Surreal Shots VII

He had wanted to watch the sunset. But somehow, he had missed it. The ocean had turned black before he knew it. Like Apollo had transformed into a falling meteor, and by coincidence he had blinked at the precise moment of the flashing plummet.

Now the moon held dominance over the sky. It was a new moon, and this caused him to sigh. First no gold, now no silver. It would be a long, dark night indeed.

That was fine. He had been blind before. And dawn would come in time.

The wind picked up, as though offering him respite from eternal stillness. Did its whispering sound familiar, or was that only a hallucination? Oddly, it was blowing towards the ocean. Into it. Drowning out the waves and making the water a silent, living blackness.

He looked at the ground. The mirror lay in pieces below his right hand. He had cut his palm on a shard, and his blood was as black as the sea.

That was fine. He had bled before as well. He knew himself, and he supposed that was all the life he needed.


The How Of It - Part Two

Part One is here.

In the days and weeks after the aforementioned discovery, I spent a fair amount of time considering my original presumption: astrology is a silly notion at best, disproven and discarded by intellectuals for good reason. I had run into a number of hypotheses about how astrology could work, of course, and most seemed to be grasping at straws as they stretched the limits of scientific plausibility.

Utterly determined not to be taken for a fool, I had thrown my lot in with the intellectuals. The irony was that doing so was purely a matter of faith. Now, in a way, I needed to reaffirm my beliefs. So, I went to look at studies and articles that refuted astrology. And there I discovered some things I had not been expecting to find.

A few articles and essays in, I realized I had learned a lot more about astrology than I was consciously aware of. I had, after all, been looking into it for years at this point. A large amount of astrological information had been absorbed and stored...much of it ignored because my aims were bent on comprehending people's belief in the system and not the actual workings of natal astrology. But that knowledge was still there, nevertheless.

What called this to my attention was the continual misconceptions upon which these anti-astrology arguments were based. One thing was becoming very clear: these very smart people (and I am not being sarcastic) had no idea how astrology worked. Don't get me wrong, they thought they did. They thought they had, at least, enough of grasp on it to debunk it. But I saw the same handful of mistakes made over and over again. It reminded me of this anecdote:

Sir Isaac Newton (allegedly...I have seen this quote attributed to Kepler as well) said to comet discoverer Halley when Halley challenged him on his belief in astrology: "Sir, I have studied it. You have not."

Whether or not this is a true quote doesn't matter...what it illustrates is right on. The people debunking astrology had not studied it, and did not understand or acknowledge its complexities. This was apparent from their sweeping and grandiose statements about what astrologers "believe" and "purport" and "posit." They only got it right in the most general of statements, and then almost inevitably spiraled off onto what more they believed astrologers believed, as though being right in those initial platitudes gave them authority on the specifics of astrology. To the layperson's eye, however, that comprehension was glaringly superficial.

I have found fault with pro-astrology studies for similar reasons. A friend once got me a book from a statistician who believed his statistical analysis had proved natal astrology worked. I found the same faults in that book. Sadly, the statistician's conclusion was false - even though it agreed with astrology, its initial basis was built upon false presumptions about the way astrology operates. This had undermined the entire study without him ever realizing it.

The other thing I ran into often is counter-argument. I respect this approach more, because a counter-argument demands of astrology that very valid scientific questions be answered. And those questions should be answered, even though astrology is not prepared enough or advanced enough to answer many of them at this time, and the general intellectual community is not prepared to have an open mind on it anyways. But the ability to create a counter-argument does not in and of itself disprove astrology. By that logic, any study that still has mysteries to be solved has been sufficiently disproven. Still, the burden of proof does lie with astrologers, not opponents.

In short, the best anti-astrology articles I read were - at most - conjectures on why astrology would not work.

All that reading led me to the next level of hesitation: doubt both claims. Those debunking astrology had failed to prove their argument. Astrologers had failed to prove theirs. Therefore, if I had to decide whether or not to give astrology credit, I would first need to have a reasonable and logical foundation. Empirical observation was not enough, but lack of hard proof did not change the fact that I had seen it apparently working...and had done it myself, no less.

For a moment, it brought to mind an old Oriental proverb: "A person who says a thing cannot be done should stand out of the way of the person doing it."

An enticing thought, but still not enough.



I got tired of listing what sign goes with what Mode - and Element - every time I mentioned something. So now I can just go: (see Sidebar). Yay me.

Mars Attacks!

That was such a cool movie...

Okay, all these things have something in common:

1. Being unhappily single
2. Playing a board game
3. Dealing with a malicious co-worker
4. Painting a portrait
5. Skidding across black ice while driving

So, what makes all those things alike? For each, there is a need to take action in order to effect change. To change being single, a person can act...seek out a date, flirt, go somewhere single people hang out, etc. Playing a board game is essentially a structured series of actions designed to change you from "player" to "winner" or "loser." Both maliciousness and skidding in a car are threatening in nature, one social and one physical. Both would require some kind of action to remove (i.e. change) the threat. And painting a portrait is another action taken to change the reality that exists...an empty canvas, at the very least.

A person's Mars sign essentially governs how we declare war on reality as it exists. The point is not always destruction, however, but a specific impact that alters things so that they are more to one's liking. For example, painting is to create, and yet it is still an act of alteration. We use Mars every day, whenever we confront a situation we want to effect or change, no matter how large or small, beneficial or dangerous.

Mars comes into play once the desired outcome has become known, because a strategy must be developed. It may be swift or slow, reckless or well-thought out, but goal attainment through activity is generated by the Mars sign.

Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) tend to be natural at both goal-setting and achievement. Aries, the "natural ruler" of Mars, is particularly good at dealing swiftly with unexpected changes, but all of the Cardinal signs are talented when it comes to shifting course to achieve a goal they are determined to reach.

Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) are slower strategists, more oriented on the control they possess over their sphere. They prefer to let the "enemy" come into their world, where they have greater influence and power. If necessary, they will rely on their ability to withstand punishment while they bide their time.

Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) can be stunning strategists, if for no other reason than that they swiftly and easily comprehend the entire picture. However, in this remarkable capability lies a critical flaw that will not deter Cardinal or Fixed signs. That is, if a Mutable analysis has shown a likelihood of failure, the sign is more likely to give up...perhaps before very the first shot is fired.

Other planets will have their influence on Mars, of course. Someone with a Moon (for example) squared to Mars may find it an emotionally difficult experience to take action and make changes, whereas someone with the Moon conjunct to Mars will not have that problem, and probably acts often in accordance with his or her emotional demands...the Moon speaks and Mars is spurred into action.

That's all for the moment. I am going to try and play with my Blogger template now.


Fun For The Weekend

(Or: Finally! He Posts Something I Can Use!)

I don't usually go here, but I'm in a weird mood today...so I give you two words that usually bear an disproportionate amount of influence over the human psyche...

Erogenous zones.

Or...finding your partner's (assuming you haven't already) in two steps. Disclaimer - This is not an established theory, it is empirical observation of mine that has been consistently verified. I will not swear by it, or biological astrology (which is another field that, like horary, I don't really follow). All I know is that it appears to work reliably. On women, anyways. And I don't see any reason it would not be the same for men.

Step One: find the sign of your partner's Fifth House. That may not be so easy, but astro.com can help you out if you know the exact time of day and place of birth. The Fifth House Sign is at the line where the 4th borders the 5th, and that House rules (among other potential sources of joy like fun, children, and creativity) sexuality and pleasure.

Found the sign? No? Well, I'm going on anyways.

Step Two: Correspond that sign to its physical locations according to traditional astrology. If you don't know them (and why would you?), they are as follows:

Aries: Head/Face.
Taurus: Neck/Shoulders.
Gemini: Arms/Hands.
Cancer: Chest
Leo: Back
Virgo: Stomach region
Libra: Waist/Hips
Scorpio: The umm...reproductive zones themselves, shall we say.
Sagittarius: Upper legs/Thighs
Capricorn: Knees (especially the backs)
Aquarius: Lower legs, calves
Pisces: Feet

Physical contact - massages, kissing, touching - with those areas can invoke feelings of sensuality more readily than other physical zones. Note the emphasis on "more readily." You might think of it as a Good Place To Start. This isn't an Insta-TurnOn button, though if the Sun or Moon are in the 5th, that's doubleplus good.

Also, the later into the sign the 5th House begins, the lower the sensitive spots will be found in that region. For example, early Aries can be high upon the brow, whereas later Aries is probably closer the mouth and jawline. Or, early Taurus places greater emphasis on the neck, while a 5th House Taurus that is closing in on Gemini will shower greater preference for the shoulders.

And please don't ask me how I found this out. I'm an astrologer, I'm supposed to study these kinds of mysteries.


The How Of It - Part One

"Skeptic; skep┬Ětic, also scep┬Ětic (skptk) n.
1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions. "


About four years into my study of astrology, I was living in Brooklyn. I was still completely skeptical about astro at the time; as I have mentioned elsewhere, my less-than-honorable intent at the time was a better understanding of what drew people to astrology (the better to exploit it - and them - for financial gain). While I had read quite a few books on the subject, and knew well what I considered to be its dogma, I had not yet embarked on any real human test.

I was looking for a bit of extra cash, so I started working for Miss Cleo, the imperious psychic-slash-hotline with a West Indian accent who seemed to dominate late-night television commericals at that time. I was completely convinced that she was full of it - and still am - but that hardly mattered. I presumed correctly that the job would be more about talking to people who wanted to hear some kind of answer, irregardless of being psychic. And for the record, I am not and have never been psychic (see my hypocrisy here).

So, I settled down late at night with the astro books open and my new phone headset on. Because I had the opportunity to ask for their date of birth ("you're 18 or older, right?"), I began using astrology even though I was supposed to be doing Tarot. For me, the logic was simple: at some point, it was likely that most people who would call a psychic hotline would also have examined their Zodiac signs, and therefore I would only confirm the beliefs they had already developed about themselves by covertly talking to them based on their astrological signs. Hence, I would seem psychic without having to be.

Yes, it was calculating. But I did get the opportunity to talk to some people that really needed to be talked to. I mean lonely, lost, or hopeless people who were just frantic for some kind of direction or human contact. So, although I hated the job with a passion and gave it up after 3 months, I don't really feel bad about the deception inherent in the hotline itself, and in pretending to be psychic. I never told people what to do, just gave them a way to think about it in a different light.

Anyhow, back to the point.

I tracked the callers, getting names and addresses, and so on so that the esteemed Miss Cleo's corporate thugs could assail them with junk mail later. I didn't want to, but I had to if I wanted to get paid in full. Beside these listings I would put the birthdates that they gave me, and their Sun Sign. I would also note how the call went, in terms of the person's response. This was not required and entirely empirical, but I was also using this experience to see for myself what astrologically-based conversation worked and what did not.

I was not always careful with the birthdates. After all, if astrology was basically a bunch of B.S., then actually getting it right didn't matter much. And every so often, I would get people who would tell me that I was completely off base. I figured that was to be expected, too.

Then one day day I looked back through my listings, and noticed the first of those bad calls. It was a man, born in mid-June. Beside it, I had typed: "Taurus." I remember him quite well, because he told me - laughingly - that I was full of it (but in other terms). It was an accusation that I had quietly agreed with at the time. There was just one problem.

Mid-June is Gemini, not Taurus.

So I started going down the list. Bad call...check the birthdate. Double check the signs. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Good call, check the birthdate and the sign...correct. I was looking at a track of rights and wrongs that clearly corresponded to whether or not I was using the right or wrong sign. Either the people I had talked to had all been influenced by astrology (or most, there were a handful of deviations), or I had just stumbled into the biggest coincidence of my young life, or...if I really wanted to go onto a flight of fancy...astrology actually worked.

Being cynical, I went with the first option, the concept of subconscious psychological influence. But that conclusion had a glaring fallacy as well. There many things people deeply believe about astrology that are not true or do not adhere to the astrological format I was using. Not only are there plenty of warped theories, but there are also alternate astrological forms such as Chinese, Vedic, or Sidereal astrology. These beliefs, too, would have had as much influence over their "subconscious psychology," but they do not operate on the same foundation as Western astrology. And remember, I was supposed to be doing Tarot, so its not like they knew I was subtly faking it with astrology instead.

In short, they would all have had to be influenced the subject of Western astrology (at least as it pertained to them). Again, that would require a startling coincidence, though not quite as large of one I mentioned before, due largely to astro's pervasive cultural influence. Nevertheless, this was the first time I began to grow skeptical of my own skepticism. The idea that astrology was bunk was a generally accepted conclusion, and yet I was suddenly faced with a reason to doubt that this conclusion was foregone.

I was not yet convinced, however.


Surreal Shots VI

At long last, he was screaming the question into the night sky, as lightning ripped across the clouds and torrents of rain vomited down upon him.

The response was thunderous silence.


+ & -

I started going here yesterday, but sort of went off way off the path for a diatribe that had little to do with astrology. My apologies.

With the Elements of an astrology sign, there are two that are called "positive" and two that are called "negative." Fire and Air are the positives and Earth and Water are the negatives. This is not the same as saying good and bad, as with the more social use of the terms positive and negative. In astrology, those two words are the same as they would be for scientific language, as with positive and negative magnetic fields, light and darkness, or immovable objects and unstoppable forces.

A handful of major psychological differences are:

- Positive signs prefer taking action to energize, negative ones move to stabilize. Expanding freedom versus defending security is probably a good example of these two contrasts.
- Positive looks forward, negative is more reflective. One adopts change and idealism while the other looks to history and tradition.
- Positive equates to optimistic approaches and negative to pessimistic ones, which I trust is self-explanatory.
- Positive is externally directed, while negative is internal in scope. For example, concentrating on what is said to the world versus what is felt inside.

Obviously, both positive and negative aspects can be socially good or bad. Too much freedom leads to anarchy and instability, too much security fosters oppression and stagnation. So finding the middle ground is usually the most profitable approach. Having both astrologically negative and positive personalities sharing the same world simply increases the chances of achieving that balance.

But for any individual, positive and negative approaches are mixed within the chart. Some people may be overwhelmingly one way or the other, but the majority will hold a fair amount of both positive and negative tendencies. Looking at what sign is where (and knowing what the planets and Houses represent) can go a long way towards figuring out the positive and negative approaches a person takes.

For example, someone I know has a Virgo Sun Sign. Virgo is Earth, and therefore negative in orientation. One of her greatest strengths is figuring what could go wrong with a situation. That could make her sound like a pessimist, but she's not. Her Mars, Mercury, and Moon are all in Leo or Libra, which are both positive signs. And when she approaches a problem, what people see and hear is: "we can" and "we will" deal with this problem. In saying "there is a way" she approaches the problem on track that is optimistic. As a result, she is an excellent person to go to for advice with personal problems, because she tackles it smartly and realistically without making things worse or churning up negative emotions.

On the other hand, the reverse has caused her to run into problems from time to time. She does not react well when something positive for her requires negative action. She can be self-indulgent and hedonistic, and does not always know when to stop herself even when she knows it is in her own best interests, and does not council people to stop doing the wrong things...her approach is almost always a call to action. While she does recognize the ill effects of excess, negative-oriented actions such as desisting, stabilizing, stopping, or "cutting back" are difficult concepts for her to embrace. And despite knowing the problem exists - and her Virgo Sun does point it out - she is not any more eager to adopt a negative strategy.

But if you veered off onto her Jupiter (influencing her method of personal growth), you'd find it in Taurus, which is negative-oriented again. Despite her more active lifstyle, her track record reveals a person who is cautious, steady, and security-oriented when it comes to choosing the major path her life takes (changing jobs, moving, getting engaged, etc.). Her Virgo Sun only reinforces her negative viewpoint on the potential problems inherent in being spontaneous, or taking risks, or bending the rules. So while she does not hesitate often in her day-to-day life, her major life changes are studiously examined and painstakingly plotted out. The point here is that positive or negative approaches relate to the planets the sign is in and what is actually going in a person's life.

That's all for now.


Morlocks and Eloi

(Okay, so the creations of H.G. Wells were were a bit more symbiotic and caste-driven. But they do make for a nice contrast.)

There are those who believe in the basic goodness of humankind, and there are those who believe in the basic evil of humanity. Usually, those who believe in the positive aspects of humanity want to know that it has the freedom to spread. Those on the other side want the security to defend against the threat "They" pose. Threat to what? Sometimes it is a real and physical threat...but most often it is simply a threat to base desires or their way of living.

Sound selfish? It is, but many times the first group only wants the freedom to cater to their own basic desires and immerse themselves in their way of living. Selfishness, like everything else, is relative.

This is a basic polar relationship, viewed in extreme. For most people, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but the overall stance of both sides remains clearly devisive.

Unfortunately, the savage will indeed kill the pacifist, even if the pacifist would never do the same in return. Instead, the pacifist would appeal to the basic principles of the savage, believing in a faith akin to religion that if the savage somehow understands he or she would do the right thing. It is - usually - not so much about believing in peace itself as it is believing anyone can make a peaceful choice and live harmoniously and well and lovingly...and free.

Most of the time, this approach is proven to be rather naive. The pacifist gets killed, believing to the end that the savage can't really be that...well, savage. I mean, not truly. Not that hard to reach, or bad or self-destructive or greedy or stupid or...

Oh, yes, they can be.

They can also be cunning, which peace-seekers tend to avoid. Because when it comes to these two sides, even the strategies employed by their thoughts diverge. There is the mentality that is openly shared and expressed because the outcome and intent may be perceived as positive, and then there is the mentality that must be hidden because its strategy, outcome, or both would obviously be perceived as negative. Deceit is a large part of how one uses cunning as a tactical employment.

It's a scene playing itself out in spades on the world stage right now. And its the pacifists that are going to get killed, because security-obsessed militants are on a rampage, led by cunning leaders, and the whole lot is pretty much power-mad besides. A sad state of affairs, really. Almost as sad as the fact that the pacifists are still clinging to that faith that somehow, the "informed" or "enlightened" person will make a different, smarter, and better choice. I think they will cling to that faith right up until the sword falls.

It's like watching a game and knowing who is going to win before it is halfway over.

I suppose that one can take heart in the fact that - eventually - yang will reach its epitome, and yin will kick in. In the heart of darkness there is that small white spot that never dies. And when the darkness is at its height, that is where the light begins its ascent.

Once the worst has passed, many of the survivors will see the decimation and pain they in part caused, and swear to seek a better path, and forego the barbarism they allowed to happen...or had a hand in. And the long struggle for enlightenment begins, and those that lead the way will give birth to the future peace-makers.

Sometimes, humanity strikes me as nothing more than a broken record.

That is the huge problem with polar relationships, including oppositional signs in astrology. Both presume that the other side can be like them, or do things like them. A pacifist believes that a more martial personality would choose positive things because that is what the pacifist does with greater understanding. The militant believes that intellectuals or peace-seekers have a sinister or threatening purpose that is bent on proving superiority, because that dominance is what the militant needs to remain secure. Both are way off because they miss or reject an essential component of the struggle.

They are not allied to the same thing.

Of course, common ground can be found. But that takes serious work...harder than merely thinking up a better world, and harder than forcefully reshaping it into one's ideal. Compromise between polar forces is even less possible when knee-deep in a clash of ideals. In the darkest of times, moderation is both the truest and most fleeting of hopes.

In May, 2000, five years ago, a very experienced astrologer I knew and respected told me she was leaving the country. I asked her why. She said she was frightened of the next 8 years. That was the term she used: frightened.

I got it now, M. I really do. But I'm still going down with this ship.


It Has Been A While

There are reasons, of course. I am not going to go into them.

I will be blogging here again, though I have likely lost those who used to read this blog regularly due to my long silence. Such is the consequence to live with, I suppose.