Breathing between thoughts

Or at least speaking them out loud.

Mars in Virgo is squaring my Gemini stellium at the moment, and will do so three times in the next few months. Mercurial thoughts are racing fast and furious — only I forget that thinking aloud doesn’t always communicate what I’m feeling to others. And thinking my frustrations aloud just makes things worse.

As Mars prepares to retrograde in a few weeks for nearly four months, my note to self is to take a breath between each thought, if not literally, then metaphorically. And stay the quip, the tongue lash, the Martian urge to insist that what I think must ‘count’.

Image: Hieronymus Bosch, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things (1485) (Wikimedia Commons)

Out of complexity, brutality

In this article, sociologist Saskia Sassen analyses the collective hardship produced by the recent meltdown of financial institutions as the result of a cynical process by which systems of extreme complexity are created for the sake of profit, and which results in also delivering a base brutality.

I can’t think of a better way of describing what going on right now. What’s disheartening is I’m starting to see this equation everywhere now. Recently came across the term ‘knowledge harvesting’ (Google it if you must, I refuse to link to these organisations), which in effect refers to a systematic retrieval of ‘knowledge’ from people before you sack them. If words can be said to have an aura, ‘knowledge harvesting’ brings up the sense of cold, hard steel, every science fiction nightmare come to pass.

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Full moons: When ‘completion’ can mean many things!

I wanted a quiet 2010, but so far it’s been pretty turbulent. Not all bad, for sure, but turbulent. We’ve seen two major earthquakes within weeks, and without taking away any of the gravity of those events, I’m willing to bet that many people have been feeling quakes one way or another in their personal lives.

Since I’ve been tracking a few full moon experiences on this blog, I’m starting to find that something dramatic, and unexpected, nearly always happens. And every time, I am reminded that when people say full moons bring events and themes ‘to completion’, one never really know what form that’ll take until it happens.

Close to the previous Full Moon in Leo in late January (conjunct Mars), my Byronesque one, I was bringing to fruition a collaborative project with various partners. Our launch was planned for a date close to that Full Moon — and no, I didn’t pick the date for that reason, it was a group choice, and in that context, I don’t mention astrology. The evening before the launch, I get a call from our key guest speaker saying his flight had been cancelled and he would not be able to get into town on time. For various reasons I won’t go into detail here, I decided to fill in for him with an old presentation I gave to a different audience about a year ago. I hadn’t been scheduled to present that day at all. I had planned to be a behind-the-scenes organiser.

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A tale of two (work) cultures

Kermit as Bob Cratchit in A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.

— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Once upon a time, there was an astro-blogger who tried to make sense of two very different work cultures she experienced while working for the same institution. Whether it was because she was born under the sign of the Twins, or that as a Gemini, she was more sensitive to dualities, she found, soon after she started her new job, that she would be working for two different bosses under two sub-groups within the larger organisation. As time went on, it became clear that the two managerial styles, and thus the group work cultures emerging from under them, could not be more opposed.

One was very Jupiterian (say Group 1) — forward- and outward-looking; the other very (almost too) Saturnian (say Group 2) — always cautious, always fearful, always looking over one’s shoulder. While the larger umbrella organisation was already itself Saturnian (Saturn rules institutions), there was never any danger that the Jupiterian culture of Group 1 would indulge itself excessively (this is the era of budget cuts after all); but it meant that the Saturnian culture of Group 2 found its own paranoia reinforced. Jupiterian optimism in Group 1 meant that meetings with them always ended up trying to look for positive ways to work around budget cuts and other limits, while still trying to maintain standards and produce results; and Saturnian caution in Group 2 meant that meetings with them always ended up listing all the things they could never achieve.

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Lunar eclipse conjunct Mars: Curtain call

One of the benefits of writing a blog is being able to go back and look at what you’ve written. I have been trying to put the New Year’s Eve lunar eclipse, which was conjunct my Mars, into words and I forgot that one of the eclipses in the summer of 2009 was also a few degrees away opposite my Mars. I wrote then that it felt like a lot of little lights were going out in my life.* This time around, with all the other stuff going on (Mercury and Mars retrogrades and so on), it doesn’t feel so much like lights going out, more like curtains being drawn. And the set for the next scene isn’t up yet.

The winter travel chaos in the UK have seen me hiding out at home for the past week since I got back from being away most of December. I spent New Year’s Eve alone at home (already spent Christmas with the family) — what better way to herald a Cancer eclipse? In fact, I slept through the countdown. And then as the first week of 2010 wore on, I realised that I was sleeping … and sleeping … and when I wasn’t eating or washing … I was sleeping.

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Astrology of 1948?

I recently read this article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, that the cohort born in 1948, in England at least, may be the ‘luckiest’ ever:

Free healthcare, free schooling, free love – and now early retirement free from the financial woes that plague the rest of us. Could there be a luckier year to have been born than 1948?

As pensions fall off a cliff, the smug 61-year-old is planning the next safari or cruise. Nourished and nurtured by a “cradle-to-grave” welfare state and protected by final salary, the holy grail of pension schemes, the 1948ers would appear to have had it all.

I wondered about the astrology of 1948, and if anyone has any theories?

Image from Rosie the Riveter: Morris County Women During World War II

The mad woman leaves the attic

My Sun-Mercury-Saturn in Gemini and Moon in Capricorn frequently struggle to understand insanity. I don’t mean clinical insanity (though maybe it’s not exempt!), but the calculated insanity imposed upon moderate people — crazy-makers, rather than crazy people per se. Just look at all the loonies shouting and crying out against Obama’s ‘death panels’ and ‘socialism’. The more reasonable he tries to be, the more hysterical they become. My theory is that this is one public manifestation of the current Saturn (reason) and Uranus (unpredictability) opposition. Much has been said about how Uranus (maverick) will break the shackles of Saturn (tradition), but I think the other view is highly plausible as well. Oppositions seek out balance after all, and it is the balance between the two that we must find. However, that’s not quite the subject of today’s post.

A Mad Woman (Eugene Delacroix 1822)

A Mad Woman (Eugene Delacroix 1822)

The more I get through life, the more I wonder whether the crazies will always capture the space simply because they shout louder and the adrenalin carries them further than the reasoned moderates who simply get tired and want to hide under a rock.

I mean, isn’t my turn to Buddhism, to astrology, to psychotherapy an attempt to maintain some sanity in a crazy world? But I sometimes suspect my secret fear is going mad myself. In other words, while I watch others perform their madness, I am not entirely certain of my own sanity. It doesn’t help that Mercury/Geminis are frequently too open to suggestion — Is it X or is it Y? Or maybe Z? Or all three!

I had an ex who had two psycho ex-es (yeah, you think I’d have picked up the signals earlier). You know, the sort of woman who would make a scene in public, scream and shout and throw carrots at the supermarket. No, I’m not exaggerating. At the point of splitting up, I wondered what was so desirable about them that he tried to stay with them (for a while at least) and what was so undesirable about poor level-headed, no-drama me? Then I realised, that’s precisely what he’s doing, albeit unconsciously, making me question my sanity, and many a time I did feel as if I was going mad. However, I’m glad to report that I left way before the carrot-flinging stage. I abhor public scenes.

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