Monday, August 1, 2011

Do Not Associate Astrology With 2012 » The Horoscopic Astrology Blog

Chris Brennen writes a thought provoking blog about astrology. His most recent post this weekend had me offering my own two cents worth, then finding myself at the culmination of a comment firestorm against and for his assertion. It is amusing to find my point seems to have been overlooked by many of the commentators, who demonstrated it quite well.

Do Not Associate Astrology With 2012 » The Horoscopic Astrology Blog

I would also like to add links to the researchers I mention later in the comments of that post, namely Steffan Vanel, Anthony Aveni and Kenneth Johnson. They each have unique skills and knowledge to offer. See for yourself if I was right to include them in the debate.

Spiritual Company: Steffan Vanel

Dr. Anthony F. Aveni: Mesoamerican Archaeoastronomy Astronomy Anthropology Physics

Jaguar Wisdom: Kenneth Johnson

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thursday, September 2, 2010

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” -Buddha

I think the "western mind" bears issue with the pure simplicity of the Buddha's statement (which is a paraphrase, since there is no written record of his specific words).  We reject it because our world is filled with distractions and we are rarely taught as children or as adults to consider what is going on in our own minds. But when someone understands the nature of reality in the way the Buddha understood, the seeming dominance of the outer experience becomes moot because, like any duality there is a primary interaction between our outer environment and our inner selves.

While it seems that we can only modify our outward environment, the impetus and direction for change really begins and proceeds from our inner state. Think about these solutions to a mind in turmoil: meditation, simplicity, silence and encountering nature are seemingly cosmetic solutions; but they work because they require our attention to our environment. Within that attention is the desire for implementation of our wisdom and subsequently a desire for peace and balance, which is not caused by outer influences but by our own personal suffering.

The Buddha was very careful not to demonize desire, although you will find many stories where he wrestled with temptation before achieving enlightenment. Instead he recognized a recursive truth, that within desire was an equal reality of suffering. Understanding that within your own mind is the solution, allows you to recognize the remedy to suffering as being quite simple in itself: bring your attention to your inner state, breath, simplify, relax and enjoy the beauty of the world around you... and do that every day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hesse on Humor

I was struck a while ago when on The Daily Show, John Stewart spontaneously began quoting a pivotal discourse from Herman Hesse's "Steppenwolf". Naturally it focused on the power of humor and was a brilliant bit of theatrical intellectualism. John Stewart clearly knows his audience. But I was so moved by what he quoted that I realized it was time for me to investigate Hesse's writings further.

Years ago I'd read "Siddhartha" because it was a retelling of the life of the Buddha and because at the time it was the only piece of literature I could get my hands on at the time without going to the library. I was impressed that the story was worth reading and compelling enough to keep my attention throughout. It also became a sinker in my mind for all the trivial bits and disconnected impressions I had of Buddhism: the figurines my father had collected and displayed at home through my youth, the knowledge that a great uncle had been a devotee, the tidbits of zen I learned from my mother that she'd picked while my family was living in Japan and learning about the culture, four years before I was born.

Hesse seems a controversial figure for some people. Laurie Anderson tells a story about visiting his grave and being put off by his wife's gravestone which was outside the family plot and carried her maiden name, Auslander. There are those who praise his writing and many who cannot be bothered. So I was quite surprised to find on reading "Steppenwolf" for myself that he placed within its pages many notions and ideas I could personally relate to. I have yet to finish the book as I am a slow reader and often need to contemplate what I've read before I can focus again on the title, but it seems to me that Hesse was inspired by the modern Germanic philosophers, going back to Goethe.

Anyway, as promised here is the quote:

"Humor alone, that magnificent discovery of those who are cut short in their calling to highest endeavor, those who falling short of tragedy are yet as rich in gifts as in affliction, humor alone (perhaps the most inborn and brilliant achievement of the spirit) attains to the impossible and brings every aspect of human existence within the rays of its prism. To live in the world as though it were not the world, to respect the law and yet stand above it, to have possessions as though "one possessed nothing," to renounce as though it were no renunciation, all these favorite and often formulated propositions of an exalted worldly wisdom, it is in the power of humor alone to make efficacious."

--Herman Hesse, "Steppenwolf"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Selfish vs. Selflessness


I find myself coming back to the zen statement, "before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment: chop wood, carry water". Mindfulness does not change that you have identity (certainly communicating on these networks requires it); mindfulness allows one to perceive how identity or self-cherishing is suffering. What one does with it afterward may not change either, but you may find it easier to allow suffering to simply be and choose to act with compassion.

Avoiding suffering is as much an illusion as enjoying attachment; which is also suffering, but experienced differently and with less obvious consequences in the short term. When compared to the whole of life a passing enjoyment reveals itself as elusive and relative. I understand the point of meditation and mindfulness is perceiving reality as it is and releasing self, identity, attachment, suffering or any other illusion we hold, so our daily actions do not ripen as continual suffering and we may be enriched by living within compassion. By practicing meditation, one learns to observe the duality in all experience, which also allows one to act compassionately with mindfulness and with less prejudice or fear of retribution for our actions.

So, we view emotions that produce unpleasant experiences as negative, but the same emotions experienced with mindfulness can result in pleasant experiences if we act on them in a different way than we learned while growing up. Anger can be effective for positive change if we observe what triggers it within and learn to couple it with love as compassion before we act. Without contemplation we remain stuck between the emotion and the consequences of our actions; which leads to more challenging emotions like shame and embarrassment.  These compounded emotions seem to confirm the illusion that the original emotion is negative; when observed without judgment it is not.

Even actions remain relative and illusory, so when it comes to identity and self there is no single or correct way to be.  Judging is impossible because there is no measure or standard to judge against; there is only infinite variation. One might as well say you enjoy the variation of all human expression, as much as say you enjoy attachment, which observed with wisdom is suffering. Without action and as ideas in the mind, they are simply dual and opposing observations of the same notion of identity.

Friday, September 18, 2009

2010 Mayan Calendar

I haven't posted much about the Maya Calendar since I began this blog, but in case you are looking for a decent calendar which celebrates Maya imagery and the Tzolk'in this 2010 Mayan Calendar is the calendar to buy. The website also has plenty of authentic information about the Tzolk'in and other aspects of Maya calendar systems compiled by a Dr. Ed Barnhart, a researcher currently working in Mesoamerica on behalf of the Maya Exploration Center, a non-profit research and education center. I bought last year's calendar and thoroughly enjoyed its combination of Maya symbolism and clear, bright photography.

This is an excellent calendar to buy even if you are not interested in following the current Maya dates, because they leave plenty of room to write on the calendar should you need that. All the same, this calendar uses the commonly accepted correlation between the Maya Calendar to present time otherwise known as the "Goodman, Martinez, Thompson" correlation (GMT correlation). The images for each month focus mostly on Classic Maya architecture, but also include pottery images in high detail.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saturn-Uranus Opposition

I've been anticipating this week with some trepidation in light of my visit to the Emergency room last January. My rational mind insists there is little to be concerned about. After all, the doctors have all shook their heads in wonder and attributed my experience to little more than unintentional overindulgence.

But I can't discount the astrology of the moment. Today marks the central opposition of Saturn with Uranus and the blogs across the astrology blogosphere are filled with meaning and wisdom about this unique configuration. All the same, this clamor for understanding leaves me feeling a little empty and world weary.

It has not been my intention to use this blog as a political soapbox, but my natal chart echos the United States Sibley chart which is often used for analyzing astrology for the US. So I'm not surprised my ambivalence is also echoed by a majority of people in this nation who simply want to weather this period of economic restriction with a modicum of dignity while preserving the structure of their lives in the midst of a health care revolution.

I have little faith in the leaders who emotionally shout and rail against those who call for consensus and compromise. While I have benefited from the current Status Quo and I am grateful I qualified, charity is not a safety net for our nation. It is only a stop-gap for the few lucky people without insurance who have the "good sense" to become sick at the beginning of the year. When the donations run out, the uninsured, including me, become the burden of a seemingly unsympathetic government.

I don't really have any empowering insight into this opposition. It is far too easy to look deeply for meaning and become lost in the potential for universal health care, while overlooking reality: a large percentage of our country's population have poor or no access to common health care. I have to remind myself that Uranus in Pisces is emotional and adjusting while Saturn in Virgo is physical and flexible. It is quite clear to me which will win out in the end, but as with all astrology, what remains important is what you are doing with your time now. I'm going to spend some "me" time in my garden.