10.28.2004

Open Topics

It's hard to know quite where to start with this. So, I guess I'll just go with it.

Whether or not this weblog will continue currently hinges on the outcome of this Presidential election. That may seem logically disconnected to people out there, for what does astrology really have to do with politics? But, I have my reasons.

Still, there have been some fairly constant readers, and I hate to return their interest in this subject with sudden silence (even though I still plan to visit their weblogs). So, in anticipation of the potential discontinuance of this blog, I wanted to forewarn those people - weng, VW, and Lisa especially - so that they might ask any questions that they really wanted to ask, or present any topics they wanted to hear more about.

So, I'll be paying close attention to the comments for the next week, and responding as I can, perhaps with more than one post per day. As for this weblog itself, we'll see what happens when the President elect is chosen.

Ciao for now.

10.25.2004

An Overview Method

Every person has multiple signs in their chart, each playing a part with a different kind of influence. Looking at those individual parts can provide a great deal of insight into specific areas, but each part is also merged and mixed to become the whole personality. Sort of like cookie dough is made up of flour and sugar and eggs and whatnot, but taken as a whole, it is still cookie dough.

There is a point-based method for getting an overview of a personality, but it is most helpful if you know the part Elements and Modes play in a sign (I've gone into both of those things in previous posts). This method ignores two very important things: specific details and the influence of the subconscious. But what it provides is a sort of bird's eye view of the personality, a way of noting what Elements and Modes are emphasized and which are ignored, in a person's conscious behavior. That way, you can make reasonable (but vague) assumptions about someone's general world view. To stick with my rather silly analogy: you can forego the ingredients and just identify the kind of cookie it is.

So here's how it works. First, you take a list of the signs and placements in a person's chart. For each placement, note the following point value:

The Sun, Moon, and First House each have a value of 4, because they are the most ever-present and conscious.
Mercury, Venus, and Mars have a value of 3, because they are less ever-present but still very active in the conscious.
Jupiter and Saturn get point values of 2, because they are introspective (and thus infrequently conscious).
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are all at values of 1, as they are almost never part of "awareness" but still present an subtle effect on the conscious.

Secondly, list 7 categories. You will have two sets: one for each element (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) and one for each Mode (Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable). These 7 categories will act sort of like scoreboards.

Then start with the first sign. Let's say it is the Sun Sign. Divide it into its Element and Mode (you can refer to this post for help). Since the Sun has a value of 4 points, then give 4 points to both the sign's Element and the sign's Mode. For example, if your Sun Sign is Leo, you would give Fire 4 points, and Fixed 4 points. Repeat this with the Moon, First House, and the various planets, keeping in mind the values listed above.

Then, if you haven't done so along the way, add up all the points for each individual Element and Mode. Those final figures will probably not be equal, but they should total 28 in the four Element categories, and 28 again in the three Mode categories.

Taking each individual category, you can see which Elements and Modes are emphasized in daily life, and which are not. The higher the number, the more it is emphasized, and vice versa. Generally speaking, you can use this chart for Elements:

A score of 0-4 means that Element is not acted upon as though it were very important.
A score of 5-9 means that Element has an "average" emphasis; it has its place, but it is neither profoundly important nor unimportant.
A score of 10 or higher means that Element has a strong dominance in day-to-day life, and most conscious thoughts and decisions will be cast in its light.

The same thing for the Modes goes like this:

0-6 means the Mode is less emphasized.
7-13 means the Mode has its place, but not far in either direction.
14 or higher means the Mode leans towards a dominant presence.

If you take the highest Element and Mode and put them together, you often find that it is not the same Mode and Element of the Sun Sign. A Pisces friend of mine, for example, has a strong Fire and Mutable emphasis, even though Pisces is a Water/Mutable sign. Thus, although he bears core Piscean talents, he also places a high degree of importance on Fire tendencies in day to day life, even more than Water concerns.

One other thing: I have a horrible time remembering names and sources, to the point where a required bibliography is a nightmare for me. This failing of mine is really too bad, because I have found this method quite useful, and I'd like to be able to give due credit to the astrologer who originally came up with it. If I ever find out (her?) name, though, I will.

10.21.2004

Choice And Consequence

(Author's Note: My hiatus has ended. Actually, it ended yesterday, but I was too busy catching up on work to do much of anything else. Glad to be blogging, though...)

I once knew someone with such dedicated drive and ambition, that she could have gotten almost anything she wanted to go after. It is a tragedy that she chose to pursue self-destruction...with a high degree of achievement.

The lesson there was not about personality. It was about choice, and the consequences that followed.

When an astrological source offers information on a sign's traits, it often carries a list of the positives and negatives associated with that sign. That is relatively helpful on a surface level, but I have seen very few texts which point out that the source of a sign's strengths is also the foundation for its weaknesses. The contrast is not always easy to see until you look at the structures of a sign, like with its Mode and Element. But the ability to choose remains inherent.

This means that "I am that way because of my chart" makes for a weak excuse when it comes to bad behavior. A Fixed sign, for example, does not have to be stubborn by default. That is a choice that has been made; perhaps long learned and much used (and cue the old dogs with new tricks), but it is still a choice. For example, the ability to be stubborn springs from the innate talent for stabilization that the Fixed Mode has, not the other way around. Or, to put it another way, stubbornness is a means to a Fixed end, not the source of Fixed behavior.

The same can be said for pointing at the Cardinal Mode to explain demanding or manipulative behaviors, or the Mutable Mode for shifty attitudes or aimless meandering. Or Fire Elements for violence, Earth for greed, Air for mind games, Water for deceptions. The list of examples could go on and on, but while all of these things manifest from the capabilities of any given Element or Mode, the choice to use them positively or negatively still exists.

That's not to say it is always an easy choice, especially when you are fully able to accomplish your goals by doing something in a specific way. The temptation to go that direction will be strong. But once you start down those paths it may can become harder to alter the habit. This is especially true for Fixed signs, and almost as troublesome for Cardinal signs. Mutable signs tend to have an easier time stepping away from bad habits, but they also slip back into them more readily.

Also, developing "bad" traits may be a more natural outcome, because using the same skills in a good way may require learning and development. As they say, life doesn't come with a training manual. Though "learning to live" is undeniably based on a personal history of events, a chart will also reflect complications in a personality that can aggravate learning in various areas. In most charts there are places where a person would have to go out of their way to learn how to use an inherent skill positively...no matter what their history was.

The opposite can be true as well, where someone may have to learn to use certain negative traits when necessary, because they overwhelmingly develop positive ones to the point of interference. For example, an Air sign usually finds it easy to give their decisions intellectual support, but an overwhelming desire to be socially accomodating can lead to an inability to say no! to others, despite the fact that they could back up any resistance with perfectly logical explanations.

Whatever the case, the natal chart is not a free pass. That's a mental trap that can be easier to fall into than one might think. I personally find it difficult to disapprove when someone (whose chart I know) does something detrimental. I get the motivations, the ideas, and the desires behind that choice, and this makes it harder for me to hold it against them. Nevertheless, a wrong choice is still a wrong choice, and I know there is another way for the same skill to manifest and be used.

Compatiblity is something natal astrology famously has to offer. But natal astrology can also be used to encourage self-awareness, so that strengths may be used wisely and personal fallacies may be treated accordingly. Though others might disagree, I consider this the most valuable aspect of natal astrology.

10.12.2004

Surreal Shots V


The wallpaper on my computer.

What doing this feels like:

Outside, Staind

10.11.2004

Grace, Fire, and For All

I was planning on posting something else today. Then I saw the news and thought, with the sudden shock of the unexpected: Oh, no...Superman is dead. And though Christopher Reeve was "only" a man, his personal tragedy turned medical crusade is as admirable as anything the comic book hero ever did, and it feels to me as though a bright light of the world has gone out.

It would be a monumental task to find a cultural icon in the West that has shaped and impacted our ideals as much as Superman. In this hero lies grace and strength and power, balanced with an equal love for humanity. Superman is, in many ways, the ultimate expression of Fire and Air in balance. That balance requires an effort that can be nothing less than Herculean...and so easily marred by tragedy.

So it is fitting that a man such as Christopher Reeve, who also was born with both of those elements powerfully guiding him, should breathe life into this comic book hero, taking him out of art and making him a cultural presence with few peers. And when cruel misfortune struck him, Christopher Reeve took the icon that he played and used its lingering presence to fight for the advancement of the world, for himself and for others. The line between a fantasy character and a true super man smeared and blurred. The man was shown to be just as heroic as the character ever was.

But I will declare that this is the truth:

Christopher Reeve was not merely defined by Superman. Superman was equally defined by Christopher Reeve.

The pure idealism and strength Reeve brought to the fore seems to have seeped into my mind despite the fact that I never was a huge fan. I know that because: with the passing of this flame, the world seems a little colder today. For me, a sterling example of all that is truly best about those two elements of Air and Fire - and all the great, uplifting potential of having them stand together as one - has passed now into still silence.

10.07.2004

Binary

You know that old saying: can't see the forest for the trees?

When it comes to the four Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces), they can see the forest, but the trees are their specialty. It is a matter of analysis, really, but typically at a very high speed. So if you want to get a better idea of how the Mutable signs work, it might be more helpful to put the DVD player in your head on Slow Motion for a moment.

Mutable signs take the inherent process of their Element and focus in on two main things. First, they notice the smallest individual parts of it they can recognize. That can range from verbal nuances to personal quirks, or the light in someone's eyes, pixels on a screen, musical notes, tones of another culture in a living room, the grooves left behind the scrape of a paintbrush, the slight tremble in a voice, you name it. If it is highly detailed and sympathetic to the Element of a Mutable sign, they will see it in the smallest grain they can capture. It is basically the ability to comprehend things on a cellular kind of level.

Secondly, they understand something akin to function: how any one of those detailed parts applies to the whole. This allows them to make determinations about what parts are crucial, what parts create flaws in the larger body, what does This and what That is for...all at a basic level. And once that is understood, a tweak here or there in the right spot can change the whole thing. The entire process is often fascinating to Mutable signs, especially due to the fact that so small a thing can have such a powerful effect.

This allows Gemini, for example, to be great talkers and debaters. They can fine-tune a topic of conversation or detect flaws in pieces of a phrase. Virgos can spot flaws in a plan or make minute yet positive changes to their environment. Sagittarius can comprehend points of disorder and the pieces of individual nature that makes everyone unique no matter how alike two people may seem. And Pisces, which is known for empathy and the ability to heal psychological scars, "gets" belief at the source, and sees what parts of the undefined help or hurt emotional health. And that's just a handful of examples of the varied ways Mutable signs might use their talents.

With any new experience of interest, a Mutable sign will usually enter exploration gear. Exploration goes on to become understanding as the underlying foundations become clearer. And this is what the Mutable Mode brings to the table for the other two Modes. Without the level of comprehension Mutable signs can promote, Fixed and Cardinal signs would be unable to make the kinds of decisions they do (or not as well, anyway). This is why Mutable signs are also called Communicator signs...they express the details of their Element for others.

Another important attribute of the Mutable Mode is what comes of being so close to the small details: All Mutable signs have a stronger duality than the other two Modes. (you should probably pause that DVD player now). Everything at its smallest component ultimately ends up being positive or a negative. This scientifically true, morally true, true for frequencies, true for relationships. The positives and negatives of an Element will often be hyperclear to a Mutable sign. This reason this is important is because it is this ability to perceive clearly that ends up emphasizing the Mutable duality and contrast.

Gemini is relatively famous for this (the whole good twin/bad twin stereotype of being able to be of two minds). Pisces can be emotionally powerful yet masochistic at the same time...even though this might seem like it should be a contradiction, it is not. Sagittarius can represent our basic human condition as a different kind of animal upon the earth, and yet can also tie that to the power behind human philosophy and intellectual worldliness. Virgo, for being a sign known for narcissim, also seems to accept having to do the work no one else will, belying the idea of ego inherent to narcissistic tendency.

For Mutable Modes, one thing is usually put forward while the other is held back. Sometimes those two sides flip around, but they are not often both openly present. It's just that standing so close to a basic positive also provides a view of its contrasted negative counterpart, and vice versa. But I don't mean having a "good side versus bad side" (though it can mean that). It works more like "plus or minus" at a foundational level. The ability to tap into either side of their Element on such a fine level is precisely what makes Mutable signs as utterly capable as they are. Compared to the way Fixed signs reject what they don't want and Cardinal signs choose paths (and by this decision another road is not taken), this lets the Mutable Mode have one foot in both worlds. It also gives the other two Modes information to base their decisions on.

When you hit Play again on that DVD player, you can see that at regular speed Gemini is simply being brilliant and engaging, Virgo becomes immensely smart and practical, Sagittarius becomes wonderfully accessible and human, and Pisces becomes easy to believe in and feel comfortable around. Yes, there's the flip side, too, but I'd rather accentuate the positive.

10.04.2004

Surreal Shots IV

"Sometimes, you're scary," she said.

It was spoken like a compliment, but lightning kept flashing honesty in her eyes, liquid white light illuminating the cracks of revelation.

"Remember," he asked her, "When you were young - or not so young, perhaps - and you wanted nothing more than to know there was someone out there who could understand you? Really, and truly?"

Her lips twisted. Pursed.

"Yes." The wind whipped lashes of her hair through the sky.

"So," he pressed, "Is this a case of Be Careful What You Wish For?"

No answer followed. Finally, he smiled half a smile. He seemed to do everything in halves.

"How about this, then, " he told her. "When I was young - or not so young, perhaps - that is what I wanted."

She sighed.

"Everyone wants to be understood," she noted softly.

"True," he said, turning his eyes back to the ocean, where the setting of the sun had swallowed all of history.

"But, I mean: I wanted to be the one to understand."

LEGOs (tm)

I remember playing with those when I was a kid. Tinker Toys, too, but I definitely preferred the LEGOs.

Anyhow...there are four signs with the Fixed Mode: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Like the other two Modes, they will be found somewhere in everyone's chart. To understand the psychology of a Fixed sign, it helps me to remember that they are the ones who build and establish their Element. In other words, they are out to create structures that last as long as possible.

To "create" often implies that something physical is being crafted, but this is not always true. One can create a good home without actually building it. It is likewise possible to create power structures, or emotional bonds, or social structures such as clubs or schools of thought. For the Fixed sign, creation is more a matter of organizing things in a new way to make them last as long as possible in (hopefully) the most positive way. This is why Fixed signs are sometimes called Organizer signs, too.

The traits that mark Fixed signs have their foundation in this process. For example, the tendency to see things as one way or another. You might find a Fixed sign rejecting something almost out of hand, without any discussion or in-depth analysis. Primarily, this is because a Fixed sign wishes to add everything they come into contact with to what they have already established. But they will not add something which weakens the structure. And so, inevitably, they run into things that just won't fit well, and those things are rejected.

Quite firmly, too. Fixed signs are notoriously stubborn.

While Taurus has the fame on this one, the attitude of Leo is also insufferably untamed, the emotional establishments of Scorpio are nearly unbreachable, and the core mental habits of Aquarius will not be altered. With any of those signs, you will find there are some things they just will not do differently. You can fight all day, and they will not give up an inch of ground. Because what they establish is meant to last, and the organization of it is made specifically to withstand. Fixed signs are loathe to reorganize, and they will fight hard against it even when it is for their own good. And being as well organized as they are, that fight can be a very hard one.

That organization is central to ensuring that things can last, for themselves and for others. Whatever they find acceptable is used to increase the stability of their world. Once their core establishments have achieved greater stability, a Fixed sign may then feel free to expand outward to find more. This is how Fixed signs grow and expand, often through absorption (Fixed signs prefer that things come into their world, not vice versa).

To get an idea of how well a Fixed sign organizes, though, one simply needs to look at their control over their Element. Taurus, for example, represents Earth, and therefore material finance (among many other things) . Taurus spending is very controlled, to the point that it seems they won't spend unless they absolutely must. This is the basis for their "miserly" reputation. Leo is Fire, and so energy and power are part of its establishment, yet for the most part they are graceful and smooth despite all that vibrancy, and not agitated and twitchy...their energy is carefully controlled, which can be an example of their reputation for laziness. Nor is Scorpio the weepy and moody Water sign of excess emotion. They can be controlled to the point that sometimes they seem to possess no emotion, and are called cold and unfeeling. And Airy Aquarians, odd as they may be, have a very controlled system of thought, even though they may appear scattered-brained, leaping incoherently from thought to thought.

But anyone who knows these signs well has experienced the power behind that controlled conservation. Fixed signs can bring strength of their Element to bear on something quite powerfully, and they often do. They can also be a constant source of that element...of comfort and strength...so long as their Element is released under specific, personally defined rules and guidelines. They can turn the flow on and off, but if you know their ways, so can you - assuming they trust you.

But that carefully controlled Element is much like a water reserve: it fills up if not used. Eventually, this will require growth, or else it overflows (sometimes destructively, like a bursting dam). So either continual expansion or a continual chance to use their talents is healthy for a Fixed sign, so long as the pace doesn't weaken their sense of stability.

By rigorously defending that which makes their Element strongest, the four Fixed signs ensure that things in life have a way to last.

10.01.2004

Ascension

Somewhere in everyone's chart are Cardinal signs. You'll find them in the Houses, if nowhere else. So even if they are not the dominant Mode, you can be sure that there is something Cardinal about everyone.

Cardinal signs can make for demanding personalities, but also guiding ones. Depending on the Element, this guidance may be subtle (Cancer and Libra) or it may be obvious (Aries and Capricorn). What is not always obvious to the observer is that this includes self-guidance as well as guidance of others. Also unexplained is the point: it is not about possessing authority, per say, but rather about reaching higher levels of achievement. Because authority is relative to the subject...Fixed Modes achieve authority through controlled expansion, and Mutable Modes achieve authority largely through knowledge and comprehension. Both can be different kinds of leadership and guidance. But Cardinal excels at choosing a direction that is (supposed to be) better and going for it.

Achieving these goals for improvement involves a lot of judgment. You'll find Aries judging the choices people make, Cancer criticizing how others feel, Libra arguing endlessly over ideas, and Capricorn rigidly rejecting the way things exist. Aggravating, to be sure, if you're on the other side. But what is going on is deeper than judgment and criticism, and it is the same thing that can make Aries so inspiring, and Cancer so comforting, and Libra so flattering, and Capricorn so supportive.

In essence, it is a test for worth and value. By inciting whatever is within their Element, a Cardinal sign gets a clearer picture of that Element. By continually pressuring and testing things, they are trying to force out flaws to reject...and purifying value to support.

Libra isn't debating everything under the sun to be a pain in the neck. Its a rigorous test to make absolutely sure that the ideas being presented have the most possible worth, and that any flaw in thinking is identified and removed. The same thing goes for Aries, who wants to see the most powerful form of an individual's energy rise up while weakness falls away...essentially, Aries incites to see your greatest strengths emerge. Cancer and Capricorn are both very pessimistic in their own way, but what they are basically doing is testing either beliefs or reality to ensure that if it is flawed - at all - those flaws are revealed and destroyed. And when you're not on the receiving end of that testing, you may note that they do this to themselves constantly.

And yes, they can go too far. Any Mode can.

But if you turn that judgment around, you'll find that Cardinal signs truly uplift the positives they find, and hold on to any actual value they find in their Element. That is also part of the road to the highest levels of improvement.

And it is very important. Very. Because for all the judging that goes on along the way, there is no harsher judgment for a Cardinal sign than that of their own success or failure in achievement. Failure drives itself straight into the Cardinal sense of self-worth. To them, failing happens because of flaws, and therefore their failure means they're flawed. Ultimately, a Fixed Mode will withstand failure and a Mutable one will adapt to deal with it, but failure can stick it to a Cardinal sign like nothing else. This is one reason why they are so demanding in their Element, and why The Plan is so important (having to abandon a plan is seen as the equivalent if its failure). Also, success is cause for a kind of self-glorification...a celebration of the validation of the direction they chose, because if it is good that makes them good. Either way, they feel utterly responsible for what happens at the end of their attempts.

It was, after all, the course that they charted.