Sunday, May 31, 2009

The 31rst Day

SUN IN GEMINI
The sun is just over a week into its transit through the communicative sign of Gemini. Currently, this is taking place in the 11th House, the house of friends and originality. We'll see interesting subjects brought up in conversation and some new ways of reaching out.

The blog is one of the most original ways of communicating with friends. I know, I know, it seems like everyone's doing it, but still, all bloggers have to find their niche. As Sondheim wrote, "You gotta get a gimmick."

My blog is just about a month and a half old. For 31 days, I've been participating in the May Blogathon created by Michelle Rafter. I found out about the blogathon from following another blog, Write Beyond The Cubicle, by KT Hinderer. I saw that she was participating and, in an effort to challenge myself, I signed up. I thought it would be fun to try blogging every day. And it's been quite an adventure. It introduced me to a number of other bloggers, including Sara Lancaster, who was kind enough to blog with me for guest blog day!

Part of the goal was to get more followers, but instead of working towards the goal of more followers, I ended up stretching myself as a writer. I took on some subjects I might not have covered otherwise. Blogging is also forcing me to test my boundaries as an astrologer. I know that most of you skip the first paragraph, jumping right to the "meat" of the blog, but I still enjoy writing that introduction from the stars. It helps me to connect to quotidian astrology.

I'm really enjoying seeing some of the comments that people are leaving; on here, on Facebook, etc. It's great to know that at least someone is reading my blog! Writing every day is a wonderful practice to keep your mind active and your skills honed. Additionally, for someone who usually avoids the news (it's always SO depressing!), it's pushed me to branch out and read more of what's going on in the world, sometimes in a desperate attempt to find something to blog about!

Writing all month has been a wonderful experience and I hope that it's instilled in me the discipline to write on a regular basis from here on out. It's great catharsis - who needs therapy when you're writing out your feelings on a daily basis? I get to write out frustrations, joys, and even just silliness. Though the blogathon is ending, Sign In Ink has used it as a jumping off point and will continue to bring you a myriad of topics, always with an astrological base.

Thank you, Michelle Rafter, for the 2nd Annual May Blogathon! Sign In Ink will be there for the 3rd!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Boxing Rules

MOON/SATURN IN VIRGO
As the moon approaches a conjunction with Saturn in Virgo, we shall see more emotional limitations and restrictions, especially with regard to service. There may be some coldness on the emotional front for many people and it might be time to delve deeper into the details to find out the real source of the issue.

As they say, "Life is in the details." There is no better evidence of this than when you have to pack up and move. Believe me, it's not my favorite activity. I'd rather watch an elementary school production of Beckett than pack up my life into boxes. Yet, in the process, it made me think how vital a role boxes play throughout our lives.

Now, forgive the crude vernacular, but in one of its slang meanings, we all started by emerging from a "box." Without that anatomical requirement, we're missing one-half of the gift of life. How interesting that our first action in the outside world is emerging from a confined space, when, for the rest of our lives, we will move from box to box and, in many cases, take pleasure in the confinement.

After all, rooms are very similar to boxes. In fact, in American Sign Language, the sign for "room" is just the reverse action of the sign for "box." Room really is a misnomer isn't it? There isn't much room in most rooms. It's outside that has the room. In fact, it's the March Hare of Wonderland who states, "We are here in the great outdoors, and there are certainly no rooms here." In such a statement, it does make obvious the foolishness of calling a room such, for indeed, it is a box. Instead of the open room, humans have chosen to live inside various boxes.

Boxes played enormous significance in childhood. Leaning to draw boxes. Learning the third dimension from boxes. Learning whether someone liked you by their checking of a box. And we haven't stopped checking boxes yet! They're on almost every form imaginable. Especially with regard to age and folks dread entering that next age bracket. This is all symbolized by a box, and as Samantha of Sex and the City states, "Honey, welcome to my box." We check box after box, further confining ourselves. These boxes represent more ethereal boxes which label us by age, race, gender, and so on. We spend our lives within the various boxes.

Finally, depending on the decision of the person, a person may end up in a box. The coffin is yet another box that we humans have created for ourselves. We do not die and go straight into the earth. No, we choose to put our bodies into a box within the ground.

From box to box. That seems to be how we experience life. And our things are no different. I'm packing up all of my possessions and putting them into boxes. Big, tall, short, long, small, all different kinds of boxes. I'm then going to unpack these very same boxes and be "reborn" in a new room...excuse me, box. Boxes within boxes. No wonder we use boxes to explain dimensions. It's the most familiar example of layers and dimensions we can come across.

Ah well. Back to boxing...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fruity Foppery

VENUS IN ARIES
The sensual planet sits in the fiery sign of Aries. A powerful development of earthy and airy delights permeates our world as the loving planet drifts through the youngest sign of the zodiac.

Disclaimer: silliness ahead.

The apple is a pretty misunderstood fruit. Poor thing. It was there at the Garden of Eden and boy, did it get a horrid reputation for that little debacle! The snake didn't know how it forever damned the poor apple to evil association. Then again, the snake's kind of a big worm and they do have quite the affinity for apples.

And then there's Snow White. Wow. Talk about a messed up apple situation. Once again, though, not the apple's fault. After all, the witch had poison. You can't really mess with poison when you're a poor little piece of fruit.

Dorothy didn't have it much better. She got pelted by apples by anthropomorphic apple trees! You're not gonna develop a warm, fuzzy feeling for the fruit when you've been bruised by the fruit's home plant come to life.

And of course, doctors hate it cuz they can't go near anyone who has had an apple that day. Who came up with that saying? You know the apple didn't. It's never gonna get an decent HMO with that kind of statement floating around!

Newtown wasn't thrilled with the apple either. Oh, sure, it may have helped him discover gravity, but a clunk to the head might not have been the best way to do it and you know there was hidden resentment over that.

Still, I say, stand proud, little apple. After all, you've been around for quite awhile, you come in three colors, and hey, you're pretty versatile: apple juice, applesauce, apple pie, apple strudel, candied, etc.

...is anyone else hungry?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Selling Point

CAPRICORN RISING
Capricorn, the sign of ambition and tenacity, is on the horizon. People will be acting through a lens of upward mobility. Capricorns get a reputation for being cold, calculating, and shrewd, but there is more to the Sea-Goat than blind ambition. Still, we're going to be feeling those effects while the 10th Sign rests on the horizon.

Perhaps the bad rap the Capricorn gets is a necessary evil. I have no planet in Capricorn in my chart and I think that might be why I'm horrible at sales. Ironically, I've chosen two consecutive professions that require me to sell myself. No, not on the corner - I already blogged about that, remember? Acting, followed by writing. Two professions in which sales is one of the most, if not the most important aspect. Unfortunately, I haven't ever been very good at the sales aspect of life.

Even as a child, I dreaded the yearly candy sale. For those who never had the torture of this exercise, every child was given a catalogue of various types of candy. We were then encouraged to sell as many items as possible. The goal behind this was to make as much money for the school as possible. The goal for the child was to earn certain prizes. The more that you sold, the better the toy you could win. It was a huge source of pride for the child who sold the most items and I hated every second of it. I felt intrusive and demanding whenever I showed up on the doorstep of some poor, hapless victim who had to listen to me simply because of my cherubic demeanor. Yet, I never seemed to win the best prizes. A person who said no to me was respected and no more pushing was done. I simply find it difficult to press the issue.

Some don't, though. At my job, as a receptionist, I am bombarded by calls that insist upon sales. Hopeful, hapless, they ring the office, demanding attention like spoiled toddlers with a favorite toy. They press their suit, hoping that I'll take them up on their offer. I do my best to deter, but again, with Libra's sociability heavy in my chart, I have great difficulty in cutting them short. Today, I had a reversal of fortune. I spoke to a man who sounded bright and eager. I told him that unfortunately, we were not looking to change our service. His voice dropped into such despondency that I felt sorry for him. I guess his thick Capricorn skin was absent today. How strange that I should feel sorry for the very type of person who irritates the hell out of me. Perhaps it's because he was the type of salesperson that I was as a child - eager at the beginning, but lacking the ruthless tenacity that overtakes your sympathy for the poor soul on the other end of the line who may not want to listen to your pitch.

Not that sales are the anthithesis of the human condition, but if money truly is the root of all evil, then it seems that sales would be demonic.

Sometimes, it certainly seems that way.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Commitment

MAY 27, 6PM
The sun is in Gemini, as are the moon and Mercury. Venus and Mars share Taurus. Those of you who read charts are looking at the chart on this page and thinking, that's not right at all. The moon is in Cancer, Mercury's in Taurus, and Venus and Mars share Aries. I'm using a chart from thirty years ago. Saturn is back in Virgo in the 10th House, having returned.

Thirty years is quite a long time. I still haven't lived that long. However, it was on this day, thirty years ago, that my parents declared their love before friends and family. They committed themselves to each other and have remained committed for all these years.

Commit. Such an interesting and multifaceted word. Forgive the digression, but it must be explored for a moment. Interesting that we use the same word in reference to marriage as we do for battle (commit troops), insanity (commit to a mental institution), faith (commit to God), destruction (commit to the flames), politics (commit to an issue), and crime (commit murder).

Marriage is such a huge issue nowadays and has been for quite awhile now. Yesterday, California upheld Prop 8, a law that marginalizes a group of people and denies them the right to declare their love in a lawful ceremony. Perfect timing, California. Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the day Dan White was convicted for the assassination of Harvey Milk. Milk was committed to the cause of making sure that a group of people weren't marginalized for being who they are. Yet, today, the fight is still going on today. Strange to think that in thirty years, we haven't progressed as much as we might have thought. The battles that were being fought at the time are similar, if not the same as, the battles that are being fought today and on the same basis, one of which is religion.

It's been said that fashion goes through a thirty year cycle. Well, we can see that happening around us. Moving from flared jeans and peasant-y shirts to long, tunic-y shirts with wide belts around them in neon colors and skinny jeans? Oh, the 80's are back, dear friends. Is it the same with politics? Granted, it's pretty difficult to find an offense worse than skinny jeans, but I'd say that the marginalization of an entire group of people takes precedence. California, dear state, did any of you see Milk? Have you noticed the progression that has been made? Basic, human, unalienable rights. Does the right actually care about rights? We came here for freedoms and wouldn't the freedom to love be a basic, human, unalienable right? One would hope so. With the right trying to secure rights only for a select group of people, and the left fighting for who is left, then we're choosing security over freedom, and as Ben Franklin said, "Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither."

Thirty years ago, my parents made a decision to entwine their lives in public fashion, a decision that has kept them happily together for three decades. Marriage was an option open to them. Denial of choice to those whose lifestyle is not a choice seems inane to me. And before you argue that marriage is a sacred practice, let's look at some reasons that people get married. There are people who get married because the girl is pregnant. Some people do it for the benefits of law. Some to keep certain people in the country. Some are lonely. Some want to escape their parents. Some to have sex. There are so many reasons and not all of them adhere to the sacredness of this strictly sanctioned ceremony. For something that's held up on a pedestal, we seem to do a lot of chipping away in our attempt to reach it.

And of course, there's love. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Perhaps we should all be committed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reworking Rene

SUN IN GEMINI/MOON IN CANCER
The sun is in the 10th House, the house of ambition, in the sign of mental activity, Gemini. The moon is in the 11th House, the house of hopes, in the emotional sign of Cancer. Both are strong influences. When used in harmony, this combination can yield very positive outcomes. Else, there will be confusion and indecision.


Rene Descartes
was a philosopher who considered the dichotomy between mind and body. This dualism in philosophy states that either one could exist without the other. Of course, the way that our world is currently perceived, this is a complete hypothetical. Unless, of course, we're in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, but that's more head/body separation...(digression alert! you really shouldn't let me get off track so easily.) Descartes's reason for separating these two important parts of the human condition were two-fold: religious and scientific.

With all due respect to 17th century philosophers, I propose that the more widely used dualism is actually mind/heart. This seems to be a powerful conflict among many people around me. Recently, I had two people, almost simultaneously, say to me, "I don't know whether to follow my head or my heart." When the head is filled ambition in a house naturally ruled by an earth sign, it forces the person to "face reality." Counteracting this is the heart in the house of hopes and wishes. Head is traditionally associated with logic and practicality while the heart much more commonly corresponds to desires. Are these two motivations always so diametrically opposed? Most of the time, I would say no. The hardest moments of life are when they disagree with each other. Aligning heart and mind is a difficult but rewarding exercise, and unfortunately, most of the time, it seems to b the heart that must succumb to the mind's practicality.

Why is this? Why must we give up our desires? There are many songs, movies, books that urge us to listen to our hearts and believe that they will never steer us wrong, whether the goal be romantic love or other desires. Such a strong conflict we set up for ourselves. Do we dare to dream of more than the harsh reality we accept is willing to offer us? And is reality always in the wrong? "Follow your heart" is just as easily rattled off as "Use your head." So which is the right advice? Both are malleable facets of life. After all, you can "change your mind" or you can have a "change of heart." Which one needs to change so that I can be happy? I mean, that's he goal, right? Happiness. We've been pursuing it here in America for more than 200 years.

The lawmakers even wrote it into the American Constitution: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The first is fairly easily defined. We know what's living and what's not. Although, quality of life muddies the water, but for now, let's stick to living and non-living (leave the undead out of this.). Liberty; we nail that down as freedom or independence (the whole reason we established the country.). Pursuit of happiness...ah, here's where it becomes tricky. What is happiness? I checked with dictonary.com:

hap⋅pi⋅ness

1. the quality or state of being happy.
2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

Great. Thanks, dictionary.com. Very helpful, there. That doesn't help me settle my mind/heart conflict. How am I going to have a happy ending if I don't even know what it is? If only I could define it and say, "Okay, in this instance, my mind has the right idea and that's going to end in happiness. Perfect." It's not quite so easy, is it? That's part of what makes life so interesting, and highly frustrating at times.

Since life is all about compromise, perhaps we need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that heart and mind must work together in order to achieve any shred of happiness, whatever that is. Until they come up with a mathematical formula for happiness, I guess we'll all have to struggle through with the advice from our friends and therapists.

I wonder how Descartes would handle this.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day With A Twist

ARIES IN THE 4TH HOUSE
Aries, the sign of new beginnings sits in the 4th House, the house of home, of belonging. Time for spring cleaning, for making the home a place for you to live comfortably in again. It's time to revamp and get rid of the old. Packrats, beware!

This is a continuation of the previous post: Memories. After all, I did tell you that a cleanse was just around the corner.

Checking Facebook today (yes, I'm addicted...don't judge), I saw so many status updates about spring cleaning that I sat up and took notice (okay, i didn't actually sit up; it's a turn of phrase - if you keep interrupting, we're never going to get through this). I didn't actually get to do spring cleaning of my own, and believe me, I have quite a bit of cleaning to do. That's tomorrow's project. Still, if you're anything like me (and i certainly hope you're not), you're a packrat who keeps many things out of sentimentality. There's no practical purpose for them. The hard part of cleaning my room is that everything has a memory attached such that it takes forever to clean even the smallest corner of the room. I suspect that's what led to the rush of memory-oriented status updates on the old FB.

In the same vein, while I was addressing wedding invitations (don't go getting excited; they're for a friend), I threw on an VHS tape with shows taped from the 1990's. Wow. Not only did I see Buffy episodes from season 3 (Faith rocks), but there were commercials that I'd forgotten existed. Like Sean Hayes in a Doritos commercial! So random. Granted, this has no sentimentality, but it certainly takes me back to a simpler time in life. No, wait - I was in senior year of high school. It was highly complicated. Why did I want to go back there?

Cleansing is a ritual of life and we need the routine cleaning in order to make a new space for our creation. In a way, we cause death within our own lives in order to bring about new life. It's extremely hard to throw out that old sweater that you wore on your first date back in middle school, but unless it still fits (and boy, i hope it doesn't), get rid of it so that someone else may wear it to their first majorly awkward date. Don't worry, there'll be other sweaters and other awkward first dates. The memory of that first date is going to far outlast the sweater anyway, and really, isn't that the point?

Tomorrow, I create a small death in my own life. I'm getting ready to move and I have to get rid of a number of items so that I move with more simplicity. I already know that as soon as I begin to pack, I'll shake my head in wonderment at the amount of crap that I've accumulated while I was in this apartment. You don't realize it until you have to put it all into boxes. Should be an interesting exercise.

And so the cleaning begins.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Silence is Fool's Gold

MERCURY TRINE SATURN The planet of communication (retrograde) is in harmonious aspect with the planet of limitations. Subjects that might not normally be touched will come to the surface. Other subjects will seem completely off-limits. Be prepared for new realms of conversation to be explored.

Censorship is an interesting topic in this day and age. We like to think that we have moved to a place where any subject is able to be discussed, that we've moved beyond Farenheit 451, but many people say that there are two subjects never to be brought up in conversation: religion and politics. Interesting. I realize these are intensely personal topics that can be volatile, but without the ability to discuss such things, how can we further expand our own feelings and views regarding certain topics? It's so hard to reexamine ideas that one has had for so long. It also depends on the environment.

One such environment is the school environment. Ironically, the place meant for learning and exploring is often censored with regard to topics and manner. Curriculum becomes very important. However, are we doing our children a disservice by ignoring those subjects that they may find out about in other ways? Sex? Death? Throw in evolution/creationism and we've got the triumverate of forbidden school subjects.

Still, children are curious. What about those who want to learn about subjects that we don't normally teach? Take 6th grader, Natalie Jones, for instance. She worked hard on an independent study about Harvey Milk, creating a PowerPoint. The day before she was to present it, she was called into the principal's office, who told her that the presentation was very good, but that she might not be able to show it because of the sensitive subject nature. The district sent out a permission slip for all parents to sign. For a project about a man who fought for equality, one of our basic rights, along with the freedom of speech, this seems ironic. I applaud Natalie for broaching a controversial subject and I bet Harvey Milk himself would be proud of her.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Love: Table For Two... Or More?

MARS/VENUS IN ARIES
The planets of love and passion in the driving sign of Aries are going to create a whirlwind on the relationship front. Add to that is the fact that these planets are in the 8th House, the house of regeneration, is going to create a lot of changes. We'll see numerous breakups and new connections forming. New chapters will open within established partnerships. Change is not necessarily a bad thing if it's taken constructively.

Relationships are a slippery slope. Last night, I met someone who brought up the topic of polyamory. He said he doesn't believe that there is one person for each person. It's an interesting concept. The idea that different people can fulfill different roles for us as far as love is concerned. He said it's not about sleeping around; it's about committed relationships with other people. It's consensual between multiple adults. I had never considered this concept before. The idea of being committed to different people on different levels such that the entire spectrum is covered is new to me.

I know it's natural for many people to scoff and say, "That's just being greedy." I've heard that said a great deal about the bisexual community as well. Before scoffing, I think it's important to take a look at the other aspects of our lives. We have polyamory in other forms. Our friendships alone are polyamorous. We turn to certain groups of friends in different circumstances. And it's totally accepted. There are such widely varied worlds that we circle through that it's hard to say one person would be able to fulfill the important roles in those worlds. Not to mention the minute, extra roles that we need on a daily basis.

Personally, I don't know that I could live a life of polyamory, but I think it's certainly an interesting concept to consider. When I asked him about marriage, he said that he believes that marriage should be afforded to all. Though marriage has crept more into politics than it probably was ever intended, he pointed out that many minorities are often clamoring for rights, but all of them have the right to marry. Politics has colored the world of marriage and the basic right to declare committed love has been warped by definitions required by law. Interesting that the term "love" has never needed to be defined by law. If love is truly the goal, then love in all of its forms is worth declaring.

Perhaps we'll see a number of changes with regards to perception of love while Venus and Mars sit in Aries together.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cruising

URANUS IN THE NINTH HOUSE
Wait a sec, you say. Jared, you just blogged about Uranus! You're right, my attentive reader, but today, though Uranus is still influencing Pisces, it's in the 9th House, the house of travel and exploration. We will still see a lot of originality and illusion, but within the realm of discovering new territories. Perhaps those territories aren't areas we'd normally feel comfortable in or perhaps we're superimposing an idealized version on the reality, but the foray into the unknown is there. It's an adventure. Just make sure your eyes are open.

Speaking of unusual adventures, let's take to the high seas (Pisces is a water sign, after all). How many of you have been on a cruise? Huh. I thought it would have been more. Well, two years ago, I went on a cruise ship for the first time. I embarked on March 18, 2007 and disembarked on September 22nd of that same year. That's right; 6 months on a cruise ship. How did I get so lucky? I worked for them as a dancer.

I know, I know. It sounds awfully glamorous, doesn't it? I'll admit; it's not the hardest way to earn a living. A cruise ship is very like a floating city with everything at your fingertips (well, almost everything). And you get to visit beautiful places (if the itinerary is right). There are so many wonderful aspects to it.

Still, as I always say, a week on a cruise ship is a vacation; six months is a sentence.

When you "install" a new cast on a cruise ship, you overlap the previous cast by a week so you can see them perform their shows and make a smooth transition from one to the next. When I got on, a member of the last cast told me, "You'll know within two weeks if you're a ship person or not." I knew within a week. I am not a ship person. So keep in mind that this is colored through the eyes of one person's experience. I have friends who have been on ships for 4-5 years and are yet considering further contracts.

However, my experience was slightly different. The hardest thing for me was to leave my life behind. I had just begun dating someone, just started a job, had a social base, etc. When you leave on a theatrical gig, you're still connected to everyone via internet and phone. When you take a cruise ship job, internet costs money and your phone service is null and void (thanks, Verizon). You no longer exist in the real world. You travel to "ship-world" and there are a whole new set of rules. It's like witness protection, but the Tiny Toons Adventures version.

One of the interesting rules of theatrical ship-world is the dichotomy between dancers and singers. Dancers are considered "chorus" while singers are "leads." Therefore, singers get their own cabins, a higher pay scale, access to passenger restaurants, and the freedom to wear what they choose. Dancers double as "crew members," and thus must go through safety training, perform crew duties, share cabins (which are smaller than the singers' cabins, btw), are paid less, have limited access to restaurants, and must wear crew uniforms when in passenger areas. Okay, I get the whole chorus/lead thing. The argument is that if the ship is really rocky, the singers would still have to perform, but the dancers wouldn't for safety reasons. But if the ship is REALLY rocky, the show will more likely be canceled than put on with just the singers, so the argument is somewhat specious. And beyond that, is it really necessary to put such a wide divide between members of the same cast? I mean, you're automatically building resentment and for no good reason. I was flabbergasted to learn how much more valued the singers were. And that's nothing against their talents or them as people. It just creates a rift when there need not be.

That being said, I actually didn't mind some of the cruise duties because it enabled me to meet passengers, which was the best part of the cruise. I love meeting new people and every week, a fresh batch of folks came on. I was, however, annoyed at how people check their brains at the door once getting on a cruise ship. I realize that you're there to relax and enjoy a vacation. The ship's crew is not your personal serving staff. We're there to maximize your enjoyment; not wait on you hand and foot. For example, when in the buffet restaurant, don't turn to me and ask me to get you a fork just because I'm wearing a uniform. It's a buffet. You get your own utensils when you get your food.

Another example is the gentleman who approached me at the elevator bank/stairwell on the 11th floor. "Do you work here?" he asked me (I'm clearly in uniform). Biting back my natural sarcasm (I'd gotten good at that by this point), I nodded. "Well, I've been waiting 10 minutes for this elevator and it hasn't come." I smiled and responded calmly, "I understand, sir. All elevators are currently express up to the 12th floor and they will stop on the 11th floor on the way down. Please be patient." His expression darkened and he protested, "But I'm only going down one floor!" Seriously, how lazy can you be!? From what I saw of this man, he had no physical impediment, nor was he having any trouble walking. Stairs, sir. Try them.

Final example are the number of people who forget their key card when they go to leave the ship. Every time there is a port, announcements ring through the ship (and they're actually intelligible unlike the NY subway) that say you need photo ID and your key card to get back on the ship. At least a quarter of the people show up for the third port debark without one or the other. It's the third port, people! I understand if you forgot it for the first one, or maybe the second, but by port three, you should know.

It's just a time-warp (jump to the left, step to the right) to be on a cruise ship for 6 months. Still, you think, sun, beach, what more could you ask for? Believe me, unless you are a beacher (and I am not), it gets very wearing to be at the Bahamas every other week. I know, I sound like I'm complaining that all of my fifties don't fit in my wallet and my diamond shoes are too tight, but its' true. Going to the same place over and over can get extremely boring. It's not like I'm visiting friends there. If I had been on a cruise that traveled around the world, then maybe I'd have enjoyed it more, but the same places every other week gets to be a little much.

Needless to say, the cruise ship life was not for me. However, I think I would enjoy a week-long cruise. There some beautiful moments being on a ship. Especially at night when all around you is quiet, except for the sound of the ocean waves. I highly suggest everyone take a cruise at least once in life. I just don't recommend working for one unless you know you're a ship person. And believe me, you'll find out within the first two weeks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Writing With The No. 2 Pen

SUN ENTERS GEMINI
The Sun officially enters Gemini today, so all of you who are born under the Twins, cheer! Gemini is the sign of communication, writing, and mental activities. It's also the sign of two-facedness, superficiality, and flightiness. As always, there are positive and negative aspects of each sign, but when you're a twin in your own body, it can get complicated! Get ready for verbosity, pranks, and a lot of fun.

With Gemini being the sign of writing, I am thrilled to introduce my guest blogger for today, a fellow Blogathoner, Sara Lancaster! Sara Lancaster is the primary writer and company owner of the No. 2 Pen, a Denver-based freelance writing company that specializes in writing Web content and other marketing materials for small businesses. Take it away, Sara!

I have to be honest, when Jared and I first discussed our blog post trade I thought to myself: What in the world do I have to say about astrological signs?

At the start he mentioned that today is the day the Sun enters Gemini so I could try to incorporate that into my post. And again I thought to myself: I am going to be so embarrassed after this show of my ignorance is put on display.

Finally, Jared said the one thing that changed it all. He told me that Gemini is the sign of communication and writing, and then I was all … Astrology rocks and I can’t wait to blog about it.

Funny how all I needed was one small connection to relate to and I was excited to write again. I think this concept is true of so many areas of life.

As a full-time writer I find that some days are tougher to write than others and some topics are harder to write about than others. It all comes down to energy, mood, and motivation, which I think we can all agree has everything to do with the state of the universe. I may not know much about astrology, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the truth in it.

In times when I feel stuck or lack that motivation, the easy fix (besides a cup of coffee and a stern pep talk) is to focus on how the task at hand relates to me personally. My clients come from all walks of life—from graduate students to car sales people to lawyers—and obviously I can’t say I understand where each of them is coming from every time.

The solution is to communicate with the client and ask for one thing: How does your business impact me? “Me” being the proverbial “reader.” Once I understand where he or she is coming from and I find a way to relate to it personally, the words seem to flow much easier.

Couldn't agree more, Sara. Communication and connection are key! Connect to Sara's blog at No 2. Pen, where you can find more tidbits about writing and my guest post for today.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cruella DeVil Lives

URANUS IN PISCES
Pisces, sign of secrets and self-delusions, plays host to Uranus, the planet of originality and eccentricity. What an odd combination, especially to sit in the 8th House, the house of regeneration and death. We'll see some interesting changes that apply behind the scenes. Secrets are being formed that will affect the odd sensitivities of the people around us if they're let out.

As per the May Blogathon, tomorrow, I will be exchanging guests posts with one of the other wonderful Blogathoners, Sara Lancaster, who writes a blog called No. 2 Pen. I hope everyone will be excited to hear what she has to say and stop by her blog to learn more!

In less positive news, I read this in the NY Metro today:
Jail time for hurt dog
A Queens woman was given 30 days in jail after she pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. Sonia Perez, 21, shoved her hurt poodle into a bag and threw it into a garbage can. The dog, which had broken ribs, died a day later.

WTF?!

There are so many things wrong with this blurb that I don't even know where to begin. Let's start with the fact that the dog was hurt in the first place. Do I really want to know why? With the rest of the information as circumstantial indicators, one can only imagine what was done to the dog to break his/her ribs. And then, to throw the dog into a bag?! What...how...why...I can't even begin to wrap my mind around that line of thinking. A dog isn't trash. It's not like it was a free gift with purchase that you just didn't want. How long did this dog live with this woman before this? And, oh, don't kill the dog before you throw it in the trash can. As cruel as that sounds, it would have at least been moderately merciful compared to what actually occurred. The dog is already in pain, and one's first thought is, "Oh, I should bag this and toss it with the other garbage. But no, let's keep it alive so that it suffers to full extent."

This incenses me. I have always had a soft spot for animals (Moon-in-Pisces). In fact, when I see movies, if there's an animal in danger, I end up worrying more about the animal than the humans involved. Probably because I know the humans can take care of themselves or at least have a modicum of understanding regarding the situation they've found themselves in. The animals are usually blameless and left to fend for themselves in circumstances created by the people around them.

This poor dog was already injured and left to die by what I can only consider his/her human companion. Had this been a human who Ms. Perez treated this way, the sentence would be far greater. Of course, the laws are highly protective of people; more so than they are of animals, and I can hardly dispute that. Still, life is life, is it not? And treating life as contemptuously as was done in this instance deserves a punishment of stronger caliber than 30 days in jail. This was a murder. To make it easier on us readers, the Metro writer was kind enough to refer to the dog as an "it." Margaret Atwood explores this phenomenon:

I'll take care of it, Luke said. And because he said it instead of her, I knew he meant kill. That is what you have to do before you kill, I thought. You have to create an it, where none was before. You do that first, in your head, and then you make it real. So that's how they do it, I thought. (The Handmaid's Tale)

Animals have souls and hearts and minds just as we do. As living creatures, we should have a better respect such things. I understand that death must occur so that more life can come forth. I know that even the simple process of eating brings about death in some form, be it animal or plant. These are necessary deaths.

The death of this dog was not.

I came across a few sites for those who want to learn more about animal cruelty and what's being done to stop it: the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: ASPCA, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Intentional: SPCA, Humane Society of the United States: HSUS, the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad: SPANA.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's The Little Things

THREE IN THE FIFTH HOUSE
Moon, Venus, and Mars all sit in Aries in the 5th House, the house of creativity and children (what could be more creative that children?). We'll see a boost in creative endeavors, new projects, new relationships, high sex drives, and child-like enthusiasm. Not bad, huh?

Today will be a short post and I apologize for that, but it's finals week and I have to at least pretend that I'm studying!

As mentioned in the very first post, Aries is the sign of beginnings, and there is no bigger beginning for anyone than a child, be it your own birth or the birth of your child. I am intrigued by these small creatures which wander among us. It's fascinating to see them look at the world. If only one of them would write a blog! I would be very intrigued to see what catches their eye and what they would comment on. It's a world of discovery; everything is new. It first came across my attention when my mother and I wandered through the streets of Manhattan behind a mother and young child. The child pointed and laughed, while the mother listened attentively and commented with reinforcing, enthusiastic statements. I still do this to my mother. Whenever I go home, I have some new product or video or piece of information to share and she listens attentively and responds with appropriate enthusiasm (most of the time). Of course, now I'm at an age where it goes the other way!

Today, on the train, I observed a child in a stroller who was playing with the hood on the stroller. Who knew that would be such a fun toy? I marvelled at her ability to find joy in the simple yellow cloth that bent over her head. She giggled and squirmed, enjoying the noise that it made, the shade that it gave, and probably the feel of it in her hands. I can only imagine the pleasure of discovering something like that for the first time. Of course, there are many things I discover on a daily basis (not all of them pleasant), but the pure innocence of the babe in her stroller was something to behold.

I'd like to go back to that age.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Still Learning

SIGN/HOUSE REVERSAL
Right now, at least here in New York, every sign sits in the House that plays host to its opposite. If that was too confusing, I'll give an example. Libra, the 7th Sign and natural in the 7th House is in the 1rst House, while Aries, the 1rst Sign and natural in the 1rst House is in the 7th House. Make sense now? Everything's reversed. What does this mean for the world? Not much without the planets to give us some kind of direction. Then why bring it up? It's fun and quirky and, to those in the know, it looks odd.

College is over and college is gone.
I graduated and had to move on.
School was the base that I built dreams upon,
And I'm still learning...

It was six years ago today that I graduated from college. That's right: I'm old (stop nodding in agreement). This time, six years ago, I had just taken one of the biggest steps of my life into adulthood and I had absolutely no idea what to do next. I ended up performing in A Chorus Line, getting a job waiting tables in Center City Philadelphia, moved to Indiana for 9 months for a season of theatre, and then gave myself culture shock by moving to New York City a week after returning. That's where I've been for the past four and a half years.

College. It's such an influential time in our lives and it's been gone for six years now. Interestingly enough, I'm back in the scholastic environment, having started graduate school this semester and this week, I have finals. Five of them. Ah, the joys of academia. I have to admit, though, that I thrive in such a setting. I'll bitch and complain and moan about it, but on some level, I always enjoy the world. Granted, graduate school is not the same as undergraduate. I attended two different undergraduate schools - two years at Rider University to be followed by two years at Muhlenberg. I had a double major - English and Theatre (Unemployment and Lying) and I unofficially minored in Dance. This time, six years ago, I had two degrees, a bright-eyed outlook, and no clue as to what it meant to be an adult.

Six years later, I have a hint of a glimmer of a whisper of what it means to be an adult. Boy, it sucks. Princeton, Kate, and Nicky are right when they say, "I wish I could go back to college." Graduate school is not going back to college; it's going on to college. Again.

In the same theme of this blog, I just got notice of my high school's ten year reunion. Now, if I thought I didn't have a clue leaving college, I was truly lost leaving high school. I started as an Elementary Education/Psychology double major. That lasted until October of freshman year. And I changed schools soon after. (My parents LOVED me for both moves.) Now, I'm ten years out of high school, six years out of college, a semester into grad school, and what have I to show for all of this schooling? Not a whole heck of a lot. I had bigger dreams of what I would be when I hit 28 (I'm not quite there yet; don't rush me).

Still, I can't help but feel that all of this was laying the groundwork for the 30s. Everyone says that 30s are the new 20s. I'm actually looking forward to the 30s (again, don't rush me). By that time, I'll be 13 years out of high school, nearly ten years out of college, and just finished graduate school (if all goes according to plan). I have a novel in the works to be published (if you haven't checked out the site yet, go! it's linked on pretty much every post! no excuses!), two more in my head, an educational career in the works, years of theatrical and varying work/life experience, and pretty awesome support. Far from Romy and Michelle-ing, I am excited to go to my high school reunion. It'll be cool to see where people are in their lives. Let's be honest: none of us are really where we thought we'd be. I'm betting that's true of most people, regardless of age.

For now, I'm enjoying the odd reversal of astrological weather; it's quirky and interesting. Six years later, quirky and interesting is the best way I can describe my college experience.
...and my life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walking in a Positive Direction

SATURN DIRECT
Saturn, planet of limitations, time, and health, has been in retrograde since December of 2008. Today, it goes direct, meaning that it appears to move forward again. This energy in Virgo sits on the cusp between the 11th and 12th Houses (hopes/fears and dreams/secrets). Health is a focal point again, especially with regard to that which has been brewing during the retrograde period. That which lies dormant while life continues. We can keep an eye out for symptoms of time in our lives.

I awoke early this morning to head into Manhattan for the annual AIDS Walk New York in Central Park. It's something that I try to do every year and though I didn't raise nearly enough this year, I was there, proud amongst the other walkers, with a friend by my side (it was her first AIDS Walk). When the cold, moist breeze blew in my window this morning, I groaned at the thought of leaving my warm bed to journey under a heavy sky. Still, though waking early is never my cup of tea (as anyone who's ever had to awaken me with the dawn will tell you), I always enjoy attending this fabulous event. Choosing my outfit with care, I donned my Laramie Project t-shirt, tucking my pride rings beneath, and drew on a hoodie against the elements.

We attended the opening festivities, hearing from Carson Kressly (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Michael Urie ("Mark St. James" from Ugly Betty), Brooke Smith ("Dr. Erica Hahn" from Grey's Anatomy), and Hillary Duff (oh come on; I'm sure you've heard of her even if you don't want to admit it!). There were many wonderful people who organized the event and seeing so many people sitting up there on that stage was inspiring. Then, to the live performance of "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel, we were off.

Last year, with an enormous group, it took almost four hours or so to complete the 10K/6.2mi walk. This year, with one friend by my side, we completed the walk in 2.25 hours (we would have completed it faster, but as my friend likes to put it, we were "bottlenecked"). Not that speed is the goal. Completion is the goal. I barely noticed the time, the weather, or the fact that my knees and back had stopped talking to me because I was enjoying the company. People around us were laughing and striding along with volunteers affiliated with the Gay Men's Health Crisis cheering us on the whole way. Actual cheerleaders were dancing on the sidelines, drag queens with fantastic wigs, folks with strollers and babies, dogs of every kind; everyone was united together against the syndrome that has been a modern-day plague. The enthusiasm was infectious. I'm looking forward to next year - it's the 25th annual walk.

Saturn's release from retrograde to direct was anthopomorphized in the mass of caring people who walked in support of a cure. There are many ways to show support and many worthy causes to get involved in. I suggest everyone find one. It's good for your health.

History of the AIDS Walk (thanks, Wikipedia):
The first AIDS Walk was AIDS Walk Los Angeles, which took place in 1985, and was produced by MZA Events on behalf of AIDS Project Los Angeles. It took place on the lot of Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Shortly afterwards, MZA Events started producing an AIDS Walks for local AIDS organizations all over the country, including AIDS Walk New York for Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City, and AIDS Walk San Francisco for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The model that MZA Events created was has since been replicated widely by local AIDS organizations, and today most major cities in America have AIDS Walk events.

For those who are seeking out AIDS Walk in their own area, please visit the AIDS Walk site.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

True Belief

MOON IN AQUARIUS
Emotions and idealism. A combo that could be wonderful or troublesome. The energy of Aquarius works through the lens of our darker personalities, those secret selves that we keep hidden from the rest of the world. The line between hope and fear is so blurred and interconnected that it becomes difficult to separate the two. We'll see reactions that are rooted in the way we think things should be rather than the way things are.

A friend of mine, who I've always admired for his faith and spirituality, recently wrote a note regarding faith and religion that I found fascinating. He writes:

"Has anyone gotten the feeling of their religion isn't really holding up to what it promised you in life?? I've been like that recently. All of the politics, hierarchy, and bureaucracy within the church is very sickening to me. Plus, another thing, who want to worship in a religion where the priests, pastors, and ministers tell you that you HAVE to do this or you are going to hell, or you won't get to heaven very easily that way.? How can an all-Loving God damn a person to hell?? Its unthinkable-- unfathomable!! Has anyone noticed how God changed from the Old Testament as a wrathful and jealous God, to the New Testament as a peaceful and loving God?? Yet the Bible says that God is neverchanging. I don't know how to take this information... The Bible is almost a book of contradictions... so can you blame me for being confused??"

An excellent point and worthy of an idealistic view of life falling short. Many people look to religion to explain, to relive the confusion, and offer comfort. When the base of a religion is so contradictory, it can be difficult for followers to draw comfort. Often, it's the rigidity of religion, the rules, that enable the loyalty. After all, children seek structure and though the allusion is unflattering, people do turn to religion out of hope and fear.

There are some wonderful things that religions of varying degrees and cultures have to offer. If there weren't, they wouldn't survive as long as they have. Yet faith is a very personal thing. People who share religions may not share exactly the same faith. Life experiences change the views slightly. Life is subjective, and though religion is supposed to be objective, the faith that accompanies it is not. We view religion through our own lens, just as Aquarius is being filtered through the moon, the most intensely personal of all planets. We are each individuals and explore faith in widely varied ways.

My friend goes on to say,

"Variety is the spice of life, and what better way to explore other beliefs than to actually experience them yourself! Besides, Life is about exploring different possibilities. As some of my Christian friends told me, every religion has some truth to it-- its just some believe they have more of the real truth than the other. I am going to do some exploring and find other great truths that I can find."

What a great suggestion. I grew up with Jewish heritage, but do my ideals and beliefs really represent Judaism? I wanted to find out, so I sought out a quiz online. I found one test that would ask questions and based on the answers would show how closely the beliefs aligned with various religions. My answers were as follows:

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. New Age (96%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (88%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (76%)
6. Liberal Quakers (73%)
7. New Thought (72%)
8. Secular Humanism (69%)
9. Scientology (69%)
10. Taoism (66%)
11. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (64%)
12. Hinduism (55%)
13. Reform Judaism (55%)
14. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (54%)
15. Nontheist (49%)
16. Jainism (46%)
17. Orthodox Quaker (45%)
18. Sikhism (43%)
19. Baha'i Faith (33%)
20. Orthodox Judaism (30%)
21. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (21%)
22. Islam (19%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (16%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (15%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (7%)
26. Roman Catholic (7%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (4%)

How interesting to find that my own beliefs did not align so easily with the traditions that I grew up with. Out of 27 choices, Judaism show up halfway down the list. While the test is hardly perfect, it certainly shows a fascinating interpretation of ideas. So as my friend suggests, perhaps it's time to look around and see what the world (not just religion) has to offer. We can develop more ideas. As Chris Rock says in Dogma, it's better to have ideas than beliefs.

Religion is widespread, but faith is personal. Go exploring. You never know what you may discover.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Choose Your Words

THE THIRD HOUSE
The Sun and Mercury sit in the 3rd House, the house of communication, rife with Taurean energy. A more physical expression of communication will develop prevalence and body language becomes increasingly important. Keep an eye out for what's happening around you in conversation.

Speaking of physical communication, I had an incredible privilege to attend dinner, theatre, and drinks in the company of hearing and Deaf friends. Nine people sat down to dinner; two Deaf friends, four hearing friends who have varying levels of sign, and three people who don't sign at all. The number of conversations that were flying around was dizzyingly intoxicating (perhaps that was the frozen margarita...). I'd turn from one spoken and signed conversation for the benefit of both parties to join a conversation on the other side being spoken only in sign to then be distracted back to the first conversation by voices. I did my best to keep up with the purely signed conversations and coordinate my signs with my stories (something even harder to do once the food was served). Fingers were flying, people were laughing, new friends were made.

Afterwards, I attended a production of Sign-Arella, a musical loosely based on Cinderella that, in fact, cites many fairy tales and nursery rhymes. It was the first time I'd ever seen a show that contained both Deaf and hearing actors. The leads were both Deaf; their voices were provided by musician/singers from the band. For the speaking actors, two interpreters sat near the front of the stage and signed. Thus, each character was voiced in two different ways. My friend, who is Deaf, was one of the actors and was absolutely fabulous. His performance was so expressive and was reminiscent of ballet; where a language so intricately connected to movement conveys meaning through specific position. This is not to say he was the only one to delight. The cast was a splendid array of talents and the script, full of puns, was filled with savory tidbits of youthful humor. It wasn't until afterwards that I learned that the Fairy Godmother was the one to write the script and suddenly it made sense (who else would picture a fairy godmother from Brooklyn?). There were numerous jokes that landed at different times as the sign caught up with the sound or vice-versa. I've seen many shows in my life, but I've never seen a show like I did tonight. It was awesome in the traditional sense of the word - awe inspiring.

Post show, I met a number of the actors in the show and we went out for drinks at The Duplex. Walking towards the bar, we ended up walking in pairs and I couldn't help but notice that each pair had one Deaf member and one hearing member. Everyone was signing and talking and just having a wonderful time. We all settled into the bar where there was live piano music and singing. Quickly, the bar began to fill up and the noise grew to a level such that the combination of music and voices made it hard to hear any kind of conversation. It was great to still be able to hold conversation across tables with my friends, old and newfound. I think it was one of the coolest evenings that I've enjoyed in my life.

Thank you to the cast of Sign-Arella and to my friends for such a delicious experience!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stupid Pervasive Annoying Mischief

RETROGRADE MERCURY TAURUS/GEMINI
Mercury, perceived to be spinning backwards, straddles the fence between Taurus and Gemini, creating an odd energy across the monetary/technology cusp. Ebay, Amazon...all shopping online should be carefully considered for there is a great possibility for mixup and mayhem. Mercury is, after all, a trickster planet and when retrograde, anything can happen.

Today, I opened my email to see that a new person had commented on the Guestbook on my website: www.starchildtrilogy.com. Imagine my surprise to see the following message:

Interested in Brunette celebritys? Right place for it! [and proceeded to list a website]

Besides the obvious spelling error (shudder), who in the world thought to spam a guestbook? I had no idea that this spamdemic had reached the guestbook world. Can you imagine if this happened in the physical world? You're at a wedding and you look down at the guestbook to see that someone had written a note inviting the bride and groom to visit a site that boasts shemale pornography. Unless that's a theme of the wedding (and seriously, what flowers would go with that theme?), most would consider it highly inappropriate.

"But Jared," you say, "your website is hardly a wedding. It's barely an event, let alone a formalized black-tie affair." Well, reader, you're right. Though hardly the momentous occasion that heralds the incipience of matrimonial bliss (can you think of a more cumbersome way to describe a wedding ceremony?), my website is dear to me and holds great importance in my mind. After all, it's a way for me to communicate an aspect of my being in the form of a novel, which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with brunette women with extra appendages (just in case you were wondering).

Curious, I decided to take a look at that infamous "spam" folder in my various email accounts. Within one email, I had pharmacy news (i don't take any medication, although those of you reading my blog probably think i should; member enlargement pills (yeah, thanks for the self-esteem blow) that brag about the pleasure I'll be able to give a woman (check the demographic); an ad to lose weight (again, thanks for the therapy session); and the offer of a relationship from someone named Wendy who claims to be the best thing that could ever happen to me.

It pervades other areas. Twitter has it (in fact, spam has its own profile - www.twitter.com/spam). Myspace has it. Some would consider the numerous quizzes that are found on Facebook to be spam. Even cell phones have spam nowadays. I've received calls from phone numbers that I didn't know and I let them go to voicemail and it's just gibberish. It's amazing to think that spam has moved in and shares a common law marriage with technology.

Ah, but it started long before that. Remember chain letters? That's old school spam. Not even emailed chain letters (although those are a high annoyance as well); snail mail chains. "Count the number of letters in your last name. You must send this letter to that many people within the number of days that equals number of letters in your first name or else you will ripped apart by a purple bear in an overcoat." Oh, please. Like the real chain letters were any less ridiculous? At least Internet spam is ecofriendly.

Bottom line: Spam is annoyingly pervasive and seems unavoidable.

Or perhaps it's just Mercury's sense of humor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poker Face

MOON IN CAPRICORN
The emotional planet in the sign most known for it's aloof nature. Capricorn's calculating nature is going to show up in subtler ways. The moon is going to push some of Capricorn's hidden emotions to the surface, forcing the iceberg sign to reveal some of what's going on below. Trying to keep feelings buried is somewhat futile during this time, especially as this combination is taking place in the 1rst House, the house of self, of individuality.

Poker face. We've heard the term before, usually in reference to the card game. It's quite the asset in cards and is often considered to be an advantage in tense situations. It's also a theatrical convention known as deadpan. For a classic example of deadpan, look to Bea Arthur on any episode of Golden Girls (usually in response to Betty White's character).

For those of the Lie To Me contingent, there is great advantage to facial control. In the context of the show, they explore "microexpressions" that reveal certain emotions one may be trying to keep hidden. For those that wear their heart on their sleeve, this might not perturb them, but for those who are more secretive with their feelings (as a generalization, Earth signs), this may be a terrifying prospect.

How careful you are with your expressions may reveal more about you than you want it to. Those who keep a cool, blank expression often earn a reputation for being uncaring. This may be unfair, but it is the hard view of a society which values openness and honesty. We're encouraged, especially in America, to express ourselves, and we can be very distrustful of those whose motives and feelings remain hidden from us.

Still, do these aloof creatures have the right idea? Usually, we give a great deal away from the simple lift of an eyebrow, a slight smile, a narrowing of the eyes. In the theatre, an extremely expressive world, it's not uncommon for one to have to wipe the slate. The phrase "check your face" is one that I've heard said to actors when another actor sings a wrong note. It's not a deliberate affront; just the world that we live in. In order to keep a colleague from being hurt, we must hide the feelings that would otherwise be clearly written across the face. Maybe we can learn something from those who are able to keep things inside. There's power in quietly kept emotion.

I've noticed, from working in various offices, that the business world is much more cautious with their feelings. They keep everything very even keel (unless they're screaming in anger). "Losing one's temper" is viewed as weak; sentimentality becomes vulnerability. The interesting part is that it becomes very jarring when a boss figure is suddenly demonstrative emotionally. Depending on the subordinate and how the emotion is portrayed, the authority could strengthen or weaken. For a culture that values expression of feelings, in certain situations (especially the business world), it can be seen as a loss of power. Keeping the poker face demonstrates; enables power.

I believe true power lies in effective expression. We may give away more than we desire, but who doesn't love a gift from the heart?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Imaginary Belonging

NEPTUNE IN AQUARIUS
Neptune, the planet of illusion, is sitting in Aquarius, sign of friends, in the 7th House, house of social interactions and partnerships. This combination will show an increase in the social world. People will be more open, idealistic, and presenting an image to those that they meet of friendliness.

Fantasy and illusion are powerful motivations in life (see: Fantasy vs. Reality). When it comes to friends, there is one friend that never seems to let you down: the imaginary friend. They're always there for you. They listen when you want them to. They give you advice when you need it. They allow escape for those who don't have other outlets.

For a society that praises individuality and originality, we certainly place strong emphasis on what we have in common with each other. Humans have a deep need to belong. When we don't have a group that makes us feel welcome, we tend to create one. It's a vital part of our survival, derived from our animalistic natures. Wolves run in packs, deer in herds, bees in hives, etc. Yes, we're animals; don't rip my throat out about it.

This seems to be the reason for label creation. While we all profess a hatred of labels, we cling to them because it allows us to belong to a group. Christian, gay, female, Asian-American, senior citizen, student, smart, etc. We are a society that loves to categorize and compartmentalize. It helps us sort out the chaos that is human interaction. We understand people better when we can put them into a box in our minds. Of course, we all belong to different boxes throughout our lives. They're even on the forms that we sign throughout our lives. And it started back in elementary school, didn't it? "Do you like me? Check a box." We love our labels. Else, why would people buy such hideous clothing at such horrendous prices? The label! (Okay, not all expensive clothing is horrible, but you must admit, there are some gauche pieces out there that are worn purely for the label.)

Labels are comforting. They tell us that we're not alone. Others have shared our experiences and have survived. So can we. They had similar concerns. They had similar hopes. Similar dreams. And we can learn from them. It's a powerful motivator for those who feel like they have nowhere else to turn. Of course, some never find their place of belonging and will always turn to the imaginary friend.

Remember: you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creativity, Cabaret, and Country

JUPITER CONJUNCT NEPTUNE
Jupiter is within a degree of Neptune in Aquarius. This combination is going to lend a great deal of optimism and idealism, especially with regard to creative endeavors. This is a wonderful time to bring out those original ideas that you may have, explore them, and see where they go. You never know what they might lead to. Perhaps your idea is the new fad.

Fortunately, this weekend, I had the pleasure of not only participating in a creative event, but I got to see two wonderful creative endeavors. The first, a cabaret, was a fabulous romp through musical theatre songs. I had a great time and got to perform two of my favorite songs: Muddy Water (Big River) and I Can Do That (A Chorus Line). Being the critical alpha personality that I am, there are a few moments of nitpickiness but hey, perfection, I am not. For any and all that got to see the show, I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Last night, in a similar world, I attended a one-woman cabaret at The Duplex, an old stomping ground of mine. It was nice to be back there, and the show introduced me to many new songs. There were some beautiful pieces and I found myself wanting to write down lyrics. One of my favorite lyrics offered was (and I'm paraphrasing from memory): This beautiful mess we call life is a guess, so why try to obsess? Who knows? The power behind not knowing was a part of the theme of the cabaret. It's better to move on and work towards living than to concentrate on the destination and lose the moments along the way. My friend conveyed the message with love and great sincerity. I was thrilled to see her perform.

Yesterday afternoon, my mother and I celebrated Mother's Day with a trip to Broadway's production of 9 to 5. If you have the opportunity to see it, I recommend it. Allison Janney, Megan Hilty, and Stephanie J. Block have the challenge of are fabulous and Marc Kudisch is likably hatable as Franklin Hart. For those who are devoted to the movie, the musical keeps many of the most memorable lines and moments of the film, transporting them onto the stage. There are enough changes in the musical to make it fresh so that you're not expecting every line. This is one of the best translations of a film to stage that I have seen and I have a new appreciation for the lyrics of Dolly Parton.

I hope everyone's weekend was a fabulous one. Now it's back to working 9-5. Ugh, what a way to make a living.
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