Oculus divinorum (2004-2015)

There’s a reason I haven’t posted here in a long time. After everything that has come to pass, my focus has irrevocably shifted. It’s a shift that has been well documented on this blog, the O.div, the Diviner’s Eye, which I began with Greymatter over a decade ago.

It’s been a 180 since then; I don’t have an interest in seeing into the future. In fact, I don’t believe there is this entity called “the unconscious” as described by Freud or Jung, and in particular, some kind of universal collective unconscious, or the Self archetype. These models have their usefulness of course, but it is funny reading how I wrote about such things in the past. There are many ways something can be “real.” I suppose I don’t much care whether something is real or not, I’m more concerned with how such concepts are applied.

I still read tarot, still look to the skies, still do my LBRPs, still record my dreams, still do yoga, still meditate. But these rituals serve a very different function for me than they have in the past.

I dreamed last night that I was being introduced to a new meditation exercise in which my sangha and I all laid ourselves into open, porcelain coffins and acted as if we were dead. One of our teachers walked from the foot of each coffin to the next, making a throwing gesture with his arms. This motion was meant to mime the tossing of earth that would bury us. And the earth was solely comprised of all the decisions and actions we had taken in life. And I lay there as he threw my life back at me, this imaginary earth, and I was moved to tears.

From dust, to dust.

When I began this blog, I dedicated it to the god Dionysus. It was a call to rupture. In 2007, following a technical disruption that took the O.div offline for a month, it returned online and I wrote the following:

“Modernity’s song is the endless wail of the alarm call, of the siren. At least, I wish it could be. A song that pierces the dreamlike, unconscious grooves and rhythms of everyday life, a song that warns us of danger or that signals the occurance of an accident, of damage, of trauma. But most of all, it is sometimes a song that promises hope for anonymous aid, aid that rushes towards a scene of an equally anonymous violence…”

I’ve sounded my alarm call here for over 10 years. And now, I believe it is time for me to listen.

Thank you for your presence and attention.

~Isthmus

hyperballad

It’s been awhile! I’m popping in to provide another progressed moon update and lighten the mood here on the blog.

I’ve written about the progressed moon in fashion before, here and here (Aquarius). This is the Pisces profile:

  • Mood: Wherever, whenever, whoever, whatever
  • Palette: Neutrals, desaturated watercolours
  • Cuts and textiles: Oversized silhouettes, complex draping, silk
  • Shoe of choice: Black ballet flats
  • Comfort outfit: Giant, formless neutral top paired with skintight grey skinnies and simple shoes. Maybe silver jewelry.
  • Other details: Everything XL, minimal ornamentation.

jw3-672x336

If Aquarius was into architecture and construction, Pisces is about dissolving structure. I’m getting items in size 6-10 which I have to be careful with because I’ll probably revert back to my preference for a tightly tailored, highly constricted silhouette. But right now, I’m pleased with clothes draping over and hiding my frame, clothes that put 10 pounds on my appearance. Yes, I know, women are always expected to reduce reduce reduce to look attractive. I couldn’t care less whether I look attractive or not to others. I’m trying to put together outfits that are aesthetically challenging to me. I’m being drawn to the wild silhouettes of Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, rag & bone, etc. I want my clothes to obliterate my form, I’d love to wear a dress that’s basically like a giant trapeze and pair it with sky high platforms.

I do not believe the gods test us. To be fair, I don’t believe in gods. But if you’re going to subscribe to this idea, that life is testing you, then your life is basically one continuous, never ending test that you can’t be graded on.

There is only the decisions we make and that is the sum totality of our being. I wrote this in my journal after an abrupt shift in my personal life and shortly after, I came across the following quote by Carl Jung. He describes a vision he had when delirious and ill:

jung

I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me… Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me… I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am.” (MDR: 290-291)

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Pluto

It’s funny re-reading what I wrote as transiting Pluto was making its way over my natal sun. I didn’t really know what to expect. Now, I’m beginning to make out the shape of things to come.

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Suite Charlie

Suite Charlie

I recently read an article in The Mountain Astrologer by Kenneth Johnson in which the author claimed Hellenistic astrologers considered the 11th house to be the place of the good daimon while the 12th house was the place of the evil daimon. For Johnson, daimones are described as guides prompting you to follow your individual destiny, even if, in the case of the evil daimon, it pits you against the mores of society. I think if you are going to consider ancient terms, it’s fair to reinterpret them according to modern sensibilities as we are reading the charts of modern people afterall, but it is also fruitful to consider the context in which they were originally used.

The term daimon has a number of translations and it’s important to recognize that it was not a technical term because the ancient Greeks did not have a technical theological system in the way that Christianity has. In addition to watchers or guardians, daimones could be conceived of as “lots” in life, or as the souls of men of the Golden Age, or a way of happiness (eudaimonia). So daimones, as the ancient Greeks would have conceived of them, are not simply guides, as Johnson describes. Daimones are also more closely linked to fortune than the MA article suggests. Good daimones are about flourishing in life, having a good social standing or successful children or robust health; bad daimones are about misfortunes such as your wife dying in childbirth or becoming a slave or being poor.

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Flaneur Society

From The Guide to Getting Lost

Like most busy, urban people, I used to dislike “dead” time. Unproductive time. Waiting in lines. Long commutes. A laundry list of tasks and deadlines hanging over one’s head.

I was waiting on a friend and what began as 20 minutes ballooned into what would be over two hours. In the meantime, I wandered the neighbourhood browsing bookstores and observing the people passing through the streets.

A filthy bundle of baggy clothes curled up on a bench roused itself and I caught the face of its wearer. Instead of the crusty old man I’d expected, it was a beautiful woman with whom I shared a smile.

A small toddler and I made eye contact. I winked at the child, who burst into a giddy grin, like we had just shared an outrageous secret. The parents remained oblivious.

A twentysomething couple in front of a closed store were having an intense and uncomfortable discussion about their relationship, clearly unplanned. Half an hour later, as I walked by them again, they were still at it.

I passed by so many people in those two hours: young and old, rich and poor, languages of all kinds, half of which I didn’t recognize. Some with take out or groceries, others on bikes, a few with fingers glued to smartphones. A woman I’d seen browsing a bookstore walked by with her purchase.

All these people, I thought, will smile, will make mistakes, will give, will hurt and then they’ll die. And I thought that this is where I feel most comfortable. In between destinations, in between stories. From a low vantage, creeping the city’s streets and gutters, going nowhere, nothing to do, it’s easier somehow to grasp how marvellous and complex our world is.

These days, I can will my perception to open and find the world expanded and flooded with light. Living things take on a remarkable salience until they are almost shining, hyper-real, incredibly precious. My once familiar neighbourhood is set aflame and the mere thought of it is enough to move me to tears, as if I am too small to contain the vastness of it all so that it must spill out the eyes. I’m not sure what to do with this vision for I still spend most of my life seeing the world as I did before, as a blind woman, an unredeemed woman. But it seems to me that more and more, my default position is to receive everything.

I feel as if I have spent the past two years on fire, but have only recently acquiesced to my own self-immolation. It’s like I can see the last dregs of my own resistance, once so scalding and opaque, now reduced to a silty, bitter semi-circle, smiling at me from the bottom of the cup I’ve been drinking from. Because I’ve been hard at work, processing, processing, processing the power, digesting its impurities and trying resist the impulse to punt it off on any number of ready victims just to take the pressure off myself.

And now, strangely, it seems there’s nothing left for me to do except let the dregs burn clean and witness this world dissolving into light.

rwanda-20-years

The New York Times Magazine is featuring an article with photographs of Rwandans. Each portrait features “a Hutu who was granted pardon by the Tutsi survivor of his crime.” I think these stories of forgiveness can serve as an example to all of us.

The act of forgiveness may not seem like act that benefits oneself. In fact, when one is so wronged, to forgive sometimes seems like an act of self abnegation, especially in the absence of justice, vengeance or some kind of tipping of the scales closer to even. But really, when you truly forgive, even if it is by degrees, you are getting the fuck over yourself. Getting the fuck over your suffering, your wounds, your losses, your former life, your self. Getting the fuck over the fact that because of someone else, because of no good reason, certain things are, and always will be, hurt or dead to you. Getting the fuck over the obscene contingency of life. Forgiveness is no small task.

“The day I thought of asking pardon, I felt unburdened and relieved. I had lost my humanity because of the crime I committed, but now I am like any human being.” – Dominique Ndahimana

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