Words! They fall like skyscrapers. Crumbling brick by brick, and then all at once. Eyes capture the disintegration. A slow motion unraveling of disaster. Where we learn about a story of personal pain and tragedy told in red brick Crayola. This is how it was. Clearly, there was danger. Drawing a monumental edifice. A symbol of strength and power, “with him on top.” But the risk of becoming just a figment of the imagination was all too real, and scary. No words! “They land in pools of rubble.” At least that is what it sounds like on the first listen of Jeremy, sung by Eddie Vedder on the smash hit by the band Pearl Jam. It is a song about the suicide of Jeremy Wade Delle. The actual lyrics are “in pools of maroon below.” Words! My personal preference was always for the red brick color not maroon! But most of us agree with the “lemon yellow sun,” and easily identify with the boy whose “arms raised in a V.” We need to be seen as winners. We all do! What is easily missed in King Jeremy’s desperation is that he tries to “rule his world” despite everything, despite some unspeakable pain.
What or who is collapsing around him? The boy’s creativity trickles down his arms, spills out his finger tips and through his only weapon, a crayon. Can his creativity save him? When he becomes a young man, can his weapon of choice morph into pen or pencil? Will he scribble Words onto a lemon yellow legal pad and catch the bricks as they fall? But for the grace of God, will those bricks become poems? Will the poems become lyrics to songs? Words! Songs are stories that everybody sings and Jeremy’s story grabs our attention because we can relate. We relate to being “at home, drawing pictures, of mountaintops,” and of being on top of the world. It is not just Jeremy’s story. It is our story too, all of us. Words! A small child, a crayon, and a drawing. One child ends their life in front of his high school English class, and another grows up to establish an enterprise that will sell over 100 million albums worldwide. A small irony that still begs the question. Can his creativity save him?
The creative process follows pretty much the same pattern for an adult that a child uses as they wield their red brick crayon, slaying dragons. Thoughts collapse down the arm, out the fingers, through the keyboard, mouse, or stylis, and instead of onto paper, they land on the computer screen. Like the imaginary mountaintop in a child’s drawing, its a wonder. The only question remaining is whether those thoughts, their creativity, will “rule their world.” Or, will the “wicked” fall like skyscrapers, like red bricks destined for the dreaded pool below, in a pastiche to “him on top,” a mocking projection of his own dethronement. No words!
Words! They originate someplace. I suppose “The Source” is as good an explanation as any. When not done well the syllables come and plant themselves on the page like rebel squatters out of work. The connection to “The Source,” all but vanished. At times I just want to believe in the science, that the inspiration for ideas originate somewhere close to the superior temporal gyrus. Think about it! Isn’t inspiration just a simple organic function? Aren’t these “stories” we tell ourselves really just made up? Or, are they created elsewhere? A skeptic might agree, that we are just a bag of bones with chemical impulses. That we ARE “The Source.” No words!
Despite their omnipresence words feel more separate and farther away from “The Source” than ever. We celebrate singer songwriters, rappers and pop stars; Painful ballads about loss, and blotting out the “lemon yellow Sun.” My work aims to realize significance in symbols; to discover the meaning that brings us closer to the Sun, “The Source.” However ambling that road has been for me, I continue the search for meaning in symbol. My lemon yellow legal pads are tucked safely away in the drawer. I put them there when the band broke up, unfortunately, with no sprawling enterprise spawned from my scribble.
There are strong protestations from nonbelievers. Especially, when it comes to Astrology. But I am reminded that this process is not about belief, and that we cannot simply throw pearls to the swine. There is too much at stake to waste time. We need to share what we value most with those who can appreciate the miracle, a grain of sand hidden inside a nacre, and the many, many words!
By the time my thoughts hit the screen and the letters unscramble themselves, the message is no more profound than what you might read on a sandwich board. “Today’s Special!” in bright colored chalk, scribed in neat cursive for all passerby’s. The sign announces what is on the menu for the day. Sometimes I imagine “The Source” resembles a hot pastrami sandwich. Fuggedaboutit! I want some. It took me a long time to learn that when people are hungry they want to eat, they aren’t interested in what Wittgenstein has to say. They are interested in knowing what’s for lunch.
Enter: Snoopy! The Peanuts character who had a similar revelation. Lying on the roof of his dog house and staring up at the stars (of course!), ruminating for days on the meaning of life. Finally he did his “happy dance!” Charlie Brown brought him a dish filled with dog food. What brings meaning to our lives, and the relationships we share, is how we give and receive nourishment from one another. Like enjoying a meal together, or how we consciously cooperate, work together, and bring each other joy. The riddle we call life is not solved by ridicule.
Sometimes MY sentences are like Forrest Gump. They run on and on! I need to stop! Saturn in aspect with Mercury would be helpful. If you have this aspect in your chart, not only is an economy of words suggested, but so is wisdom, measured intelligence, and good counsel. Listen! Can hear the grass grow? Words! Examine the details not in lieu of the forest, but to see how the “parts” fit into everything that surrounds us. Writers are forced to metaphorically chop wood, the painstaking art of clear cutting conversation, to “cut to the chase.” No words! By the time Forrest came to a screeching halt in the middle of nowhere, he simply said, “I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.” No words!
Writing can be exhausting. Much in the same way that analyzing a horoscope can be exhausting. For me the challenge is linked to an insecurity, of not knowing enough, and trying to prove otherwise. My confidence in Astrology has been on the rise lately, and with it a growing humility for the Indeterminate, for where words come from. My approach is punctuated with some higher mind stuff that doesn’t fit easily into a box. Early on this approach was confused by, I must confess, hero worship for authors like Bertrand Russell, and Joseph Campbell. These were more private sycophancies of mine, secret crushes more than anything resembling scholarship. It is not, “MY” philosophy that is right as rain. Words! “I am not that!” Not really. Not a philosopher or a BIG BRAINED intellect. But that romantic version of myself was perhaps a detour, working overtime to be something I’m not. An elemental mismatch of all time: Fire and Rain. A better approach turns out to also be more enjoyable for me. An Astrology consultation with a client is more collaborative now than it is performance art. “MY” style is more poetic. I am a lyricist. No words! My consultations are a song my clients and I sing together.
Truth is plain spoken, and not something we need to command with our minds. I wish I could get this into my thick skull. Like Seamus Heaney, or Billy Collins, or Amanda Gorman seem to do so effortlessly. Let’s not forget Eddie Vedder of course, or James Taylor for that matter. Figuring out who one is and who one is not is an incredibly complicated problem to solve, and an essential problem to wrestle, especially to facilitate the writing process. Astrology can help, but writing will still be excruciating. No matter what! Even so, bad habits that have lasted a lifetime, and that have inhibited your writing, can turnaround in an instant. Your astrologer can see the turn up ahead.
Trying to prove my wits, and not speaking plainly, has been exhausting, and just too damned pretentious. The words come off all wrong. Words! There are fits and starts, and muddled “masterpieces.” The output never seems quite good enough. I’m done! I hit publish. I am 1000% sure that everything is perfect, only to discover later more mistakes than words I remember writing in the first place. I stop! No words!
Astrologically, the Sun rules the 9th House in my chart and is supported by a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. The one that occurred in the early 1960s. When we say “conjunction” we mean two or more planets “coming together.” On this occasion the conjunction occurred near the end of Capricorn. But Jupiter in my chart got a little ahead of itself and moved into the next Sign, to 00 Aquarius 30. The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn occurs every 20 years, and in the 1960s marked “The Great Society” and the unfortunate assassination of John F. Kennedy. Every 200 years the Jupiter Saturn conjunction changes from one family of elements to another family of elements. The last 200 years the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has been in Earth Signs. We just moved into a new 200 year period of conjunctions in Air Signs, beginning at 00 Aquarius, the same point in my chart visited by the Great Mutation. The Great Mutation is the most epic celestial event to occur in 800 years, it is a great conjunction that not only changes Signs but returns to the same Sign it occupied 800 years ago. This happened December 21st, 2020. Exactly on my Jupiter. Exactly! No words!
I have received compliments on my writing, and at times my communication as a ‘performer’ and won accolades. But Uranus is retrograde in 9, holding Pluto retrograde, ruler of the Ascendant, and conjunct the M.C., plus Uranus rules the 3rd holding Mercury, ruler of the Midheaven. What all this astrological mumbo jumbo means to an Astrologer is that, metaphorically speaking, the sorcerer’s apprentice showed up for work one day only to discover that there was nobody home in the magician’s workshop. There was no teacher. Only me, the apprentice. Words!
My education went untutored for too long and I was left to my own devices. I tried to piece together all the disparate incantations I found in the dusty old books left behind by past wizards. The words blurred. Meaning got lost in a boil and sunk to the bottom of the cauldron. The teachers and counselors I so desperately needed in my life went AWOL. An astrologer can easily see this in my chart, or any chart, as is the case when the condition of the 9th house ruler or planets in the 9th house are under tension. There is a suggestion that an interruption in education occurs: here, as mentioned, Pluto is retrograde and Uranus is retrograde. Plus, Uranus is peregrine.
The New Moon in Aries is also peregrine in my chart, in the 5th House. A peregrine planet is one that misbehaves. An apt symbol to describe my childhood; me, as a student, or better said, me as the class clown. Imagine you are a hawk flying above the clouds in a strange land. Hawks are “peregrine” birds. Maybe you were forced to travel afar to look for food, because your ‘familiar’ territory ran out of squirrels or something. You become a stranger in a strange land, ‘unfamiliar,’ untamed, and lost. Peregrine planets do not seem to follow the rules we are accustomed to seeing because the rules are unfamiliar to them. They are intruders in a sense because they do not really belong where they are. For this reason, the peregrine planet has a way of taking over the entire horoscope, it bullies everything in the chart. It goes wild! Perhaps outlandish behavior is to be expected when we are in a “foreign state” (feeling different), feeling atypical, or not being in our familiar milieu. Personally, I imagine myself more a falconer dreaming of falcons than being the falcon itself. The high flying feral philosopher with a soaring intellect is still the aspiration, but the bon vivant, and dilettante took over. With tremendous effort and concentration I have turned things around. I am flying home.
I still cannot identify easily with my favorite poets or philosophers, but I can identify with the man on the moon. My epistemology, informed more by the humorists Kurt Vonnegut say, or his hero, Mark Twain. Oh, and if I were to be be honest, purple haze and blooms of smoke billowing up from a hashish pipe. But after gaining sobriety I attempted to gain my acculturation through the colorful characters of John Irving rather than school. Remember, there was “nobody home” in the workshop. Shit! That was 158lbs ago and one bad marriage. The characters that stuck in my head and took up residence there belong to Owen Meany and Garp… these are the Irving characters most worthy of the man on the moon moniker I suppose, for their “lunacy and sorrow.”
Its Just Me
There is no one to blame for our success, or failure, or, as may be the case, our cancer. Pinning personal success or underachievement on the parents, for example, seems misplaced. The parents are only one influence, albeit an important one. Pinning success or underachievement entirely on the genes seems misplaced too. David Shenk argues against this outdated view in his book The Genius in All of Us. He outlines a humanistic case favoring a complex of vectors that come together like a Grand Conjunction that influence success and give individuals agency. We have choice. Astrology gains credibility when it is joined with philosophy’s like Shenk’s. We need to give some latitude and longitude to possibility, appreciating the full spectrum of potential rather than accepting the narrowing and cheapening of Astrology as meme. Though let’s admit it. Memes can be funny as hell and entertaining.
Andy Kaufman was a genius. And funny as hell and entertaining. There is no doubt about it. Look at the speed of the Moon in Virgo, disposited by Mercury in Aquarius where Mercury is exalted. A planet is said to disposit another planet any time it is in the “dispositor’s” natural sign. Mercury rules Virgo, and Andy’s Moon was in Virgo, therefore Mercury “disposes” of the Moon in Virgo. Mercury is also the dispositor of Uranus in Andy’s chart, because Uranus is in Gemini. See that! In addition, Mercury and Uranus are in mutual reception, meaning they are in each others Signs. Uranus rules the 7th House suggesting that Andy’s communication will go public in a unique way, and Uranus peregrine, suggests his individuality will break boundaries, establish new forms, original comedic routines, that are possibly weird or a little off kilter. He would take himself and his fans into unexplored territory. The character that first got Andy attention was called “Foreign Man.” How’s that for synchronicity? A comedian with a peregrine Uranus, in the 11th house, ruling 7, and holding Mercury in Aquarius, in mutual reception with Uranus, invents a character named “Foreign Man” that everybody loves and cannot stop talking about. Wow! He died from lung cancer.
My teachers encouraged me to tame the peregrine Uranus in me. They suggested I submit to their “graceful tyranny,” and follow directions. It was hard to do. I was flying above the clouds in Kaufman territory only without his audience. Finally, I did. I came in for a landing. What happened next was unexpected, but in hindsight something my teachers completely anticipated. Like anyone who advances themselves through hard work and study I learned more about myself than under all my previous teachers combined. They taught me astrology. They were masters. They were master writers as well, but they weren’t able to break my habit of word spillage. The cadence, the syllable count, the 24 dollar word when a nickel would do, all remained astronomically high. “How is this even fair?”, they pleaded with me, resorting to begging, and then resignation when begging wouldn’t do. My response? “There’s no way to describe what I do. It’s just me.”
One day a Canadian commented on a post and complimented my astrological analysis but then tore my writing to shreds. They call it constructive criticism in some parts, but it didn’t feel like that at the time. What it felt like was the time I was standing on stage as a fourth grader, in front of the entire school and all the parents, trying to remember my lines from the play we were presenting, a reproduction of Yankee Doodle Dandy. I had the lead role, but I forgot my lines. The entire audience kicked up into an uncontrolled ruckus that was deafening. My eyes filled and blinded me with shame. All I could remember was seeing Franky Moynihan from the neighborhood turn beet red, holding his stomach from laughing so hard, pointing his big fat finger at me. I was humiliated beyond despair and wanted to jump off the stage and hit him, but I just froze trying not to wet my pants. I lost my voice that day. I stood there petrified, dressed up in my red, white, and blue, Uncle Sam costume. My face reflecting every possible shade of embarrassment as it washed out the colors of the flag I was wearing. Is this how Jeremy Wade Delle felt? I stood there, amongst a crowd, alone. Holding my shattered heart. It wouldn’t surprise me if that is how Jeremy felt, the day he “spoke” in class.
Today we have a better understanding of how we can all prevent suicide instead of adding to the problem. The CDC estimates that there are between 10 and 13 suicides for every 100,000 people in the U.S., the highest rate of suicide in 28 years. On average there are 132 suicides per day. Like you, I’ve lost friends and loved one’s to suicide. It isn’t clear to me why my experience as Uncle Sam didn’t push me to a tragic end. But for the grace of God I suppose. Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind. But we all have those Uncle Sam moments where everything turns to Black and Astrology helped me to uncover these experiences, discuss them, and to put them away in a box.
Back to the Canadian. He has a prominent Uranus as well, elevated high in his chart. The conversation turned quickly from ripping off the band-aide, to a sort of deconstructive criticism. It did not go the way the WSB meme ended up going. No, this was helpful, in the most positive way imaginable. His Uranus might be close to my Ascendant, suggesting he is an agent of change for me. Good timing! With transiting Uranus in Taurus, the approaching opposition to my Ascendant seems to be preparing me in advance for some kind of major transformation, so I better get ready for change. BIG CHANGE! The criticism came on like gangbusters. I’m thinking Saturn in Virgo. Or, maybe Saturn square Mercury in Virgo, from Sagittarius. Either way, an antiauthoritarian truth teller, a master bullshit detector with no filter, an editor (LOL!). He walked briefly into my life, and just as quickly disappeared. Maybe no expert, maybe no clown, but maybe just different enough with something important to say. “I especially should listen to different” I told myself.
There is a meme going around that was posted on reddit’s u/WallStreetbets sub that seems well timed for the current zeitgeist that is all the rage. Millennials, “WSB,” signified by the joker, aim their rage at the establishment, “Cramer.” Perhaps motivated by a similar angst not much different from what possessed the insurrectionists to storm the Capitol. People bicker over money and the rules of engagement for trading assets while suicide rages worldwide. Jeremy turned his rage inward, but that was 19991. Rage is on the march and no longer directed at the self, but at the collective.
We owe it to ourselves and to the “editor” to listen to each other more. To express our deep gratitude when our intentions align and are well placed. When our hearts are beating not just for ourselves but for the greater good. It was hard at first to read the feedback in the commentary my “editor” sent me. But it was offered free of charge and I found it hit a chord with me. I try to do something similar as AstralCore on reddit where I post maybe once or twice a day to help someone: https://www.reddit.com/user/AstralCore As soon as I got past the little gremlins in my head screaming “you fucker!” and let myself keep it real, to quiet the saboteur, the conversation turned productive with the editor. I am motivated to be a better writer! And maybe my stories will help someone.
Something in the act of writing helps us learn about ourselves. Even if we don’t have Saturn conjunct Mercury in Sagittarius. But maybe someone with that aspect relationship comes into your life. It would do you good to listen. There may be some wisdom they have to share with you. We all need an intervention from time to time, someone to help us avoid our blind spots. I realized that I had made an important mental shift with my editor. I began to say thank you more. To let others know I appreciate them. Even though it felt like I was whacked on the head with my own Marble Notebook, I learned that I was embarking on something new. A new beginning! A rediscovery of the voice I had lost and left on the stage in the 4th Grade. I am a writer, with no words, other than thank you! Thank you to the editor! Thank you, Andy Kaufman. And thank you, Jeremy.