The Endless Sky – Or how I spent my summer vacation
In early August, Michelle and I got back from a couple of months in rainy New Orleans. Lucky us – we beat hurricane Ida by three weeks. Michelle needed to be there to photograph some clients for her portrait-painting business. The house she still rents on Prytania Street is urban and too noisy for me to record listenable readings or to shoot video, so I was left with seven weeks that were basically in my own hands. This was the first time that kind of time had opened up in my life in exactly forty-three years and ten months – I know the number that specifically because it dates back to when I sold my sailboat, stopped trying to be Jimmy Buffett and got to work on being myself.
Being a Capricorn, facing seven weeks of vacation would have driven me directly into psychotherapy, so I needed something to do. As I cast about for possibilities, I remembered a project I’d been thinking about attempting for a long time. Over the years I’ve written a huge number of articles and newsletters on various astrological topics. I had always wanted to assemble them into a single volume – a sort of “collected essays” book.
I started poking around my old files. Even with some fairly draconian editing and rejections, I realized that I had plenty of material for a book – seventy-one of the articles I had written over the past couple of decades passed my strict muster. I saw a couple of obvious holes in the project too, so I wrote a couple more essays to fill them.
Of course with picky Saturn in Virgo on my midheaven, I couldn’t just slop them all together and call it a book. I had to rewrite everything, line by line, word by word, getting everything up to my current literary standards. I also wrote a fresh introduction and, more importantly, a concluding chapter that I feel I must say is one of my favorite pieces of writing, ever – it’s about an amazing manifestation of synchronicity, one of those little miracles that leave you absolutely convinced that your high school physics teacher actually didn’t have the final word on the laws that govern this universe. I’ll leave the exact nature of that little miracle a secret for now. (You may detect a transparent ploy to trick you into buying the book.)
Ask any author – deciding a book is “done” is often more a psychological question than a literary one. The compulsion to polish, polish, and then polish some more has probably kept many a worthy volume out of print forever. I finally bit the bullet and sent the manuscript off to Tony Howard and our team for the cover design and the layout work. Then it was out of my hands. I imagine it feels something like putting your kid on the bus for college.
The Endless Sky: Collected Astrological Essays 2002-2021 is the title. It is a potpourri, covering a huge range of subjects. In the introduction, I write, “My books are always full of loose ends and unanswered questions – subjects of real importance that somehow never found a place in those pages, or subjects that were just too weird to fit anywhere.” Mostly, the essays are written for serious beginners and intermediate astrologers, although there are a few more “techie” pieces, along with some that are written for a very general audience, such as a piece about eclipses that I was commissioned to write for a glossy New York magazine.
One theme that runs through a number of the chapters is about the higher possibilities that are inherent in configurations that have often been framed as unfortunate in the astrological literature – planets in “fall” or in “detriment,” retrograde planets, intercepted signs, along with the usual “bad guy” suspects: Pluto, Saturn, and Mars in general. As always, my aim is not to whitewash the negative side of things – only to make sure that the positive side doesn’t get short shrift. That goodness is always available – that is, except for in the pages for those depressing books or the gloomy lectures that often go with them. As practitioners of the craft of evolutionary astrology, we all encounter clients and friends who’ve had their minds poisoned with excessive fears about such configurations. My hope is that my words in The Endless Sky can help you find your own words as you point out healthier perspectives on those much-maligned astrological situations.
In a similar vein, every year or two the Internet comes alive with the “news” that astrologers “have the signs all wrong” and that “all you Sagittarians are actually Scorpios.” It is pure baloney, of course – but understanding the issues behind the error is slightly technical. You’ll find a quick, clear chapter about all of that. Hopefully it will empower you to explain everything clearly to any confused friends or clients you might encounter. In the same piece, you’ll also arm yourself to debunk the notion that “science has now proven” that some of you Scorpios are actually Ophiucans.
I am unusual among technical astrologers in that I date the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius” to over a hundred years ago. One of the more science-side pieces in The Endless Sky explains exactly why I think that way.
There are a couple of chapters about one of my favorite subjects – Eris, the new planet, and how humanity is struggling to integrate it. Another favorite chapter is about “botched” transits and how our lives aren’t necessarily destroyed by them forever.
What about when astrology doesn’t seem to work at all? What’s going on there?
Here’s an example of a subject that was just too weird to fit anywhere in any of my previous books. With Uranus transiting over the midheaven of his chart, Jim Morrison of The Doors hit a massive, unexpected career peak – a decade after he had died. He was gone, but his chart was still working. Ditto for Vincent Van Gogh – a major professional success came for him right on astrological schedule a century after he’d passed away. The more I think about that phenomenon, the more absolutely mind-boggling it seems. I’m not sure what to make of it – but the subject was fun to write about. That’s chapter eleven. I’m hoping that someday, in a post-Covid world, some of us in the evolutionary astrology family find ourselves sitting around a table with glasses of wine or cups of coffee, trying to figure out why charts still work after the people who once inhabited them have moved on into the mysteries.
Your guesses are as good as mine, and I would love to hear them.
In the introduction to The Endless Sky, I write, “I picture this book like an astrology friend – someone you met at a class or a conference a year or two ago. Maybe you get together for coffee every few months. Maybe it’s mostly about looking at charts and talking about your current transits.” I also write, “I fancy myself poking around your house and finding this book lying on your bedside table or by your favorite living room chair, perhaps with another book on top of it – the message, in other words, is that sometimes you pick it up and read a few pages at random, while other times weeks pass and you don’t give The Endless Sky any thought at all.”
That pretty well summarizes the whole project. It’s just me jamming away on my favorite subject, wishing you could be jamming right back at me.
And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.
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