“…Live the life you have imagined…” -Thoreau
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” -Gandhi
The second day of February is historically more than the Groundhog’s Day. On the old pastoral calendar it was the first day of spring! Now, we may have a foot of snow on the ground, but underneath the soil the seeds are stirring. When I walked out the other morning I heard the Chickadees singing “Say Phoebe” the translation of which must be something like, (among other things,) “Hey! Want to build a new life together?” Every year the hardy little birds lead us all in pushing nature’s restart button. In support of them (and breaking with tradition,) this is the time of year I am most likely to make personal resolutions or plans. This is time of year to have Vision.
For me, having Vision is an extension of being awake and aware in life. It is the simultaneous melding of accurate present circumstances with an imaginary future for the purpose of achieving my desired goals.
The first part of Vision is to periodically run reality checks on all our operations, to see things as they are in order to embrace what is really going on. To tell ourselves the absolute truth, we need some understanding of who we are, what we want and why. We don’t need to be psychic to see that when we take what has manifested around us and add our feelings and reactions to it, we project a future. It’s just like watching a movie where the leading man (or woman) has a peculiar attitude that you just know is going to propel them into certain circumstances for good or ill.
The other half of having Vision is holding onto a picture of the future as we imagine it. Where do we want to go? Picturing your life as you would like it to be means understanding who you would be in that life and that is the key to getting there. To overtake that future requires being that person right now. It is good to have some steps in mind for the journey but remember over-planning will get in the way of any unforeseen yet fortuitous happenings. We are interested in the result, not attached to the process. We must be willing to balance our idea of how we think things should happen and having faith, for the universe delights in unexpected short cuts. With that in mind have all the long range goals you want.
Now we stand back and marry both sides, asking ourselves: do they mesh? Are we headed for the future we want? Or is our Vision skewed in some way and why? What are we willing to do differently to get there?
Vision is our mooring in life, without it we drift on a tide of reaction and indifference. It’s another of those things I think is sadly lacking at the moment. We have mission statements, business models, projected sales and financial planning, but, I don’t see much Vision at work in our world, not positive vision anyway.
An example of global Vision would be for a country to have an accurate sense of the outcome on any action it may take. Governments especially, must have Vision; all good leaders should have a positive vision for what can be achieved. It’s not about who we have been but rather, what are we capable of? To be sure, always something far better than what we were. As a country called the United States: who would we like to be tomorrow? A kind-hearted people working toward peaceful coexistence? What kind of circumstances will be living with in 10 years? Prosperous and respected? Our present government never took this into account. True Vision in a governmental body organically produces responsibility for any outcome is a direct result of their viewpoint. Here, more than anywhere else we have the obligation to promote and preserve positive action at all times, preventing reckless reaction.
The ability to follow a present course of action to a thoughtful and logical conclusion is paramount. If our “leaders” could have skipped ahead to the idea that fighting, instead of working with enemies only breeds more animosity, and at the same time, held a vision of a world where countries could connect to what we have in common instead of fighting over what we don’t, well, we might all be living in a very different time.
Vision in a society or culture is seeing all the motivations that a group of people may possess in the pure light of day and then imagining, going beyond, to all possibilities of what they could be. Can they work through their fear of change, for instance, and learn to accept the variations of nature? Can they “see” a time when they are not afraid but confident and empowering to all? How will their new philosophy affect their infrastructure and their laws?
Vision in a community is being able to see how the town of Sandpoint’s present attitude can affect the way we will all live forever more. What do we want our town to look like, to feel like? We must understand how every decision we make today effects Sandpoint’s beauty, character, wealth and people for many decades to come.
At the foundation of all these though, remains Personal Vision, the most important of all. Everything begins at the individual level. To address your present attitude and circumstances with honesty and accuracy is to project a realistic result that one can study for acceptance or rejection. To then create and imagine a life experience that speaks more intensely to who you really are and what you are capable of is to see your life the way it should be and then, holding it in a stop frame use the image as a template to, like the Chickadees do, build a new life.
Monday, February 12, 2007
People are passionate about Astrology. They either love it or they hate it. The big irony here is whichever side people are on, in all probability, they don’t really understand it.
First of all there are many different types of Astrology. Everything from Medical Astrology: the study of illness, and Astrocartography: the effect of changing locations, to Electional Astrology, encompassing timing and politics. The best known category is, of course: Natal Astrology. The study of human personality based on date, time and place of birth.
Astrology had it’s own birth approximately 4000 B.C. around Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). As you can imagine, historical records are a bit on the sketchy side and this, coupled with the speculation that what was committed to papyrus was destroyed in the great fire of Alexandria adds even more mystery to its origins.
We’ve been left with a fragmented knowledge of Astrology’s development and raffish reasons for it’s accuracy. There have been some interesting modern day theories put forth as to how Astrology works, one in particular by the Astro-physicist Percy Seymour regarding electromagnetic fields, but the truth is; at this point in time, we just don’t know why it works, only THAT it does. It is something that can be observed and studied and worked within, with most profound results. It has changed people’s lives. Why? Because knowledge is power and self knowledge is the most empowering of all and that’s exactly what Natal Astrology offers: the ability to “know thyself”.
For most people, the sum total of their Astrological exposure comes from those over-simplified sun sign columns in the daily newspaper. They may be fun to read but their imprecision and impracticality has given Astrology a very bad rap. The problem with lumping all the Taurians together and telling them what kind of day they are going to have is to assume that Taurians are all alike and they are not. People with the same sun signs, IE: all the Leos, Taurus’s Scorpios etc. out there do share some commonality but not enough to do any GENERALIZED DAY BY DAY forecasting. The sign the sun was in, the month you were born, is only the beginning of a personality profile. In addition to a sun sign each person has 11 other planets, 12 houses and several other pertinent points in a Natal chart to consider. The complexity of a Natal or birth chart is not to be underestimated. Considering how multi layered each human personality is this must be so to make any sense of it at all.
Our universe is composed of various vibrational energies starting at the subatomic level and building up to manifestation into the physical forms we live within and interact with. Astrology sorts all this energy into 12 categories, twelve differing vibrations and these are named for the 12 planets in our sky. (For simplicities sake Astrologers count our sun and moon as planets, although we know they are technically luminaries.) These planets encompass and rule the signs we are all so familiar with. The reason we began to use planets as representatives of these 12 energies has to do with years of observation by ancient Astronomers and is too detailed to go into here
When it comes to the human population we know well some of the categories and the generalities of energy patterns or vibes occurring at certain times and places, we can see them when we look at such things as eras in history and the generations born into them: Depression Era Children, Baby Boomers, and Generation Xers. .
As we move down to the individual level we find ourselves right back at the Natal chart. So, what is a natal chart exactly? It is a map of the sky at the time and place you were born, a freeze frame snapshot of everything that was going on above your head and consequently in the world, the second you took your first breath. It is a template, an imprint of what kind of energies were dominant and how they were interacting. Like a fractal, you are a reflection of the energy present in that moment of birth and by studying it; one begins the journey to self understanding.
Even with the endless assortment of information available in a person’s natal chart, it it still quite easy for a layperson to garner a rudimentary working knowledge of Astrology, enough to understand their strengths and weaknesses and do one’s own tracking of fortuitous times and minor disasters.
Another amazing thing about Astrology is that built within the system of each natal chart are levels to be traversed. It is not meant to be a fixed place by which to judge, blame and fall victim to, there is flexibility and choice. It is a framework and not a cage. It is not a religion either, but a system that gives us a language to consider and discuss those things that are sometimes too intangible to grasp, that of: attitude, emotional mood, and how different thinking processes foster various conclusions to the same problem.
I predict at some future point everyone will have a copy of their chart and check it regularly along with the weather channel because it not only gives us a way of seeing, embracing and using our unique talents but also allows us an understanding and acceptance of our fellow human beings and what they, in their turn, are dealing with.
Life is certainly no laugh-in, but the acquisition of self knowledge through a Natal chart can cultivate responsibility, give freedom of choice, show us where we fit in, release us from envy, bestow confidence, build respect and turn life’s trials into opportunities for growth.
When authentic Astrology is used we have the tools to comprehend what has always eluded us: real personal power. A life around us in balance with our true self, real integration within society, an understanding of the environment we find ourselves in and the ability to live ever deeper in a state of grace.