I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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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.
The Tao of Toast: In this workshop, participants will learn to brown toast, butter it, and eat it. A continuation, “What to Do with the Crumbs,” will be offered later this summer.
This, then, is the real purpose of astrology: to hold a mirror before the evolving self, to tell us what we already know deep within ourselves. Through astrology we fly far above the mass of details that constitutes our lives.
Each of us lives in a different reality. Each of us has a different perspective, a different purpose, a different viewpoint. We have to honor those differences. The function of astrology is not to thrust my view on someone else but to help another person see whatever it is they need to see more clearly.
I have a friend who’s a magician with a shovel and a rake. He could be dancing; the tools, no less than his hands and feet, are extensions of his will. I trust him not to come to dinner with them, though. How ridiculous to suggest they’d work better than a knife and fork.
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.
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.
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.
The sky is perfect tonight. The flawless close to a false Spring day in mid-February — an odd day with chirping birds, open windows, shirtless basketball and soft outdoor conversation before supper.