Thursday, May 5, 2011
Prologue to "Predictions: The Private Papers of a Reluctant Astrologer"
“Falling in love with yourself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Oscar Wilde
When I first met Peter I believed in predictions. Now I know “it’s complicated.” That’s the phrase people use to describe their love relationships when some things are true and some things aren’t as they’re meant to be. “It’s complicated” we say—like when two people love each other but question whether they are meant to be together—when they look at their partner and say: “I can’t live with you, and I can’t live without you.” In any relationship at all, there’s often the questions of: “Is this meant to be? Are we fated to be together? If so, why? Am I learning something here or simply repeating an old pattern?”
What does it mean to “fall in love with yourself” as Oscar Wilde was saying in the quote above? Perhaps he meant it just as it reads, but I like to think of it more as falling in love with your Self, as opposed to yourself: your ego. The love of self comes before the love of Self, and perhaps both must come before—or at least along with—the love of another person, who also has a very human self and a very wise Self.
These were the questions that were brewing in my head the day I met Peter. I was twenty-nine years old then and I was pondering my single life. In what way might I be fated to be a solitary Soul? Maybe I would never meet someone to love; maybe I was too proud or impossible. In retrospect, I believe my desire to meet Peter is what helped bring us together—and his desire to meet me. The world desire means “coming from the stars.” Maybe it was meant to be.
I still believe in predictions, and I still believe in love. But at fifty nine years old now, I see that the nature of both love and “prediction” and astrology is quite different than what I first believed. Maybe that is the subject of this book: how they are true and not true—they both change as we change.
I know now that astrological predictions are lived out in very unique and particular ways. It can help us get a sense of what’s happening with us, similar to a weather forecast—the storm fronts and the clearings—but we survive the hard times, the storms and droughts, (like the hard transits of Saturn and Pluto) by enduring and waiting and holding our intention…or better said, by honoring the wisest words I’ve heard from the famous Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung: “Hold the tension of the opposites within you till the “Third Way” emerges.”
He’s calling us to wait and endure until the tides of our unconscious and the conscious merge together. He’s asking us to then observe the presence of something we didn’t notice before. Some people see this third way emerging through contemplation while others will spot a moment of “ah-hah”—of synchronicity when the right action or attitude becomes clear—when a synchronistic event arises as if from “a wink of God’s eye.”
When the time is right, when we’ve held the tension of the opposites, it’s as if the burning questions inside us are forced to find a way out—and so we act. We love and don’t love, we make daring moves—when the time is right. When is the timing right? Can it be predicted? Perhaps.
When astrologers look at the predictions for these times we live in—like all those “2012-15 predictions,” they are alarmed by how full of challenge and change they are. The predictions sound complicated and full of optimistic pessimism, or pessimistic optimism. You choose. True or not true, fate is questionable, change is hard, and ideas about destiny and free will change—and always we have to keep making decisions.
Predictions are usually a metaphor; but sometimes they are not. Sometimes a “cigar is just a cigar” as Jung’s mentor, Sigmund Freud supposedly said. Yet sometimes it is not a metaphor—sometimes you clearly see that the cigar smoker is a greedy smelly man with a huge ego who wants your sex and your money.
Even when I was very young I pondered questions of fate, destiny, and choice, and when I heard my first astrologer speak, I decided to deal in the world of the big questions—and in the world of predictions. I decided to become an astrologer when I heard my first “wise woman” speak in a chapel in Boston when I was nineteen years old. She understood something about life that I didn’t; she was an astrologer.
It was then that I decided to join the ranks then of those who were “attempting to read the mind of God.” I believed in astrology then, and that meant I believed that there was a meaning and an order in the Universe that was detectable—as well as standing in awe of the great Mystery.
Again, I found words from Oscar Wilde that echoed this: “The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the Sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the Moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?”
Wow! Powerfully loaded with astrological words, it hints at a humbleness in Wilde himself, as well as the arrogance he was known for—again, the dual nature of the persona and mask of the astrologer: humble and arrogant to dare.
This reluctant astrologer knows “it’s complicated.” And because I knew I needed to learn about my life direction and the soul’s purpose, I wrote a book: “North Node Astrology.” Now I’m sharing about how feelings and expectations change—and don’t change. And so I began writing this book; a little memoir, a little fiction, and hopefully a lot of useful astrological truth for you, the reader.
And so, “Private Papers” begins with the intertwining story of Peter, Sophie, Kendra and myself: Isabelle. There are emails here of being mentored in astrology. There are speculations about predictions, the nature of astrology, and destiny. How much free will do we have, and can astrology help? You will decide.
In this story, Kendra and Sophie are about 29 years old and Isabelle is 59. She’s been an astrologer most of her life, and when she first meets Peter, she’s young, and believes in astrology and the inevitability of predictions. Perhaps she underestimates the power of free will and the Tsunami-like impact of the unconscious. Perhaps she has yet to see how our multiple selves and inner voices form a “committee” in the psyche, and like the planets, each have their own agendas and desires that don’t always agree. We each are such a complex and intricate mandala.
Was Isabelle destined to meet Peter at a certain time and place and marry him? Who knows? Would she accept their relationship as it was, without question? No. That’s not what an astrologer would do. Astrologers look up charts and ponder endlessly. They want to know: Were these two people meant to be together or not? Was the hand of fate involved? Why?
And, what about the “Predictions” for us all, now? What about that ending of the Mayan calendar in 2012? Or the astrological “Grand Cross” we are all living through during these years—all those gloom and doom predictions calculated because of the geometric relationships between the planets of Uranus, Pluto and Saturn? True?
What about the perfect metaphor of Uranus entering Aries in March of 2011 as the earthquake-Tsunami happened in Japan? Uranus, the planet of revolution and unpredictability literally quaked the Earth. The accuracy of the symbolism is uncanny. But what didn’t make the evening news broadcast—or only slightly—was the compassionate and integrated way the Japanese pulled together to help their people. That’s the nature of the spiritual planet, Neptune when it crossed over into Neptune at about the same time. That good news of renewed spiritualty and the coming together of help from all over the world, is not what the evening news focusus on. It’s the bad news, rather than the quiet integrity of Neptune in its home sign of Pisces.
And what will the metaphors be as Neptune continues to move deeper into Pisces from 2011 through 2025? What about Uranus—in tense “square” relationship to the Lord of the Underworld, Pluto, during the upcoming years? Uranus and Pluto were aspecting each other in the 1960’s as a different kind of “revolution” began—what will it be now?
As a reader, you don’t need to understand or even believe astrology to read this—but you will learn the language indirectly. And if you are curious for yourself, and for our times, then I hope you are willing to entertain a certain evolutionary hopefulness. I say that because astrology presupposes a meaningfulness and a lack of randomness that suggests a mathematical astrological patterning that can be measured and felt—that manifests itself as a peculiar blend of fate and destiny. At its best, astrology is the positive contemplation of change.
Does astrology help us prepare for the future? Maybe. But perhaps what it does best is to give us a hopeful system of patterns, where cause and effect relates and makes sense, even as the concept of karma can make sense. Some of it is personal karma—personal relationships between what we do and what we get—this patterning of “cause and effect”—and some of our karma is simply the human condition. Some of it is the family and national karma that we inherit, and that we feel powerless to control. Some is grace and some is tragedy.
We can, however, regain a personal sense of power and meaningfulness when we look back in hindsight to see how the “dots in the picture of our life and times” are strung together in surprising and synchronistic ways. There are events that don’t always follow the laws of rationality. How much is serendipity, synchronicity or “kismet”? Good or bad, if meaningful patterns exist, it makes sense that a God or higher power has a chance to exist, and that feels good.
The synchronicity of meaning-making, in all forms of spirituality and astrology, is most clearly seen in retrospect rather than in prediction. We ponder the myths and the symbols. We look at where and when we were conscious and where we were…unconscious, or just plain oblivious to what we might have known.
We are products of our time—like the grapes in a vineyard that take on the quality of the time and place in which they were grown, we too take on the qualities of the place and time we were grown in. Are you a 1959 type of “grape” that came from a rich soil in Southern France? Or were you cultivated in the stony grounds of a city during a time of war? Your astrological chart is based on this: the day, time, and place you were born, and then the constant movement of time around this.
Most of us want to know more—we want to grow into a larger wiser consciousness. We want to imagine our futures, make good decisions, and create priorities and intentions. We look at how planetary “predictions” may affect our lives. And we go to deeper to find the wells of spirituality and love that anchor us. This journey of living out our personal story—the hero’s journey—is the subject of this book, as is the changing nature of life and love as we ripen and grow through the years.
And so Isabelle met and married Peter before this particular story begins. She was an astrologer of a certain vintage, and a woman of a certain nature…but then, she took another turn…
Photo: "Isabelle CoCroft"