Unfolding the Map
Continuing through Mississippi, we stop at Clinton for the night. William Least Heat-Moon camps out in his van on the campus of Mississippi College. We'll hang out with him, and think about astrology and other tools we can use for guidance. If you want to know where Clinton sits on our journey, click on the map thumbnail at right. Leave a comment if you have any thoughts one way or another on astrology, and thanks for reading.
"'You're a Pisces?'
'Would a Sagittarius wear a Pisces necklace?'
'How can you believe in astrology and wear a cross?'
'What a fuddydud! Who made the stars? Astrology's just another modality too.' She took a computer card from her notebook. 'I've got to get to class, but here's one more modality. In India, people pray when they eat - like each chew is a prayer. Try it sometime. Even grumpy fuddyduds like it.'"
Blue Highways: Chapter 3, Part 7
Just today, I read my horoscope in the local paper. I'm a Capricorn. It said I'd enjoy discussing religious and philosophical matters with my best friend or partner, and that I should understand the steps involved if I'm working out educational or legal pursuits. This was simply the small horoscope in my local paper. And it is true in a general way. I do enjoy discussions with my wife and friends, and though I'm now past educational pursuits, my wife and I are discussing whether we will at least try to adopt a child before we get too old. So, I guess I can apply this astrological guidance in a very general way to my life - but it isn't very helpful, really.
Another horoscope I like to read appears in our alternative weekly paper. It's called Free Will Astrology by Rob Brezny, and while i find it to often be general, sometimes it does seem to speak directly to me. Here's my horoscope for this week:
"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't," said physician James Gordon. "It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." That's why you may soon appear to the casual observer, Capricorn, as someone who's able to call on enormous reserves of willpower. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you are now more amenable to change than you've been in a long time. In fact, I suspect that in the coming weeks you'll be willing and even eager to initiate transformations that seem heroic to people who are addicted to the status quo.
"Take inventory of the extent that "No" dominates your life. Notice how often you say or think: 1. "That's not right." 2. "I don't like that." 3. "I don't agree with that." 4. "They don't like me." 5. "I'm not very good." 6. "That should be different from what it is."
From Free Will Astrology by Rob Brezny
Week of November 25, 2010
This speaks to me because for the past year, or actually two, I had been in a rut. I got bogged down in regrets over ways my life had turned out, I had gotten myself involved in what I hoped would become a friendship but became very complicated and ultimately hurtful to me, and there were unanswered questions that I had been struggling with about which way to turn in my future. So, is this horoscope correct? In a way, it is. I am trying to transform myself for the next stage of my life, and I am trying in many ways to overcome those demons that whisper such things to me as "They don't like me" and "I'm not very good," and that hold me back from happiness and satisfaction.
But this begs the question. Do I believe in astrology? I don't, really. Like anything else, I can use it as a general guide sometimes to remind me of paths I have chosen or not chosen, but I think it is a mistake to use it as a daily mentor. It is another tool in my shed.
I have lots of tools. I have a therapist who has helped me through this rough patch and who has given me more tools to fight the demons of my past. I have friends who have stuck with me even though I've made mistakes in my life and with them. I have a spouse who has supported me throughout our marriage.
One of my most ardent supporters has been my sister, who lately has shown a great talent for offering spiritual advice. She seems to have developed a clairvoyance, where she can look into one's past and future and give advice. She has astounded people by telling them things out of their past that she cannot have known. She discovered this talent while learning to read tarot cards, and she still uses that medium to access her knowledge, though she also tells me of spirit guides who aid her. She's read me both with tarot cards and by intuiting the state of my chakras, and her advice always seems to cut through the clutter of my self-destructive thoughts.
I'm a scientist, trained to be skeptical, so I shouldn't be very accepting of this type of thing. In addition, I'm a Catholic, and officially, Catholicism looks down on this sort of thing. But she's my sister and she feels that this power is her gift and calling, and I want to be supportive of her because of all the support she's given me through good times and bad. So, my sister constitutes another tool that I can draw upon when I need her particular type of advice and spiritual nourishment...and she's always there for me. And, frankly, her advice has always helped me in one way or another.
When LHM meets the Christian woman in Clinton that he is speaking to in the quote above, she tells him of computerized prayer. People can have computers pray for them, she says, and the computers can send up thousands more prayers than we humans can in less time. When he questions the authenticity of such prayer, she tells him that it's just like the rosary or prayer wheels - they are all artificial devices, like machines, that can aid us in praying. She points out that there are all kinds of ways to pray.
We all seek answers and help, especially when we're faced with times of trouble and our minds are at unease. Prayer, astrology, tarot, numerology, and any of the new age methods can be found now all over the internet and as accepted parts of our daily lives. I think all these manifestations of guidance are tools we can use. Such tools are only as powerful as their appropriateness for the job and the belief that they will work. I can be a skeptic, but is it hypocritical if I sometimes put aside my skepticism, relax my religious beliefs and open my mind to what my horoscope says to me?
If you want to know more about Clinton
Next up: Learned, Mississippi