Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sailing with Symbols

This essay was originally posted on the Our Sky Face Book group page 5/19/2014 11:30am

My son is learning to sail and even though I have only seen him sail once on a small craft, I’m learning a bit about sailing from his accounts of other outings.  I’m learning about the real actions that the verbal phrases ‘rock the boat’ and ‘keel over’ describe.  In figurative language the first phrase has come to mean someone disturbing a situation and the second- someone falling over.  In sailing both actions are often intentional, productive, and necessary skills for survival in high winds.

When the sail catches a strong gust of wind the mast is pushed so far to one side that the boat keels over- in other words the whole craft tips so far in one direction that the bottom part running from front to back called the keel, almost comes out of the water.  Among photos and videos of sailing I’m seeing a lot of boats tipped almost on their sides in high wind and sailors hanging on the high side to keep them from overturning completely.  As a shore hugger I could be wrong about this, but it looks like sailors who want to get the most out of a high wind learn to keel over and rock the boat.

In the western astrological symbol system wind and sailing would usually come under Libra, the cardinal air sign.  For now we will ignore the irony of the balanced scales as the symbol for a part of the ecliptic associated with moving air.  I want to keep today’s post on the level of bedtime story to bring some balance to the many posts requiring difficult visualizations of life on a revolving sphere.

So lets just stick with symbols and stories and let the actual bodies and movements fade into the background for awhile.

At the moment I was born Uranus was in Leo in the 10th house of career.  It was in Leo for everyone born between 1957 and 1960 and some people born in 1955, 56, 61 and 62- but only about 1/12th of that group would have Uranus in the 10th house of career.  Uranus (sorry I keep straying back and forth between myth and reality here, it helps keep the story plausible) is the planet that rolls around the solar system on its side, or keeled over like a ship in high wind.   It is named after one of the first generation gods credited with creation of destructive monsters banished to the bowels of the earth before humans could come into existence.  Now there’s a story for you, the story of Saturn taking his scythe and chopping Uranus into pieces to tame him.  I’m told Uranus means sky.  In Timeaus Plato said that the planets, since they were created before humans, and need nothing to survive, and are perfectly shaped in the form of revolving spheres, are demigods.  Don’t quote me on that, I do my best to understand these folks and sometimes I speak up before I quite get their meaning.

Anyway, since Uranus was in the 10th house, almost straight up in the sky (oops there’s reality again!) when I was born, that’s a part of who I am.  Is it logical to sort ourselves as individuals by the order in which we began in the human race?  If so, then part of my inheritance is the planet, or demigod that created the monsters, in the house of career. 

OK, here’s the story part.  Since I was a girl, like 12 years old, babysitting for the neighbors, I have been cleaning houses.  Not just cleaning houses, moving appliances, big ones like refrigerators, washers and dryers and cleaning behind them.  People paid me to take care of their kids and I went in and moved stuff around to clean hidden dirt.  We’ll save Pluto’s position and my Moon in Scorpio across from the Sun in Taurus for another time.  All those planets and Venus in Pisces in the house of service could be associated with the way I approach a task-today I just want to focus on the disturbing nature of Uranus.

It has taken me more than 50 years and a pill of radioactive Iodine to get just how disturbing my ‘work’ is in the lives of people I ‘work’ for.  I’m facing the reality that I don’t so much work for people as turn their lives upside down.  It seems that the only reason I’m able to accept that truth as a housecleaner is because I can no longer physically do it.  I no longer have the energy to go into someone’s house and turn it inside out looking to banish dirt.  If I could I would be too busy doing it to consider how disturbing it is when people come home and find the dryer sticking out in a passageway and me huddled behind it, reconnecting the vent to the wall.  

But ….. I can still disturb in other ways….In fact I have grown, as we all do, and my progressed Uranus is now in the 9th house-funny how growing entails numerical regression.  What started out in the 10th house of career is maturing in the 9th house of long journeys over water; maybe this has something to do with those cruises people take in retirement.  The 9th house is also associated with philosophy and publication.  So there you have it, Mary Pat has graduated from disturbing people for her career, to publishing disturbing content on the internet.

I can’t just do horoscopes like other respectable astrologers.  I am bound by the fault of my stars to upturn my readers’ notions of what philosophy is.  Taking the symbols and making a story, predicting a future, giving advice is not enough for me.  I’ve got to go all the way back to Plato and Socrates and then even further, to Stone Henge and all the other ancient megaliths and dig out the meaning of the symbols behind every shiny modern psychological construct.  I am aware that the stories are easier to absorb, but like Plato and Socrates I find it is worth the effort to dig and find the reality the symbols are meant to express.

So you won’t find a lot of posts like this one coming from me.  And I do appreciate your patience as I struggle to find a way to take astrological concepts apart and reconfigure them in a way that we can all understand.  I used to do this cleaning refrigerators, taking drawers and shelves apart with the fear that I could not figure out how to put them back together.  I don’t recall ever failing.  Sometimes it took a lot of fiddling to find the trick of how a thing was constructed, but determination and patience always paid off.

So stick with me if you dare, if you care about the reality behind the symbols and stories, and we’ll rock the boat in high winds.  Together we’ll take the incredible intellectual energy stirred up on the internet and use it to explore just what people were trying to say thousands of years ago when they came up with the idea of the zodiac.  Like any independent sailor you will want to have some idea of how to read a chart, why take chances on always having a skipper to choose the heading?

That’s the end of this bedtime story – next post we return to life on a three dimensional sphere floating through darkness.

One more thing- I may be off line for a while.  Time for some professional help with my trusty old lap top!


  1. I've enjoyed reading several of your posts today. I like your approach, sort of a journal and astrological "navigations" all at the same time.

    I look forward to coming back again and learning more about you and the interesting way you describe your life in the cosmos.

  2. I don't know how I missed this comment! Thank you very much, it makes me feel great to know that someone is enjoying this blog.