Today is my birthday, and it’s a funny one because just last night I learned that I’m not really a Capricorn, but a Sagittarius. After all those years of trying to relate to the goat, turns out I’m one of those Centaur archer dudes. Fire instead of earth, etc.
Maybe you’ve already caught this buzz. My Sensei turned me on to the article that started it all. Apparently the gravitational pull of the moon has caused the Earth to wobble on its axis over the millenia that have passed since the Babylonians first formulated western astrology. This means that the projected plane of the Earth against the belt of the zodiac ain’t what it used to be. When we say that the sun is in Capricorn right now, it really isn’t, it’s in Sagittarius. Same for the other signs–we’re off by about a month, so adjust backwards accordingly, if you care to know your real sign.
As for me, I’ve never put much stock in astrology. But it does kinda make sense that my son turns out to be a Leo instead of a Virgo. He’s a slob, not one of those neat freak virgins, and lately he actually roars after eating his lion shaped vitamin.
My own view is that human beings are meaning makers. We traffic in symbols, and we have a wonderful tendency to look at clusters of chaos, like the night sky, tea leaves, or the splatter of an ink blot, and extract patterns of meaning. We see shapes and make up myths. We see ourselves in the stars and in everything we look at. What we tend to forget is that we do this not only with oracles, but with everything around us, including those chaotic patterns of form and behavior that we identify as other people.
As for actual oracles, it seems to me that if everything in the universe is interconnected and interdependent, then any sufficiently complex and graceful symbol system that you choose to randomly draw information from will tend to provide meaningful perspectives that can help you see a problem from a new angle. I like the tarot for this kind of psychological self-help because it provides a very rich and balanced set of archetypes.
If you meditate long enough on the chaos of symbols and how they might relate to your own values and circumstances, you will begin to see a path that empowers you. And that’s not a bad thing.
But I figure that most astrology is about suggestibility and self-fulfilling prophesy, which can be harmful too, and most newspaper horoscopes remind me of the old computer programmer’s axiom: garbage in/garbage out. Tell me first thing in the morning that it’s going to be a tough day, and if I believe you, it probably will be.
As a Capricorn mountain goat, the metaphor of my life was supposed to be something about ambitious and difficult climbing to great heights. Now, as an archer, I’ve been given a birthday present in the form of a new metaphor. The archer is also goal oriented, but he finds his mark swiftly and with great accuracy from a distance. It’s more about skill than slog. So that gives me something to chew on for the next year.
And if you mine any metaphor deep enough, you get more treasure from it. Which reminds me that in the Hebrew kabalah, the path of Sagittarius connects the sphere of the moon to the sphere of the sun, or Yesode to Tiphareth. It’s considered a very powerful spiritual path because it represents, among other things, the movement of information from the subconscious mind into the light of consciousness. This process is depicted as the Art card in my favorite deck, the Crowley Thoth Tarot.
The Art card also happens to be the14th card in the major arcana, and my birthday is the 14th. See? Look for meaningful connections and ye shall find them and see yourself therein.
And now that you think I’m a raving mystic, I’ll just say that in practical terms, the art of writing is, for me, all about moving information from the lunar brain where the muse lives, to the solar brain where it can be refined by craft and critical thought. Maybe that’s why the archer has an animal lower body, which transforms into a human upper body, and finally into a tool or weapon aimed at the heavens. The information starts out rough and instinctual, but becomes refined through the evolutionary process of its transmission.
Now, if only I could move that artistic information with the speed of an arrow. Most days I feel like I’m using a wheel barrow.