It’s Great to Anticipate! Mercury Enters Aries.

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.

As Twin Peak’s special agent Dale Cooper muses, “It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”

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 (Active) Art of Loving. Venus enters Aries

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

A Very Verdant Verity! Spring Begins.

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.

Fusing Fact and Value. New Moon in Pisces

A New Moon in Pisces is in store for us this Saturday.  New Moons “hide” from us, thus they hold a signature of privacy. With the archetype of Pisces, the most inward of all signs, the privacy dimension gains more depth.  Throw in the fact that harmonizing Venus and mystery-of-mysteries Neptune are right there too, and we have, what seems like, a romantic quest.  To the inner-most bounds!  A loving quest for the universe within! 

Psychologist, Abraham Maslow saw this quest to be paramount to discovering a person’s “isness”.  This “isness” is very important, because in knowing this, one can find their “oughtness”.  Maslow saw this as a crucial fusing of fact and value, is and ought. 

 In a storybook, this “is” would be the landscape, conditions, and basic reality of the hero.  The “ought” would be the hero’s desires and visions.  The ultimate question, or quest of the story would be: can the facts of reality merge with the value of the vision?  

Maslow applies this dynamic recipe for good ficiton straight to our own sense of well-being.  Of the person willing to look inward to his “isness” he says,

“The more he knows about his own nature, his deep wishes, his temperament, his constitution, what he seeks and yearns for and what really satisfies him, the more effortless, automatic, and epiphenomenal becomes his value choices… Discovering one’s own nature is simultaneously an ought quest and is quest.

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This is celestial music straight from the effortless graces of Pisces and Venus.  A song that is no song at all, like John Cage’s 4:33.  

Notice that when he talks about discovering one’s inner nature he focuses on “deep wishes” as well as “temperament” and “constitution”.  It’s a balanced inventory- a real assessment, but an assessment of a hero/ heroinne, and all that he/she seeks and yearns for.

Don’t even think about taking the romance out of your “isness”!  And at the same time, two feet on the ground please. 

Will you indulge in the Fishes inner plunge tonight and alchemize some facts and values?  

Happy Astro Pondering!

Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand.

Nothing Happens Until Something Moves. New Moon in Aquarius

In 1936 a not-yet-famous Tennessee William sat in the audience of Ibsens’ play “Ghosts.” But he didn’t sit for long. The play soon moved him so much that it moved him straight out of his seat and he had to pace up and down in the back aisle.

This Thursday the 11th, we have a New Moon in Aquarius, the sign of the Water Bearer, the sign of us, of human beings, with full potential to feel things and allow ourselves to be moved.

You can practically see movement in Aquarius’ glyph of two wavy lines.

Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves. When something vibrates, the electrons of the entire universe resonate with it. Everything is connected.”

Most of the planets in the sky are currently buzzing in Aquarius. Uranus, the planet associated with Aquarius is in the self-sustaining sign of Taurus, along with Mars, resonating like a Tibetan singing bowl over the rest of the buzz.

Taurus, often associated with money, is also the notion of taking stock in something. Just think what would have not happened if Tennessee Williams put no stock in the emotion that propelled him off his seat.

What has been moving you lately? Anything worthy of taking stock in? Anything worthy of cultivating?

The movement you feel might be strong enough to propel you off your seat, but it also might be more subtle. A special shift, and all of a sudden some chemicals inside stir. Maybe you feel a quickening of energy. Maybe the other side of the universe feels it too!

The movement of Aquarius’ wavy lines hint at the magic of feedback loops, always at work in the present moment.

Alfred North Whitehead said “What we perceive as the present is the vivid fringe of memory tinged with anticipation.”    

That sure adds a dose of dynamism to the moment! The fringe of memory and the tinge of anticipation, fringe and tinge! Vibrating sounds, vibration abounds!

These feedback loops show the logic of an optimistic attitude (i.e don’t let that fringe sabotage the tinge and vice versa!) Such a correspondence also shows the grand potential of letting art, love, or anything else move us.

Put some stock in those special emotions!

Happy Astro Pondering!

Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand



Uncommon Common Sense. Venus Enters Aquarius

Voltaire said, “Common sense is not so common”. Venus, the Goddess of the senses glides into Aquarius today, the sign of the uncommon, but also the common, as in the common good.

Aquarius strives towards a universal brotherhood and also celebrates the uncommon qualities that makes an individual unique.

Your own uniqueness is, in a sense, your own otherness. What happens when Venus enters the scene, with her magic love potion?

Does a love for the otherness of yourself also inspire a love for the otherness of others? Is this part of the evolutionary recipe for universal brotherhood?

Evolution-savvy Aquarius is freely unique without ever losing sight of the humanity that unites.

Unique yet united in humanity. Seems like common sense.

Sometimes however, we forget to look for otherness. Our robotic selves tell us that there is no need for otherness, and just to look for ourselves in what we see, hear and read.

Fran Lebowitz said “A book is not supposed to be a mirror. It’s supposed to be a door.”

What uncommon common sense this is!

And so much more romantic!

A door opens one up to learning something new, a mirror shows you, yourself! A door opening is like a horizon resuming its stretch, a unique musical score uniting an audience! Where you are is different, but there is a mysterious warm glow of unity.

With so many planets already buzzing in Aquarius, Venus is fashionably late to the party. Her eyes wide and perfectly original. Like a salt-lamp disco ball, Aquarian-ruled Uranus puts a dynamic square on the party, upping the existential questions of what truly matters and strengthens us.

By the 25th of this month she will float into dreamy Pisces- but until then- it is the uncommon common sense that propels her look, listen and reach out for rejuvenating otherness.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. Voltaire

Happy Astro Pondering!

Astro Art by Johnnie Day Durand

Back to the Future; Mercury goes Retrograde in Aquarius

Philosopher William James first coined the phrase “stream of consciousness” to describe the full range of thoughts that we can be aware of at any given time. He called it a stream, observing that thoughts tended to flow from one to another and another.

Here we are at the end of the first month of 2021, and Mercury, the god of thought, is decidedly reversing the stream’s current, in Aquarius, the sign of awareness, foresight and future.

Are we going back to the future?

In a sense, maybe.

As we go about our days we are immersed in many droplets of rich subjective life. Moments when something speaks to us, moments when we feel good or bad, moments that we share, moments that we rush, moments that we savor.

With winged-sandals, Mercury, God of thought swiftly weaves facts out of these moments. Facts that may be recalled in the future about what happened in the past. The facts are what survives, the feelings are fleeting, and disappear like the Moon. Facts weave and connect into the mysterious network of memory. Awaiting a reason to resurface, and be reflected on. Once reflected on, feelings may arise again, and feel like those original feelings, but they are still new, and based on these facts.

As Mercury moves retrograde, the stream of consciousness goes back on itself. It’s like using one of those now obsolete microfiche machines in libraries, where newspapers can be flashed through in search of that pertinent piece of information. Thought goes back on itself, in search of something.

Mercury has been in Aquarius since the beginning of the year leaving many Aquarian-esque facts weaved into our neural networks. Aquarian-esque; existential, pertaining to future, off the beaten path and in question of some basic assumptions.

You found something in these weavings, what was it?

Maybe you will find a fact worthy of reflection. By reflecting on these resurfaced facts, perhaps you will better shape your future! Time flows just like the trickster. Maybe you can manage to go back to the future!

Mercury will be retrograde for the rest of Aquarius Season. The Trickster God will go direct on February 20th, two days after the start of Pisces Season, and remain in Aquarius until March 15th.

Happy Astro Pondering!

Astro art by Johnnie Day Durand.

Mars into Taurus- the Will to Stabilize

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.

Happy astro pondering!

Metaphorcast 12/7-13, 2020

Wings are things for bugs bats and birds, but they are also for hearts, souls, minds and words! Wings have always been waiting in the wings, so to speak, persuading our senses to hunger for peaks.  Peaks of experience, when all is affirmed, lucid mountain-top-moments where true wealth is learned.

William Blake famously said, “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”

With Sagittarius’ totem planet in Capricorn, the sign of authenticity, and conjunct Saturn, the author of authenticity itself, there is extra attention to the authentic integrity of these wings.  Pluto has been nearby as well for quite some time, as a stirring of kundalini enlivens these wings. And don’t tell me that you have no wings, I’ll just refer you straight to Muhammad Ali who said, “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

What are these wings of yours that vibrate to such a particular voice, and animates a world of choice, appealing to those higher ceilings, and cheering on those freeing feelings.

Peter Pan and Mary Poppins seem to agree that the secret of flight lies in the heart’s delight.

What are these wings, and what song must they sing?  What heights of true home claim these wings as our own?  As the artist William Holman Hunt said, “The door of he human heart, can only be opened from the inside.”

Mercury, with winged sandals and winged helmet, flies in the upward nitrogen-rich air of Sagittarius.  Approaching a square with Neptune the God of the Sea, he expands his zest for higher ceilings, to incorporate delicacies of ephemeral feelings. Perception is gleaming with the phenomena of sun mixed with sea.  Rimbaud’s sense of eternity.

Venus in Scorpio, in a dramatic state, awakening like she did when she first met the snake.  Have her senses been dormant?  Has her pleasure been sleeping?  Higher ceilings in question, fuller senses are creeping, upward as pre-flowering roots.

At the hub of this spirit to fly and soar, travels Mars in Aries, as the Will gets restored.  The precious Will, with such high determination.  Awakened senses and commitment to creation.  

Uranus in Taurus- waking up a natural instinct, of flight through delight.

Neptune in Pisces, in dreams we reunite with our wings- but only with some deliberate intent.

The Moon

The Moon begins the week waning into it’s 4th quarter in Virgo, the simple maiden of leisure and cultivation.  In practical-Moon-fashion, she nudges us towards new habits, that favor these Sagittarian instincts.  With a nurturing humm, she cultivates the treasures that put horse power in our soul;  Laughter, anticipation, elevation, and the appetite for learning.

By mid-evening on Tuesday, she continues to wane now into Libra, and there is at last air in the sky.  The air of what’s fair, in both sense of the word.  The balance and also the beauty of a bird.

The Sun, near perceptive Mercury, comes into an exact square with Neptune Wednesday.  Look a moment longer in any place that glimmers, feel in your heart a true signature of shimmer.  

By later evening Thursday, a Scorpio Moon continues to slighten- and an earth magic is heightened.  The next day the Sun goes into trine with Mars, carpe that diem for it truly is ours.  Just like those vital things that give life to our wings- Be wakeful today, in the Warrior’s way.

The Scorpio Moon grins slimmer through Saturday.  Slighter still by evening, as into Sagittarius it slips- to be New on Monday for a Full Solar Eclipse!  

Unless you are in South America you won’t see it- but nonetheless- quite an event is headed our way!  A mystifying sky, prompting that question of why?  An upcoming wonder, who’s skies we stand under.  

A staggering phenomenon to behold, seemingly unreal, yet governed by natural laws.  Writer philosopher, Colin Wilson believed that peak experiences are also governed by natural laws.  Laws that govern the structure of our consciousness.  Are positive responses more intentional than negative ones?  Can an active and purposive state of mind help you, in Wilson’s words, “sense the magnetic north of [your] existence”?   

In the Season of the horse, this is the course.  An altitude of attitude aiming straight for the source.  Lucid-mountain-top moments, when all is affirmed, to be honored in memory as true wealth that’s been learned.

As always, happy astro pondering!

Metaphorcast 11/30-12/6, 2020

A Full Moon eclipse crowns the last day of November, dazzling in Gemini before the start of December.  

Gemini sparkles with reflection of thought. The flint of the fire, and all we’ve been taught.  Sparkling and glittering for centuries back- sensing a freedom and enlarging the crack, so more creativity can leak in, and keep us on track.

The archer pulls back the string of his bow.  The arrow in flight shows the way life likes to grow.

From his book, The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin says this of Man’s true place in evolution: “Man is not the center of the universe as we once thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful- the arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life.  Man alone constitutes the last-born, the freshest, the most complicated, the most subtle of all the successive layers of life.”

Sagittarius, the Season we are in right now, is that very arrow.  The life of life itself, and it’s direction of growth.

With love, the future sets us free!  The distant future, and the one of immediacy.  In a world where nothing is static- the question does become, in which direction are you moving, and from where have you come?  This is a question that can be asked at any given moment. 

Sagittarius Season is bubbling with an effervescense, spreading with delightful incandescense, to remind us of our truest essence.  Outward on streets, lights spring up as expected, inward a fire glows warm with direction.  

Mercury will be in the deepest degrees of Scorpio on Monday, for the Gemini Full Moon eclipse.  Gemini rules the hands.  Teilhard de Chardin says that our arms became free, so we could hold our hands to our face, with narrower eyes, we could percieve what we hold in front of us- and thus, reflective thought was born.  He says “Man came silently into this world”. 

The next day, as December begins, the trickster goes into Sagittarius, with a growing confidence.  The trickster realizes he holds the keys, his hands are free, like the sky and the sea.  

Venus, the love goddess stirs in Scorpio.  She overhears the trickster’s epiphany, and creates a stormy, passionate symphony.  Seeing her gifts of art and love, as the fire that holds everything together from above.  She breathes in the sweetness of a vibrant red rose, from her delicate hands, the whole world she does hold.

Mars moving onward in Aries in an epic voyage that’s lasted half a year!  His lovers tune seducing his soul, freeing his vibrations to a place that is bold.  As Robert Frost said, “Freedom lies in being bold.”

Jupiter moving away from Pluto and into a tighter conjunction with Saturn, in Capricorn, in tension with Aries’ fire.  The strategy of caution serving hope in a most noble of ways.  We’ve learned so much in these past few hundred days.

Uranus in Taurus- the evolution of nature, becoming more natural, to reflect on

Neptune in Pisces- the dream in the Seasonal archer’s heart- As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “we aim above the mark to hit the mark.”

The Moon 

The Moon as mentioned will be Full in Gemini at the beginning of the week, the sign of the hands, Aristotle’s “tool of tools”.  Evidence of Sagittarian spirit shimmer in the stone carvings of the ancient world, at the skill of ancient hands.  

Full Moons are nights of illumination.  

As Langston Hughes said 

“I look at my own body With eyes no longer blind-

And see that my own hands

can make

The world that’s in my mind.”

In the later hours of Tuesday night she wanes gibbous in Cancer, her true habitat of Moon.  Bears are beginnng to head to their caves, light is dwindling in the days.  In the flourescence of the Horse’s Season, a Cancer Moon is a perfect reason, to find some Hooga with dimmed down lights.  Store some power in the soul’s delight!

Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday host a Leo Moon, and the atmosphere is full of fire.  The fire of expression!  The radiant life of love.  In our upward flight that moves to the right, who can push aside this Eternal delight.  As Venus comes into trine with all encompassing Neptune, echoes of the Four Tops ring out into the ether- Reach out.. 

By Sunday afternoon, a Virgo Moon wanes on- in the spirit of learning, and the ever-in-motion weaving of the imagination with experience.  

In which direction are you going, and where are you coming from?

Contemplate, on this Virgo Moon.

Remind yourself of just how great

is this ability to contemplate

to draw something close and then 

set your eyes on the distance

to feel evolution at work

in your very existence!

As always, happy astro pondering!