Thursday, March 16, 2017

Being and Becoming

A while back I graduated from a texty beast phone with a keypad to a touch screen, and took a break from blogging after running into obstacles in making posts on this new device.  After giving up for a few months I am beginning to miss my self expression outlet!  Typing is tricky, but including images with text is ugh!  Maddening!

So my chart averse friends will be spared the usual map of real time and just get a Plato quote with a story of how I met and gradually fell deeply in love with it.

It goes something like this: "As being is to becoming, so truth is to believing."

I read it in a philosophy book that I bought at The Paper Plant years ago.  I remember (but you know how shifty memories can be) John being so glad that I bought it.  But I could not remember the exact name of the book or the author.  I knew it wasn't Bakunin the apologist of anarchy (I really liked him!) or Camus (I liked him too, and rembered enough to feel confident I did not read that quote in his writing); it seemed like it was some German guy and the book had philosophy in the title.  When I looked up Heidegger a year or two ago I did not find a title that rang a bell.  But his name stuck in my mind.

Today I googled "Heidegger on Plato" and found it!  It was a lecture that had been made into a book:  "What is Philosophy?"  No wonder I picked it up!  It was cheap (used book store), it was skinny, and it was asking the question I had wondered about, like those people on the commercials for "The National Enquirer" - I wanted to know, not about the Loch Ness monster, but what philosophy is.

It was a kind of a hard read, but there was some stuff (if I remember right) about the verb 'to be' in Greek that reminded me of the verb 'to be' in Spanish.  For one thing, there are actually two of them.  One is for stuff that doesn't change, not absolutely, but relatively speaking, like a person's name or a chair.  The other is for stuff that does, like location; sometimes we are at work, sometimes we are at the store and sometimes we are at home.  One kind of being gets one verb and the other kind gets another.  Well, all langauges don't have one verb for being without change and another for being with change.  Spanish does, but English doesn't.  In English we change the word or stick it beside another one to indicate how transient or unchanging a situation is, or sometimes the audience just has to figure out how transient things are from the context; we can be at the store or we can be the daughter of a political activist, both the transient and the unchanging get the same verb. 

So in this book 'What is Philosphy' Heidegger was explaining how Plato's audience would have been reading two completely different words for two types of being.  And this essay is already getting pretty long for a blog post so I will try to cut quickly to the big moment, where me and that quote first met.

He was talking about truth and illusion and opinion and about how illusions and opinions change, that their angle of inclination changes until they are standing upright, and when that happens they are approaching the truth.  You really will have to read it for yourself, I am sure I have got his meaning all muddled, that's just what remains in my mind more than 20 years after the fact.

But I swear I remember something about the 'to be' verb for changing things, which usually gets translated in English as 'becoming' (as opposed to 'being' for the boring stuff that always stays the same) refering to something that gradually stands up: and that made me think of astrology.  I had read a few books by Dane Rudyer and he was really big on astrology being all about cycles- that each sign, or step in a cycle between two planets, was a step in growth.  Each new step both depends on and builds on the previous step.

I knew astrology was among the graduate, or upper level of courses, that well educated Hellenists studied, so I knew Plato  could probably 'speak' astrology.  But for some reason it took me about 20 years to buckle down and really explore Plato. 

Well, actually the reason it took me so long is probably that in addition to wanting to understand philosophy I was also fascinated with men and, you know, the things everyone says women do with them.  The three letter word that begins with s and leads to parenthood.  But all through those adventures of finding out what this strange activity is that seems so mysterious and primitive and frought with unseen danger I did keep poking around and picking up a skinny book about philosophy here or there, until I settled in for a long satisfying Greek/English translation of Plato's Timeaus.  It is by Benjamin Jowett and has lots of really helpful annotations.

Wow.  So many years wondering.  That quote really baffled me.  "As being is to becoming so truth is to believing."  Now, rather than baffle, it encapsulates for me so much of the wisdom unfolded in the part of Timeaus about the genesis of the  cosmos.  When that quote comes up in my mind there always follows all the things Plato said about the psyche, the way he bowed reverently to other cultures and pointed his audience to the source of the wisdom he was sharing.

There is a form of existence which does not experience birth or death, and it is that from which all forms of existence originate.  It is always.  Opinions and beliefs are born and grow to maturity through experience and wane until they have morphed into new ones.  The truth is always unchanging, always there ready for us to find it.

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mercury and Venus meet Saturn and Pluto

Two heavy line ups this week and the first one peaks today.  Mercury will be conjunct Saturn late afternoon here in Raleigh.  Quick Mercury on the tight inside track will over take sure and slow Saturn in the sign of the arrow, Sagittarius.  We see Sagittarius on the midheaven when the ecliptic reaches its lowest dip in a bowl under the celestial equator (kind of like an imaginary projection of earth's waistline projected into the sky).  The ecliptic is the planetary highway.  Well, maybe we should picture a highway in New York City; planets, as a rule, weave above and below the main drag and the locals seem oblivious to the apparent chaos. 

But I'm letting wild traffic patterns distract me from repeating the story of why Mercury, Saturn (and Sun too! It just entered Sag a day or two ago) are seen at the bottom of the bowl. ... We see the Sagittarius section of the highway low because we are reaching the top of our daily revolution on Earth's tilted axis.

That's actually a cavalier use of the word 'see'-  we can't 'see' Mercury or Saturn because they are only 15degrees from the Sun.  They are little lights hidden in the shadow of an olympian photon tree.  But we do see the Sun low in the sky when it is in the sign of the shooting arrow.

My favorite 2 Earth events to mark this celestial lineup of communication (Mercury) and restraint (Saturn) are-

 1st the discovery and expensive repair of a dangeous electrical problem which had been developing right before my eyes ever since the tornado several years ago loosened the power service line to my house.    The electrician barely controlled his consternation at my obvious stupidity.  I was seriously humbled.  How could I have let set a consequential drooping power line slip from my mind? 

 Maybe an urgent obsession to learn everything I can before I lose the physical capacity to clean houses.  Astrology has graduated from hobby status to planned retirement income.  I was searching for answers to satisfy my curiosity, now it feels more like an intellectual race for survival.  So this Mercury Saturn meet up in Sagittarius helped me see how the drive for what we think is essential can pull focus from matters of grave consequence.  We normally think of Aries as the sign of battle, but Sagittarius is like being in one side or the other of a sniper's scope, the attention is so fiercely concentrated that all surrounding events are effectively ignored. 

The 2nd Earth event is much lighter, I was such a data hog this month, the first time I have ever done this, I went over my data limit and will get slow data till Nov 26. 

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Well I reckon I have also exceeded my quota of reader patience, definitely not the first time for that!  Does anyone wonder about the significance of the Twins (Gemini is opposite Sagittarius) if the arrow calls attention to a hidden high point?  What does a pair of twins have to do with reaching the low point?  

I thought you might be wondering.  Well, it never works out, I always get waylaid by life stuff, but maybe this week will be different.  Maybe I can make a post explaining the celestial mechanics of the Twins to celebrate Venus lining up with Pluto in Capricorn.

I rarely post to alert friends of celestail events.  I am a little candle compared to the info available on thousands of commercial sites.  I also do not outline the many events unfolding around me that I associate with what's unfolding in the sky.  This has been a worrisome week in many other ways and there are many other cycles unfolding while this moment of worry holds attention.  

Though you can't see them in the sky, you can easily locate Mercury next to Saturn in the chart below.  They are in the pie slice on the left, below the horizon labled '2.'  Saturn looks like an 'h' with a line through the top part.  That symbol is actually a combination of the cross of physical existence over the crescent of the soul.  Mercury is right next to Saturn.  It is like Venus with a little Moon hat.  The red arrow, in the section they currently occupy with the Sun, stands for Sagittarius.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Super Sensible

This is a post from yesterday that I am finally figuring out how to publish.

America is back, not the continent, my old friend.  I am reading Rudolph Steiner, good medicine for emotional times.  He taps away with the physician's hammer encouraging us to develop a rigorous understanding of what lies behind emotions and knee jerk reactions to sensory experiences.  He describes the spiritual thought process as including a consideration of many circumstances leading up to and away from an emotional event.  He uses the term super sensible to indicate that it is an intelectual process that is above and beyond immediate reactions.  Yesterday I could only think of all my knee jerk reactions with dismay; luckily I have been on this path for a while and focused on what I knew and trusted to be good and true- breathing, friendship, and the yoga sutras of patanjali.

This morning Koala, as they call my old friend, is back.  We had a brief exchange about the election results.  She remarked on the people in the streets shouting and waving Trump placards.  Her friends all want to know if she is ready.

We both agree, after our wild emotional ride in July that now is a time to chill, seriously get that balance going forward so we can meet the future with integrity.  She is being super sensible when it really counts.

Venus in the diplomatic end of Sagittarius was rising when she showed up this morn.  Back in July when we blew up and parted ways, Venus was in Leo rising every day like the cock's crow right before Jupiter in Virgo- leonine kindness meeting its fate with a training opportunity.  The posts in July and August document events surrounding the fireworks.

Any bodies in fire signs, including Saturn still in Sagittarius for another year, add their own special heat to the revolutionary bonfire of Uranus in Aries.  For years I read about social revolutions and wondered if and how one would come to my homeland in my lifetime.  I asked my friend Bob what he thought was the best way to prepare.  If I remember right he said, after his usual thoughtful pause,  he was offering rhe best suggestion he could think of in response to my request for advice, "get to know your neighbors."

Now, as Koala is preparing to move back in, Venus is past its fateful meeting with both Jupiter and Saturn.  Kindness has met with both opportunity and limits, and has a new concept of possibilities.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Between the Sun and Galactic Plane

Not exactly under the Sun, more like a fishing line cast from a bridge that makes an angle with the water instead of going straight down.  The ecliptic is almost standing on its edge, but not quite; the part near the galactic plane leans away from Orion and the upper part leans toward it.

When I get my pc hooked to the net I'll post some of the helpful graphics I have found on astronomy sites.  For now I want to call attention to this section of our cycle before we get too far past it.   It is a bit like a galactic solstice, only in that we are at our tropical ( which means turning) point with respect to the galactic plane.  I think it was actually yesterday afternoon we turned from going down toward the plane to the upward half of the cycle.

And the COOLEST  thing to me is that this is what the constellations from 2,500 years ago are all about.  Cetus the sea monster is crossing the mid heaven when we are looking down into the lower dome of the Milky Way.  So f-ing cool.

Happy day after galactic turning point.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Patience

This is a continuation of the previous  post called Passion and here is a link to a related post from way back in 2011 when this blog was young- The Importance of the Moon in Astrology.
At the bottom I will put a chart for the 2 or so days after the Passion essay.  I don't remember why I did a chart for that moment.  I think that's the day I looked up the word passion and was struck by the intimate relationship it has with patience.  I do associate the Moon in Taurus with patience and I can recall trying to finish the essay on passion but feeling that I had lost courage.  I remember writing that the urge to record my thoughts had dissipated and I felt like a dog wanting to retreat, tail between my legs, but that Taurus determination kept me from abandoning what I had begun.
Then, a few days later I tried again.

The only reason I can remember why I did the chart with the Moon in Cancer is I changed the title.  I felt the whole process of completing this post slipping from my control and had the fore thought to name the chart for the moment that inspired me to get it from Astrodienst-I typed  Parmenides in the box for the name.  I had looked up the Greek word doxa which translates as opinion or judgment.  I wanted to refresh my understanding of the term.  All the concepts in these two posts, Passion and Patience, have been floating around in my thoughts since that night 9 days ago when the Moon in Aries was lining up with Uranus.  Now that the Moon is in Leo I feel that a bouquet of language is finally ready to come from nature's magic hat.

I have a book from the local university library called Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon by F.E.Peters.  It is only about 240 pages, but very useful in studying Plato, and other Greek philosophers from the same  period.   It is in fact organized as a lexicon, with Greek terms listed in alphabetical order and as little as a paragraph,  for instance katalepsis: grasping, apprehension has only 5 lines; or as many as three pages as under the heading nous: intelligence, intellect, mind.  Each word entry includes references to philosophers who defined the term in their works.  So under doxa I found a reference to Parmenides a preSocratic philosopher.  The problem with most Greek philosophers before Plato and Socrates is that we have very scanty samples of their writing, mostly through quotes from later writers.  We do have at least several pages from Parmenides though, and I went surfing to find them.

That chart is for the moment I began reading the English translation of his On Nature, or at least fragments of what remains.  It was much too short, but very satisfying to read what Plato had obviously studied and to relate it to his ideas as well as concepts outlined in old Vedic literature and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  It was thrilling to be transported back almost 3,000 years to the ideas that people were sharing between various cultures.

I have come to anticipate these deeply satisfying moments of study whenever Mercury is slowing down to a station, not as a right, or something due to me, but as a gift that has come on such a regular basis that I can hardly help looking forward to it.   I dare not expect it, but the hope is always present when I see the numbers getting smaller and smaller in the Mercury column of the ephemeris indicating that it is slowing down in its apparent motion compared to Earth.  Customers will 'not be ready' and I will be happily engaged with my other work, becoming familiar with the roots of western astrology.

So the 2nd chart in this post with the Moon in Cancer goes with that thrill of finally reading the words of Parmenides.  I won't talk more about that chart here, I am just including it as a reference for future studies of similar astrological moments.

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What was really important to me about the Aug 22 chart in the Passion post was the Moon just crossing the line from Venus's 7th house of partnership to its 8th house of intimacy.  When that memory came it was like a thunderbolt from a blue sky.  I had felt the rumblings all day but they were distant and more distracting than disturbing.  The real storm had passed and I was focused on getting myself back on a balanced footing.

That memory of my customer leading me to the guest bed, and bringing a cold rag for my head transported me almost violently to a time when I had no understanding of what life meant to me,  and in spite of all the study and searching felt as bereft of an answer as ever.  I do remember very clearly, as I received the kindness and understanding I had longed for from Marlene, realizing what seemed like an awful truth, that it would not after all change a thing.

How many times I had read in astrology books, under the heading 'Scorpio' that here we learn only after we get what we want, that it will not satisfy.  There it was.  And Marlene is a Scorpio Sun.  Over the years she was the one customer who did not erect barriers of polite conversation as a way of censoring my accounts of drug and sex adventures.  She was then and still is one of my most intimate friends.  She gave me the kindness my mother could not extend,  understanding as only a mature Scorpio mother can, that we have to choose our family.  Even with an adopted child that a mother has taken the trouble go out in the world and prove to the community she is responsible and worthy to care for as her own, even such a strong bond has to be chosen anew at every turn if the love is to be completely honest.  Scorpio love is not Hallmark love.  It is a fierce, conditional love.  

As a child with a Scorpio Moon I had to choose my mother and I respected the ways my given mother chose to love me.   I have understood this for many years now, but on the day that memory was created that understanding was not yet a part of my knowledge base.  I still had intense shame for leaving my family and dreaded every family holiday.  Mothers could spot me, mothers of friends especially- and reached out to me like an adorable kitten without a home.  But I was skittish and avoided the generous overtures.

Marlene was different because she was a customer and she laughed at my misadventures.  She fearlessly remarked on the underlying motives and we laughed at them together.  Shame for her was a boogey monster that had to be exposed for its manipulative function.  We had that in common.  And as a member of my mother's generation she had first hand experience of the boogey monsters that my mother wrestled with.  My mother was very much against ERA, and I really needed an example from her generation to balance my inherited view of the struggle for women's rights.
 
These are the themes, of daughters and mothers choosing one another, and how I did that with my customers, how I grew to womanhood in the homes of women from my mother's generation, that I expected to cover in this blog before my passion for astrology took it over.  That memory and the planet of motherhood,  the Moon, in feisty Aries just exactly crossing the line from fulfillment with Venus to intimate understanding of what comes after fulfillment, which is the truth that there is always a new desire on the other side, as well as something lost.  We never have a desire fulfilled without losing the innocent opinion of what its fulfillment will mean to us.  We reach for love and cannot know until we receive it, what love really is.

That memory was like a jolt of electricity from the Aries Moon.....a surface view of the chart would immediately pick up on the undercurrent of the Moon lining up with Uranus, the planet keeled over on its side like a hip hop dancer spinning on her back instead of using her feet as any traditional dancer should; but a closer Scorpio look, as an examination under a microscope, or through binoculars at the sky, because we are that curious, we don't want to miss a detail if there is a tool handy to help us get a closer look, or as with a language specifically developed to describe celestial mechanics, with that concentrated focus the Moon's momentary relationship with Venus in Virgo the sign of service and apprenticeship is clearly evident.  It is a flash of just a few pivotal minutes captured in the memory and the chart.

"Yes," I thought to myself, "this is what I meant to write about and still intend to write about."  And I opened the little Blogger app for androids.  I typed Passion in the heading and now here I am 9 days later finishing what I began.

As I was working on this post I kept recalling the movie "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne",  so I looked that up last night.  I remember going to watch it with my old boyfriend, the one who was raging at his boss in the last post.  It was so depressing, and horrifying the way I identified with Judith, especially when she went to visit with the family on Sunday that was her only social contact.  It was strange for macho slut Moustache Mary to be secretly feeling her life was being played out in the character of a pious spinster.  But there had been a time when my life circle was very limited and bound by Catholicism and those years will always be a part of me.  I did feel thankful when I left the theater for having left that circle.  I knew I would rather feel lost outside the circle than trapped within it.  That urge to exit the circle can be associated with Uranus, the first modern planet to be acknowledged after hundreds of years with the longest recognized cycle in our solar system being limited to 28 year Saturn.






Monday, August 22, 2016

Passion

This is the first of 2 posts that go together and it was inspired by a sudden flash of a memory from more than20 years ago.
The chart for the moment the memory came is at the bottom.

I was feeling passionate, in bed I thought for the night.  The cloud cover was thick but I had seen Jupiter and Venus at the thin openings along the horizon at sunset.  I had been reading about the brain and how memories are no more accurate than the last time we recall them, because they are colored with new associations each time they pass back and forth between the hippocampus in the heart of the brain and the surrounding cortex.

I was thinking about the dangers of perfect solitude, now that I finally live with no other humans in the house.  Not even a dog to sniff me and let me know she needs to go out.  A few cats that I put outside as soon as I tire of their affection.   "Yes," I thought, "it is good to have the interruptions and outside input."

I was on my back but not practicing breathing or focusing on any object.  I was caught up in filling out the allegory that had sprung up in my imagination of a culture where music was just one note.  There were several numbers or letters for different notes in succession, which could be arranged in various patterns, but no matter the number or letter that named them, each note sounded exactly alike.

I imagined what people would say about this kind of music when someone suggested using different sounds for different notes- "People who can't hold the note want to imitate birds and other sounds of nature.  They want to elevate discarded superstitious practices and celebrate them as edifying pursuits.  It is nothing but a lack of self control which they want us to accept as art.  True art is an exercise in free will and no  civilized human being with the power of free will should choose to mimic nature when the true path is clearly in developing the ability to follow the one note born of the past and bearing our minds on the one guiding wave to the glorious future."

I was getting pretty worked up as I turned the possible dialogue over in my mind.  I wanted to make people see how strange life is for someone who follows time according to the planets instead of the uniform days on calendars and hours on clocks.  That such a person is neither a peer of astrological forecasters nor of the people who look to clocks for order in the human journey.  I wanted people to see how beautiful organic time is compared to clock time and how sad it is that so few care to follow it.

When I started thinking about writing this post the  emotion was allowed to build.  I could see myself feeling more and more like a misunderstood, underappreciated outsider.  The Moon was not visible, but I could see its symbol a mere 4 degrees behind Uranus in the chart.  I calculated - roughly 8 hours and they would be lined up.  Looking at those two symbols lining up in the section marked with the red Aries glyph was calming.  I was thinking about the step in becoming where the self is exalted.  Not the capital S self that the yogis talk about reaching when we let go of our ego, but the lower case s self that is associated with the body in which we find our souls to currently exist.
 
All day I was adjusting to the utter peace of solitude and drifting from one task to another, or to periods of study.  Meditation kept coming up as a possibility, and then I would feel really tired and head for the comfort of my bed.  Nothing was important until sunset when I knew I only had 20 minutes to catch Jupiter and Venus if they were not behind the clouds.  Then I was moving and rode that momentum to go off in my car and do an errand in the fresh darkness of a new night.

The music on the radio was better than usual to me and I went past my house for an extra errand to enjoy being out and listening to that airwave coming from Scotland via Chapel Hill.  I went to the grocery store and listened to the music in the parking lot.  I felt so free with no immediate worries or responsibilities.
 
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My old boyfriend had called during my afternoon nap.  I wasn't asleep. I spend a lot of time in bed, saving up precious thyroid hormones and slowing down my breathing.  My old boyfriend was upset.  A rude customer had called his boss at the taxi station and reported that my old boyfriend had been rude.  That customer should have heard the torrent of foul language I was treated to.  I laughed and thought of the Moon in Aries.   He continued to curse and apologize and I laughed some more.  The boss wants to turn the taxi business into a more professional operation.   My boyfriend born on the one day every two years when we see Mars closest to Pluto (back then in Virgo the sign of service), will have nothing to with this professional bullshit.  No sir.  He will not play that game.  He is frothing.   And I am laughing.  I get to play Venus.  I listen and think of all these astrological associations, enjoy his outrageous sense of humor and laugh at his delightful turns of phrase as he vents his rage.   He is one very underappreciated entertainer and I am only occasionally fed up with his need for an audience.

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Something felt strange about the whole day to me, as though I was just a bit off the rails.  There was no one else to see it and with my old boyfriend doing such a great job of being misunderstood I didn't have the heart to go in that direction.  Who wants to follow the path of righteousness when the raging bull is clearly seen and heard tearing up the tracks within a few paces after the pleasure of feeling correct?

So that imaginary dialogue between a follower of organic sound as allegory for a follower of organic time made me think it was time for bed.  I had worked in the yard, done some good studying, completed errands and witnessed two planets sinking behind the clouds on the western horizon.  Aimless as I felt, the day had not been unproductive, and I certainly would not pursue a righteous vision of the solitary planet watcher.

Being slightly unfocused much of the day was actually not surprising.  Two of Mr. Lyrica's brothers are visiting from Ireland and I had gone over to meet them in the morning.  I always have Mr. Lyrica on my mind for at least 24 hours after we spend time together, and this short visit with some of his family naturally made an even deeper impression.   I kept turning over in my mind the things we had said and smiling each time I recalled the selfie stick we used to take a group photo.  I went over concerns that we all share but can't yet speak of openly as a group.  Though this all seemed natural I still felt there was some under current pulling on my attention that I could not identify.

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I felt like I was just coming out of a dazed shock from the outburst a few weeks ago when the Moon was in Leo.  I had gotten over repeating the events in my mind and was adjusting to the reality that America was really gone.   She called me in the evening and apologized for not coming by to pick up her bed and other remaining possessions.   She would try to come by Monday and also leave the last key which we had both forgotten about.  Okey dokey.  Como quieras.  Absolutely not a problem.  No one has been drinking beer, listening to loud music and smoking pot in the front yard for a week now.  I have no complaints.  America sounds happy too, she is moving on to the next success in her life.
   
The storm seemed so unnecessary at the time.  I was shocked at my behavior as well as hers.  It all seemed like a strange manifestation of the profound heartbreak she was suffering because her daughter in Mexico had left home and moved in with her boyfriend.  America had been yelling at her on the video calls "if you're old enough to get married without my consent you are old enough to pay for school."   And the daughter took the leap.
  
Two years left in college, all the money America had been sending to Mexico for bus fare, books, uniforms, field trips, food....all it seemed so she could hitch up with a classmate and become a tethered woman just like all the other suffering Mexican women.  Our troubles only seemed absurd when I forgot about her daughter.  And the people abducted on a regular basis for ransom.  The young men in their 20's threatened with murder if they refuse to join gangs that deal in drugs and kidnapping.  It wasn't such a difficult storm to explain when I considered the pressure she lives with.

But I can't remember which thoughts led to the memory of being led to the bed at my customer's house many years ago and having a cold rag placed on my head.  Suddenly, like Bam! It was there.  I was there.  My customer was there, in the room with the blue carpet and the white curtains, with shades that were not all bent and tangled, but straight and even and regularly dusted by the well paid housecleaner Moustache Mary.

I've been working on this post all morning and wish I could recall the thoughts immediately preceding that Bam! Memory.

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Last week I stumbled on a very helpful tidbit of information in one of the books I'm reading about the brain.   They had side by side views of a brain imaged when the area "concerned with binding emotions and thoughts" is active and when "the skeptical brain sparks up on the edge of the insula."  They went on in the caption to say "the insula is sensitive to things which are 'disgusting'  - suggesting that falsehood is treated much like an unhealthy substance which the body wants to reject."  it was in one of those boxes publishers use these days to highlight a concept.  The box was labeled Belief and Non-Belief.  "The scans suggested that, although many of the 'high cognition' parts of the brain are likely to be involved in assessing the truth-value of a statement, the final acceptance of a statement as 'true' or its rejection as 'false', seems to rely more on primitive, emotional areas."

Wow.   I put the book down and walked from room to room after I read that.  I remembered seeing the look of disgust on a customer's face when I asked to do the charts of her family members.  She couldn't hide the instinctive eeyoo look of the the raised upper lip trying to prevent a foul odor from entering the nose.
 
I thought she was young and hip.  She didn't believe Jesus rose from the dead, but she sent her kids to a church day care.  My husband had taken us down that same path.  He hated Christianity but needed subsidized day care.  My customer was actually a church member, much like my father, who was very open minded but saw churches as community organizations whose believe systems were to be tolerated.  You pay your dues, go to mass every Sunday, and when you get in a scrape you can knock on any parish door and expect the priest to help you.  It was as simple as that.

But modern textbooks don't include a paragraph condemning the superstition of a political prisoner rising from the dead.  The universal paragraph to be found in most every science text book explains why astrology is superstition and must not be confused with science.  We are not taught in public schools that the Christian story is a myth.  We are however told that astrology is a trick on fools.
 
And so it made sense that my suggestion caught my customer off guard and she could not conceal the fact that it was to her like a cockroach had hopped from somewhere on my person and darted across her kitchen counter.  Skepticism associated in the brain with disgust.  What a revelation that was to me.

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The funny thing is it was a week after the upsetting event that I was in that customer's guest bed with her placing a cool rag over my head.  I had told the same story to another customer a day or two earlier without a sniffle or rising tempest of having been profoundly wronged.  But here in Marlene's house I blubbered and felt weak with convulsive crying.
 
It doesn't take brain books to know the power strong emotions  have to fix an event in the memory.
 
I had taken the 3 hour drive down to Brunswick County to visit my mother.  It turned out she was in the middle of a crisis while I was there.  The second day of my visit I heard her talking on the phone to my older brother in Florida and already had a good picture of the situation.  She was sending money to him for a lawyer to represent him in court to retain custody of his daughter.  When she got off the phone she explained that the wife was being convicted for stealing drugs from the hospital where she worked and was going into drug rehab.

"Well, that sounds like something they have in common."  Yes.   I do believe that's exactly what I said.  It is hard to imagine saying anything more foolishly provocative, but that's my best recall.

My mother did not need to be reminded at that moment of all the years of heartache and disappointments she had endured in my adventurous brother's long and colorful illegal drug career.  For me he was a pirate hero I could never hope to equal.   For her he was the son who vacillated between petty criminal low life friends and the respectable path.

I grew up hearing every woman he fell in love with referred to as a slut.  I could not control my sense of righteous anger that yet another woman attached to him was being demonized.  The immature feminist in me darted out and lunged for my mother's most vulnerable spot-  the need to insure continued access to her only grandchild.

Her reaction took a few minutes to gather force as it cycled through the years of recriminating exchanges.  "This is fine," I thought.  "I can weather this storm.  I am no longer afraid of her.  She will rage on and get it out of her system and then she will calm down."  But I had not considered my father in the equation.  He had no desire to let the storm play out.  Any moment she could turn on him with accusations about alcoholism.  He wanted me to leave.  He wasn"t angry.  He just said, "You better leave."  Like it was the sensible thing to do.  We have all been through these tirades and I had been away for so many years for that very reason, I had forgotten how violent my mother could get.

"I'm not leaving,"  I said calmly.  "This is my house."  Not sure where I got that idea.  It was my first visit 'home' in years.. I always felt like an intruder on the rare occasions when I went back.

He moved to approach me and escort me from the house.
"No!"  She yelled in panic.  "Don't touch her.   She'll have the police on us.  You'll be in court for assault.  You call the police before she does!"

I can see where most people would question the wisdom of my actions.  I must admit I don't see them as wise.  But at the time I felt like the presence of police could be a help.  It seemed like they were the one hope of bringing some calm to her storm and I wanted to be there on the other side.   I really thought it was an opportunity to move past old hurts and leave them behind.

So I waited.  Well, when they arrived I was told I had to leave.  The officer stood by and monitored my every action as I retrieved my suitcase and a few other items to my car.  Among them was a bag of bulk tea which she asked about.

"Is that Marijuana?"   I was taken aback. 
"It's tea.  Do you want to smell it?"
"Yes please."
What a very strange encounter.
I think the step I am about to recount reveals that I was not as concerned about getting past old hurts as I was in wrestling respect from my parents.  On the way back to Raleigh I stopped in the county sheriff's office and asked if I had grounds to bring my mother to court for verbal assault.  I don't remember the response, just that I was obsessed with 'justice'.
So in the middle of recounting all this foolishness to Marlene I began sobbing and blubbering.  I knew I was really home, or as close to it as I would ever get.  And it wasn't so much because Marlene cared about me as it was that I knew she also cared about my mother.  She understood the hurt that both my mother and I felt and did not see either of us as blameworthy. 
*      -      *      -      *      -      *      -      *      -      *      -      *
When I began this blog 6 years ago I had recently been diagnosed and treated for Grave's Disease.  My thyroid was visibly swollen and I had been exhibiting symptoms for years.  It was Marlene's husband who explained why I could not tolerate heat and mentioned very casually that once I got my thyroid checked out I would start wearing a sweater in the cold temperatures. 
I had been living with an over active thyroid for many years, so even though I was determined to be one of the people that gets back up to speed in a year and certainly not one that would take 10 years to get my life straight, the problems just kept shape shifting.  If there wasn't pain there was intense unbearable anxiety or profound fatigue.  I had time to write a blog when I cut back on my cleaning schedule.  This link goes to the continuation of this essay - Patience


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mars under Acrab on way to Saturn

Last night was the first clear night since Mars was a pinky width west of Acrab.  In the mostly clear Caraleigh sky (just south of Raleigh's city center) it is one of the first objects visible at sunset along with slightly fainter Saturn a few fingers east.  Antares, below and between the two planets is also fairly bright.  But Acrab, now just above Mars is pretty faint.  If skies are clear again tonight Mars should still be only a hair to the east passing under Acrab. While we see Mars passing a couple of degrees below the ecliptic, Acrab hovers just a tad above it.  So maybe tonight we'll get another chance to see the bright red planet near the fainter star above it .

Mars has been hanging around Saturn since April.  We haven't seen the planet of blind action spend so much time near the planet of integrity since April-August 1984.  That protracted meeting took place after the action hero had overtaken the elder.  This time around the adrenalin soaked actor is lingering on its way to meet the sober one.  It reminds me of the shoe shiner and his escort/guard in Things Change, at the dinner and hotel before being turned over to the 'justice system.'  The actor is moving toward a meeting with authority but there are delays and regressions along the way. 

In the end of March we saw Mars rise less than an hour before Saturn every day.  As Mars appeared to fall behind the philosophical reaper (Saturn is in Sagittarius these days) the time between their rising spread out a bit, giving us a little more time to digest the action of Mars before the consequential ringed planet appeared.

Now as Mars is finally on its way to the 25 month performance review with Saturn, in which it will also receive a new set of marching orders, we see Saturn rising closer on the heals of Mars every day.  

Saturn will also get a report from Mars, they will inspire one another, it will be a fresh start for the pair by the end of August.  Right now though, the suspense that was dormant, is building.  What will come of the deferred line up?

Mercury is passively ruling most of the planets in the solar system, including Mars and Saturn.  It is in Virgo!  Fidelity to details ruling over such a loaded meeting is hard to imagine and kind of meaningless until the meeting takes place.  But there the words are for us to return to and recall as the actual event unfolds.

And look where the Moon will be....

The 4 charts after this one show Mars rising 48min before Saturn in March and then a more leisurely 1hr29min spread in June.