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

The Planets Align, But How Are They Mine? Quadruple Formation in Aquarius.

Have you ever experienced the sublime satisfaction of tidying up a room? Have you ever been near-mystified by the way things just “worked out?”, or how things just, “fell into place?”

This Wednesday evening, the sky display a pretty pattern of order and meaning. Three planets will line up perfectly in an ascending diagonal line, with the Crescent Moon nearby.

The faintest light on the bottom will be Mercury, followed by Jupiter, the brightest. At the height of the diagonal will be Saturn. All of them, and the Moon, will be in the existential sign of Aquarius.

Writer philosopher Colin Wilson said that existentialism was a “philosophy of intuition”. Unlike Sartre and Camus, he saw the world as inherently meaningful, with the only thing blocking us from such meaning being our own “sensory blinders”. Ultimately, his existentialism was based on optimism just as much as realism. He saw the “feelings of inner freedoms” to be intimately bound with an effective “grasp on reality”.

“It is as impossible to exercise freedom in an unreal world as it is to jump while you are falling.”

Colin Wilson, The Outsider

With the planet of optimism and intuition blazing the brightest in the center of the lineup, its a perfect evening to ponder the vital hunches of a cheery existentialist.

Our perceptions are Mercury, the faintest light at the bottom. Faintest by design, for they keep the chaos of stimulus ordered for us. We can walk down the street without feeling bombarded by sounds, sensations and sights. Our selectivity saves us, yet it also keeps us away from our full reality.

For full reality, we have to find places of correspondences; how our physical reality corresponds to us in a personal, meaningful way. In this way we can sense our interior power, which Wilson also refers to as our reality.

Sensing our interior power is to abolish the notion that we are passive creatures. In fact, he correlates passivity with an increasing sense of unreality. If we can, for a moment, embrace his maxim that “perception is intentional”, we can begin to see how passivity really can blur reality.

“The sense of order and meaning is a direct stimulus of the will, and even mere perception springs from a will to perceive .”

Colin Wilson, Existential Criticism, The Chicago Review 1959

What does this twinkly display of order correspond to in you?

Can you feel an interior power arise in recognizing this correspondence?

Can you feel… your reality?

Saturn the planet of reality winks from the top of the line.

Happy star-gazing and as always, 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