The dogma of compassion

Not many would deny that compassion is a virtue. Some would even say it is the opposite of dogma. On a fundamental level, that is true. Yet it is possible for compassion to become dogmatic when it is defined too narrowly, and begins to take on a form of brutal piety.

I had this bizarre exchange with a friend recently. Here’s how it went. The details have been altered slightly but the form is essentially the same.

Friend: Hi, how’re you?

Me: Not too good. I’ve just had some bad news… [I was about to explain that someone I was close to had died, so I was feeling particularly fragile.]

Friend: Hey, you know, my bunions are giving me trouble again. I could barely do my shopping at the supermarket. I was hobbling as I pushed the cart. Even the old ladies were giving me funny looks. [The said bunions had been the topic of many a dreary conversation for several months.]

Me: I’m sorry, but I can’t really talk about your feet today.

Friend (defensive and irate): Don’t you care about my health!? Where’s your compassion?

Me: Urrr…?

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Pluto in Capricorn: Changing your relationship to the past

I posted some time ago about how Pluto’s transit into Capricorn seems to be turning our relationship to ageing (Capricorn) inside out (Pluto). It has been well noted that Capricorns seem to get younger as they get older.

This talk by 80s aerobics icon, Jane Fonda, seems to encapsulate that spirit as she enters the ‘third act’ of life. With her Capricorn ascendant and a late Sagittarius Sun (chart from Astrodatabank), Fonda is no stranger to Pluto transits in recent years.

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Pluto in Capricorn at the movies

In 2009, I posted that Disney Pixar’s Up, an animated film featuring a septuagenarian as its key protagonist is unprecented. I surmised that this reflected the new age of Pluto in Capricorn, where our perceptions about age (Capricorn) are being transformed (Pluto). That the film is an animated feature aimed at children is also significant in that the sign of Capricorn, while representing age and wisdom, produces natives who are supposed to get younger as they grow older.

Up proved phenomenal success, earning nearly US$300 million in the US alone and $450 million in the rest of the world, hugely profitable given that the production budget was about $175 million (source: Box Office Mojo). Grumpy old Carl became a household face in weeks. Sure, there have been films about old people getting young, and Ron Howard’s 1985 Cocoon is one example, but the pensioners in Cocoon eventually had to leave on a spaceship to retain their youthfulness. Carl is old and youthful.

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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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New Moon in my 1st house: Introducing Saturn (and Pluto) Girl

Mystic Medusa has been referring to Saturn Girl, a comic book character from the 1950s that was revived in the 1990s, as an archetype to model ourselves against as we learn the lessons of Saturn’s transit through Libra in the next two and the half years. I’m borrowing that reference today to address some new moon revelations.

The recent New Moon in Sagittarius occurred in my 1st house of self (see astrogrrl’s ‘The New Moon in Houses’), followed shortly by transiting Venus across my Ascendant squaring Uranus in Pisces in near my IC. The news I encountered was unexpected but it helped crystallise something.

I wrote last year about a re-encounter with an ex-boyfriend from a relationship that ended in 2002. I wrote that he had tried to re-kindle a cyber-sexual relationship which I’d played along with for a time but put a stop to when I failed to establish and communicate proper boundaries (this will have to be my Saturn in Libra lesson for the next two years). That hasn’t stopped him from trying every few months or so — each time I’ve ignored the messages, always fearful of my capacity for angry words, always believing (naively) that because I keep my space open, people ‘ought to’ respect it.

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Pluto direct: Blog stats spike!

blog stats 0909

Hey, I was totally surprised to find out that the number of hits to my blog has spiked exponentially in the past 24 hours! Mainly because some very popular and respected astrologers have recommended my blog — I’m awed and humbled. Is this an effect of Pluto direct in my 1st house?!

Thank you to all the astro-blogging -twitter friends I’ve made these past weeks, who have linked to my blog, left comments, re-tweeted my posts and so on. You’re all so amazing, I’m privileged to be counted among you. Here are some of you:

If I’ve missed out anyone, I’m sorry!! Just know that every comment is appreciated.

I hope Pluto direct is ushering good things for you.

Healing Pluto Problems

In honour of Pluto going direct on 11 September 2009, I thought I’d share some thoughts about Donna Cunningham‘s book, Healing Pluto Problems, whose title I’ve borrowed for the title of this post.

I picked up this book on Neith’s recommendation. It is not as heavy-going as Judy Hall’s Hades Moon, which I’ve written about here and also like for different reasons. Rather, Cunningham’s book contextualises Plutonian issues (deep transformation, sex, death, guilt, resentment and so on) in terms of the things one can do to mitigate their effects, whether one is the Plutonian or on the receiving end of one. And it could well be both — Plutonians tend to attract other Plutonians.

Being a Plutonian herself, Cunningham exhibits great empathy for the depth and intensity of Plutonian feelings. If there are ‘problems’ with being Plutonian, it is not the natures of Plutonians that are put on the line, only a lack of understanding (and resources) in wider society to address them. The book does not victimise Plutonian native either — each one is required to take responsibility for their own actions and feelings, and the author is quick to point out that the unevolved can quite easily turn their Plutonian power on others and themselves.

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