Full Moon in Leo, or how Byron cured my busy work hangover

Byron, 1813-14, R. Westall (1765–1836)

So much has happened for me since the awaited solar eclipse of 15 January that I haven’t had time to process it all, much less try and write about it properly (sorry, Neeti!).

What I can say is there have been flashes of new beginnings for me, but it is too early to tell what they may spark or what shape they may take. Given that the solar eclipse new moon occurred close to my north node and natal Moon, I reckon that what changes it heralds will have to be processed emotionally. What it feels like following my ‘sleepy’ start to January is like the stuff I didn’t have the energy to get to just piled up behind a large hatch. At the eclipse, the hatch was released and all the stuff, junk and jewels both, tumbled out higgledy-piggledy in a crazy mess I’m still slowly trying to sort through.

All through last Friday and Saturday, I worked through some mind-numbingly tedious busy work, the kind that is anathema to a triple Gemini, even a 6th house one (Moon in Capricorn insisted on keeping on track, and Saturn in Gemini kept watch). By the end of it, I felt the mental equivalent of having been run over by a herd of elephants. Too exhausted and keyed up to sleep, I ended up in dialogue with a friend on Facebook about a series on the Romantic poets that the Guardian newspaper had run in the past week, dwelling a little on Germaine Greer’s introduction to Lord Byron.

Although I’d read the various introductions to the poets in the series, I’d not actually perused the poetry excerpts that were printed alongside them, thinking I knew most of them already having read them years before as an English major. But flipping through the pages on Byron, I succumbed to the sudden urge to read the verses aloud, and felt a curious internal transformation. The feeling of roadkill dissipated and was replaced by something I can’t quite put into words (Keats’ ‘negative capability’?) — an indescribable mix of satisfaction and relief brought on by a kind of release, sensations I tend to experience after a good yoga session, a bout of meditation, or a nice meal. Trust a Leo full moon to return this reminder of the power of play, and pleasure, in art.

I’d forgotten about poetry. More accurately, I tend to procrastinate about poetry — like, ‘I’ll read some when I get some time‘. Well, as we all know in this post-industrial era, there never seems to be any time available for simple pleasures. We spend all our time running for trains without looking to see if there’s any platform left under our feet. As Byron wrote in a letter to his friend and fellow poet, P. B. Shelley, in 1821 (note: three years before his death at the age of 36):

As I grow older, the indifference — not to life, for we love it by instinct — but to the stimuli of life, increases.

If I may venture a thoroughly unscientific theory, I think reading poetry aloud replenishes the mental circuits in my brain worn down by tedium, and substitutes the dulling disharmonies of busy work for something altogether more soothing, and nourishing. Triple Gemini in the 6th opposite Neptune in the 12th — I reckon it would have to be poetry … or some other drug.

In the words of Lord Byron himself:

Man, being reasonable, must get drunk;
     The best of life is but intoxication:
Glory, the grape, love, gold, in these are sunk
     The hopes of all men, and of every nation:
Without their sap, how branchless were the trunk
     Of life’s strange tree, so fruitful on occasion:
But to return, — Get very drunk: and when
You wake with headache, you shall see what then.

                     — From Don Juan (1819—24)

P.S. Here is Byron’s chart on Astrodatabank. Look at that Neptune placement…

Image: Portrait of Byron by Richard Westall. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


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