do you have any memories of finding a four leaf clover?  Or seeing a shooting star?  A ball of lightning?  A double rainbow?  You likely, once again remember where you were, and also, in a sense, who you were.  Maybe not as clear cut a memory as a werewolf taking a breather on a back porch, but something is most likely still preserved of your surroundings and your inner life at that moment.  

This is how humans are all natural artists.  Special things and events that are set apart from the norm, somehow trigger us to become a part of them.  

A special day is set apart from the calendar year, so we can choose to be a part of it by cooking a big feast and hanging mistletoes.

In stories a special thing is searched for, be it a grail, a blue flower or a ring with magic powers.  That special thing, set apart from the norm, becomes a part of the hero the minute he embarks on the quest. 

At the beginning of this week Venus will go into Libra, the artist, the one who seeks to be a part of those special things that are set apart from the norm.

Picasso was born when Venus was travelling through Libra.  He famously said “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Children have no trouble spotting those special things set apart from the norm.  Most things are special in fact, and the norm is but a vague abstraction.  For children, most things are special enough to want to be a part of, most things are interesting enough to join in on the fun; a stick, a pile of leaves, a bouncing ball, a sign post.  

As adults it becomes harder to get enthusiastic about these things and for good reason.  Our sense of significance, just like our bodies, has grown.  It reaches and reaches and continues to reach.  A satisfying feeling of meaning now needs more space- more width- a wider field to establish more and more relations.  We only encounter problems when we forget to reach.

Lucky for us both seasonal and calendar blue moons find us every 2 or 3 years, not to mention holidays, regular full moons, birthdays and rainbows.  Blessed be these special things, set apart from the norm, triggering the artist that lives deep inside all of human nature, to join in on the fun and be a part of it.

As always, happy astro pondering!   

https://www.happyastropondering.com/

The Shortest Question in the World and the Gift of Apollo

Metaphorcast for 7/26-8/1

Listen to this episode here

Any parent with a child over three is very familiar with the world’s shortest question: “why?”

As Mercury moves into Leo this week, we shall ponder the mind of the child.  Why?  Because they see things from a very special place.  

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born when Mercury was in Leo.  His classic, The Little Prince deals largely with the nature of grown-ups, and their inability to perceive “important things”.  The narration comes from a pilot whose aircraft has crashed in the Sahara.  He meets a little boy with  “golden curls’”’ and a “loveable laugh” who asks questions again and again until they are answered.  Saint-Exupery draws much from his experience.  An aircraft pilot himself, he also crashed in the Sahara and nearly died of dehydration.  As a young boy he was nicknamed “The Sun King” because of his golden curls.  When in the Sahara he saw a desert sand fox who likely inspired the character who delivers the key moral message to the story: “Important things can only be seen with the heart, not the eyes.”

Perspective of distance makes the eye the center of one’s world.   Seeing with the heart seems to imply a different kind of perspective;  one that puts the heart, not the eye, at the center.  A perspective where the truly essential stands out; a world of essences.

Perhaps even more importantly, seeing with the heart implies a spirited energy to attempt to better know one’s world, and one’s place in it; an attempt to connect experience with what you see.

This is something that children seem born to do.

In a fabulous 4 part series from 1972, art critic John Berger sits around with some children, all around the age of 10.  He shows them a painting by Caravaggio which depicts an androgenous figure that looks a bit like Jesus in the center.  In the group, nearly all the boys thought this figure was a man and nearly all the girls thought the figure to be a woman.  He says this is because children look at images and connect them “directly with their own experiences.”

The perception of adults, in contrast, is “less spontaneous than we tend to believe” as a “large part of it depends on habit and convention.”

In Plato’s Symposium, it was habit and convention that caused people to call the young Apollodorus “crazed”, because he devoted himself so wholeheartedly to Socrates and to philosophy.  The enthusiastic youth went about saying he was “happy beyond all measure” as long as he could talk or listen to philosophy.  When Socrates drank the hemlock, Apollodorus was the only one present who burst into tears, a detail which suggested this character might represent Plato himself.  

Habit and convention has made a mess of these adults who see Apollodorus as foolish. They are blind to the most basic vision; that of the heart. 

The name Apollodorus may serve as another clue to heart-vision.  Above the Greek God Apollo’s Temple of Delphi read the words “Know Thyself”, and “dorus” is Greek for “gift”.   The name Apollodorus may point to a spirited gift of asking “why” in order to gain more and more perspective and truly know oneself and the surrounding world.

The child’s “why” reveals a world beyond the trees, beyond the country, beyond the sea, beyond the sky.  With each “why” a wider perspective is gained.  At the same time, a  deeper and more intimate understanding of one’s place in the world comes as the heart gets more and more centered.  And because the world stretches beyond our planet and in many ways, beyond the realm answerable by science, not to mention the infinite inner realities of feelings and dreams, the shortest question in the world will never be answered in full.

Finally, as these stories tell us, heart vision is what the artist uses to turn experience into poetry.  

Each story, painting, song, discovery and poem added to the world waits for the right hungry heart to use it and gain perspective.  

As Carl Sagan said, “The cosmos is within us.  We are made of star-stuff.  We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

The next time you hear a child ask why, think of the gift of Apollo, and see if you can feel the distant stars within searching for an answer. 

As always, happy astro pondering!

https://www.happyastropondering.com/