People often wonder how I can read tarot and ALSO write and edit science textbooks. Science Meets Mysticism is a new series addressing various aspects of that question.
Doctor after diagnosing me with ADHD: Do you use a planner?
Me: … yes?
Doctor: [looks at me]
Me: [note to self: look into this planner business]
So today something clicked, and I realized that simply having the planner on my desk, and writing stuff in once a month, while a good start, is maybe not technically the same thing as USING the planner.
Like so many of the best insights, this one started with astrology, because I recently subscribed to The Tarot Lady’s new Astro Biz offering, which contains insight into EACH DAY. So that one could actually look at the week and plan it, like, DAY BY DAY. In fact, one could even look at each day the night before and consider what the day will hold, and tweak the plan at that point.
“Yes, Bonnie, that’s what planners are for,” is what you may be thinking. But though YOU may have known that, *I* didn’t. I thought a planner was a calendar in book form. I basically thought it was a book of things to not forget. I didn’t really get that it was for, you know, planning. That one could use a planner actively for choosing actions, not just passively as a reference.
So this brings me to one aspect of astrology that literally all people can agree on, and that specifically the scientific and metaphysical community can agree on: planning is better than not planning. Not morally better, but better in the sense that planning offers certain practical advantages that can improve one’s chances of succeeding at one’s goals in life. Planning increases peace in our lives and reduces drama. And planning tools, calendars and a clock in particular, if USED, can also improve one’s chances of success.
Duh, you’re thinking.
But, science people, you do understand that calendars and clocks are astrological tools, right?
So, let’s turn to one of the things skeptics often say about astrology: “I just don’t believe that the movements of stars and planets can possibly affect MY life.” Okay, well, no one is asking you to fucking BELIEVE it. Are you a flat-Earther? Because if you recognize that we live on a round planet, which turns on its axis, and which orbits our Sun, then you already know or should know that the movements of planets affect your life. We live on one! The turning of the Earth on its axis LITERALLY determines when your night and day occur. The movement of Earth in its orbit LITERALLY determines whether you are experiencing summer, fall, winter, or spring right now. And it also has a strong effect on the air and water currents that determine our weather.
So we can at least agree that THIS PLANET, the one we LIVE on, affects you and your life. And these planning tools that you hopefully use better than I do are based on the movements of our planet. And your use of these tools, if you use them, probably, in fact, does help you.
Our calendar is also based on the movements of our moon in the sky. And again, scientists agree that the Moon affects us on Earth: its gravity pulls the water on the planet around, affecting our ocean tides, and affecting in a more subtle way anyone who is made of mostly water, like, for example, you. These effects are subtle and you might not pay attention, but you would pay a lot of fucking attention if the Moon disappeared one day and we no longer had tides. You would be hearing stories about it on the news. You’d be stunned at the long-lasting effects on our planet of not having a Moon.
But set aside the physical effects of the celestial bodies on our lives for a moment. Let’s consider the psychological effects of having a clock and calendar. They are dead useful. And what’s interesting–and I’m digressing from the topic of planning for a moment–is that they not only help us today, in our frenzied existence in which we schedule every hour, but they also were regarded as tremendously important to our ancestors. Because humanity’s ancestors, some of them, anyway, took the time to observe the sky, to observe the movements of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, and to observe the movements of stars and planets in the night sky. They figured out the MATH of where the planets would move and where they would be in the sky at what time. And they even built observatories for the purpose of more carefully making these observations. Humanity’s ancestors approached this issue scientifically and they got the math right.
These are the same ancestors who, according to our current theological paradigm, made up a bunch of other shit about the universe and passed it off on us as religion.
See, I don’t think these two ideas can exist in the same logical universe: the idea that the ancestors were good at math and science, so much so that they figured out a bunch of stuff that scientists armed with computers today still pretty much agree with their conclusions, AND the idea that the ancestors also made shit up (and pretty wild shit at that, AND then they threw in a moral prohibition on lying while they were at it). I get that they didn’t understand everything they saw. I get that they may have misinterpreted some events. I get that they made mistakes like anyone else. But I don’t see them just making shit up out of whole cloth. Not the same people who were so determined to know the position of Venus in the sky down to a single degree. Not the same people who knew how to survive outside using only their wits and the resources in their environment. These people had to be smart.
So, the “making shit up” version of our theological history fails the plausibility test. I’m not suggesting a replacement for that paradigm right now, just observing that this particular one fails.
And let’s leave it at that for the moment. End of digression for now. Let’s move on.
When we’re thinking about planning, clocks and calendars are useful, but they deal with relatively small snippets of time, when you compare them to the human lifespan. Even in ancient times. One day, one month, one year.
What if we want to plan for our futures in the long term?
Well, we would need a bigger clock. Luckily, we have one: our solar system. So, even if you don’t see any connection between Jupiter and success, one thing we can ALL agree on is that Jupiter takes about 12 years to go around the Sun. So if you’re planning for the long term, you could do a lot worse than to plan in increments of Jupiter returns. Here are the ages at which Jupiter returns to the position it was at when you were born: age 12, age 24, age 36, age 48, age 60, age 72. As a marker for the times when things really start to change for you in major ways, these aren’t bad milestones to focus on. Especially that age 12 one!
Another digression: you probably know that in Chinese astrology, there are 12 animal signs, so one might think that the passage of time is looked at basically in Jupiter returns. I don’t know for sure if ancient Chinese astrologers were looking at Jupiter, but Jupiter is visible to the naked eye, without a telescope, and they used 12-year increments, so, I’m connecting the dots and assuming they noticed Jupiter in the sky.
In fact, let’s consider the time frames for the orbits of all the planets that can be seen with the naked eye and that therefore can be regarded as planets that humanity’s ancient ancestors noticed:
Mercury: 88 days (about 3 months, or about 1/4 of an Earth year)
Venus: 225 days (about 7 1/2 months)
Mars: 687 days (about two years)
Jupiter: 12 years
Saturn: 29 years
Are any of these increments of time that you would find useful for planning? For me, the most useful one is Mercury, because three or four times a year, it appears to reverse itself in our sky, and, as it happens, I find that the rest/retreat/redo/organize/plan vibe of Mercury retrograde is something that I need in my life about three or four times a year. Because I, personally, can’t keep my nose to the grindstone for a year without stopping. I need regular slow-downs. I find it extraordinarily useful to be able to plan for that and tie those periods of time to the movements of Mercury. (There is other science related to Mercury retrograde’s effects on us, but I’ll save that for a later post all by itself, maybe during our upcoming Mercury retrograde.)
I also, and without knowing much about astrology (I’m just learning this stuff, you guys), would regard Saturn’s movements at quite worthy of consideration, for planning purposes. Because if you have a Saturn return at age 29, and again at 58 (and you do), it makes a lot of sense to use that time frame as a signal to plan for a new phase of your existence. At age 29, you’re about to become no longer trustworthy (remember, “don’t trust anyone over 30”?), an actual real adult as opposed to just a young one. At age 58, you’re planning for the possible waning of your vigor.
So what I’m trying to show you is that one place where science and astrology come together is in being able to recognize the practical functional value of tools that measure time. Even if you believe nothing else about astrology, you should be able to see that if you can measure the passage of time, you can set goals and plan for them, and if you set goals and plan for them, your chances of achieving those goals increases exponentially.
So many wonderful teachers in our community will say, “Do the magic, but also do the work, the practical work.” But this is one case where the magical tool is also an insanely useful practical tool. It’s a two for one deal! Yay! Huzzah!
That said, I’m going to go take another look at my planner now…
Note: the astrological chart at the top of this post is from http://www.astro.com, an absolutely fantastic resource if you’re interested in astrology.