Saturday, January 24, 2015

Astrological Overhaul

At the Smithsonian Natural History museum, a very large model of the moon.

If you're not interested in astrology, this will be boring.

When astronomy and astrology split, both were the worse for it. I've tried to find a reference to the history of the split, but in my cursory google searches, have not found anything definitive.

Astronomers are utterly dismissive of astrology. Oh the outrage, oh the condemnation. If they try to describe or define astrology, it's clear in seconds they know nothing about it. It's below them to study it. It's a very intense reaction.

Astrologers aren't interested in thinking about the split, as far as I can tell - a sad thing. Though the field as a whole continues to integrate newly discovered objects and locations, there has been no comprehensive revision, in spite of how much new, sometimes startling, information we have now about the physical nature of our family of planets.

Though astrologers embraced the discovery of Pluto, a planet much needed, and many astrologers work with large asteroids and dwarf planets, the blueprint of the astrological solar system remains same: the sun, 8 planets, plus the moon and the earth. If astronomy and astrology were still happily married, things might shift.

What is known now is that the solar system contains 4 rocky planets, four gas giants, and two belts of objects: the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt. Beyond that is the Oort cloud and beyond that, the magnetic field of Brother Sun goes on and on. The Solar System is huge! Astrology should reflect this, but it doesn't - yet.

If astronomy and astrology were still entwined, it would be clear we should re-assign planetary rulership. For instance, Venus is called "Earth's evil twin" by astronomers. It is sulfurous, boiling hot, stormy and toxic. It should rule Scorpio, not Taurus and Libra!

Here's how I would reorder the rulership of the planets, if it were up to me which it is decidedly not!

Mercury should continue to rule Gemini. The way it whips forwards and backwards (not really but from here its apparent motion is wacky) is as crazy as the ever shifting Gemini mind. Also that whole hot side/cold side is very Geminish.

Venus - Scorpio
Mars - This stable, rocky planet would be a perfect ruler for Capricorn.
Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, should rule Virgo. Duh. Of course!

Jupiter, often called a failed star by astronomers, is well suited to rule Leo. The sun is waning in August, and the luster of summer is fading. A failed star would be the perfect ruler of Leo.

Saturn - Its beauty and grace is extraordinary. Even the six sided polar storms are beautiful, harmonious. Saturn should rule Libra.

Uranus - What a crazy planet! Its rotation is sideways, it's electric blue. Of course it must rule Aquarius.

Neptune - Ah, the deep oceans of gas make this planet a great ruler for Cancer. The planet is blue and dreamy, blue like crabs at the bottom of the sea, blue like the ocean in mid-July. It's suited to ancient animals like crustaceans. I understand associating the moon with Cancer, too, but in my system, it doesn't quite square up. I will explain.

Pluto is part of the Kuiper belt. I think all the objects in the belt should rule Sagittarius. Sag is associated with travel to distant places of mind and body. The Kuiper belt is the last, most remote place in the solar system where there are objects. It is way out there! Even thinking about the Kuiper belt requires a long stretch of the imagination. It is so Sagittarian. It also seems right that the belt contains lots of objects. Sag is the sign of the philosopher, the contemplative. That kind of thinking requires the ability to hold many different ideas at once. The entire belt of objects is relevant, but there is the problem of how to chart it. We saw Pluto first and it seems to work well as the signifier of that far-away region. We should associate Pluto - as an ambassador from the distant darkness of the Kuiper belt - with Sagittarius. Pluto would not rule Sag, only be associated with it as an emissary from that far distant place.

I believe Brother Sun should rule Aries. At that time of year the light is strong and ascending quickly. Brother Sun is mighty in April. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the Sun is our father, brother, and the central member of the solar system. They go together.

The moon should rule Pisces. It is a wise and watery sign, also the last sign in the zodiac. It feels right to have the sun and moon rule the last and the first signs of the wheel, and for the moon to hold the akashic records of wisdom, rather than far-flung Neptune.

Mother Earth should rule Taurus. I don't know how to make a chart to reflect this. Oh the potent fecundity of earth - it is so Taurusian. Look at pictures of the other planets - they are either dreary rocks or gaseous orbs. None of them is fit to rule sensuous Taurus, but Mama Gaia is.

I've spent years thinking about this, while simultaneously learning more and more about our neighborhood and the family of Brother Sun. Alas, the astrological community is not jumping into the astronomical fray of new information except to add new bodies to the mix.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for astronomers to become intrigued with what the night sky means to us at a soul level. We've been watching the stars and planets for countless millennia. The patterns they make against the backdrop of stars, the waxing and waning of the moon and the solar cycles, are hard wired into us. Human beings find patterns wherever we look. We create meaningful stories from those patterns. We've been gleaning wisdom and self awareness from our stories about the planets and stars since forever.

Meaning gives us depth, makes us fully human. Meaning is what we seek in every one of the arts. Sadly, astronomers couldn't care less about that kind of meaning. Just the facts, ma'am.

In the Reyaverse, astrology and astronomy should involve hard science as well as the quest for meaning. They should get back together. Oh well. It's not up to me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ghost Story

My family is haunted by a dybbuk. It surely is. Once upon a time I called it the Mellicker Wraith. The acupuncturist called it a family Jinn. Whatever you call it, when it's hanging around, it does not bring out the best in us. My father was possessed, so was my aunt. From stories I heard from her, my grandfather had the same problem, and his father before him and on and on. Dybbuks figure heavily in Yiddish legend and lore. Mine is not the first family to be haunted in this way.

When the dybbuk is hanging around, we squabble. We argue, almost always about nothing important. The tone of the argument is hardly talmudic. We blame and belittle each other, humiliate, insult each other, sometimes face to face, sometimes behind each other's backs. Character assassination is the point. Sometimes after the haunting passes, we can't even remember what we were arguing about. Afterwards, we laugh about it, as if it's funny to be so cruel. It is such an evil dybbuk.

I drew a cartoon of the haunting years ago. I've searched and searched, can not locate it. I would love to see it again. Two of we Mellickers are chatting away happily. A cloud passes in front of the Sun and then we start arguing. It's the dybbuk argument, meant to be wounding - like a snake bite - not informative or enlightening as some arguments can be. In the cartoon one of us begins to flog the other one with a big whip, while shouting insults and humiliations. Then the cloud moves on, the sun comes out, and suddenly the conversation returns to normal. I wish I could find that cartoon! Oh well.

First there was the dybbuk, and then came the Holocaust. That is just the kind of energy these beings love. I believe it came in closer after the Holocaust. If it's possible for ghosts to be haunted by dybbuks, I believe my Holocaust ancestors are perpetually haunted by this spirit. It keeps them in a loop in which they remain wounded, unable to heal and move on. They're stuck in a loop of agonizing about portion sizes in restaurants. They seem unable to escape the suffering and loss of the Holocaust. It seems they have no sense of their lives before the war, nor can they acknowledge that it ended. They are tortured souls, these hungry ghosts. By the way I'm not the first person to come across hungry ghosts. The link is to the Wiki entry on hungry ghosts. Really interesting.

For the last few years, I've been haunted by the hungry Holocaust ancestors. The dybbuk is never far from that crowd, hence I've been haunted by it, too.

It happens. This link is to an article about how memories are passed down through DNA. I believe it. I believe I've been haunted. Creepy!!

Hungry ghosts can not be satisfied, especially by the likes of me - or - anyone I've ever known. I can not heal them, I can not heal the wounding of the Holocaust. And yet I've been drawn in, as if by tractor beam, to that dark storm of unfathomable wounding, over and over again. I started using Yiddish and Hebrew terms, even though I know neither language. All of a sudden, I stopped eating pork or shellfish (though I love both!)

I wanted desperately to go to Poland even though the experience would be horrible for me. I walked through the Holocaust Museum - twice. I got a tattoo, and most recently found myself in a swirl of mystical experience and energy during the High Holy Days. I've believed, for years, that I was paying tribute to the hungry ghosts with all the reading, thinking, travel and research I've undertaken. I see now it was more than that. It was a possession, a haunting. My aim was true, but I got pulled under. I was haunted by a very wounded aspect of my ancestry. Omg.

A few weeks ago my acupuncturist released my seven dragons, or so the treatment is named. After the treatment he said I was "in the grip" of a family Jinn. Then he shrugged his shoulders, said, "But it's gone now."

I think it has vamoosed! I feel very different since that treatment. I'm suddenly uninterested in the Holocaust or WWII. I honor my ancestors but have completely lost my enthusiasm for getting the Yizkor book translated. Maybe I'll get back to it - it doesn't hold center stage anymore. The spell has been broken; I'm free to move in other directions now. It sounds dramatic, I know. It is dramatic!

I've been looking at my tattoo as if I just woke up from a dream. I look at it and I wonder, why did I do that? I feel unconnected to it for the first time. I don't regret getting it, but it seems so odd. Shalom? I don't know Hebrew - what was going on? You see why I think I was in some way possessed? I got a tattoo! That is completely uncharacteristic.

It seems like another lifetime since my Seven Dragons were released. I used to want to tell the story of my tattoo to one and all, the heart wrenching story of the people in Visgordek, how they were killed. It's a good story but I'm no longer swimming in it. I'm not drowning in it. Not everyone on earth needs to know their story! I feel free.

In fact when the guy behind the fish counter at Eastern Market asked me if my tattoo was Klingon, I thought about it for a second, then said yes. Why not? It's not powerful to me anymore, it's historical. I wonder if that makes any sense?

Now the fish guy thinks I'm really cool. It is hilarious, the old lady with the Klingon tattoo. Yeah, that's me.

All hail the seven dragons! I too am released. It's a clean slate ahead. I am smiling.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015: People need people

The holidays are over! I'm doing my little dance of happiness as usual. Though I've learned how how to enjoy the holiday season in the last few years, it's still a weird time for me. When it's over, I feel so relieved!

I was not wistful to say goodbye to any part of 2014. I fell ill right after the first, with what I believe was H1N1. I touched the grave in that illness, oh my. It was scary. A lot of acupuncture, an aromatic tea with cinnamon and cardamom and about a hundred Cary Grant movies finally returned me to health. I was sick for weeks. God.

After that, 2014 became my year of unrequited ambitions such as my fizzled attempts to get new glasses, buy the perfect birthday cake, join a spiritual community. 2014 was a year to back slowly away from major projects. As long as I didn't try to accomplish anything, I was fine. I had a nice summer of mundane activity during which I didn't try anything unusual. Ah but the human spirit longs for accomplishment. If I don't have a project in mind, I can spiral down.

Another way to think about 2014: it was humbling. The pinnacle (or abyss?) of that theme came during my week in Paris. Oh man, that week in the rain in that city, I was humbled! Ha ha! Funny to think of it now. Paradoxically, though, I received a soul retrieval at the Eiffel Tower, a chapter in my saga I will never forget. Likewise, I spent time with good friends while there. I even met a friend. The experience was enriching beyond my dreams. I guess I did accomplish something in Paris in spite of the humbling.

My point being: 2014 is over now. Yay. Onwards to 2015.

One of my mantras for the new year is "People need people." I hear it from the Voice in the Shower every day. There is nothing wrong with that mantra. Right?

Happy new year. Welcome, 2015.