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The Sun Magazine

Religion and Philosophy



I Just Died

It’s summer, and I’m hearing my landlady’s pets more than I’d like to. She lives upstairs and told me when I moved in that her animals were quiet. Clearly I was a fool to believe her.


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Most of us twiddled our thumbs in childhood — that is, interlaced our fingers and rotated our thumbs around each other — unconscious of our participation in an ancient practice dating back centuries within the Zoroastrian, Buddhist, and Sufi traditions. Khalil Patuknon, fourth-order Sufi and Confucian adept, will instruct in the proper method of twiddling, based on his twelve-year retreat in the Khartoum Mountains.

The Sun Interview

The World As Symbol

An Interview With Steven Forrest

What’s your Sun-sign?

The question usually means someone is trying to pick you up at a party. Or perhaps that you’re in the presence of some self-proclaimed wizard who, upon getting an answer, attempts to describe you as if you were one of twelve varieties of breakfast cereal.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Dance Of The Elements

Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. To some, these are images from antiquity, symbols of superstition; to others, intimations of some cryptic alchemy, promising the transformation of consciousness. In astrology, which is the interface of nature and psychology, there are no symbols more fundamental than these four. The primal Elements are the bedrock from which all the elaborate symbolism of the birthchart arises. So transcendent are they in character that they are beyond the grasp of pure reason. Far more ethereal than the twelve Signs, they stand in the same relation to our mental faculties as does the earth to our five senses: they are simply too large to conceive. ln school, most of us were taught that the philosophers of ancient days, in an effort to explain the universe, assumed that all creation was synthesized from various admixtures of fire, earth, air, and water in their physical forms. Our teachers then very likely went on to talk about how nowadays we know that there are not four ele- ments but over a hundred. All this is typically presented in a condescending manner, as though Plato and his cronies were not dumb really, just uneducated. As is so often the case when crossing lines of time or culture, we have misconnected . The old Doctrine of Elements was never intended to fill the shoes of our contemporary Periodic Table of Elements.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Making Predictions

Astrology, particularly predictive astrology, can be an awesomely powerful tool. Through it, consciousness is extended beyond its natural limits. Rather than seeing life from ground level as a series of confrontations with specific, seemingly unrelated situations, the awareness rises temporarily into the stratosphere. From that perspective, each event takes its place in a pattern of unfolding themes. All sense of randomness disappears, being replaced by a vivid feeling of life as a path with a clear direction.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Birthcharts: Wheat And Chaff

No one needs astrology. Everything a person can learn from his or her birthchart can be learned someplace else. Like any other language, the symbolism of astrology is just a tool, just a finger pointing at reality. And like any tool it can be abused, used as a crutch, hidden behind, and misapplied. Despite all these pitfalls, it remains a good tool for certain people at certain times in their lives.