Crazy Uranus

Coffee, ideas, brilliant creativity with Rina, goddess of the design. We are working hard to get the website finished so we can officially launch it to the public on Sunday, July 11th. This is the day of the new Moon in Cancer, and a Solar Eclipse. Plus, the New Moon/Eclipse occur at 19 degrees of Cancer, making a trine aspect to my North Node and Jupiter, which are 19 and 18 degrees of Pisces North Node of destiny and moving toward the future plus Jupiter of expansion and teaching the higher ideals of philosophy and religion. I love that both the Sun and Moon will be in Cancer, since Cancer is ruled by the Moon Goddess who oversees the site.

Astrology and the Academy

As I sit outside on my deck and watch the Moon and Venus setting I ponder the AFAN exchange on questions around how to legitimize astrology, and astrology’s possible acceptance into the academic world.  I am an academic, and an astrologer, and a licensed counselor. I spent 9 years at the University of Pittsburgh, a research institution (as opposed to only teaching, therefore in the academic world, way superior) and was given full funding and fellowships. I got my Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 2004. My studies and dissertation focused on ritual and cosmology. I have given papers at numerous academic meeting, and still am involved in my professional organization, the American Academy of Religion and am giving a paper at the annual meeting this coming November. Over 6000 religious scholars attend these meetings and getting a paper accepted is considered a significant accomplishment. And I have published in academic journals and taught at various universities. As an astrologer since 1985 who was very tired of being considered sub-worthy and rather dim witted, I decided to get a Ph.D. with the goal of showing that astrologers were not dim witted and also moving forward in legitimizing astrology as a worthy profession. (Do you sense a strong Saturn here?)

When I graduated I really questioned whether I wanted to work on getting astrology to be considered legitimate by the academy. I decided, after some consideration, that it was a waste of my time and a nearly impossible task. My ideal image of the academy, that of inquiring minds who want to know, was crushed by the realities. Academics are interested in their particular discipline, and are very territorial. Astrology and alchemy are questionable in the academic community. I thought it was very prejudicial that a Christian could study Christianity, and a Jew could study Judaism, but an astrologer was considered suspect, and unable to render anything intelligible. My husband, a life long academic and former head of his department, agrees and says that there is a lot of prejudice against astrology, and that academics are arrogant anyway, and they are especially arrogant about their prejudices. (that is a quote!) I came to discover that one could study astrology as a cultural phenomena, for example astrology in India, or historical, like Mayan or Medieval astrology. But I decided it was a waste of my time and my knowledge to try to convince academics that I had something legitimate to say, when there are so many interested people in the world who are genuinely interested in what astrology offers. I decided to put my focus on moving astrology forward among those who are interested rather than trying to convince uninterested people about the value of astrology. If anyone is thinking of pursuing an advanced degree I would be glad to talk to you about possible ways to contextualize your astrological research to fit into the academy. Now there are some excellent colleges that might be considered alternative or progressive that do embrace astrology. I’m not referring to them; I’m talking about the hard core research oriented academic institutions of which I have been a part, and of which I think this forum has been referring.

As far as psychics and tarot readers are concerned:  I love the Tarot and believe it to be a fantastic means for inner knowledge and a tool for guidance. I did my Master’s thesis at Hunter College in NYC on the Tarot and its relationship to Carl Jung’s path of Individuation. I have great respect for the Tarot, and certain psychics, like Edgar Cayce, I trust as legitimate. I do not think we all need to follow the same path when it comes to gaining wisdom or finding tools that work. I choose to get as much education as possible, but that is not the path for everyone. And I have had dear friends whom I greatly respect who have found comfort in mediums.  I think the ideal is not to bash a profession, since that is what we dislike about astrology bashing, but rather to look for integrity and excellence wherever it is found.

In peace,

Lilan

Buddhist Sand Mandala

Buddhist mandalaA few years back (well, maybe a decade!) I saw Buddhist Monks make a spectacular sand mandala. It was in Pittsburgh, PA, and took place during a visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It takes about 6 days to make such a mandala, and the practice of patience and focus required to make such a work of art is itself a meditation. A mandala, a circular shape with a center,  is a universal symbol of wholeness. Mandala are everywhere in nature, for example a daisy has a yellow center surrounded by white petals. Mandalas are in many religious traditions, for example the Native American Medicine Wheel, or the complex Rose windows in the Gothic Cathedrals. Labyrinths are mandalas.

I just found this video of a time lapse of Tibetan monks making a sand mandala at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. It took them 6 days to make this elaborate shape. When they are finished they destroy the mandala as a reminder that we are all impermanent, and that we too will be destroyed one day. The thought is a bit similar to Christian Ash Wednesday: “From ashes we come and to ashes we return.” This Mandala Video takes about 2 minutes to watch the creativity it took the monks 6 days to complete. After I saw it I pondered on the intricacies of my own life, the amount of time, effort, focus, creativity, love, and work that I put into my decades of living. And that one day, as quickly as the erasing of the mandala, it will all be over. I hope that at the end of my life that I can be assured that I somehow contributed to a better world, in the same way that once the mandala is destroyed, the sand is released into the waters for healing.

Gulf Crisis and help

oil pelicanWhen I saw this image, I wanted to turn away, close my eyes, and not look. It is just way too painful for me. I love birds. Feeding and watching and protecting birds are part of my everyday life. I am crushed. But I can’t turn away and pretend it’s not happening. Now the oil has reached four states, and might be underneath the Atlantic ocean, heading its way to the East Coast.

I want to help this pelican. I want to hold it and clean off the oil. I want it to live. But I am far away, so all I can do is pray, and hope it helps. I feel helpless, and I’m sure many other people do too. So when I got a request by the Sierra Club I felt like I was given some action that I could do. Here is what they say:

Watching the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history unfold has been infuriating — it’s clear that there is no quick fix to clean up this mess. We need to make sure this type of disaster never happens again.

Are you fed up? Sickened by what you’re seeing in the Gulf? This is the time to join together and help break our nation free from Big Oil’s stranglehold.

The Sierra Club will be holding rallies and events, running ads, and engaging people all across the country to generate a movement to move Beyond Oil. We have never needed President Obama’s visionary leadership more than we do right now — it’s time to stop letting the oil industry call the shots, and to start embracing clean energy.

I am attaching the link so you can go to Sierra Club and take action too. We must be sure this never happens again; That we never drill for oil so deep into the ocean that we can’t fix it when it breaks. That we all become aware of how our own personal use of energy is part of this problem. It is easier to look away from the bleeding in the Gulf. But as much as it hurts, I will face this tragedy head on, heart open.