Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heaven and Earth

My Father and I have developed a running joke about astrology. He used to roll his eyes when I would talk about the sun, moon and stars. He still rolls his eyes, but now he also laughs and quotes Hamlet:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (1.5.166-7)

I think Shakespeare was on to something.

I get a lot of rolled eyes when I talk about astrology, but I get just as many expressions of relief—relief when I describe some planetary transit that sums up the current conflict in someone else's life. I had this experience the other day while sitting in a cafe having tea with a friend on the eve of a full moon. My friend was relieved to hear that the pressure she was feeling might have its origin outside her. Our conversation also seemed to bring relief to the woman listening in from the table next to us who exclaimed, “Oh, it's a full moon!” and seemed to exhale for the first time since she sat down.

Photo by Kathleen Keagy
For me there is no question about the power of celestial bodies to impact our lives here on earth. I can feel it. No one has to tell me that the moon is full, my body and my emotions swell up like the tides. And when Mercury is in what is called retrograde motion (passing between the earth and the sun while orbiting), it feels like I am walking around with a blind spot, causing all my perceptions to be slightly off.

I find it freeing to see my life through the lens of these cycles. Astrology reminds me that what I feel is not necessarily originating inside me—that I am always responding to energy from other people, the earth and even the movement of celestial bodies millions of miles away. When I pay attention to cycles like the phases of the moon, I can unclench my teeth and release the need to be in a good mood with the same patience level and the same level of optimism every day. With the gift of perspective from the map in the sky, I point my surfboard in the direction of the wave I'm on and get the best ride I can instead of wishing for some other wave, or worse, paddling against the wave as it crashes on top of me.

Surfing the celestial waves. My sport of choice these days.

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