Happy Halloween! Gather round ye children and let me tell you the tale of how I discovered the ancient art of Astrology at the tender age of….
My mom always said I had an old soul. She also said it was my dad’s first time on Earth ….
When I was a young and impressionable tween in rural Vermont, I made the switch from public school to the crunchy granola establishment which I fondly refer to as “Hippie School”. At this school we had the freedom to choose any independent study we wanted. It literally could be anything from Shakespeare to Klingon. Naturally, this loner was drawn to books. In particular… THIS BOOK:
I was OBSESSED with this book and it’s weirdly intriguing illustrations. At age 11, I read it almost every day. After memorizing each sordid tale of the Gods and Goddesses, I started connecting the dots between Greek and Roman names and our own solar system. You know… Zeus = Jupiter, Ares = Mars, which eventually lead to discovering the names of other stars and constellations in the sky. Independent Study led to book reports, which led to theatrical adaptations (the crown jewel being “The Abduction of Persephone”), which led to toga designing and epic hair braiding, which led to Julius Caesar, which led to the CD recording of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
I was also simultaneously reading YM and Tiger Beat at my friends’ houses, where I was introduced the infamous sun-sign horoscopes. Throw that juicy slice of pop-culture on top of my nerd-fueled obsession with Greek Myths, and it’s no wonder I threw myself wholeheartedly into the “New Age” world. Before you know it, I was buying crystals, burning incense, making dream catchers, writing semi-erotic mythical fan fiction.
It didn’t help that my dad was a free-spirited musician and my mom a anti-establishment feminist. Until my 8th year of life, I don’t remember my dad wearing anything but sandals and shorts. My mom could not have cared less about my dabblings in the occult. As long as I wasn’t watching consumerist filth on TV and getting pregnant by age 21, I was the perfect child in her eyes. My
father was generally uninterested in anything other than sheet music and guitar strings, so I took my freedom and ran with it.
Upon my entrance to teen age, I started reading tarot cards for friends at school. I found out I was a Pisces, so naturally I bought my first astrology book to DUH.. learn more about myself! I was in full blown self-discovery mode, and I was going to explore all possible avenues. Mostly it involved reading young adult romance novels with a sci-fi/fantasy theme, and studying magazine horoscopes. This was pre-internet, so I didn’t have the luxury of daily star reports. But I wanted more! How was I supposed to learn about the stars and planets and keep my place as the resident Middle School Fortune Teller?
Then one day my wonderful hippie teacher said the magic word: Ephemeris. She, being the utmost example of encouragement to a young weirdo, opened the pages of the dusty tome:
OMG. It was incoherent to me. It looked like MATH! Ew. Wayyyyy too intimidating for a 13 year old fish like me. I didn’t open another Ephemeris for 10 years, but I never lost my interest in Astrology. I eagerly filled anyone’s ear who would listen, talking about modalities, elements, compatibility, personalities. It was mostly superficial, but hey it was more than most people knew and understood I discovered!
As you can probably predict as well as any astrologer, my high school years were not filled with football games and pep rallies. I was the studious freak who shopped at thrift stores, listened to Loreena McKennit, played Penny Whistle, and spent my time hanging out the New Age store with people 3x my age. I had a circle of close friends, but by normal high school social standards, I was NOT cool. I was a 90-year old trapped in a teenage girl’s body. People kept telling me I was born in the wrong decade. HA! Try millennium! Astrology became my solace, where my oddities were affirmed and explained.
I had a brief period of “cool” from 21-24. I was thin, I wore every horrible Y2K fashion trend out there (including trucker hats), I went clubbing. I traveled. I got engaged. I tried to pretend I wasn’t a sad little Pisces. The facade ended abruptly with pregnancy and single-momhood.
So here I am now, 34 with entire bookshelves full of Astrology books. I’ve studied, complied, written, calculated, graphed, and produced bits and pieces of the zodiac arts for indulging friends and neighbors. I’ve gotten astrology readings, and mentored with a family friend who is a professional astrologer. But how do you admit you want to do something laughable for a living? How do you reconcile all the practical, responsible, 9-5 job-holding parts of yourself? How do you get over the fear of not being able to support your own child because of a selfish career choice you made?
Well.. That’s where I’m going.
My sister has a PhD in Geology. She also got married last weekend. Let’s just say she’s the younger, smarter, more successful daughter😉 I love my sister, but we are exact opposites. She’s tall, blonde, gay and a scientist. I’m short, brunette, straight and an artist. She’s analytical, I’m intuitive. She trusts facts, I trust feelings. Even on the Astrological wheel we are opposites (Pisces/Virgo)..
Speaking of Astrology, I guess I should finally out myself as a believer and a student. I respect it as an ancient study, and it’s as close to organized religion as I am willing to get. I know how lame that sounds… “believer” is someone who joins cults and watches televangelism. Astrology gets a bad rap: it’s up for public mockery in our society. Psychics, mystics, gypsies, fortune tellers, mediums (remember Miss Cleo?) are often touted as crazies, sensationalists, and even worse: money-hungry frauds who prey on the vulnerable and ignorant. The sun-sign columns you read in newspapers and pop culture magazines are toilet fodder, time killers, titular pieces of entertainment, nothing to be taken seriously.
So why? I am college-educated. I know money doesn’t grow on trees. I’ve worked hard for what I have, and I pride myself on being smart, resourceful and self-sacrificing above all my other attributes. The planets don’t pay the bills, I DO.
Yet.. I’ve always had an innate sense of just how small I am; how minute a human being is in the scope of the universe. I know there are things beyond my control. I’ve witnessed instances of the inexplicable. I’ve been the recipient of incredibly good luck.
There are things that have not yet been explained by science, and some, like the gravitational pull of planets, suns and moons.. that have. Just like the tides, there are things that effect humans on a molecular level.. dare I say it, energetic level.
My sister and I were visiting our Aunt in Sedona, AZ this weekend. If you haven’t been there, it’s a hot spot for psychics, astrologers; anyone who is into “New Age” living. The reason? Supposedly the red rock formations that encircle the valley are home to Vortexes of Energy. According to local believers, you can see evidence of the energy in the warped growth of nearby juniper trees. I’m pretty sure any biologist will disagree with this theory, citing a number of scientific reasons for the shape of the trees. But I think there is something to the “energies” of the vortexes.
My friend is going through a break-up. It’s been devastating for her, magnified x1000 because she also suffers from anxiety and depression. It’s bad enough feeling severed from something even in the best of circumstances, so yeah..I feel terrible for her.
My last break-up was with my babydaddy, and it was so traumatic that I refused to be in a relationship for 8 years after. I spent a great deal of time in mourning, but eventually became a cheerleader for the single life. As hard as it was to be a single mom, it was easier than the alternative: trusting someone. I soon realized I was the in the minority. Most people prefer being partnered. I didn’t. I understand now that it was probably due to the circumstances that surrounded the end of my relationship (raising a daughter alone, watching her father get married and have a baby with a new woman..etc). I had bad taste in my mouth about relationships for a LONG time. It also didn’t help that I witnessed many of my friends cheating on their girlfriends/boyfriends, and watched my own parents’ marriage dissolve into a baffling series of events (more on that later).
I generally regarded articles like this with a degree of scorn and superiority. The following statement just didn’t apply to me:
Someone with a partner would have a person to lean on during this time.
I mean.. when I was single I’d lean on my friends, and that was enough for me..99% of the time. They gave me enough support, love, acceptance and strength so I could get through my daily life. Sure, I had moments where I’d feel alone, scared, hopeless and miserable. But those moments weren’t unmanageable. I realize now that I was lucky as HELL. For some people, it’s not just about moments that pass.. It’s about EVERY DAY being made up of thousands of moments of pain and sadness.
Now that I’m coupled, I understand the luxury of having someone to lean on. My friends were amazing, but they didn’t offer the 24/7 access to comfort the way my boyfriend does. When I’m scared in the middle of the night, he’s there. He also makes it easier to deal with many things, like mentally checking in when he sees me going down a Cortisol-induced spiral. It’s incredible having someone to put a dampener on your inner voice, the one that tells you “OMG THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!”. When you’re single, you don’t have that. It’s just you on the front lines of your own mind.
But life’s not a suffering competition . Nobody’s pain is more or less valid than someone else’s. We all have feelings, and we shouldn’t try to legitimatize of someone’s pain based on what we think they’ve been through. Unfortunately, I did a lot of comparing when I was single. It was my coping mechanism. It helped me get through the struggles and sadness I felt.
Confession: It gave me comfort knowing another person might have failed, or fallen apart when I succeeded. It was a selfish, prideful, self-promoting feeling, but I indulged in it, because I was alone. Because my friends were coupled, and I didn’t have someone to learn on.
Well guess what? I’m not a rock, not a f***ing superhuman, and I’ve failed just as many times as I’ve succeeded. Being in a relationship forced me to confront my false perceptions and vulnerabilities. Being single let me build a bubble around them. My bubble needed to be popped..
But more on that later..
So I’ve been trying to write again.. good lord a YEAR between posts, really? SHAME ! (GoT reference there) I must have a life or something outside this blog. Actually a life that in the past 18 months included: moving to a new state, new house, new job, in with a (relatively) new boyfriend, getting my kid started at a new school… you know…basically starting a new life (no big).
Oh and my kid is TEN now. When I started blogging, she was less than a year old.
Here’s some perspective:
BLOWS MY GD MIND..
I started this blog in 2007 because I had recently become a single mom, was struggling to find a place to live, and was generally overwhelmed with how I was going to handle parenting alone.
Is it cavalier for me to say that parenting was the easy part?
Yeah.. it’s relationships that are hard…
OK so parenting is hard too. But after being single for 8+ years, I was comfortable with it. I had gotten into a groove where I was competent at handling my job, child, LIFE .. etc on my own. In fact, I was good at it. By the time LB was 5, I had a decent paying job, nice apartment, excellent schools for her, and my cooking had been upgraded from cans and boxes to mostly fresh food.
Yeah, it was hard work, and there were times when I was lonely, but I eventually I began to really enjoy my life as a single mom. I also think I was very lucky, obviously being the recipient of white privilege. I managed to make a chunk of money on donating my DNA, which has floated me through emergencies and drama, and I’ve been awarded a good amount of free time while my daughter spends summers with her dad (Roofie and I are on civil terms now).
But best part of it was.. I called all the shots in my life. I made all the decisions, the choices.. AND I took all the credit. I was the hero of my own story.
And that is a glorious feeling.
But now I’m in a serious relationship…..and it’s hard. But more on that later friends😉
Guess what? Yes, I know, I actually blogged, but more importantly….. It’s that time of year again in the southwest!
I could feel the slow Capsaicin burn creeping up my fingers, making me smile at the pain that would linger on my skin for hours. This is gonna be a hot batch, I thought to myself with glee. Funny how a plant probably developed this chemical in order to keep humans AWAY from it, and yet we “put that sh*t on everything.”
Ahhhh the therapeutic ritual of prepping chile:
Peeling off the blackened, fire roasted layer of skin.
Stripping the seeds off the slimy vegetable flesh; reminds me of octopus tentacles.
Pulling out the pulpy green innards…
Straight up GUTTING, Yo.
I LoOOVEEEEEEEEE chile season.❤
Yesterday was all doom and gloom. So here’s some enlightenment from Skeletor himself. Smile errrbody. Today will be grand!