Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mercury Retrograde on Thanksgiving!! Once more into the breach...

That's right, folks. Mercury is going retrograde again, beginning early on Thursday morning here on the east coast. It will last until December 13th. Some of the standard effects include:

  • Missed emails, text messages, or voicemails
  • Miscommunication of all kinds between people
  • Problems with paperwork--lost, misplaced, re-routed, etc. 
  • Unexpected delays or cancellations of meetings or get-togethers
  • Computer problems of any and all stripes but usually minor ones

Some of your standard coping strategies include:

  • Back up all computer data regularly
  • Check all travel plans--hotels, airlines, car rentals, etc.--before you leave
  • Confirm that meetings are taking place 
  • Read the fine print on every document you sign and try NOT to sign anything during this period if you can help it
  • Ensure your messages are being sent and received
  • Don't start new projects; "new" things that are started now usually have to be re-done
  • Finish up old projects and tie up loose ends
  • Be understanding of others' problems communicating or showing up late or not at all; likely it is not their fault
  • Speak carefully

Now, let's keep in mind something VERY IMPORTANT. Thursday is Thanksgiving, a day when many of us will be spending time with loved ones. While I don't want to sound like Chicken Little--while my blinds are closed I'm very sure the sky is NOT falling--please be extremely careful about communicating with people because there is a strong potential for misunderstandings. Simply and clearly is the way to go. 

Also, if you are traveling, be extra careful and allow extra time. Don't text and drive and minimize all cell phone communications if you are driving. And expect dropped calls and technical difficulties.

For those of you doing National Novel Writing Month, save your work OFTEN and back it up, please!  

Be safe and enjoy the holiday! Hopefully Mercury will be kind to us this time around. :)

The Myth of Thanksgiving

OK, so if you're a fan of Thanksgiving, you may want to stop reading now. Just sayin'.

I can't stand the holiday. Normally I can keep my dislike of this truly "Hallmark holiday" to myself, but after people started getting all up in arms that retailers expect employees come in on Thanksgiving to prepare for overnight Black Friday sales, I decided I had to say something.

FACT #1: Some people have always had to work on Thanksgiving. How many firefighters, police officers, airport and airline employees, transit workers, restaurant and hotel employees, government employees, football coaches, and members of the US military do you know? People don't stop having medical problems, eating, traveling, or fighting wars because it's the last Thursday in November, folks. So it's likely that in those industries and many more, these people have missed their share of turkey dinners with their families. Remember that when you sit down to yours.

I once read a piece called "The Power of Thanksgiving" that I had to translate into French in grad school, and while the words were fairly easy to interpret, one big hurdle is that the French don't understand the significance it has in many Americans' lives. It really made me consider what the day means to me.

For some time now, I've been trying to get my head around why this day is so much more important than others for many Americans. It's become somehow sacred. Our two busiest travel days surround this day. There's no mass rush to be home for Halloween, for example. If you cut away the hype, Thanksgiving is one day and a meal. And yet people travel very long distances to be with their loved ones--and we'll get to that in a moment--for this one day, this one meal.

I've come to the conclusion that Americans are searching for something in this one day: They're looking for nostalgia. They use the day to remember the past, when our families weren't divided by distance, divorce, or dysfunction. Everyone tries for that one day to put aside their differences and sit down like nothing ever happened. My response to that is "Yeah, right. How's that working out for you?"

I hear the stories each year of people making the valiant--in some cases, herculean--effort to use planes, trains and automobiles to find the past. And for many of them, it's a true hassle. I'm not just talking about the travel part, either. What I don't understand is why people feel the need to force themselves to make this annual journey of self-flagellation. For many, the answer is that they feel they have to, that there is no choice. The idea of "obligation" for this day is a ridiculous concept. If you're afraid of making people unhappy, I understand...but whose happiness is more important? That's a decision only you can make for yourself. I am enthralled to hear the stories of the sacrifices people make to be with loved ones on this day and then come back home bitching about how badly it sucked. Put that much pressure on any event or person and it's bound to not live up to your high expectations.

With the economy the way it is, people are lucky to have jobs, and employers are going to want every opportunity to make money. I expect more and more people will be working on Thanksgiving over time. At least it puts (more) money in the employee's pockets. 

FACT #2: You are not OBLIGATED to do anything. If you really dislike spending the day with [INSERT NAMES HERE], then make other arrangements. It really is that simple. You DO have a choice.

Another reason people celebrate Thanksgiving is to show appreciation for the all the blessings in their lives. I am very much in favor of counting one's blessings. I try to do it every single day. And that's my problem with selecting one random day to give thanks for what we have. Shouldn't we do that regularly...like MORE than once a year? I have the same problem with Valentine's Day. Shouldn't your significant other know how your feel about them every single day? What it comes down to is people making the effort once a year, or feeling like they are only OBLIGATED--there's that word again!--to make the effort once a year. Personally, February is not a time of year I would have picked to tell my beloved how much I care for her. She's not a fan of cold weather. And our veterans? I think they deserve a LOT more than one day...personally I'd make it a whole week in June, the same week as Flag Day, or perhaps move Flag Day and make the entire week after Memorial Day about our men and women in uniform.

While November is not a bad time for Thanksgiving--post-harvest and all--you should appreciate all of life's blessings all the time. Yes, sometimes we lose sight of that in the day-to-day rat races that many of our lives have become, but come on...food pantries, humanitarian organizations, and blood banks need help year-round. And with American obesity and its associated conditions--hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease--on the rise, we have shown that we don't gorge ourselves only once a year. In reality, it's the beginning of a six-week food extravaganza, which ends when we resolve to lose the pounds and go back to the gym in January. Then we pull a muscle or two and that is the end of that.

Please understand that I'm not against people celebrating the holiday. Giving thanks and spending time with family and friends is important. But many Americans love the myth of Thanksgiving. Celebrate it, but keep it in perspective. It won't bring back the past, and no, you don't have to go if you don't want to. REALLY. It's one meal and one day to do whatever you want.

I hope you enjoy the day, and whatever you choose to make of it, I hope it is YOUR choice and not borne of some misguided sense of obligation. No matter what the calendar says, count your blessings.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy (belated) birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

Hello everyone...

The last people in the world I'd want to offend are United States Marines. So it is with great pride that I put up a quick analysis of the USMC's astrological chart. I used November 10, 1775 at noon in Philadelphia, PA.

Mercury (R)
Jupiter (R)
Ascendant/Rising Sign

So here are a few comments:

1) Sun near the midheaven--The USMC's Scorpio Sun in the 9th house is only four degrees from the cusp (edge) of the 10th house, known as the Midheaven. This magickal line is where career and ambition come to life. The midheaven is also in Scorpio, so in a few words, the USMC has a very ambitious mission, always wanting to do more and never backing down. And they do have a vengeful side as well. When you mess with a Marine, you should know are playing with fire. The scorpion's stinger is very sharp and the pain you feel when it sinks in is NOT pleasant. Scorpio is also one of the zodiac's most loyal signs, so they never leave anyone behind.

2) Communication consternation?--Mercury is sitting in the 10th house as well, which means that any kind of communication is essential to the Marine Corps mission. But Mercury is in retrograde motion here, which can present a problem because it may indicate a failure to choose correctly the first time when making important decisions. Of course, Mercury eventually goes direct and allows for "course correction" but in the Marines, a bad important decision puts lives at risk. Also, with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, there can be a sense of impatience to move forward that can hinder the decision-making process. The bottom line here is that it's imperative for the USMC to think about big, organization-altering decisions as much as possible before making them.

3) Capricorn Rising--This is a serious rising sign that signals long-term success. There will be hills and valleys, but in the end, the USMC will complete its missions successfully. One problem that can come with this Ascendant is that everything can be taken too seriously. When it comes to the business of war, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but telling the USMC to "lighten up" will not be well received. They are SERIOUS about what they do.

4) Strong 5th, 8th and 9th houses--The strength of the 5th house kind of surprised me. It's about creativity and having fun, a strong contract to the traditionalist attitude of Capricorn Rising. But I can't forget that the 5th is also about gambling and risk-taking, and the USMC has definitely undertaken its share of risky battles over the years.

The 8th house is naturally ruled by Scorpio so it nicely reinforces the Scorpio sun, and death is one of the keywords for this house. I think of the tee shirt that says "Join the Marines! Travel to foreign places, meet exotic people, and kill them!" LOL

The 9th house is the foreign part of the mission, from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, to be exact. The Marines will fight wherever needed and usually for a larger purpose; it's the philosophy of what America stands for that they represent, and the 9th house is all about the higher mind and principles in general.

5) Mars in Sagittarius--This placement reinforces the strong 9th house. Mars is the planet of war and conflict, and to see it here just highlights the idea that Marines fight for a higher purpose. The battles are just pieces of a larger idea that they are fighting for.

I hope you've enjoyed this quick look at the astrological chart of the United States Marine Corps. I was fortunate enough to attend one Marine Corps Ball. I was working overseas at the time and feeling homesick, and it was just what the doctor ordered. It was amazing; my eyes filled with tears on more than one occasion that night. There were very few days when I was more proud to be an American, and I was honored to attend such a sacred event.

And I'd like to take a special moment to thank the men and women of the USMC, especially Cameron and Chris, for your sacrifices and for your willingness to put yourselves in harm's way. No words can ever be enough to say how respectful and grateful I am for your service.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Long Time No See, Neptune!

Greetings everyone! It's been a while since I last spoke to you...my bad! You know I have a tendency to get distracted.

John's asked me to come in here and tell you a little bit about what's been going on with him to hold you over until his next blog, which I'm told is about the astrological chart of the US Marine Corps. When will that be? At some point in the next few days. But time management is not my forte, folks.

John turned 40 last month--yes, I know, Saturn...only 20 more years until you return!--and it was a fantastic party. He wants to thank everyone who made it a special day. He was riding with ME that night, and sang, drank and generally made merry. Take that, Old Man! I haven't seen him doing much book editing, either...you'll have to get on him about that. Or have you lost your touch? Too busy reforming that new Libyan Government, maybe?

Sorry, I get so easily distracted! At any rate, hang in there for a little while longer for the next blog. John looks forward to seeing you soon, I'm sure.