It is said that all rivers flow to the sea, but what about those rivers of thought that run through each person’s mind. Do they also flow to the sea? Some place that one would rather be? A world that is ideal, a place of dreams?
When was the last time you said the words “there is no place I’d rather be?”. What beautiful illusion surrounded you then?
This week Neptune, the planet of dreams and illusion will not only be the closest to earth this year, the Blue Giant will also be fully illuminated by the Sun. Though it will be but a small blue dot in all but the most powerful of telescopes the fact remains, bright and beautiful illusions are within reach.
Now don’t go thinking I’m talking of flat trickery. The Mona Lisa is an illusion, its fake would be a delusion. Illusions are the arts, the beauty in life that points towards the divine, the places where creativity is breathed back into existence. Cast aside those delusions, those fakes, those things that cheapen the reality of true illusion.
True illusion expands hope and creates a kind of inner buoyancy. True illusion finds you on a sunny day in a garden as a kind of veil seems to be lifted to reveal a new layer of crisp beauty. Delusion on the other hand throws up more veils and narrows the view. Somewhere beyond the sea, the real me spots a liar.
Mark Twain said “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”
Einstein himself called reality a very persistent illusion.
The question becomes, which illusions are worth your time? Which illusions do you bond to as tightly as sodium might bond to chlorine? Which places or ideas in your mind stir an electricity that sparks action at the most intimate and quantum level? There is nothing delusionary about a sequence so sacred as this.
Mars, the planet of action, moves into artistic Libra on Tuesday, the same day that the fully illuminated Neptune will reach its closest proximity to earth. Art in action at the height of illusion! Bob Dylan said that “art is a never-ending dance of illusions”. The stage is set for an epic performance!
It is art, with its never-ending dance of illusions which ultimately gives order to the chaos of existence, just as science does to the natural world.
Never delude yourself into ignoring your most worthy illusions.
There is a romantic rendezvous in the sky this week as Mars joins Venus on Tuesday, July 13th. The star crossed lovers will embrace in the sign of Leo, the Sun, stirring up a passion for something so universal yet so often overlooked.
The Egyptians worshipped Ra, the Sun God who was the source of life, power, energy, warmth and light. For the Greeks it was Helios, who dutifully drove his chariot through the sky to create each day anew. The Aboriginals worshipped Yhi, the Goddess of light and creation who lived in dreamtime before she opened her eyes, causing light to fall upon the earth. The Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains would perform sun dances to renew the bond that man has with life, earth and the growing season.
And here we find ourselves now, in this summer week of 2021. How often do we consider the bond we hold with life, the earth and the growing season? How often do we marvel at the wholeness of a day? The new light that lifts us up again and again from our dreams? What is this bond we hold with the Sun; with light, warmth and growth?
The great ideas that have shaped our history have come about with special and intimate bonds of light that flash across a person’s mind. Even just the pretty good ideas that you may have had yesterday came from a special bond with light.
A bond with warmth may come when our nervous systems register a delightful shift that melts away stress, as we share a hearty laugh with someone.
Laughter is especially special. Philosopher Henri Bergson saw laughter to be an evolutionary strategy, a corrective force to keep us from falling into a trap of rigidity. He said that in general, we laugh at ‘something mechanical encrusted upon the living.’ The classic example of someone falling down goes from what is living, flowing and moving with a certain ‘elasticity’ as he likes to call it, to a bumbling mishap likely due to a lack of awareness. Maybe someone is on their phone and walks straight into a sign post. Something mechanical encrusted upon the living. The natural response of laughter keeps us rejecting rigidity, and distancing ourselves from robotic behavior.
Laughter shakes us back into being truly human, which in truth, is part superhuman.
A similar thing happens with wonder. Philosopher Josef Pieper said “Wonder acts upon a man like a shock, he is “moved” and “shaken”. In these times all that is taken for granted loses its obviousness as a sense of mystery deepens within. Reality is rendered beyond understanding because “its light is ever-flowing, unfathomable, and inexhaustible.”
Artists who paint bond with light as it interplays with matter. Musicians and songwriters bond with light as it makes itself known from within. As Kurt Cobain said, “In the Sun, I feel as one.”
The gold of the sun is a standard of true wealth; a suppleness of spirit that triumphs again and again over the most trying of challenges. As Henry David Thoreau discovered, “I was rich, if not in money, in sunny hours and summer days.”
Rimbaud called the sun “the hearth of affection and life [that pours] burning love on the delighted earth.”
It was only a couple hundred years ago that people began to accept the idea that planets revolved around the sun. But what if, as we continue to laugh and wonder and grow as a species, a second sun emerges? A second place of unmistakable power, warmth and light. A unity that only comes from a heightened intensity of individual sparks? What if the good fight of laughter and wonder to keep humans as elastic as possible comes under deeper challenges as the world of automation, with its tricks that play on the subconscious, begin to normalise over-mechanized behavior?
This week, the passionate lovers of Mars and Venus hail no! Long live the sun. Long live the quaking of the light!
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.”
After a 2 month journey dedicated to finding better stability, the red planet now embarks into the quizzical domain of Gemini. Nothing is straight forward when it comes to the Twins. They represent objective thought, yet they are tricksters. They are two, yet they lie. They are perception, as well as perceptions’ tricks.
Giggling all the way, the Twins welcome Mars on Wednesday, 3/3. Wednesday and 3 both belong to the trickster, with Gemini being the 3rd sign and Wednesday attributed to Mercury (Gemini’s ruling planet). The willful hero is about to go through the looking glass in search of the Twin’s treasures.
Gemini looks at the world objectively. In philosophy, objectivity is the concept of truth independent from individual subjectivity. For example, the tree that you climbed on in childhood is just a tree and not the loving supporting wooden arms that supported you in your triumph of independence.
And here is where the Twins start to giggle. They know that it isn’t truly possible to separate the tree in such a way from the onlooker whose experience has helped constitute for them that special tree.
Just like identical twins, Gemini was once one, not two.
Writer, philosopher Owen Barfield discovered that by studying words (Gemini delight!) one can see how consciousness is evolving. He says that all words have deeper meanings that fade over time, and that their deeper meanings reflect a time when life was very differently experienced.
As Barfield sees it, early humans existed in what he calls “original participation”, living “inside the world’s unity.” At some point, however we became free from the world’s unity. Free to think, and perceive things for ourselves, from our own centers of subjectivity.
We became free, but now we don’t see the full reality.
In original participation, thinking and perceiving were one. The games of the Twins had not yet begun.
Barfield sees subjectivity as not just something that comes out of nothing, but rather a form of consciousness that has contracted from reality’s peripheries into individual centers. The inner meanings of things is the inward truth of nature, and of ourselves.
By ignoring inner meanings, and being content with only the outer meanings, Barfield warns that we have produced a “world of outsides with no insides to them”.
Mars commits to moving forward into Gemini’s gifts. What is Gemini’s purpose? If we have split from the world’s unity in the name of freedom, what are we becoming free for?
Barfield sees this question answered by means of a new phase of consciousness. He refers to this phase as final participation, and sees it to be based around our creative use of the imagination, to actively restore for ourselves the world’s unity. With imagination’s ability to enlarge a meaning, by the power of its full expression, we can begin to taste that original sense of wholeness, while also maintaining our full subjective freedoms.
“Mere perception — perception without imagination — is the sword thrust between spirit and matter.”
Owen Barfield, The Rediscovery of Meaning and Other Essays
No better time to embrace such a concept as now, is the midst of Pisces Season.
Rev up those engines of curiosity! Mars will be in Gemini until April 23rd, giving you plenty of time to tackle the twin’s illusions and transcend their tricks, enlivening what you see to a fuller reality deemed true by the inwardness of nature, and yourself!
The first Full Moon of the year will be here on Thursday the 28th. The January Full Moon is known as the Wolf Moon, as it was traditionally believed that wolves howled more at this time because of winter hunger. The Wolf Moon will paradoxically be in the sign of Leo, making it a breed of dog and cat. An archetypal mix of belonging and spontaneity.
Many good dogs eagerly anticipate the arrival of their person after a long day of work- and the sight of a sparkly ball sends the average cat into a multiverse of possible spontaneous reactions. What does this Moon speak of in combining these two themes?
Could it be that we, as humans, are curious creatures whose belonging becomes more clear in moments of spontaneity?
Is this why we laugh with those we feel most at home with? Is this evolution itself making sure that we stay supple and moveable, like a good flame?
Opposite this Moon will be a trinity of Aquarius, with Sun Jupiter and Saturn. The sign of freedom, lit up and made expansive by Jupiter, yet with it’s own laws of Saturn. The age-old debate on Free Will. Is it ours or is it not?
Squaring all of this is Mars in Taurus near the Great Awakener, Uranus. Taurus is wonderful magic of homeostasis, always at work in our physiology.
And maybe herein lies a clue. We are free, but our body knows things that are good for us, and ‘good for us’ speaks on so many different levels (emotionally, physically, morally, for example).
William James said, “the question of free will is insoluble on strictly psychological grounds”. Is he referring to the mysterious balancing act of our physiology, as well as hinting at some greater mystery?
Is to be truly free to surrender to your true being?
Scorpio, Taurus’ opposite, knows that to some extent, the Will must surrender itself to the mystery of inner balance.
Free Will is embedded in the word spontaneity comes from the latin root sponte, “of one’s own will.” The spontaneous delights of children are likely the best reminder of how good it is to grab a joy where it can be found. “Kiss it as it flies” as William Blake would say.
Maybe this Full Moon can inspire us to do this. And in a moment of free-willed joy feel a solid place of belonging.
Bound to be unbound, and unbound you are bound to come back around, to where you are bound?
Anyway, a howl-roar to the first Full Moon of 2021!
In the light of recent events, this title’s concept will likely be quickly felt. Felt in the right spot too. That is the mysterious space of the internal mileu, where good and bad are physiologically known.
It is through the avoiding of what’s bad, and the seeking and assimilating of what’s good that keeps us in a state of homeostasis. Just imagine what would happen if we always ignored that good drink of water when we were thirsty, or took no precaution to step out of the way of that bad oncoming city bus.
These value judgments are constantly at play, in every moment. They make themselves known to us through feelings.
Feelings are, according to neuroscientist and author, Antonio Damasio, “mental experiences of body states”. He talks about certain feelings as “basic homeostatic feelings”, in that they help to regulate the stability of our internal milieu. Homeostasis, as he talks about it, is a two-sided process. One side is the automatic unconscious physiological side, where the heart goes on beating, etc. but the other side is conscious. It is conscious by means of these basic feelings. These feeling can include hunger, thirst, malaise, wellbeing, pleasure and certain types of pain. These are feeling that can become known to us.
He makes a point not to confuse feelings with emotion. Feelings are the mental experience, the awareness of what you feel. Emotions are, as implied by it’s name, all about motion. There is a stirring in the body, you can see the anger on someone’s face, or the joy in a smile. Feelings may also cause stirrings within the body, but they are, by nature, more reflective. And they serve to keep us on track with “managing life”, or in other words homeostasis.
An interesting point that Damasio makes about homeostasis is that it is not only meant for survival, but also for flourishing.
He says , “life is regulated within a range that is not just compatible with survival but also conducive to flourishing, to a projection of life into the future of an organism or a species”.
Taurus is this fascinating mystery of homeostasis. The management of life that happens from within an internal mileu in a relationship of constant response and action to it’s world in which it lives.
This past week, television all over the US displayed shocking video of violent disregard for our own nation’s right to stability. Stability not just understood as surviving but a chance to flourish as well. Such flourishing can only occur by listening to the promptings of our moral understandings. Understandings, as Damasio suggests,. are deeply embedded in our very physiology. In our internal mileu. Where we respond to our world, in each and every magic moment.
Mars went into Taurus on January 6th, after 7 long months in Aries. It will move into Gemini on March 3rd.
To associate Mars with hotheadedness, anger, combat, etc. is really to sell short the psychic usefulness of the red planet.
At it’s most crucial level, Mars is the Will. Everyone possesses this, and some are far more in touch with it than others. It’s only when one’s Will is being thwarted or ignored that hotheadedness, anger and all of these pressure-cooker emotions bubble up. Let’s try to go to the root of things rather than obsessing over symptoms, shall we?
What is the Will?
Schopenhauer saw the Will as an omnipresent force, not particular to the individual, but controlling us all, and so he was quite the pessimist.
The only thing that could kind of help us in this sorry world, was in experiencing something beautiful like art. In the midst of a great painting or an exquisite piece of music, the Will was transformed into ‘representation of the Will’ – the better the art, the better the representation- and in that moment, the person ceases to even exist!
Another famous thinker who gave considerable amount of attention to the Will (and was incredibly influenced by Schopenhauer) was Frederich Nietzsche. But Nietzsche ended up being a total optimist about it!
But where Schopenhauer used the Will as an ultimate negation of life, Nietzsche used it as an ultimate affirming of life. He proclaimed himself a yea-sayer- and likened this Will to seeing life as positive as similar to that of the ecstasy-loving Dionysus.
So let’s just be happy to be clear on the notion that Mars as the Will is a powerful force that has been pondered for centuries. It is no small thing. It might be everything. So what is it up to now in the sign of Cancer?
Cancer is the sign of home and family but, as the first of the Water signs, it begs us to feel this truth, not just to think about it.
I remember seeing this cartoon as a kid and being utterly enchanted by the sheer twinkling magic and coziness of these two chipmunks wandering around on the actual inside of a Christmas tree.
It’s not enough to convey the feelings of Cancer by referring to Christmas alone because you may not even celebrate it, or it may bring up family strife instead of warmth and sparkle.
But the inside of a Christmas tree, with your good pal Dale, now that is magical coziness. That is a recipe to feel great.
The holiday season this year comes with some stirred up cosmological waters. After a prolonged stay in Aquarius, Mars, the planet that energizes is entering the vast territory of the collective unconscious, the endless and unfathomable ocean of Pisces, the sign of the Fishes.
Pisces is a sign that is most associated with passive, female principle of the the universe that is Yin energy. It is the type of love that is all-encompassing, it is pure forgiveness, gentleness, ethereal beauty, subtlety, deep imagination, psychic phenomenon. People who are born under the influence of this sign have a natural ability to tap into this realm, often to the astonishment and wonder of others.
Back to Mars. Mars motivates in many ways. Sometimes it can just feel like a straightforward burst of energy. A new focal point in which you are ready to place your time and energy. Other times it comes in the form of agitation, unrest, a feeling like you just can’t take it anymore and something needs to change. This is the boiling, roiling, stirring and churning way of the warrior planet.
In Pisces, it is the the ethereal waters of other-worldliness that are being agitated, motivated, energized. In short, the Mystic within is being summoned.
Mars will stay in Pisces until New Years Eve, flavoring the holiday stretch with a sizzle of Yin energy.
There is definitely a je-ne-sais-qoi quality to the next couple of months. Things may pop up that make you open your eyes wider to the greater mysteries of life. The wonder that comes about from the many holiday lights may be of extra sparkle.
Subjective reality is the home of our feelings. With Mars traveling through Pisces, emotions that come with this time of year may feel more overwhelming. One of Pisces biggest challenges is to keep the rivers and tides of emotions flowing healthily.
Pay attention to what is nagging at you or what is merely calling you in the next few months. It is likely tied into a deeper personal connection to the waters above and the waters below. That is, a deeper connection to all that is unknowable, yet worthy of reflection. A grander reality, that is based on a willingness to feel.
Mars has been traveling through Aquarius through much of the summer. It began in May, retrograded back into Capricorn for most of August, and now it’s back. Back in the sign of the Water Bearer. Making more waves.
Mars at it’s root is potent energy. Energy that needs to be born, so it can become something. It doesn’t just stir things up because it’s some kind of joker, it has destiny, hopes, purpose! The problem is we are often blind to what the energy is after, and acting out it’s commands on a subconscious level.
Mars at it’s very core is the power of the will. The dictionary defines the word, will as the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action. Right away the complexity of the will is apparent. What is the faculty we use to decide something and initiate action? Sometimes it’s logic, more often it’s driven by emotion, namely subconscious ones.
The will, is the spark of the complex matter of mind and emotion. It’s like a newborn subatomic comet seeking it’s destiny somewhere. Energy arises, we are motivated by it, decisions are made and actions taken. Mars was the start of it, the eager little spark.
In Aquarius, the spark is under the influence of the far-out realm of what it means to even exist. The Waters that the Water Bearer bears are complex streams of consciousness, intermingling, stretching over boundaries of time and space. Aquarius, like no other sign, centers around the somewhat abstract concept of existence.
Is existence a phenomenon of material, mental or emotional substance? What lies outside of existence? More existence? Is there an outside? How small or big can it stretch? How long has existence been around? Is there anything that doesn’t exist if we include the mental reality of things? What is our relationship to our own existence on a daily, meaningful level?
Welcome to the far side. Aquarian town. Matters that involve life’s abstractions which are so often mysteriously tied to the very root of humanity.
When concepts of existence get stirred up (Mars influence), we may not be the slightest bit aware of it consciously, but a type of existential angst is likely to set in. The next thing we know is we are agitated (Mars) by this abstract feeling that life, and our existence is without meaning. The “what is it all about? What is it all for?” type of angst. We may feel like a hamster in a wheel, going round and round the motions of meaningless work and routine, with all sense of solar purpose lost, all sense of Solar Essence obscured.
The key to making Mars transiting Aquarius your friend and not your foe is to acknowledge your relationship with your daily existence in relation to your Solar Essence. For example, if at your solar core (look to your Sun sign and it’s aspects), you are a true people person who gets a lot out of conversations and social interactions, yet your day to day existence is working the night shift alone stocking groceries, and then home to sleep all day with no contact with other people, this transit might seek to bust up your reality. It has to! Your daily existence is totally off balance with your Solar Essence! Something’s got to give, even if it means you simply make sure to hang out with friends once every few days, brighten that inner Sun back up. Often it’s the minor adjustments made that really take root and help grow your life back into better balance.
Also under the rulership of Aquarius is the future. Equally abstract and intrinsically tied to our deepest human nature is the concept of the future. We can never know it, but we know of it.
We can choose to think we have no say in our own future, or we can choose to commit to the future that we want. Even though such a commitment could never guarantee it’s reality, it can still position us to live in the now, as a person becoming, as a person always being born, in direction that we have chosen.
This is true freedom! Free-will if you will. The will loves freedom, and the trick is to understand that freedom is not divorced from responsibility. You are responsible for the commitment towards your future, and towards your commitment on who you are and who you are becoming.
Today we are going deep into the astrological makings of a very complex man. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Howard Hughes!
The first thing that really draws my eye into his chart is that Mercury at the very bottom of the chart. It is in Virgo (the ever over-analyzing, perfecting and exacting scrutinizer) and it is under some serious pressure.
Howard Hughes seems to have acquired the brunt of his OCD from his mother, who used to scrub him clean all through his childhood and teach him to be afraid of germs.
His Mercury is found at the bottom of the chart right on the 4th house cusp. This is the place in the chart that is associated with the Mother and early childhood (because it is the house that is connected to the sign of Cancer).
Mercury is the planet associated with our thinking. It is always listening and responding to our environment (like DNA!)
Hughes Mercury (thinking) is under pressure from both Mars and Pluto via the square aspect (an aspect of 90 degrees). So let’s meet the personal “bullies” of Hughes’ mind!
Mars is energy! It is motivation and stress. The stuff that propels life along. Hughe’s Mars is located in the 7th house of relationships. It’s a common know fact that Hughes did “go (very) big” in the dating field.
Hughes was infamously entangled with a bevy of beautiful starlets. The glitz and glamour would satisfy his Venus in Leo as well as his Moon in Leo. Venus for a man will point to something he is drawn to in a woman. The Moon points to an emotional hunger that we yearn to satiate. This is also connected to the mother and early life.
It’s interesting to think of all of that OCD doting that his mother did for him was still a form of constant attention. Hughes was known to be a hypochondriac in childhood to secure the constant attention of his parents, both of whom died within his later teenage years. Hughes went to court and bought out the rest of the family for the inheritance and became a billionaire.
Ok, so back to the pressure on his Virgoan mind.
Let’s meet the next “bully”, the ever secretly-up-to-something Pluto. And as a side note, these “bullies” are not inherently bad, they are just motivators. The aspect of the square suggests that it’s a bit more challenging for Hughes.
Pluto motivates in a very hidden way. In Gemini this may take the form of always seeking mental stimulus, and variety of thought. It lies opposite of the Mars in the 7th house of relationships so we can expect to find a lot of variety there too (and there sure was!).
Pluto is like a rabbit hole. It’s job is to constantly renew us and purify us through emotional purging. Hughes’ rabbit hole was so very mental, so full of variety and choices. For a mind that is suited towards precision and order (Mercury in Virgo) this influx of variety might have been a bit overwhelming.
It would have been nice to see Hughes’ Virgo mind take the Virgoan modest approach to these heavy-weight bullies. To humbly (Virgo) take things in stride and be aware of his own tendency to over-worry (Virgo pitfall). We can bring so much peace back to our psyches with a bit of awareness. This is the department where the horoscope truly shines as a tool. It serves us to give ourselves a break and be on the lookout for unhealthy habits!