Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reflections on the Struggle: A Lustful Melancholy

It's been a long time since I blogged last. But while I've got 45 minutes between one thing and the next, why not.

Reading Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of blogs and essays, No Time to Spare, helps spur the horse onward; nothing like reading the reflections of a brilliant wordsmith to get the flame kindled.

Last time I wrote, Mars was retrograde. Now Venus is. The world seems no less stormy or tumultuous. In fact, with hurricanes roaring to shore, it seems more so.

Today hard lessons were learned. I caught myself in a mire and now struggle to break free of the goo.

It's a Venusian slick of laziness and indulgence, coupled with a Saturn crush of low self-esteem, indolence, and delay.

I'm speaking of natal placements that, today, have found me in a prison of their architecture. It breeds compassion within me, feeling a need to change something that has, up until this very second, been all I've ever known.

How do you leave existence behind and move to something else? How do you step out of an old form and into the unknown?

Can that new Elysian Field be known at all?

Are we talking of leaving Hell and entering Heaven?

Hell it seems we know all to well. But this enigma of Heaven....tell me more, gentle traveler! What is this strangeness of which you conceive???

I've felt a sense of large weight bearing on me that I keep and keep and keep pushing against. This is a familiar weight, and I know it's not an accident of Mercury's day giving me exactly what I've earned. It's a larger pattern, and it only seems to be getting more urgent that I come to terms with it rather than easing off. I feel out of step with it yet, not quite dancing or in tune.

My life seems more like chaos than Art.

Venus is displeased.

"You're not dancing," she says. Clearly I'm not keeping time properly.

Tick tock.

You'd think for a man who spends all of his days behind a piano that the skill sets of time-keeping and music-making would have bled into all of the synapses, crossed the divide, and made me a sensible, unified, Graceful Man.


Amazing how obtuse and bordered we can be within ourselves.

How easy it is to slip into blindness!

Well, here's to getting off my ass and making something with my life in addition to enjoying it.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sad News and a Jupiter Hour

My enthusiasm for new monarch butterflies was squashed before the Moon left Scorpio. I received news that a drowning had occurred: several of the caterpillars fell into the water supply and died. The Moon was at 29 Scorpio, making a sextile to Mars at 29 Capricorn.

I guess the Moon being in its fall showed its face after all, and quite literally. Babies fell into the water and died.

There's Scorpio for you. Not good for nurturing life.

It's been that kind of week. One of the worst gone down in the books in quite some time, but its been that kind of summer, I suppose.

Mars' retrograde ingress into Capricorn was a big change alright. I hear more and more news of relationship breakups - of men walking out or calling it quits.

Not surprising.

Aretha Franklin went into hospice and left her body. Given the timing, I didn't expect her to survive through the Mars station. She's a Scorpio rising, her life ruled by Mars.

I'm still feeling out the exaltation combined with retrogradation of Mars. Change in conditions, yes. For better or worse? I don't know yet. It certainly has felt like absolute hell and torture on my end as I push through mountains of fear, death anxiety, and horrible visions. (These are not Mars retro specific - they're frequent.)

The whole situation has led me to wonder if death is the parent of all fears. Can all fears be traced back to death? Are they all branches and offshoots of one big family tree?

Mars has been named Samael, the Angel of Death.

But I also know that all planets can kill, all planets can disease.

The significations of Saturn and Mars can at times blur and get confusing for me so that I'm not sure who authors my great and many fears. Mars is my out-of-sect malefic, leading me to wonder if his special cruelty is visited upon me by his sons, Phobos and Demos. The Leo eclipses of the past year have both fallen upon my natal Mars, and most of his significations have delivered themselves with...force.

My body is stronger than it probably ever has been before, though, so there are life-affirming facets.

But I've been hurt and wounded, and the pain lingers.

Yesterday, the Jupiter hour found my heart cracking open a bit, and I pressed into it to make and offering of myself. I offered my mind as a meeting house for Divinity. I was surprised by how many tears followed. As all the saints and honored dead rushed in to attend, I cried and cried.

The presence of Divinity often overwhelms and I cry. Not necessarily tears of sadness, but I cry. It's like being so happy that I cry.

Yesterday, though, there was sadness. I realized how sad I was, how much I was hurting deep down under the muscle. I offered myself despite the terrible things that had come before and despite the things which scared me that were yet to come. Prayer is hard - it can take rigor to hold the house open in the face of suffering. But for that one moment in that blessed hour, I made Eternity of myself.

Despite everything.

I was sitting in my car, listening to Whitacre's transcendent choral arrangements of Three Songs of Faith by e. e. cummings.

We don't often sing because we feel good. We don't dance because we're happy. We don't lift ourselves in praise because our hearts rejoice.

We do so because it hurts. We sing to get the pain out.

I listened to Joe Carter talk about spirituals today on my walk in the woods, and in his gorgeous, rich bass voice he sang several for Krista.

Recognition struck me.

And I cried again.

I could feel the songs of those in slavery, hear words of faith and joy from a people crushed and trapped in life. I imagine living a life completely within the bounds of slavery, from birth to death, imagine myself enslaved looking at faces I love, and I cry some more.

Will I ever get out of this trap? Will I make it to a promised land?

Can I be free of fear?

In the brief moment of a song, in the time it takes to utter a mantra, or maybe while it's Jupiter's hour, I can feel glimpses of freedom. Even though the words are sad and spirituals are Sorrow Songs, somehow it feels like you are already there with God while you sing them. Your trials are over, and you've made it. Isn't that something?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Jupiter in Scorpio: Multiplying Monarchs!

A fun thing happened while the Moon and Jupiter were rising in Scorpio this afternoon. I was sitting at Rob's kitchen table, having come in from looking at the two monarchs in their chrysalis forms outside. There's still a cup full of milkweed on the table, and just last night we observed a new tiny caterpillar on a leaf.

Today we were looking at that newly discovered caterpillar, noticing it hanging on a leaf wiggling and acting strangely. As we looked on, we observed it shedding its skin and emerging as a bigger caterpillar! These little guys are full of transformations at every stage it seems.

Our attention drawn to the milkweed by the growing caterpillar, two more freshly hatched caterpillars revealed themselves to our eyes, their tiny tiny trails of leaf-chewing giving their locations away. Even at their minuscule size, they look exactly like fully grown monarch caterpillars.

I reflected on their need to shed layers in order to grow, where we mammals with our skeletons on the inside do not.

I noted the time, and I observed that the Ascendant fell  just between Jupiter and the separating Moon in Scorpio. Surprise! There are a lot more eggs on that milkweed than we thought! And they're hatching!

I'm hopeful that this will be a steady, miraculous rollout of monarch butterflies for the next month!

Not only was the Jupiter theme of multiplicity involved, the Jupiter theme of growth and getting bigger also played a part in this little event. And of course the Moon signification of freshly hatched little babies.

I've had other Jupiter in Scorpio occurrences involving insects while the planet was on an angle. The most recent involved a Hercules beetle (the largest insect in the world) as Jupiter culminated, alone in Scorpio. Today, while the Moon was with him, we got butterfly babies. Royal babies that will grow into completely poisonous butterflies.

The butterfly happening occurred on the Mars hour, to boot. After that, I went out onto the back deck and found bumble bees trapped in the rain-soaked chiffon fabric netted around the bushes. The fabric remained from last week's party, but it had to come down today to liberate the already beleaguered bees. Liberating bees (Mars - they sting) from their nets felt like a good use of Jupiter rising in Scorpio during a Mars hour, too. I was happy to be the agent of Scorpionic insect liberation for those fuzzy little guys.

Even the tiniest of activities can be offerings. Those feel like the best kind, frankly. They make divinity feel like an intimate, lived experience. I love planetary hours for those kinds of remediations.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


My friend is raising monarch butterflies.

They've just gone into their chrysalis (what's the plural of chrysalis? Chrysali?), and today we watched a video of how they do it.

It's stunning.

Insects have been big this summer, especially as Jupiter has been transiting the one insect sign of the zodiac, Scorpio. The insect kingdom has been a great teacher these last few months. Butterflies have always resonated as masters of transformation, but somehow this summer, more than ever, this metamorphosing wonder has revealed its presence to me in a deeper way.

It's really hitting home.

I even acquired a banner this summer while Mars has been making its retrograde journey through my profected ascendant, opposite my natal Mars in the last face of Leo known as, you guessed it, The Banner.

I didn't realize at the time that I had in fact been granted my emblem of a hand holding a moth, and that moths are Mars-ruled animals.

It really feels right. Worthy. Wise.

What stunned me about the monarch caterpillar entering its chrysalis was the way it didn't even "enter" it at all; the chrysalis emerged from within the caterpillar!


Watching every new phase of being emerge from within my Scorpio teachers amazes me. From the egg emerges the larva, from the larva the pupa, and from the pupa the adult. Every time something completely different bursts forth as an old skin is shed. What is this Mystery? How is the future self there already within? Who knows this secret?

Mars is the guide for this process.

I can report that it hurts. Given its ruler, I can't say I'm surprised (said with bitter dryness).

Maybe if we've fallen out of step with our inner blacksmith the transformations are forced, resulting in pain. "Now you have no choice: Change."

Maybe we have to get hurt in order to begin the process, I don't know. The butterfly seems pretty in synch with it all, so maybe it can tell me something.

The chrysali will open in probably a week and a half. In rapt imagination I wonder what's going on in there. Does a solid form exist anymore? If it's a tube of monarch jelly, does that jelly have a consciousness? What does a blob of goo think about? Does it hurt? Is it scary? Does it remember its caterpillar form? Or has it always been in touch with its future-within?

I hope I'm there when they open. I have questions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

All the King's Horses

Mars moving retrograde has been the theme of my life these last few weeks, and it continues to be so with drastic effects.

Late Sunday night Mars entered Capricorn. It was around 10pm here, and within 12 hours, I got dumped by the guy I was seeing. He had said that he was going to wait until Mars was out of retrograde to make any big decisions, but I guess plans changed. Looks like Mars changing signs was all he needed to change his mind, and the decision was made.

It really is an excellent astrology example. Too bad it felt like absolute shit and a huge betrayal, shaming me greatly and leading to some pretty drastic decisions of my own. Sometimes when the astrology is so "on" you can marvel at it even through suffering.

Mars has been a big player for me in many ways this year. By more than one technique, Mars has significant testimony in my life. My ascendant is profected to Aquarius this year, so Mars' presence there has had a huge impact on my health and physical well-being. Witness my posts about my exercise routine going off the chart and into high gear (Mars is out of bounds, too). My age point has also reached Aries, which is in trine to my natal Mars in Leo in the 9th (men from foreign lands - and my profected 7th). And, in my solar return this year, Mars is sitting right on my natal Moon with the solar return Moon only a few degrees away.

Yeah, something is happening to my body this year.

But something is happening to my mind and heart, too.

I've been wondering what would happen when Mars entered Capricorn, keeping in mind that, for me, it would transit into my profected 12th, a place I have found in the past to signify losses of mind, body, property, and the ending of relationships. I had met this now-lost man while Mars was in Aquarius, so it makes sense that, as soon as Mars stationing retrograde and moving into Capricorn would indicate the loss.

Color me corrected.

I didn't see it coming, but now I'll know what to look for next time.

I can't wait to see what develops when Mars goes back into Aquarius. A horary will be a quick way to see if he's coming back, but based on the Mars movements, I'd be surprised if I didn't hear from him when Mars is direct and recapitulates his conditions of our meeting time.

I've also been wondering how Mars will act while retrograde and in Capricorn. I had read in Vedic literature that when an exalted planet is retrograde it acts fallen, and likewise when a fallen planet is retrograde, it acts exalted.

Now I know I can't blend Vedic and Western rules too much, but I'm fascinated to see if Mars is acting fallen now. Fallen planets are pretty drastic and severe, prone to exaggeration and overcompensation.

I wonder if my guy felt the pressure and did something drastic?

I can report that some pretty drastic things have been going on in my soul, and of a "shut the door", 12th house nature. I made some Martial decisions to divide myself from certain things and return to seclusion and hermitage. Mars does rule my 12th natally, and he is a bit of a loner as it is.

I will also be relying on the inherent nature of Mars to shut some other facets of my personality down that I feel are not "working." Mostly, these are the Venus things, and in my soul now, Mars and Saturn are joining forces to restrain my wild, foolish, and ultimately harmful Venus. The celibate warrior is coming out to play, and I'm exploring his superiority to Venus (superior in the sense that Mars' orbit is above that of the Sun and, by extension, Venus').

I've been working on gating off my Venus anyway as I navigate and find a livable version of my natal Saturn overcoming Venus. Some of that is dietary and inclusive as I add in foods signified by that aspect (more able cider vinegar), and some of that is exclusive and forbidding (no alcohol allowed).

I'm glad I've been working already on negating some of Venus' significations with Saturn through my denial and won't-power; I can rely on some of the practice I've already been employing the last seven months to gate off some other aspects of Venus that are out of balance and leading me consistently down paths of destruction, ill physical and mental health, and dangerous situations in love that rob me of my possessions, money, and self-esteem.

I won't describe what they are yet - saying it out loud too soon will ruin the implementation and drain my intention of its effectiveness, but, Mars is now in its exaltation: a new phase of the game has begun.

Aretha is in hospice care. The video I posted above is probably my favorite. We've been thinking a lot about her. When she goes, may it be surrounded by love and care.

Like the song says, something drastic has happened. It feels perfect for Mars entering Capricorn.

The pieces are all over the floor.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Saturn and Master Yoda: A Phenomenology of Inclusion

There's a lot of Star Wars going on here right now. I'm sitting in my friend's house while he's on a portrait painting marathon, and currently, as Capricorn is rising, Master Yoda is the subject of the hour. 

We even have the soundtrack to A New Hope playing. 

Lately I'm drawing inspiration from Yoda as an emblem of Saturn's Mastery. 

What if Saturn, as the farthest visible body, contains and includes all of the other bodies? And what if that means accessibility and mastery of all the other spheres? So, if you're "doing" Saturn properly, you're also inherently "doing" all of the other spheres which come before him? 

Master Yoda can still do Mars. Even in an 800-year-old body, he kicks ass. 

It's as if, once you've reached the highest sphere and made that climb all the way up, you can then drop back down the ladder to any of the other spheres and inhabit them with ease and ability. 

I imagine martial arts training is much the same way - one moves from blue to black belt, for example, but once you're at black it's not as if you forget everything from the blue level.

Black is an extension of blue. 

So what if Saturn is an extension of the other planets?

What if every sphere is an extension of what has come before? So that, when we get to Mercury we can know him fully in his own right but then also know him as building upon everything the Moon is? He's Mercury-and-Moon? 

And so on up the ladder. 

I suppose it's a bit like the Russian nesting doll idea, but I'm after a phenomenology of inclusiveness that reaches its greatest expression in Saturn. And beyond.

Maybe this property of inclusiveness I'm touching at is even the defining characteristic of the human Soul. I'm not sure yet. 

To know something in its own right and then feel it metaxically blended with everything else feels very Lunar to me, suggesting to me once more the great primacy and Mystery of the Moon when it comes to Soul. All things do seem to lead back to the Moon. 

But then, all things seem to lead back to Saturn, too. 

Sometimes I'm tempted to think of the Moon as the most important body in the system, even more than the Sun! I mean, she is Soul Incarnate. The Mistress of Blended Space! 

I really like the way an inclusive Saturn feels. It's a tough road, mastering all the spheres. It means containing contradiction. But suddenly, a vision of cosmic totality and a crystal-clear view for miles is really appealing. And it feels like Saturn is the way to this!

P.S. I think Mercury, the Great Mimic, is integral to this process, but I basically see Saturn and Mercury as reflections of the same entity. So, when I say Saturn, in my head I'm almost thinking Mercury at once. Puer-Senex. 

Feet on the Ground

I've had chronic back pain for years. Like most of the Western world, my spine has grown more into an "S" shape than the natural "J." The resulting heaviness of my head pitched forward has given my thoracic spine one helluva knot. My hips tightened and my lower back compressed.

I've been working on it for years now, but over the last five to seven years the pain really increased. A large part of that has been teaching myself to inhabit my body all over again, back from square one in many instances. That includes re-learning how to stand, how to sit, and how to walk.

Many hours have been logged on the forest trails learning to find my balance again and redistribute my weight across my foot.

Striking with the heel first has been crucial. I think of the heel as signifying the Sun since it's the first thing to hit the ground. I use my proprioception to feel the heel's connection to the spine and back - more Sun-ruled body parts.

The additional gains I've made from the current weight-lifting regimen are building on the practiced connections I've made through learning to walk again, meeting the earth full-footed.

Feet fully on the ground.

I even exercise barefoot.

Mars as tutor these past few weeks has shown me that the body's strength has everything to do with being more fully rooted into the earth. We work out so that we can stand on the earth. Lifting up is opening down. Connection to the ground through the foot is the beginning of strength.

Our time here on earth seems to be about growing down. Feet planted on the Earth. Finally making it here. Being "down to earth."

I'd consider my life an amazing success if I reached ground.

James Hillman, in his ever-Saturnine way, sees it, too. The Soul's Code is a book-length treatment of the idea which informs me.

My journey has been about bringing the heel back into the game, networking it back into every single activity, sitting or standing. It means muscularly resisting decades of habit and building a new threshold of encounter.

With each workout, I'd like to think I get better and better at Being Here, at finding my fullest connection to the earth.

With each step I take I practice my grounding. If each step is a new opportunity to practice and learn, I wonder how much I could grow. I take a lot of steps in a day!