Monday, May 25, 2015

The Hummingbird

I am fortunate enough to have a hummingbird visit my homestead on what appears to be regular occasions. As I sit on the back patio writing this, he or she stopped to hover a few feet away for a moment before zipping up into the air and around the house on what I imagine to be its search for nectar-bearing flowers.

As the ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species indigenous to this region of Ohio and Michigan, I have become well-acquainted with the female of the species (are they like lionesses and much more active out in the world with business?). Having observed more browns and an iridescent back, as opposed to the dandified blue plumage of a male, I'm convinced that it is she who blesses me with her fleeting presence. Side note: how far we have diverged from birds in that the males are the spectacular of the species, allowed all the vibrancy and intrigue nature has to offer.

What strikes me is my reaction to the presence of the hummingbird: I'm positively elated every time it happens.

Every time.

I know in my heart that what I'm perceiving in that moment of blurred wings is a downright miracle of nature: the hummingbird will be there for a mere moment and then gone. I have only seconds to soak in this perception and let it touch my heart before the bird is gone and I must rely on my dimly lit imaginings and memories to affect my passions. All of life pinpointed to a few seconds of what we call "time". It reminds me of cummings' heart-cracking poem, "I thank You God for most this amazing day," an entire lifetime rendered in terms of a single day. A moment. (Listen to it here, set to music by that polyphonic genius, Eric Whitacre.)

Contrast the hummingbird to the robin, who also visits regularly (it's Michigan's state bird, after all). While the little one is characterized by a blur, the robin positively lingers. I have what feels like minutes to watch the red breast on the fence post as it surveys the acreage around it, zeroes in on a writhing worm in the green grass below and pops down with pinpoint accuracy to fetch the creepy-crawly in its beak. Beyond that, I get to watch them hop around on the ground and tilt their heads side to side (they're focusing their eyes, which are on the sides of their heads) before zooming off into the surrounding oak trees.

How does nature call us into presence in different ways via its exemplars? Do some beauties linger while others come and go in instants? Even the robin flies away all too soon, yet I am grateful that I get to countenance its silhouette on the post or under the tree before it, too, disappears on its errand. The same may be said of the comparatively duller, earthen squirrel, to whom the quick element of air is unavailable, who also busies itself with the industrious to-and-fro of nature.

If I had to astrologically engage in taxonomy, I would put a hummingbird somewhere on the dividing line between Mercury and Venus. The little thing is pure joy, an emissary of Delight that, should we be able to hear the frequency of its wings, would sound like tinkling silver bells and laughter.

Maybe that zone of space touching both Mercury and Venus' orbits would resound with the same tune: clinking glasses of champagne, laughter, and brilliantly amusing conversation.

Presence: Alan Watts and Timing

On the initial scroll through Facebook, I came across an article from Brain Pickings centered on the writings of Alan Watts entitled, "The Art of Timing: Alan Watts on the Perils of Hurrying and the Pleasures of Presence." 

Additionally, check out the timely interview of Brain Pickings'  charming and humble founder, Maria Popova, with On Being's Krista Tippett entitled, "Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age."  While I was already aware of Popova's website thanks to my graduate school days, my interest has been ignited anew thanks to the lovely interview. The best parts of my mind are expanded and refreshed accordingly.

Back to the meditation on Watts, the headline on Facebook caught my eye and compelled me to read the article in full: "Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present."

Being astrologically minded, I immediately thought: Mars and Saturn.

Mars represents the thrust of motion, speed and haste. Saturn, on the other hand, slowness, and in particular, denial.

Being blessed with healthy doses of both, I recognized both sides of this "time" coin via my own trials and travails of late, especially cross-referenced with Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, one of my current reads.

I am drawn to meditate upon a natal horoscope as a statement of imbalances, received as it is in this contingent, inharmonious state of becoming we call the world. If a life's goal is to continually apply the cosmetic and beautify (aka, access Being and promote that high aphrodisiac, balance), what could it mean to bring a soul closer to temperance and moderation and therefore Presence? How can we meet hurrying (Mars) and delaying/denial (Saturn) and embrace them in such a way as to promote Being and Presence?

My train of thought leads me to the question of Mars' and Saturn's essential natures, their purposes, what meaning they have for the soul in Being.

To that end, what do any of the planets have to say regarding Being?

I feel like Cicero contemplating the heavens.

Friday, February 13, 2015


What is the relationship between blame and responsibility?

I've been on the receiving end of heaps of blame of late.

I've done a lot of blaming of late.

My experience teaches me that the fruits of blame are sour and nasty. Blaming never ends well, and while I think we do it because we are hurting, blame does not yield the soothing and ease we may seek.

A friend of mine recently posted a video of Oprah giving advice, and therein she, in a voice not without hardness, told viewers to take responsibility for their own lives.


A word used quite mindlessly these days. Easily laden with "shoulds" and "oughts". (Does blame lie nested in mindless use of the word?)

What is often left of the word is an understanding of response. And with what organ do we respond?

The heart.

Where is the heartfelt Sun in all of this knee-jerk talk of Saturnine responsibility?

I question whether the bitterness of blame even has a place at all in Saturn's mountain realm. Is Saturn inherently blameful? If serenity is what Saturn has to offer, does blame cohabit in that land?

How interesting that the etymology of blame leads us to blaspheme. Perhaps there is something about blame that is entirely against the vessel of divinity found in the solar heart in all of us. A sacrilege, black-blooded poison. Maybe, when we become aware of this thing called responsibility, we are encouraging (Latin/French cor = heart) a healing of the heart.

Doctor Saturn called with his physics to remove a blockage. Something has caused us to cease heartfelt response and love.

Blaming others for not taking responsibility is entirely circular, for it completely stops the path to the heart we are preaching. How difficult it is to open the heart in times of pain and distress, to turn your cheek to the light as Jesus advised and offer wholeheartedly.

How can we encourage those around us, open their hearts?

I suspect by being open-hearted ourselves and watching/listening carefully for when we give closed-hearted "advice". Such words are inadequate, where the adequatio is a tempering of the soul, making it like that which it wishes to receive. An open, responding heart in oneself is the only way to open the heart of another. Easy to say "take responsibility for yourself" and blame another, monumentally more challenging to contain the other's bereaved heart within your own. Perhaps therein lies Saturn's responsibility - I will bend down upon my knee and carry this.


How can one not be humbled and fall to one's knees when one catches a glimpse of the heart, so excruciatingly vulnerable yet strong as a diamond?

I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis' words on prayer: to pray is to make oneself like God. Thus people have said that prayer is the most difficult virtue to practice.

Are we not often tested like Job, challenged to resist blame and open the heart instead? Is blaming another a blasphemy against God and cursing the ground? Stone-cold veins, Lovely Venus calcified and frozen?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Death and Possibility

The thought occurs to me that I will die with possibility still inside.

I look at my stacks of treasured books, many still unread, and wonder if, by the time I go (which could be tomorrow) I will have read all of them.

And will just one reading be enough?

In that final moment where Becoming leaves me behind, I will look out into the world and see one more book, one more kiss.

Every moment is a death. As Eurydice fades into the dark distance, she has already crossed the River Lethe.

The moment your lips leave mine, I long to remember them.

As the last drop of wine slides away down the back of my tongue into the abyss, I enter yearning, seeming to have lost all memory of Presence.

How to create a space for death which contains possibility?


I am often angry.

I am tempted to define this as a problem, but I stop myself and train my mind to embrace this feeling differently. 

The label of problem is not helpful.

So how do I begin to talk about this with myself?

One of the first places to go is blame's clenched territory. It's an easy place in which to find oneself. I can look to the generation before me and see a ready imitation. 

Even outside of the flesh, Mars and Pluto are family daimones.

I could blame heredity, but then I would only have to blame myself in the end. My soul's chosen stars are the same as theirs. Perhaps I found ready example to color in the bones with choler. The bones are there all the same, ready and calling for hot flesh.

Flames abound: all three of the burning landscapes and their residential jinni bless my family with their countenance. Sagittarius rises across three generations too often for mere coincidence; Aries passes down from grandparent to parent. A weighted stellium in Leo crushes those around it from two branches of the Tree. 

Or rather, the burning bush.

My own soul found the light refracted through the dark crystal of Scorpio while looking sideways at a royal and raging Mars.

Not frozen water, but a rolling boil.

When an interrupting phone call broke my focus yesterday, He came. I retreated to the hot water sanctuary of my shower.

My gods meet me there. 

Their footprints can be traced on the sun's rays bouncing off the water. I am accustomed to following them.

While taking refuge in the diamond body of a Hindu dancer, I was startled into realization:

My rage has no image.

This constant companion remains unseen. He has no choice but to use my body-image because I have given him no other recourse.

I invited him in. I drew the Devil card and saw his red eyes and his beautiful horns. 

Beware the physical in matter, I heard him say.

I recognized his disappointed resentment in the self-fulfilling prophecy he has left scattered, unresolved, among my lineage. His hoof prints congeal in black tarry clumps on the field of my own heart.

Then I understand. I recall the Persian telling of Lucifer's fall, the Light Bearer's refusal to love humankind more than God. 

Lucifer must have been so hurt by God, so disappointed and so angry at the betrayal. How could God have done such a thing when I loved him so dearly with all of my being?

A curious mix of wrath and tears. Our raw nerves move faster than we can, we His Red Children.

I appeal to Apollo for a dash of gold. 

Instead of imaging Father Lucifer as a problem, I meet him for the first time on his own terms and ask,

What do you have to teach me?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Saturn's Slowness

It takes me a very long time to do anything.

I look up towards Noon and place my pace at Saturn's feet.

Much of my resistance to motion belongs to the agency of Fear, a typical Saturnine manifestation. What is it about fear that accomplishes Saturn's ends? What is it about Saturn's ends which requires fear?

I puzzle over Slowness, remembering that Saturn is a cardinal entity and thus engenders Motion. I forget that Saturn also has a fixed side when he lives in his unyielding abode of the Vault.

A typical paradox.

Paradoxes let me know I'm on to something True.

Fear also rushes and trembles. He's Mars' son. How can fear be both instant and fast, yet agonizing and slow?

The gods (plural) are in all things.

Saturn teaches me that not all motion belongs to Mars. The zodiac's cardinal cross tells us that this is so. Motion is Martial, Lunar, and Aphrodisiac.

Is fear with the Old Man to slow us down? Is it the only kind of slowness He presents, or is it a byproduct which vexes even Him?

I imagine the chair upon which I sit, all the chairs sitting around in the world. Are their atoms and molecules moving so slowly that they congeal into Forms? Are they all afraid, chairs wracked with fear and so keeping their forms in a conglomerate of trembling atoms?

What if they're waiting to explode outward to become something else?

Ovid gazes heavenward.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Poison in the System

I usually don't pay much mind to Chiron.

Whether this lassitude of mind stems from the asteroid's latecomer status into the system or my simple failure to notice remains unclear to me, though its bodily conjunctions with Mars and Venus in Pisces these last two weeks have shocked me into wakefulness and alert, desperate questioning.

My heretofore conceptual understanding found its ground in Liz Greene's writing on the wounded healer - a terrain given shade and texture with myth's expansion. Chiron, the wise centaur charged with tutoring scholars and heroes, is, accidentally, wounded in the thigh with Hercules' arrow. Unfortunately, the arrow happens to have been dipped in the blood (venom? etymologically Latin for 'poison') of the monstrous Hydra, and as such, the wound is incurable.

Recent events have foregrounded two words as descriptive of Chiron: poison and rage. Greene points out that philosophical understanding seems to be the space required for living with the accidental wounding Chiron brings, though not without a great deal of suffering and the intense rage often displayed by wounded animals. Philosophy has yet to be forged on this event, but poison has pushed moods and souls past ease. Jupiter's temperance required.

What seems to have occurred around the Gods of Desire joining Chiron (I notice exactitude is a factor) is that the poison in the system rises to the surface, and with it, states of great distress - a thread woven together of madness, fear, rage, and despair. I can't speak for the luminaries at the moment, but when the Sun makes its ingress into Pisces, more data may emerge.

Knowing that a poisonous wound is involved, I am urged to ask questions into the nature of this poison. The nature of toxins has turned in my thoughts before, but I wonder at Chiron's brand of venom. We all have Chiron somewhere in the horoscope, meaning that, somewhere in our being, poison is in the system. I don't think we can say, in this contingent realm, how exactly the poison will manifest - for some it may be physical wounding and handicap, for others perhaps psychic - if there really is a difference between those qualities at all. Further, who can say what circumstances may provoke the poison? Is it more bearable if the bank account is full? Can it be borne with an unassailed immune system? How is it awakened by one of the other deities mingling with it, regarding it, engaging in conversation? What might a coniunctio look like - how is that sex scene going to play out? In what chamber of the heart is that affair going to occur? (I don't think you'll get the deposit back afterward.)

Chiron seems to partake of Saturn's limitation and defensiveness - sore spots abound - but yet the teacher's wound must be different in quality. Saturn "stuff" seems like the best that can be done - keep pushing through, grow some horns, take it one pebble at a time. And drink your dandelion root tea, Shelby.