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This is Part 5 of a 9-Part Series
from a previously unpublished article
Previous posts in this series include:
Astrology as a Magical Point of Entry to Primal Knowledge
Is it such a leap to suggest that just as image is primary to the dreaming psyche, it is also primary to an understanding of astrology? We sometimes romanticize about the projection of images and stories into the sky that underlies our knowledge of the zodiac: or of the gods and goddesses for whom the planetary bodies – Hermes, Aphrodite, Zeus and all the rest – are named. What if we were to actually practice our astrology this way – as though the image were primary? What if we were to assume that the source – whatever that might be – that first generated this imagery and the astrological symbolism that evolved out of it is still projecting, constantly generating, perpetually revealing itself, forever attempting to catch our attention in new and unexpected ways? Could we not gain entry to the same sort of expansive, primal knowledge that our dreaming ancestors understood to be magic?
But how, you ask? By being alert to the images that show up in relation to astrological cycles – perhaps especially during inconjunct periods – and then considering them to be portals to primal knowledge. If I have a dream about seeing a face in the mirror not my own while transiting Sun is inconjunct my Mercury, then perhaps this image extends an invitation to me to understand the relationship between Sun and Mercury in my chart in a new way.
In my natal chart, Sun and Mercury are conjunct across my Ascendant in Sagittarius. In many ways, I identify with my mind, my intelligence, my capacity as a writer, teacher, and maverick philosopher. But what if I look in the mirror and see none of these things? On one level, this is, of course, a terrifying thought. On another level, however, there is a certain freedom to it, and I feel curious. Who was I before I became all these things? Who will I be after I shed this particular identity and lose the face in the mirror that I recognize as me?
If I can dare to entertain these questions, then my imagination is free to create something new. Was not Mercury – Hermes in the Greek – a potent creative force? According to the myth, before he was out of diapers, he had stolen Apollo’s cattle, charmed a tortoise into giving up its life so Hermes could invent the lyre, which he then gave to Apollo to appease his anger at the theft. They became the best of friends, and Apollo went on to become the patron saint of music, while Hermes went on to become the patron saint of liars and thieves.
What if this habitual face in the mirror is a lie? What if somehow I’ve been robbed of my true face, and don’t have the courage to face the music? What if I’ve been as slow as a tortoise to recognize the truth? What if it’s too late? These are crazy questions, I know, but they are also intensely alive in a way that merely taking for granted that the face in the mirror I see today will be the same one I have always seen is not. If I can dare to stay with this aliveness, as uncomfortable as it is, perhaps some sort of awakening to the magic beneath the appearance of things becomes possible.