January 16, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.

“analogies are dangerous”

Muriel Rukeyser

I ASKED MY TEACHER how he came to learn astrology. Misery he answered. Misery is a good school I said. The best, he answered. Laughter. 

I asked him how he’d made my chart eight years ago, whether he worked with an ephemeris in some form. He doesn’t have Internet now and he certainly didn’t have it then. I asked the planets where they were when you were born, he said. I rather believed him, while disbelieving, or I believed him with a sense of humor, the only way one can believe anything, perhaps the only way one should believe anything, including the world in front of one’s nose, the falling bombs, the bugs skittering across the prison floor...

OK, but I let my two normcore assimilationist brain cells think their obligatory thoughts: that he must own an ephemeris, that he might have had access to one, that he might even have put my birth data into one of the innumerable chart-generators online, at someone else’s house, in someone else’s office; why not; he may well have done so and nevertheless also asked the planets where they were when I was born. 

When I read a book, he continued, I’m not exactly reading, I’m comparing. I’m comparing what I know innately to what’s written on the page. 

I know that kind of reading. That’s poet’s reading and I’ve been doing it forever. I think it is more and more common, though the metrics by which to measure innate knowledge against delusion and quackery are only in very early stages of beta testing.   

What I was really after was ordinary, practical information about how he integrates astrology into everything else he does when he heals. I didn’t have to ask this question aloud. He heard it. On this path, he began, using a construction I have never known him to use, on this path humility is essential, and your first task, always, always, is to help.

Humility is surely required if you have the power directly to quiz planets as to their location at such and such a moment. The Greeks and their old, forever unheeded counsel against hubris is likewise well known. In any case.

I’m not sure the asceticism of Misery School or the extreme humility required if one intends to hold and make longterm use of, offer longterm service by the employment of divine gifts is for everybody. It might come off a little gray, like the Internet gray of today’s sunrise, cut by a single clitoral glow.

Nevertheless I believe we all have these capacities. Whose infrastructure must be rebuilt. This stern New Moon is commanding both ambition and an ethics.

And so, from the bitcoin of the mind, with eclipses in view as well as an array of other gifts I’ve prepared for you this week, and even though I thought I’d be writing you something different this morning, two tiny things.

1. Don’t look back. Not today.
2. Things are grim, I know, but they’re also ridiculous, thus not without erotic promise.  For example, here is Capricorn Marlene Dietrich, looking back to mourn without directly doing so, turning her excellent bones toward the absurd kleig lights of the future, like the hard femme moon giving birth to herself above us and below us in a few hours.

Rest in Power, Dolores.

Ariana Reines

Marlene Dietrich sings Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” 1964. Video, black and white, sound, 4 minutes 27 seconds.

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.

Love’s not Time’s fool (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116). Photo: Ariana Reines.

THE NEW MOON occurs tomorrow, January 16, 2018, at 9:17 PM EST, at twenty-six degrees & fifty-five minutes of Capricorn.

As the Sun’s tenancy in Capricorn nears its end (he enters Aquarius on January 19—preceded by Venus, who moves into Aquarius on January 17, and Mercury sails thataway at the end of the month) this New Moon lovingly invites us, once again, to initiate the structure, discipline, sobriety, & integrity heralded by Saturn’s return home to Capricorn late last year, & by the mystic marriage of masculine and feminine pulsed into us by the Cancer Full Moon on the New Year.

Mars is hanging out with Jupiter in Scorpio till January 26; Jupiter perfects his sextile with Pluto in Capricorn today: it’s time to be the best boss of yourself, to transform all the vicissitudes of shame you’ve ever wallowed through into patient, grown-ass care for your finances, your professional situation, and the profoundest aspect of the heights of your worldly ambition.

Remember that whatever Saturnine work you’re putting in, you must be doing it for Love. And if Love is not to become Time’s fool, she needs to work out a schedule she can live with.

This might be a slight deformation of a Kabbalistic formula I once heard Leonard Cohen describe, but basically if the King and Queen aren’t both sitting on the throne up there in the cosmos of your brains, there’s no creativity, no magic, no beauty— nothing works in what you do, no matter how hard you may labor at it. So it’s not that I’m suggesting merely working harder. This is a year, to paraphrase the graphic novelist & artist Nomy Lamm, to undertake and profit from your hardest & your softest work.

Daddy’s home. His car is in the garage, he’s doing work on the house, fixing the plumbing, mending cracks in the wall & holes in the roof. He’s clearing debris out of the garden and massaging the overworked fields. Maybe he’s been a shitty dad for most of your life, but he is listening to your grievances now. He is eager to do what can be done. He is not the apologizing kind, but he is examining the old charts and tables. He is drawing up new charts and tables. And when the Sun and Venus move into Aquarius, they’ll both be looking to entirely untested and from-the-future answers to questions so deep we’ve already spent all our tears and our suffering and our longing on them. Maybe emotional exhaustion is a good thing. I’m looking forward to looking, with you, more coolly, more structurally, more galactically at what we’ve done to the planet, to ourselves, to one another.

Nina Simone sings “Pirate Jenny” at the International Jazz Festival in Montreal on July 2, 1992.

There’s more to say about the heavy wages on the ledger for the slavers, the frackers, the incarcerators, and the rapers of the kingdom of this world, but I’ll save it for tomorrow. The sun has just risen, and I gotta go.

Ariana Reines

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.

Chögyam Trungpa. Caveat emptor.

The wrong way to take refuge involves seeking shelter—worshipping mountains, sun gods, moon gods, deities of any kind simply because they would seem to be greater than we. This kind of refuge-taking is similar to the response of the little child who says, ‘If you beat me, I’ll tell my mommy,’ thinking that his mother is a great, archetypically powerful person. If he is attacked, his automatic recourse is to his mother, an invincible and all-knowing, all-powerful personality. The child believes his mother can protect him, in fact that she is the only person who can save him. Taking refuge in a mother or father-principle is truly self-defeating; the refuge-seeker has no real basic strength at all, no true inspiration. He is constantly busy assessing greater and smaller powers. If we are small, then someone greater can crush us. We seek refuge because we cannot afford to be small and without protection. We tend to be apologetic: ‘I am such a small thing, but I acknowledge your great quality. I would like to worship and join your greatness, so will you please protect me?’

Surrendering is not a question of being low and stupid, nor of wanting to be elevated and profound. It has nothing to do with levels and evaluation. Instead, we surrender because we would like to communicate with the world ‘as it is.’ We do not have to classify ourselves as learners or ignorant people. We know where we stand, therefore we make the gesture of surrendering, of opening, which means communication, link, direct communication with the object of our surrendering. We are not embarrassed about our rich collection of raw, rugged, beautiful and clean qualities. We present everything to the object of our surrendering. The basic act of surrender does not involve the worship of an external power. Rather, it means working together with inspiration, so that one becomes an open vessel into which knowledge can be poured.

—Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (1973/2002). Shambala Classics, Boulder.

See you tomorrow.

Ariana Reines

January 14, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.

Early flight this AM. Heading toward Mountain Time. Photo: Ariana Reines.

Things that are sinuous are the rivers of the land
Women stalking with the ripple of cats
Along the leg and movement of the body
In deep eddies in silk transparencies
Rivers of the tumbled slopes
The flatlands to the west
Tidal-rivers licking and drawing back
The whole weight of protuberance toward the sea.
Marking a salt ridge in the bright flush of the flats.
O sea grasses waving in the high of a quickened
Sea grass wavering in the high flush of the flats.
They are women with the bare and subtle feet
Of brooks or rills of mountain lakes
Of turbulent cascades of torrential moments
Of long coil tenuous drift with one still cloud
Sucking from rim to rim of that insoluble thing
It was down to the river and the beat of the river

—Joan Murray, [Untitled]. Joan Murray: Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry (2018), edited by Farnoosh Fathi with a preface by John Ashbery. New York Review of Books Poets.

Abbey Lincoln, Wholly Earth, 1999.

Special thanks to Dana Ward.

Ariana Reines

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.

Edouard Glissant, Monsieur Toussaint, 1961, stage set for a 2017 adaptation by The Living & the Dead Ensemble. Grand Cemetery of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, December 15, 2017. Photo: Ariana Reines.

“Poetry’s circulation and its action no longer conjecture a given people but the evolution of the planet Earth.”

Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation

SPIRITUALLY, ETHICALLY, ENVIRONMENTALLY, AND ARTISTICALLY, whiteness, or the culture of abstraction, or high capitalism or necrotic rape-based capitalism or whatever you want to call it at this point—is the shithole.

It’s the eighth anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake.

There are countless ways one can see the future in Haiti. It has always been ahead of its time. Saint Domingue was, statistically, the most rapacious consumer of African labor and destroyer of black lives in the colonies; likewise it produced the most wealth. Haiti’s was the third democratic revolution on the planet, and a military triumph against the planet’s most powerful colonial powers. The first truly successful slave revolt on the planet. The first judicial attempt to vanquish color-based racism on the planet. The magic island upon which Christopher Columbus first set his damning foot.

The place where, heaven help us all, the New World began.

When I was there last month, I spent a lot of time with artists. I saw devout commitment to vision, reverence for the visible and invisible worlds, damning humor, brilliant satire, genius, and collaborative genius. I saw love. I also saw the mystery of withdrawal from an insane reality, the better to nurture poiesis and romance (they go together—hi Venus) which paradoxically need a little distance from the merely real, the obscenely real, in order to better make love to it. Survival by what Glissant calls opacity. An artists’ separatism; an artists’ marronage. A thousand modes of separatism, of marronage, in a given instant, in a given situation.

Haiti has a lot of experience with the insane effect mad rulers have on reality itself. We are somewhat new at this in the USA, or rather, we’re pathetically new at facing, collectively, this fact. And yet, slavery was mass delusion: a mass delusion arguably more psychotic and damaging than the ones we’re contending with now, which obviously include slavery’s billion consequences. How long will the reckoning take? When will the revolution take? When might a “shot heard round the world” actually root itself in the heart of the matter. Why don’t we study more how suggestible, eminently mislead-able, and idiotic we are as a species? And also some of the unaccountable and the weird ways we have been wise.

It has often seemed to me, not only since last January but really, since 9/11, that we Americans have finally been plunged into the boiling baptismal font of the real truth of the New World. How do you protect what’s sacred when horrible things are happening all around you? How do you know what is sacred when you’re an accessory to constant war, mass incarceration, and state murder? How do you remember what’s sacred when you have so totally ceded your sovereignty to machines you find yourself trying to add it to your shopping cart, even though you know better? You try, you fail, it makes you crazy, you develop a kind of sanity—inevitably, a mysticism—and you serve that. You turn inward. No matter where else you turn, you are also turning inward. The solitude your machines bring you compels it. The insanity and dismay all around you compels it. The oblivion all around you, the bad music compels it. And all this also compels the yearning to collaborate you feel. I don’t mean collaborating with the evil regime that’s over you. I mean collaborating with friends and enemies, with family and family ghosts, while political talk radio plays all day long in your studio.

There is a majesty that goes way beyond a given zeitgeist and somehow, somehow, that majesty is in some art. It is in the devoutness required of the artists to survive so they can give life. Seeing this again and again last month in Haiti made me wonder anew at art’s timetable, which suddenly seemed, again, a lot more obscure than the orthodox calendar of careers and exhibitions and movements and trends.

As always, there is more to say than can be said. I am no historian, no expert, no scholar. I’m talking to you as a pilgrim.

“Transparency no longer seems like the bottom of the mirror in which Western humanity reflected the world in its own image. There is opacity now at the bottom of the mirror, a whole alluvium deposited by populations, silt that is fertile but, in actual fact, indistinct and unexplored even today, denied or insulted more often than not, and with an insistent presence that we are incapable of not experiencing.” (Glissant, “Transparency and Opacity”, ibid. 111)

When Uranus enters Taurus on May 15, to be in residence there till 2026, it will be an era of earthquakes. It will also be an era, as everyone seems to be singing in unison, of the growing stability of the rising global currency. Of fertile silt bearing fruit and of convulsive beauty.

Ariana Reines

Ariana Reines, January 12, 2018, 2018, video, color, sound, 11 seconds.

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.

January 11, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.

MERCURY ENTERED CAPRICORN nine minutes past midnight EST. Goodbye purple prose.

The Moon is void-of-course in Scorpio from 9:54 AM EST today till she enters Sagittarius 2:05 AM EST tomorrow morning.

It takes just about twenty-eight days for the Moon to complete her orbit around Earth. She spends about two, two and a half days in each sign of the Zodiac. You know this, but I’ll remind you anyway: She pulls the tides and the water in your body; seeds turn with her, whether in your belly or in the ground. Because she has no light of her own (but rather reflects the Sun’s light) and because she’s just a tiny thing whipping around us (the analogue to our orbit around the Sun), she oughtn’t, perhaps, be so important. And yet everything that happens on this planet happens under her aegis. She appears, when full, to be just slightly smaller than the Sun. What fortune in our cause could possibly have made us worthy of such mysterious symmetry?

It’s practically an invitation to Science Fiction. Or mysticism.

Herein lies a key to astrology’s peculiar factual yet extrafactual relationship to The Truth. While the Moon is just a moon—a consort, a plus one, a sidekick, a supplement, arm candy, bla bla bla (Jupiter was long thought to have sixteen, and in the last few years twenty-three more have been discovered), I invite you to speculate on what Earth might be like without her. What would the ocean be? There would be night, but would there be dreams? Would there be gender? (Another day I’ll talk about stories and traditions in which the Moon is male, in which there’s a Man-in-the-Moon, etc.) How would things change, how would things grow? With nothing pulling the waters on this planet, which are also feeling, what would govern them? I can only picture a nightmare of “pure reason.”

Francisco Goya, El sueño de la razon produce monstruos (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), 1799, etching, aquatint, drypoint, burin, 8 x 6". From the series “Los Caprichos” (Whims), 1799.

When the Moon is void-of-course, she’s completed her last major aspect to the Sun or other planets in a given sign and has nothing left to do except coast into the next sign. Void-of-course is a fancy phrase for something that happens all the time. It’s not a good time to ask a Horary question (google it) and it’s not an auspicious time to launch anything, like a business or whatever.

Some astrologers say you might find yourself feeling kind of floaty or empty when the Moon is void-of-course, and I can kind of corroborate this. But again, I am a suggestible being just like you are, and prescription-by-suggestion of how one might feel, per yesterday’s column, is not my favorite.

What about this: Today’s a great time, as the Moon goes on wanting, to think about what you’ve accomplished since the turning of the year, but also in the last couple of days during the Moon’s tenure in heavy-metal Scorpio—think about how much you’ve changed these last few days, and back to the start of the year (fuck what came before), and all the ways you’ve cultivated life. Eating food, sleeping, breathing, being at all kind to your pet, being at all present to the ones you love or present to and respectful of your longing to love—all these and suchlike would count as accomplishments. There’s crap and waste draining out of us as the Moon shrinks. Great. Achievements in the dark and achievements witnessed: you can turn these over all day today in your perfect mind, and press the goodness in. I invite you to do likewise for lovely sensations. Whatever marvelous thing you might have felt, however fleeting, bid your consciousness absorb it. Marry it a little.

Ariana Reines

January 11, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.