Anger Touches Death


My nephew, Drew, committed suicide on December 15.

The pastor at his memorial (which happened yesterday) said this: “People who commit suicide think that they are putting an end to their pain. This is not true. They are simply passing that pain onto everyone they leave behind.”

Bingo.

Drew’s suicide touches everyone differently, and we all cycle through the typical stages of grief.

For me, there’s been a lot of anger, self-loathing, self-disgust and discontent. A clinician would, without doubt, say that the stage of depression has been reached. I, on the other hand, do not subscribe to the pathologization of the natural descent cycle — but I do see that a descent has occurred and I’m endeavoring to embrace it for all it’s worth.

The Buddha would say that this mess of reactivity is due to excessive identification with the body, and he would be correct.

I am still in the body, and unless I consciously attain “Right View,” I definitely identify my body as “me.”

The body is not only physical, but it is mental and emotional as well.

The emotions are what assail me now.

So, I turn to a pair of companions who bring comfort through thick and thin: astrology and the Bible.

What does astrology say?

Astrology says that transiting Mars, the Warrior, planet of anger and physical vitality, has been moving directly over Pluto, the Dark Mother, planet of death and transformation, in my natal chart.

Mars and Pluto happen to be ruling planets in my chart. This means that, whenever they are “lit up” by mutual connection, I am thrust into processes that go directly to the “core issues” in my life.

Astrology says that Mars conjoining Pluto guarantees at least a month’s worth of physical, mental and (especially) emotional INTENSITY — which, of course, exceeds the boundaries of rationality, descending my emotions into the deepest, darkest recesses of existence.

My experience of what Astrology says includes the above-mentioned anger, self-loathing, self-disgust and discontent. I’m sure there are other things going on in my chart (i.e., Jupiter squaring Nodes and Saturn in the 7th, Uranus opposing Moon, and Pluto continuing to square Moon) that contribute to the seeming bottomlessness of the descent I’m in… but, for whatever reason, I can’t seem to find the lower floor, and I’m getting a little desperate.

What does the Bible say?

Here’s where I was led:

Eph 4:29-32 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

So… the remedy for my corrupt communication, my grieving of the Spirit of God, my bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and malice… is to forgive those who are on the receiving end of my projections, and to show tenderhearted kindness toward them — no matter how difficult it may be for me to get there from here.

Whew! Tall order!

And, yet… the forgiveness piece is something that’s worked wonders in my past… because, only through forgiving others am I able to receive forgiveness for my own loathsomeness.

Yes, I am inundated by explosive emotion right now.

I feel terrible about my reactivity and my frantic corruption of communication. I feel awful about ALL my shortcomings, the totality of which seems so obvious and exposed.

In this place, I can’t seem to get over the shortcomings I see in others — I want to blame them for the pain and suffering within me.

So… I forgive everyone who has ever “wronged” me — just as I forgive Drew for killing himself.

And… I pray that my own wrong-doing toward others is forgiven in kind.

* * *

Somewhere in all this grieving, there is a bottom floor.

May my feet touch down in that place as soon as possible.

Special Offering

I’ll be giving Tarot readings to participants in Maurice Fernandez’s upcoming workshop in Boulder, CO.  This will be Segment 6 in Maurice’s complete Evolutionary Astrology course, covering Transits, Progressions and Solar Arcs.  Serious students of astrology will be truly blessed through this event, and with everyone getting Tarot readings from an archetypal perspective, the potential for really going deep is accentuated.

Here’s the announcement from my website, where I’ve uploaded the official flier for this event.

Ecstatic Astrologers and the Celestial Language

The concepts of a personal God, and of an impersonal super-cosmic or intra-cosmic Absolute, represent two ways of solving the problem of the meaning of existence. The former makes astrology quite superfluous, for the solution of all existential problems is “union with God” — or at least the ability to hold a “dialogue” with God, the absolute and never-failing Guide and Comforter. If, however, the universe is understood to exist through the cyclic interplay of cosmic Principles and of an “infinite Ocean of energy” astrology can be considered as a “celestial Language”.

Dane Rudhyar, “The Spiritual Value of Astrology

I have to admit that, in all my forty-seven years — despite growing up in the Presbyterian Church the son of a preacher — I’ve not been able to wrap my head around the notion of a personal God.

Now, a personal representative of God — that has made more sense to me.

As has the idea of “union” with That… although it’s hard to say that my experience of That is what they (the various scripture writers down through the ages) were referring to when they uttered a name for God.

From my perspective, a universally-acceptable definition of God remains out of reach — as does the absolute certainty that there exists such a Being as God, regardless of the definition.

I mean, does the samadhi of deep meditation equal God?

If I pray intensely and am overwhelmed “by the Spirit,” does this experience prove the existence of God… or does it prove the existence of ecstatic phenomena, without reference to an Ultimate Being?

Perhaps this is the reason why the Buddha left open the question of God, preferring instead to lay out a Path that would eliminate the need for conjecture.

Leaving aside the absolutist assertions of various revealed scriptures that have come down to us, let us suspend our arguments for and against the notion of God, and agree to entertain the idea that individual human beings — beings with a separate consciousness and identity from the Infinite — are incapable of truly “knowing” the Infinite… but that, within our limited range of possible understanding, there may be inspiring clues as to how our world may look from the perspective of God.

There is something of this in what Rudhyar was getting at in his quote.

He was not exactly denying that God could exist in a personal form, or that we humans may “lose ourselves” in this God through a type of spiritual union. In pointing toward a “Celestial Language,” however, he invited us to avail ourselves of an expression of Intelligence that may be decoded through a study of the relationship between our geocentric perspective and the heavens above.

If, indeed, humans were “created in the image” of the Elohim, it stands to reason that there is some correlation between the skies above (representing the outside-looking-in point-of-view of a God with omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence) and the Earth below, along with its human inhabitants.

Most practicing astrologers would say that there is more than “some correlation,” but that a solid astrological understanding equals a profound opportunity to observe human life through the very eyes of the Celestial God.

* * *

For the record, I have a belief in a Unified Intelligence that “communicates” through many Mysteries… most of which remain encumbered in a morass of disinformation, power games, ignorance and confusion.

I believe that astrology is a valid “decoding machine” for the Mysteries, although a given interpretation is susceptible to fallible human bias.  If such bias is an unavoidable consequence of human life, then the question arises:  what sort of astrologer offers a bias most aligned with the Source of Celestial Language?

If a given astrologer comes predominantly from an intellectual/technical life-experience, with no direct (i.e., “ecstatic”) absorption in the all-pervading Divine, then this person’s consultation will offer all sorts of bells and whistles dug from a well-read bag o’ astrological tricks. I believe there is value in receiving a reading from such a technician, in that the client benefits from the combined portfolio of every astrologer to whom our technician has ever been exposed.  There is good and interesting information here… minus a “living bridge” that vivifies the consultation through the astrologer’s experience of spiritual union.

In modern times — thank goodness — many astrologers maintain daily spiritual practices, some of which are bound to produce ecstatic fruit.

Maurice Fernandez, for instance, is a certified kundalini yoga teacher (in the Yogi Bhajan lineage). I have personally attended some of his kundalini yoga sessions, and am willing to testify to the effectiveness of this practice in giving rise to charismatic phenomena. The “third-eye focus” that is so strongly emphasized during a kundalini yoga session brings an assortment of ecstacies, especially with all the intense “fire breathing” and other techniques that pepper a given yoga set.

A reading from Maurice is naturally informed by his spiritual practice, thus offering a living quality to the Mysteries that speak through the Celestial Language of astrology.

I believe, also, that my own experience as an ecstatic contemplative brings a profound connection with astrological information in a way that no book or lecturer could ever provide.

I say this not to toot my own horn, but to strongly hint that the counseling device of astrology — which purports to give insight (at the very least) into universal laws that are God-like in perspective — is nothing but rote recital when devoid of a unitive spiritual practice.

You want your astrologer, in other words, to be able to combine solid astrological understanding with a rigorous practice that brings spiritual authority to the expressions of Celestial Language.

You want to get yourself an astrologer who not only understands the Celestial Language, but who speaks it through the filter of daily “union with God” — beyond the need for conjecture.

Sling-Shot Into the Multiverse


From the most recent Winter Solstice (December 21, 2009) until upcoming March 9, we all will have been experiencing Mars retrograde in Leo.

A retrograde movement is an optical illusion that makes a planet appear to journey backward in its orbit, and it has the effect of internalizing much of the planet’s influence. Rather than manifesting directly into our immediate environment, there is a sense of requisite preparation that may entail all sorts of cleansing and letting go.

You are not alone if, throughout this period, you’ve felt charged-up and ready to go… even while being held back, like a stallion chomping at the bit. It would also not be surprising if you’ve been asked to separate from important relationships, jobs and other once-solid commitments.

This has been a time of incredible inner churning — fiery intensity, dominated by a sense that the world is moving at break-neck speed and we are somehow falling behind — shouldn’t we be doing something to address the situation?

Frustration results, as our conditioning prompts self-judgment around an inability to take a step forward. We feel as though we are moving sideways, at best, even when it looks like we’re taking care of business “out there.”

The skillful way to be with this transit — no matter how it impacts an individual natal chart — is to relax, allowing the fire of Mars and Leo to cleanse away hindrances to what will unfold when the retrograde movement ends on March 9.

* * *

When we look ahead to early March, we notice a stellium (or grouping) of planets in Pisces: Uranus, Sun, Mercury and Jupiter.

Pisces, the Mystic, transcends conventional boundaries of consciousness. With these planets moving through Pisces at precisely the time that Mars goes direct at 0″17′ Leo, we will not only begin to move out of our insulated comfort zones, but we will be blasted beyond the margins of our conditioned reality. With so much emphasis on Pisces, we will collectively sense our individual participation in a much, much larger cycle of transformation — and we will secretly desire that our lives will shift into alignment with our “true mission.”

I really do see the period between March 9 and June 7 (when Mars moves from Leo into Virgo, with Chiron having dipped into Pisces to join Uranus and Jupiter) as a challenge that demands deep and unconditional surrender within each and every one of us. We will be asked to trust in ways that we’ve successfully avoided in the past, no matter how deep our fear of being “burned” again. We will also be asked to assume a larger perspective within ourselves, connecting with something higher and more powerful.

We will, in fact, be prompted to allow this larger part of us to run the show.

The hours, days and weeks from March 9 to June 7 signify a collective acceleration of consciousness, which will find grounding once Mars has finally entered the earth sign of Virgo. During this acceleration, potential changes that have been incubating since the Solstice will blossom into manifestation — likely more than one, flying toward us like blowing embers — such that we may not be able to collate and organize things in real time, requiring that we (again) trust that everything is falling into place according to some higher design… knowing that a time for assessment will arrive with Summer.

So, good friends, just know that this strange inner chaos that seeps outward from time to time — the jerking forward and back, feet stepping on themselves — is actually part of a necessary adjustment that has been moving through us all. Our wish for resolution will not only be met, but will be met in ways that we’ve not even dreamed of.

Ours is to remain patient during these final days of inner preparation, and to buckle-in for a three-month trans-dimensional journey into uncharted space… knowing that there’ll be time enough to make sense of it all in due time.

Those who consciously embrace the shift will be the first to realize that the awaiting reality is perfect and fine in every way….

Signs and Symbols: A Doorway to the Holy Place

The question is, why consult signs and symbols when we are modern citizens of the Scientific Age?

What possible benefit could come from an examination of planetary positions at the moment and place of birth?

Did we not leave such superstitious ideas behind when Darwin and Descartes came along?

Granted, Carl G. Jung did much to restore interest in alchemy, astrology, Eastern traditions and the realm of the intuitive. He studied dreams in himself and thousands of clients over the years, and even sent his most challenging clients off to have a horoscope drawn up. He recognized through his theory of synchronicity that there is no such thing as randomness, that everything in this reality unfolds along archetypal lines, and that this unfoldment occurs according to alchemical cycles that appear to have been embedded in the collective unconscious of humanity. Jung was not afraid to look into the dark past for insights into psychological pathologies of modern existence – and what he found during this search was that the ancients were far better equipped to understand the workings of the mind and soul than are scientifically-conditioned “experts” of current times.

Jung paid a price for his rediscoveries, of course, in that his work was marginalized and discarded by the psychotherapeutic establishment, which retains a Freudian perspective to this very day.  So-called “Jungians” are typically regarded by the mainstream with a wink and a nod, at best.  Nevertheless, Jungian ideas have infiltrated the field of psychology in subtle (yet profound) ways, even as these ideas have done wonders in establishing astrology in the West.

Dane Rudhyar, whose work spanned the middle 50 years of the 20th century, crystallized Jung’s revolutionary perspective and combined it with the ancient art of astrology, publishing in 1936 one of the truly original – if nearly-unknown – works of psycho-spiritual synthesis ever produced: The Astrology of Personality. In this book (as well as in most of his writings), Rudhyar showed that astrology is not about predicting future events, but about bringing order out of chaos, giving the individual a roadmap for psychological unfoldment along organic and cyclical lines.

In my consultations, then, it is this ideal of “bringing order out of chaos” that informs the proceedings.

Through this “higher ordering,” something profound and mysterious occurs, and it is this deeper process that gives astrology its true value.

We spend so much of our lives “in the middle of it,” plugging away, often just surviving what seems like a random mess of external influences that push us here and there. We are conditioned, in fact, to believe that this is how life really occurs – that things just happen, and we should respond as best we can. The idea that life unfolds in cycles that may be interpreted through signs and symbols is not something to be taken seriously – so we just push ahead, doing what we can within our limited range of vision.

If nothing else, these past 18 years of working with astrology have shown me that life is not random, that it does unfold according to a collective framework that manifests cyclically, and that these cycles have been expressed through the signs and symbols of astrology for thousands of years.

Astrology puts the individual in touch with the collective, the micro with the macro, and it gives us the opportunity to avail ourselves of a collective perspective that is literally infinite in scope. It is like being put in a spaceship, flown way, way up into our local solar system – into the realm of the Archetypes – and given the opportunity to see life from the point-of-view of higher understanding. From this higher platform of knowledge, order is introduced into what the individual experiences as chaos.

While it’s true that, in identifying certain cycles running through the client’s chart, an occasional insight will arise that may be taken as a “prediction” for future events… what is actually happening is that the client and I are arriving at a synchronistic point of understanding. Together we “see” something clear and obvious, even though it may have been sitting on the client’s nose for years and years. This is an alchemical process, such that, when the two of us climb into the “alchemical crucible,” we have availed ourselves of a Mystery that expresses through signs and symbols. We have immersed ourselves, in fact, in a sea of signs and symbols, submitting to anciently-derived collective wisdom that comes to bear on the present moment.

As I explain this and describe that during a routine survey of astrological data springing forth from the chart, signs and symbols are transmuted into insights that trigger connections and associations within the client. These connections and associations then trigger a similar process within me. In short order, the client and I are seeing one another as an uncanny mirror, sharing in this deeply intimate moment a recognition of an otherwise unconscious human heritage.

There is something profoundly healing in the intimacy of this meeting, beyond even what the signs and symbols represent. It is as though the signs and symbols create a doorway to the holy place of awareness before we take birth, and in this holy place we find a spiritual connectedness that is independent of the form and drama of our current life. We have agreed to spend an hour or so in this place, suspending our conditioning and our beliefs about the should’s and shouldn’ts of life… and we make ourselves available to a wisdom that can’t be accessed in any other way.

Perhaps this description sounds forth as memory and resonance from beyond the chaos of your everyday life.

If so, perhaps the alchemical crucible may be calling you.

Samadhi Versus Everyday Life

Work

Not really what the post is about, except in a twisted weird way....

Another fresh article is up at Samma-Samadhi, dealing with the tension between ecstatic contemplation and getting out into the world.

It’s also up at my new site, A Curator of Clarity, as we as at its associated discussion board….