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 Object Changes Me. Full Moon in Libra.

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 Carlotta Valdez painting ‘changing’ ‘Madeleine Elster’ in Hitchcock’s classic, Vertigo.

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

Negative Capability and the Real World of All Streams. Mercury enters Pisces.

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