Friday, August 27, 2010


Without adversity we cannot know what we really believe in.  Only in the face of loss or deprivation can we see what matters most deeply to us. Just the prospect of losing something can illuminate a treasure languishing in the shadows; so life's favors include not just what we receive, but also what is taken away, and it is a valuable opportunity when we are forced by circumstances to make a difficult choice.  This week I was faced with the possibility of losing time...

What a week!  It began Tuesday with tragic news about my little old car, prompting a serious inner struggle about taking on more work for car payments, quickly followed by news of someone wanting to GIVE A CAR AWAY!  It is an old car, older than the Honda I will be giving up.  But it runs, and my son likes it!  (It doesn't squeak and it is not rusty) As of today this new old car will not start, but I have faith.  I will jump the sleeping battery from my retiring car this weekend and then we'll be on our way.  This process has revealed something in me which I had always felt I lacked-conviction.

I love my customers, but it pained me to contemplate taking on new ones in order to pay for another car.  I did not want to give up my plans of becoming an astrologer; more work cleaning houses would have meant less time doing charts, forfeiting the experience necessary to fulfill my dream.  As this crisis passes I can see that for once I know what matters to me.  Up until now I had only known that my son was important, and it bothered me that I could not hold an opinion about any other worldly matter deeply enough to struggle for it.  Decriminalizing recreational drugs merits a bumper sticker,* decriminalizing immigration calls for guarded friendships with undocumented workers, the movement to criminalize, or at least delegitimize war is one to which I only sporadically and very hesitantly add my voice.  By choosing the gift of an older, but functioning (and very intriguing- it runs on bio diesel) car, I can see with certainty what is most important to me:  the  resurrection of the culturally relevant and more intellectually rigorous predecessor to Christianity (Yes, I'm talking about astrology) is my chosen endeavor.

With each stumbling step forward my conviction grows that astrology has value.  As I meet with people, and we talk about their lives in the context of time as marked off by the motions of the heavenly lights, I am lifted up and really do find myself picturing Mercury as it passes to the far side of the Sun.  I have assigned myself the task, and so given myself the strongest permission, to look for the Moon when ever she is visible and follow her soft light, which I find enormously comforting.  I am becoming day by day an integrated citizen of our solar system, and it is, by this attention which I pay to it, becoming an ever more familiar and wondrous home to me. 

I am convinced, this is my path.  I am not a true believer, but astrology does mean the universe to me.

*Hemp:  Fuel, Fiber, Freedom         I had this bumper sticker on a Plymouth Arrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The theme of destiny is something many people think about; it is one of the questions of the centuries.  Some only talk about this subject in earthy terms, like goals or hopes or despair.  In this way some speak of fate.

They talk of possibilities and things they will never see in their lives, like walking on the surface of the moon.  That which, yes we can do and that which no, no way, is immovable.

When I was a teenager, I asked my mother and aunt if it is not predestination if God knows what we will do.  If He knows all that's going to happen, is that not predestination?  They became angry and explained to me forcefully; they wanted to ensure that I understood that yes, God knows everything, but that is not predestination.  I did not understand, but did not want to discuss the subject further with them and said "Ok, I understand."

But I thought of many things.  The biggest question that I carried in my chest was where does this big idea of God come from and the stories of the Bible?  Who wrote this foolishness, pardon, these miracles?  The most important information, the hinge on which the door swings, this information is withheld.  It is not something they repeat in the churches every Sunday; the history of this great idea that everyone declares out loud, together, that they believe.  They believe in one God, all they do not speak of the origin-it always was and ALWAYS will be.  Understand cousin, HE's GOD.  And that explains everything.

Well, in this business of astrology that question of destiny often arises.  And it gives me an opportunity to go back to a work of Tolstoy: War and Peace.  Right now I'm not reviewing the whole book, just the ending, Part II in which the author talks about the history of humanity and the concepts among humans about will and necessity; liberty and reason.  He talks about how we feel that we do something of our will when we are in the act, but later we are convinced it is something that happened because of fate.

It is a very illuminating discussion about the theme "what force moves people?"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Introduction to Astrology

Astrology, sometimes called Western Astrology, is the system of time developed by western civilization.  As one of the seven liberal arts of the Hellenistic Period, astrology was part of the formal curriculum including subjects such as rhetoric, mathematics and geography.  In this second level course, students learned the geometry involved in mapping the heavens along with the qualities of the zodiac, which can be thought of as a zoological wheel of the agricultural year.  Though some aspects of study have risen or fallen from favor over the centuries, such as medical astrology, astrology’s basis in using the movements of the planets, or wandering stars, against the stationary backdrop of constellations to mark off time, has remained unchanged.  

Calendars come and go with the rise and fall of empires, but the cycles of the planets in the heavens remain a constant on which we can look up and depend.  The sun will rise every morning, spring will always follow winter, and the new moon will wax for two weeks just as the full moon will wane.  The irony is that many of us bound up in schedules of alarm clocks and daily planners wonder how astrologers can attach so much meaning to something as seemingly insignificant as the moment of a person’s birth.  

Through all the discoveries of modern science and advances of the industrial age, astrology has remained a thriving tradition, though it may only be included as a sidebar in science books to distinguish it from its modern offspring, astronomy.   Now, in the modern age, it is as though the former were the ignorant old parent embarrassing the educated youth.  One mourns the fall of poetry and the other deplores the muddling of science with myth.

As we study your chart you will discover old ways of measuring time that are as fascinating as a guided tour through an antique shop.  Maybe you will be reminded that the nature of time is more ephemeral than mechanical, that though we are ruled by time we are also born of it.  We can be slaves to time or we can make music with it. 

There are many books and web sites with the basic vocabulary of astrology that are worth exploring.  It is a system of poetic symbols, so after you study what others say, you ultimately decide what the different planets and signs mean to you.

“The Almagest” by Claudius Ptolemaeus, an edited collection on the subjects of math, geometry and astronomy is one of the earliest ‘textbooks’ of astrology to which we can refer.  It was written around 150 when Ptolemy worked in the libraries at Alexandria, Egypt and originally called “A Mathematical Compilation.”  It came to be known as “The Almagest” from the Arabic translation.