The hardest word


Love Story (Arthur Hiller, 1970)

In this classic film, Ryan O’Neal’s character utters the memorable lines: ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry.’

But what if love has nothing to do with it?

Are people noticing that ‘sorry’ is becoming an increasingly rare word? In the world of work and business, at least. No one seems willing to taking responsibility for mistakes anymore — the Wikileaks saga encapsulates this on a macro scale.

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Mars retrograde in Leo: It’s clobberin’ time!

I am finding it really interesting that Mars retrograde doesn’t necessary mean that the Martian anger turns inward or goes away. Perhaps it is the Leonine need for self-expression, planetary retrograde or not. I’m glad to note that other pro-astrologers have pointed this out: for example, astrobarry writes about waking up ‘enraged’, and Julie Demboski writes that:

For everyone, the retrograde will bring forward issues of the ‘I am,’ particularly in terms of where we ’shine’ in the life. We will examine our own personal effectiveness, especially in how our Beingness serves (or fails) to bring us attention and interaction in the world. We’ll be acutely aware that we’re on stage in our own lives; the retrograde will make us ask, ‘Who’s the star of the play?’

Maybe because Mars is now in retrograde squaring my natal Chiron in Aries (Mars-ruled), and trine my Ascendant, and the anger is triggered by the Chirotic wound to the self, but as much as I try to be reasonable (see previous post), sometimes the universe keeps throwing you curve balls until the situation gets an appropriate response. And sometimes, that appropriate response might be an angry one.

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I/Thou/We/They

The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness
— Annie Savoy (played by Susan Sarandon), Bull Durham (Ron Shelton, 1988)

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Adventures of the Invisible Girl III

850447_neptunes_cave I want to thank everyone on the Sasstrology.net forum who helped me ponder my apparent invisibility.

I am currently re-reading Joy Michaud’s The Uranus-Neptune Influence (1994). She writes that the way to best channel Neptune’s idealism and ethereality is through Saturn, not so much in terms of fencing in, or limiting, Neptune’s expression, but in the sense of giving it concrete structure (51):

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You ‘are’ who I project, but who am I?

The more I read about Venus retrograde and self-reassessment, the more my unconscious behaviour is starting to surface, and I’m using this blog, as ever, as a means of keeping it in the light.

As I summed up in a previous post, Venus retrograding in the self-centred sign of Aries is forcing us to come to terms with who that self is for each of us, or as Eric Francis put it, how to have a ‘relationship with ourselves’. Boots Hart’s article on the retrograde addresses how the self will need to engage, not just who it is or what it wants, but, crucially, what it also projects onto others:

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Oh, wait… what happened to no-self?

Okay… So if there’s no-self, then there’s no-self to be broken and put back together, none to be lost or found.

All is perfect.

But there is room for improvement. (to misquote Suzuki Roshi slightly)

Clearly.

More to ponder, and practise.

Love and possession

As the Sun (self/ego) opposes Uranus (unpredictability, sudden change) today, bringing to light our need for, and often also our fear of, change, we are given a little taste of the greater struggle to come when Saturn (the planet of discipline, constriction, and conservatism) opposes Uranus on the 4th of November later this year. Yes, Election Day USA — it’ll be interesting to see who wins the tug of war, Saturn (establishment) or Uranus (change), and who/what gets split/torn in the tussle.

But I’m not talking about that today. As the Mercury-Venus-Mars stellium in Libra (relationships, balance) trines Chiron (healing with awareness) and the North Node (collective future) in Aquarius (humanitarianism, individuality), I am prompted to consider the easy substitution, or confusion (Neptune’s there too), of love with possession. Aquarius is, significantly, ruled by Uranus and Saturn, so the Aquarian paradox (of individuality and collectiveness, innovation and fixity) is going to make the Libra work to find a balance. Not easy, but worth trying.

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Recycling toxicity

I wondered a little while ago about getting upset with people who choose to live emotional toxic waste dumps. Last night, my unconscious must’ve been trying to tell me something because the word ‘tonglen‘ popped up in my dream. I know very little about Tibetan Buddhism but I do know a little bit about tonglen, having once made the acquaintance of a woman who was trying to put it in practice.

The core of tonglen practice, as described here, is by ‘breathing in other’s pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness’, literally using your lungs and heart and body in compassion to purify the negative energy and convert it to joy and happiness.

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Parts and pieces

I rather enjoyed doing the little mini-review the last time, that I thought I’d do another, and later on, one on occasion. Even the simple act of summarising and describing the content in the book helps me to internalise some of its ideas and integrate them a bit better in my mind. So here’s a write up on a book I first read a long time ago, and several times after that, and one which I credit for setting me off on this path with greater certitude.

Mark Epstein’s Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart sort of fell into my lap and pulled me out of some fairly dark times about eight years ago, and recently, I had the chance to pass it on to someone else after reading it for the third or fourth time.

It is a book pondering the limits of modern psychotherapy rather than about Buddhism but I like Epstein’s interweaving of Buddhist perspectives with modern psychotherapeutic practices in an attempt to show how psychotherapy might be more effective if the ego-self were actually allowed to go to pieces, instead of being continually shored up by self-affirmative thoughts, actions or attitudes.

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Emotional vampires

A search for a cookbook (I was looking for Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Puddings!) turned up something else completely. I picked up a book I bought years ago when I was in the midst of being drained. That book is Albert Bernstein’s Emotional Vampires, which offers advice on how to deal with people who drain you dry.

I don’t usually like self-help books but this one is an exception because it doesn’t assume something is wrong with the reader! Instead it offers practical advice on how to deal with the emotional vampires we may have to face at home, at work, and elsewhere in our daily lives. It’s not a ‘why’ book (as in, ‘Why do these people do what they do?’); indeed, Bernstein argues that sympathising with their plights, crises, childhood traumas, do not teach us how to deal with their behaviour. It is a ‘how do I deal with what’s here’ book, breaking down the most common types into five categories, each with further sub-categories. Bernstein has a website that posts the checklists and basic characterisation. They’re quite funny and worth a look — you’re bound to find someone you recognise in there.

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Living in toxicity

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

I finally bought a mirror yesterday after three months of moving into my new flat. I remarked to a friend that living without a mirror has been a good exercise in ego reflection, and although I’d meant it as a joke, it made me think about mirrors, and ego reflections.

Mirrors are funny things, both as functional objects, and metaphors. Do they let us see ourselves as we are? Or do they let us see through to another reality through which a version of ourselves exist? In our age of precision engineering, we presume that mirrors reflect perfectly the object being reflected. However, the idea of perfect reflections is a fairly recent one. Ancient mirrors were made of polished metal. Their more modern incarnations of glass coated with a thin sheet of reflective metal originated in Venice in the 16th century, though other sources indicate that it may have originated in Roman times. And even so, image distortions were not unexpected.

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