Thursday, May 25, 2017

Horse's Mouth

I am at that customer's house again, loafing after doing a bit of yard work, and picked up Newton's Principia again.  Here is yet another quote from the pen of a revered philosopher of nature that contradicts the thousands of authoritive declarations in modern science literature indicating that the ancients thought the Sun went around Earth.

Someone is mistaken in their history of so called science, and since I have read Plato's Timeaus I am inclined to take Newton's word over the multitude of modern authorities.

"THE SYSTEM OF THE WORLD
The matter of the heavens is fluid.

It was the ancient opinion of not a few, in the earliest ages of philosophy, that the fixed stars stood inmovable in the highest parts of the world; that under the fixed stars the planets were carried about the sun; that the earth, as one of the planets, drscribed an annual course about the sun, while by a diurnal motion it was in the meantime revolved about its own axis; and that the sun as the common fire which served to warm the whole, was fixed at the center of the universe.

This was the philosophy taught of old by Philolaus, Aristarchus of Samos, Plato in his riper years, and the whole set of the Pythagoreans; and this was the judgment of Anaximander, more ancient still..."

Oh, it is beautiful passage.  His remarks about the Greeks, Chaldeans and Egyptians are not to be missed.  The difference (to me) is staggering, between what the old philosophers wrote and what authoritative sources repeat about them. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Savage

I learned a new expression just in time to use it to describe Mercury stationed with Uranus in Aries--savage.  Miguel was pissed at his dad for leaving them, Nati and the two boys, at the store.  I was pissed at having to give them a ride.  But I got a kick out of their definition of savage.  Alfredo said, "If a kid does something bad and the teacher flips their card- that's savage."

"No!" Miguel elaborated, "if a kid does something bad and the teacher flips their card, and they say "I don't care"...THAT'S savage."

I also got a great description of a guy driving through the WalMart parking lot (this is not product placement- it is real life) boppin his dreaded head to the music on his stereo and sayin "Yeah, it's the weekend!"  Even though their dad was in the savage dog house they had fun talking about the happy dude in his car. 

Wiped my savage away.

Ahh, Moicurey you little devil you!  It finally passed Uranus at 1:11 this morn.  My son was packing for a morning flight to Key West - he finally found a job he wants and was really happy to be clearing out of town for a while.

Ahh!  Peace and quiet now.  But Mercury still has a week left in Aries and even then, when it crosses into the Taurus early breaking region, Venus will still be gliding ever so slowly through crisis ridden, exciting yes....but not peaceful, Aries.  

I am on the couch with today and tomorrow off!  My study topic for this last station turned out to be currency -- I got a stack of Wall Street Journals from a customer and the financial section is like Greek to me.  Last night while my son was packing I was reading wiki articles about fiat money and the history of central banks.

And Hindi, I found a cool site that teaches Hindi to beginners today.  You won't believe this, but it's a fact, I did not know 'namaste' is Hindi for 'hello.'  I thought it was just a word used in ashrams or churches.  Nope, that's how they say hello.  I'm amazed.

Mercury is, I would say, in second gear now and will take about a week to shift into third.  It's a five speed little sportster.  It went 27 minutes yesterday,  goes 30 today and will cover 35 tomorrow.   That's an average acceleration of 4 minutes/day/day.  By the time it gets up to fifrh gear it will be on the far side of the Sun and accelerating about 10 minutes/day/day.  Its velocity by then will be over 2 degrees 10 minutes/day, more than 4 times as fast as we 'see' it moving now.

Of course we rarely actually see it with our eyes, we can only track it through super sensory perception, as Rudolf Steiner called it, meaning we have to use memory and intellect, above and beyond sensory experience to know where the little cattle theif is, much less which way it's going.  We have to follow the few light impressions it leaves, like a humter following deer tracks across rivers and through deep brush, and use our wits to figure out where it is.  That's spirituality.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Favorite Sources of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

In the last post I resisted the urge to look up a quote I made from the Yoga Sutras.  (Trying to reduce time spent composing posts) Of course I had to look it up afterwards, which lead to discovery of a revered commentator on the sutras. 

So today I'm taking time to write about my favorite sources for studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and then will finish by clarifying the quote in the previous post.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with Translation and Commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda:

My first source is a skinny book I spied in the library stacks on my way to the elevator.  I was checking out a book on the Rig Vedas which turned out to be way over my head.  I had never heard of the yoga sutras, but the same customer who inspired me to look up the Rig Vedas turned out to have a different version of the sutras.  The one I found was a translation with commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda.  Some of his American disciples had recorded his talks about the sutras and made a book of them in 1978.

Satchidananda's commentary is a bit like yoga for dummies, I took to it like a cheap bottle of ammonia, using it on all my dirty mind's splotches.  Amazing stuff I thought, and marveled that it had been so readily available all my life.

After a year or two studying Satchidananda's little paperback (I eventually purchased my own used copy) I got to wondering what the words in sanskrit sounded like.  The Satchidananda book has each sutra written first in Sanskrit, followed by a phonetic spelling of the Sanskrit in English, then a fairly literal English interpretation of the Sanskrit.  All sutras from the first two chapters had, in addition to the translation, a page or two of commentary about what the individual sutra meant in the context of the whole collection.

It's not at all complicated as I make it seem; the back cover calls Swami's advice practical and down-to-earth and I wholeheartedly agree.  There's also a handy glossary and index in the back and some helpful info about pronunciation.  That book effectively communicated yoga's all encompassing depth of wisdom to me.  But eventually I wanted to hear the sutras.

Dr. Katy Poole video of chanting the first three sutras:

My search for the sound of the sutras landed at SanskritForYoga by Dr. Katy Poole.  This is a link to the video which introduces the First Three Sutras.

Kofi Busia (audio): chanting all four chapters of yoga sutras:

Once I got those first 3 down I went off in the interwebs to search for more.  The result was kofibusia.com and here is a link to his text version of the first chapter.  He has a link at the top right for the audio.  Eventually I recorded the file for chapter 1 on my little digital voice recorder (aka dvr) and discovered a more handy method of playing them.  I put index stops in the file so I can jump right to the sutra i'm currently trying to memorize.

I like the large font for the devanagari script on the kofibusia site.  (I think Devanegari is the name of the letters used to write Sanskrit) Big letters aren't just for kindergartners, I often wished for a set of placards with each letter to hang around the walls of my study.

Hindibhasha site for learning Devanagari script:

There is a site called hindibhasha.com that has  assembled all the characters according to vowels, consonants etc with clickable files for sound and basics about the character.  I can't use it on my phone since it doesn't have flash. It is a fun way to learn the script used to write the sutras.  Nowadays, I use the wikipedia article on Devanagari.  It is nowhere near as fun as the hindi bhasha site but it does have more extensive info.

Swamij.com extensive translation and commentary of sutras:

The last source is one I keep open in the list of pages on my phone's browser in addition to the kofibusia page.  I go to the kofibusia page when I just need  a quick look at a sutra I can't quite remember.  When I want a word-for-word translation I go to swamij.com.  I put another link to swamij at the very bottom of this post.  I picked the page for sutras 2.26-2.29 because it includes the sutra I thought I was quoting in my last post.

This brings us to the promised clarification.  In my last post I  mentioned a sutra listing an 'end of desire to know anything' as one of the symptoms of liberation.

I thought it was the sutra that indicated an end of desire to know anything, but the sutra only alludes to the seven insights without actually naming them.  Swami Satchidananda (book) lists the seven insights in brackets with the translation of the sutra:
27. Tashya=his; saphada=sevenfold; prantabhumi=in the final stage; prajna=wisdom.

One's wisdom in the final stage is sevenfold. [One experiences the end of 1) desire to know anything more; 2) desire to stay away from anything; 3) desire to gain anything new; 4) desire to do anything; 5) sorrow; 6) fear; 7) delusion.]

Comparing the above translation (which does not include the beautiful commentary by Swami Satchidananda) to the translation by Swamij.com we get introduced to the commentary of Vhyasa as a source of the specific insights.  Below is the paragraph by Swami Jnaneshvara with the list (copied straight from swamij.com)----

"Seven types of insight: The commentator Vyasa describes these seven insights briefly. It is important to understand that the insights are meant to be indicative of the final stages of discriminative knowledge, not that these are to serve as a checklist, or goals of powers to attain. These seven are a reflection of the consequences from the whole process of Yoga described in the Yoga Sutras

1. The deep inner sources of future suffering, which would have played out as karma, have been identified, and the mind is no longer drawn towards those thought patterns.

2. The root causes or deep impressions providing the potential for that karma to play out have been removed, with nothing more needing to be done with them.

3. Through the mastery (nirodhah) attained by deep absorption (samadhi), the wisdom of realization has been attained.

4. Discrimination has brought sufficient discriminative knowledge that nothing further remains about which to inquire.

5. Buddhi, the higher discriminative aspect, has fulfilled its purpose and stands alone, with nothing more to do.

6. The activities of buddhi, no longer needed, come to rest as a stone, which has rolled down a mountain, having no need to arise again.

7. Pure consciousness, Purusha, stands alone, in its true, eternal Self."

That's my rundown on my favorite sources for studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. 

Here is the link to Swamij.com page with Seven Types of Insight. Chapter One: Sutra 27

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Moon Leaving Pluto in Capricorn

When I started the Our Sky fb group a few years ago I imagined it as a source of support for days like today.  My Capricorn friends were having their Pluto transits and I wanted them to have a place to talk about that.

Well, so far it has seemed like a waste of time.  I realized almost immediately how little my friends knew about astrology and got right down to business giving them a good education.  In the process I learned a lot that never was covered in all the astrology books i've studied over the years.  If I hadn't learned so much I really would consider all this effort to have been wasted.  None of my Capricorn friends have any idea how Pluto is associated with the loss of innocence they've experienced in the last few years.  So far I have failed as a community educator.

That may sound depressing, but these are the kind of thoughts that go with the end of a long Moon meets Pluto day.  And today was a doozy.  The only thing I had going for me was serious sobriety.  I never thought turning away from social interaction would be the most important step in finding what I wanted, but it worked like magic.

Today I thought of Frankenstein's monster.  I was trying to describe the feeling I get almost every time the Moon comes around to Pluto and Mary Shelly's character was the closest I could come.  More like a third or fourth generation.  I imagined instead of suicide he had found another monster, a female created by some other ambitious doctor of science, and they had made love and bred. 

When that exiled frame of mind associated with Pluto comes over me I wonder if anyone else feels it on these Moon and Pluto days.  I feel grateful for astrology and the knowledge of the planetary cycles.  I feel grateful for preceding generations that have cleared a path to the present.  I never occurs to me that I could curse them for my miserable monstrous existence.  I know in a matter of days, well right now more like a couple of weeks, the Moon will line up with Jupiter and my soul will come so close to leaving my body that it will feel like i'm gliding over Raleigh suspended from a high tech balloon.

Tonight, as I came up from the Plutonian depths of the day, my mind came back to the yoga sutras.  The one that surfaced in my mind is from the second or third "pada" which I think is kind of like chapter.  It's one of the sutras that gives some idea of what it will be like when the aspirant reaches liberation.  Kind of like symptoms, but in this case of freedom rather than pathology.  It says there will be no more desire to know anything.  There are a couple other desires that finally burn away, but that one about knowing things is a hard one to imagine.

That's right, another one is no desire to avoid things.....I  am NOT going to look it up. 

&   *   &   *   &   *   &   *   &

I joined the local astronomy club.  When I volunteered for an event I was paired with a guy who does chemistry for a living.  He showed me a spectro, the gizmo they put on telescopes to get those beautiful bars of color all broken down into hundreds of little lines.  I asked him questions about things I could not understand in science and wished I could stay an extra shift just to learn more from someone with good answers.  I really wanted to know.

An astrologer is supposed to know about heaven, which covers a lot of territory.  I usually tell myself it is ok to study because people will have the same questions I have and will be grateful and happy to pay for good answers.  But today the sense of despair, as the Moon moved into Pluto's first house, got pretty intense.  At one point, near the end of cleaning a house I thought I should just give up in making a living as an astrologer.  There are so many reasons not to engage in the practice and they are just as good as the ones for pursuing it.  As the thought to give up flashed through my mind the knowledge of the Moon's position followed.  I was in my car, I breathed a relaxed sigh in the warm sunlit front seat.  I started up the car.  I looked to see if anyone was coming and pulled out into the street.  I was on my way home, where I am now.

Yesterday, or maybe Sunday, I spent at least half an hour, at least, I love playing with the numbers, figuring out when Pluto would stand still and when Mercury would over take Earth on the inside lane.  Today Pluto moved less than two seconds along the ecliptic.  It is in the same degree and minute as yesterday and will remain there through the next few days.  Venus is still going extremely slow, its motion is like a plane that seems not to ne moving because of the angle of its path.  I love knowing these things, looking at the numbers that barely change before and after I struggle with these thoughts that seem to hang on to the walls of my mind like Frankenstein's monster listening to the people talking in the blind man's humble abode.

This need, this drive to bring the monster into the fold.  I really love knowing the Moon is passing Pluto when that feeling comes over me.  I'm no where near liberation but there's plenty of time.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Venus and the Moon

One of my customers died this past Nov and her husband is making his way through the process of adjusting to the loss.

I can't remember what name I used for her in older posts.  I don't think I have mentioned in the blog that she was one of the first people to let me do her chart when I began studying astrology 30 years ago.

Last month her husband included me in the list of family members when he sent an email about the spring flowers in bloom and how his wife would be tending them and delivering them to friends if she were still here.

My first thought was "She would also be picking up the dead blossoms littering the front walkway."  But as my thoughts wandered among the many years of memories I settled on her chart.  I wrote an email in response about how she was born right before dawn on a night of the old Moon lining up with Venus.

Venus is a morning star now, as it was when my customer was born, which means it is waxing, or growing in light as it circles away from Earth toward the far side of the Sun.  Yesterday I cleaned at her house, picked up the dead blossoms, and used her hand pruner to remove some of the seedlings that have been taking over the yard.  I picked up a bunch of sticks and swept the walkways.

I thought about the man who has been coming to blow the leaves for years; how the yard has changed and the detailed work my customer used to do has fallen to him.

Her husband remarked again yesterday that she had done so many things to take care of him, and I said yes I was thinking the same thing as I worked in the yard.

As I walked to the bus stop I thought about how the Moon will be old in 10 days and rising near Venus in the hour before dawn, almost like they were when his wife was born.

So much is written about what to expect when this or that happens in the sky.  To me the real value of astrology is the wisdom it brings down from heaven.

For years I had a hard time getting along with her husband.  At one point I walked away, gave 2 weeks notice and moved on.  We were all clear about why I was leaving.  When her husband called me 5 or so years later I came back for her.  She had profound memory loss.  He and I gradually built a new partnership based on her needs.

Now that she has died I can contemplate their relationship in new ways.  I can think about the love she had for him without being mystified.  What was once a puzzle to me with many pieces missing is now a whole story.  Things come out, after a person dies, that were in the recesses of minds while life was busy having its way.  Life steps aside and forgotten memories come forward.

My customer, widowed for the second time, relates things about his past, and I can understand the bond between them.

I can also see the wisdom of old souls united with waxing kindness.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Between Zeus and Apollo

Jupiter is going down and the Sun is rising.  We turn our backs on one to face the other like a full Moon.  Tonight we passed between Sun and Jupiter.

Here is a quote from Plutarch's essay The Oracles at Delphi:
"Really," said Sarapion, "do you not think so, and do you imagine that the Sun is different from Apollo?"
"Yes," said I, "as different as the moon from the sun; but the moon does not often conceal the sun, nor conceal it from the eyes of all, but the sun has caused all to be quite ignorant of Apollo by diverting the faculty of thought, through the faculty of perception, from what is to what appears to be."

Friday, April 7, 2017

Viewing Moon and Regulus Setting

Well I crashed at 9pm and got up at 3:32am.  There were patches of cloud on the western horizon, but Regulus was visible right near the Moon.

I did not get to perceive the motion during the hour of observation, but got some good practice in seeing how much bigger a degree pf separation looks in the sky compared to a drawing on paper.  That difference in perspective still amazes me.

The Lion's triangle tail and question mark head were not visible without binoculars, but Regulus was immediately present to searching eyes even through the western city haze.  And that Moon is so big and pretty especially when it gets down into the still naked tree tops.