Tuesday, October 19, 2010

home sweet home.

Richard Alpert, who took the spiritual name of Ram Dass after his conversion experience in India, was born in Boston, MA on April 6, 1931 at 10:40 A.M. according to his birth certificate. As discussed in the article on Applewhite, Ram Dass shares a cardinal cross with the rest of the cohort born in that year. Instead of having close to a “natural” zodiac like Applewhite, Ram Dass has most of his occupied signs in houses that create natural squares. That is, his Aries factors are in the Capricorn house, his Taurus factors in the Aquarius house, etc. Such combinations intensify the potential for conflict, but Ram Dass seems to have managed to handle the conflict reasonably well most of the time.

Following his acceptance of a Hindu guru, Ram Dass became a guru himself for the counter culture of the 1960s. He reportedly struggled with relationship issues, including sex, alternating between celibacy and bisexuality. Pluto’s conjunction with his Ascendant for many years of his life highlights the potential for tension. The first house calls for freedom while Pluto shows the desire for a mate. The first house seeks spontaneous action but Pluto demands inner analysis prior to action. Free self-expression confronts self-knowledge and self-mastery. The Aries emphasis, especially the tight Sun-Uranus conjunction in the sign, reinforces the urge to be both free and unique, not bound by cultural conventions in love (the Sun), close relationships (the lunar node), or career (the tenth house). Juno (the marriage asteroid) opposite Ceres (the parent asteroid) square Vesta in 6th house (the details of the job) and Jupiter in the 12th house (the search for the Absolute) repeat the theme of tension between the areas of home/family, career, and idealism.

Since both the first house and Pluto show a desire for personal control, when we add the stellium in Aries in the tenth house, the squares from the first house to the tenth house, and from Aries to Saturn in its own sign, the power issue is a major statement in the chart. The issue of self-will meeting the limits of self-will is as strong as I have ever seen it, but in the case of Ram Dass, he seems to have focused totally on personal freedom, resisting any control by others while avoiding trying to control anyone else. I suspect that many if not most individuals with such an intense power issue have had periods of trying to control others in order to assure their own freedom. The first house Mars adds to the emphasis on personal freedom, in addition to the Moon in Sagittarius and Venus (pleasure) in the house of Sagittarius. Sagittarius also reinforces the idealism, while Sagittarius in the 6th house and a Pisces MC connect it to the work. It is an appropriate chart for an unconventional guru, with the trine of Mercury to Neptune (shared by Applewhite and Jim Jones) testifying to the creative imagination and persuasive ability. As usual, the extra asteroids provide icing on the cake. Richard, the personal name asteroid for Ram Dass, is in 21 Pisces in the 9th house closely conjunct Urania for the unconventional spirituality and Icarus for the possibility of overdoing it.

like the look of you
moving easily in the street
stopping to notice the clouds
the flowers
the cut-price clothes

in store windows;
eyes slipping stealthily sideways
to catch your own image in the windows
as you pass

to make sure you look
as good as you feel.

i noticed you yesterday
and a time or two before that
but then
i was in a haste
doing my thing
and you just flashed into my mind and vision
looking GOOD

but today
you look good
and available.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Print is not dead, it's just having it out with a cheeseburger (a piece I wrote for Spook mag.)

We Homo sapiens are living in an age of technology in which we need not do much to obtain the things we want. A report released last year by researchers at Stanford University in California suggests that we spend 90% of our day staring at glowing rectangles. Everything we need to know is just at the tip of our fingers, in front of our eyes on the rectangle screen. News headlines break as they happen and who needs WHO’s pap snaps when you can watch a live streamed video of Lindsay Lohan sobbing tears of filth in court. Lusciously convenient and conveniently accessible. Because of it we have come to like things simple, to the point, on demand. It’s brilliant! It’s undeniable. It’s a cheeseburger.

I know for a fact that you’re just like me; you don’t care for cheeseburgers all the time. You sit and read this magazine in which you happily and willingly spent your money on taking pride in the fact that you enjoy the real things in life. The things you can touch and appreciate for the layout or the stock or the independent mindset that embodies print publishing. Now stop for a minute and reach for the oldest book you have access to. Pick it up, smell the pages, realise the importance of what you hold in your hands.  It’s alive and it’s breathing with you. Reflect on Sunday mornings with a newspaper, ink-stained fingers and coffee stained pages, being read to as a child, or the first time you ever connected with that one writer who has effected you right up until now (eg. Wilde, Thomas, Blighton.)

Call me a romantic but I for one, do not see how such moments will ever die. It’s in the spirit of nostalgia and integrity that print publishing will achieve longevity and it’s up to you and I to keep the flame alive. Let the masses have cheeseburgers! That’s what they’re there for. Treat yourself every now and then if you must. Let your eyes linger over the shiny screen, in that standard Internet tangent where too much is possible and hours seem like minutes. It’s what we have become and that’s okay. Do remember however, that we are also a passionate race. We are human for a reason. We make love and we fight and we create and invent and fall over in fits of laughter and tears. When we're punched in the face, it hurts. You gettin' me?

I’m currently reading Woody Guthrie’s autobiography Bound for Glory. It transports me to a world of a life under the big sky, train hopping, brawling, singing to make a dime. I can’t imagine turning to a blog to understand a generation past. Or to a website to read rich and colourful storytelling. To open a book is to enter into another time and space different from our own but where we can still exist if we only let ourselves. To open a website is look at a subject through a wall of wires. It’s uninvolved and informative and thoroughly entertaining (no doubt.) There is no question that an independent paper could ever compete with the Internet for breaking news headlines but it’s an independent paper that can deliver insightful, creative coverage, independent in its mindset. Emotive, thought out, virtuous. Let us not forget, however to take the time to reconnect with what makes us human in the first place. Print is not dead, print will never die. Print is alive and well and existing with utter integrity as a testament to what we as a race, a species and conscience.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Karen Dalton

How is it that this only just came into my life? I'd like to make a special shout out to Max Turner for opening my ears and heart. I'm a changed woman. This is mother earth.