Month: September 2015 (page 2 of 3)

Incense and…

This is getting a bit weird. The symbol that coincided with Saturday’s show at Afterglow, which was just one, Michael Cavadias with Sam Kogon in The 802 Project, is A Boy With A Censer Serves The Priest Near The Altar, which is at 26° Virgo and ruled by Scorpio in a twelve-fold sequence. And, not to make shed too much light on the difference between Michael and Sam’s ages, this is archetypally not far off because Michael is something of a veteran or, as I called him, a refugee from glam-rock stages of places like Don Hill’s Squeezebox and those of us d’un certain age know Sam because of Michael’s inclusion of and colloboration with him. So maybe it’s not a censer but an electric guitar but still Michael does seem to be showing Sam the way in this crazy world of performance which once was one and the same with spiritual ritual.

This image portrays the archetypal relationship of adept and apprentice, the great being who plays planetary protector being served by the young page. The stage is a sacred space make no mistake. And it is indeed the altar upon which we sacrifice our artistic delusions along with our fears of failure, both extremes of which can undo the artist-priest/ess. And sometimes we need a little help. Because it can be pretty darned scary out there. As Elaine Stritch would say (referring to her alcoholic beverage in this case) “I’m not going out there alone!” Or something to that affect. And Michael, too, like those on Friday, was breaking out with something new.


He’s always been a great singer in a raw, sliding punk-glam-rock style; and he’s one of my favorite singers on the planet because there is risk and chance and a bit of danger in his voiceful performance. But the Afterglow Festival must have a narrative and I had wanted Michael to create something in words for a long time now. And he has wanted to, too. And he did. And it was very good. It will enjoy some development no doubt. But the magical child has been born. The ritual, for which he needed his young apprentice, worked like, well a charm. And now I suspect Michael will be charming us with his words as well as his music for a long time to come! And just as this has been drawn out of Michael, Sam too, will have been e-ducated as well!

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See Me

A Flag At Half-Mast In Front Of A Public Building is the symbol at Virgo 25°, which would be ruled by Libra in a twelve-fold sequence. Have you noticed, often, that when we get to a Libra-ruled symbol there is always some hints of the public and democracy? The keynote is: the social acknowledgment of a job well done and a destiny fulfilled. I’m a Libra. And what did I just say that people said to me the day after my first-ever night of singing and playing piano for other people in a complete state of guileless innocence and unselfconsciousness? I received social acknowledgment on a job well done and, yes, for the first time in my life I feel that I fulfilled something that feels like destiny, in so far as that word relates, etymologically and in every other way, to the word desire. I had a breakthrough and for the first time in my life it hadn’t resulted in an utter breakdown.

I often feel invisible. And as someone who has been an understudy or has written about other people (I wrote features on celebrities) or did pr for other people or even as the presenter and producer of other talent, I’ve always upstaged myself, deferring to others as more talented than myself. And the fact is that you can’t compare talents. It’s actualy impossible. We all have gifts and for some its easier to develop them; while for others there are innumerable blocks to doing so. Some of the best singers are unsung while we’ve had no lack of Bob Dylan’s warblings in our ear drums. Anyway enough about me.

Friday evening kicked off with the great Matt Ray in a show of his own: Welcome To Your Living Room. As someone who has played in people’s private residences, as hired talent, it was an interesting and intimate twist on that element of his career which includes accompanying great singers but more importantly his own solo artistry as a singer-songwriter. The notion, though, of entertaining in a private setting is a more democratic experience of the artist, with whom you’re on a level playing field, as opposed to being separated by a stage and a sheet of bright lighting. The Sabian Symbol of the day, though, does deal with an individual getting his due and the recognition he deserves and, in having his own show at the Afterglow Festival, Matt at once came off his perch as Musical Director, while jumped up to perform as a great solo artist in his own right.

Molly Pope

Molly Pope

Friday night also included Molly Pope whose Polly The Mope show also touched on this theme in its advent if not in its content, per se. You see this show signaled something of a departure for Molly who has often nodded to her vintage alto belt by appearing in a beehive hairdo with a cinched-waist dress, contextualizing herself in the tradition of, say, an Ethel Merman. Well not this time. She was paired down, an urchin of sorts, a Clara Bow with a pointy cupie pout and marcel wave, in a shift dress reminiscent of the girl in Chaplin’s Little Tramp or Audrey Hepburn’s bookseller smock in Funny Face. This was more Molly than we’ve seen and thus she allowed for the public recognition in the equation, wowing us with a beautiful array of songs which tapped that belt to varying degrees.

Then another show happened, Morgan Bassichis performed When The Baba Yaga Eats You Alive and this too was something of a public recognition. For, Morgan happened upon the Afterglow Festival a couple of years ago. Actually, I was barking (mad?) in a top hat and said “come see our shows.” They were a bit rich for his blood so I invited him to just come and be inspired—he had newly thought about performing and had begun to write. Well he made friends with many festival folk and moved to New York et voila, two years on, he had his own funny stand-up cum performance piece at Afterglow to which his parents and family friend came. So I think the recognition was private as well as public!

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Baa Baa

After the lion of the previous image now we get Mary And Her Little Lamb, the symbol for Virgo 24°. I think for the first time ever have I ever equated this with Mary and Jesus. Am I the only one who’d never thought of this? Virgin mother with lamb of God? I’m a bit slow I suppose. But then again so are you. The point of this image is to stay simple and pure in the face of any and all tests. This symbol is ruled by the sign of Virgo in a twelve-fold sequence, thus it is doubly Virgo. Not only do we have the virgin here but also the pure innocent lamb whose fleece was white as snow. We are here to turn the other cheek, taking a non violent approach to all things and being like little children.

Funnily enough the three shows presented on Thursday at Afterglow shared a certain purity and innocence.

Rachelle Garniez played a number of instruments displaying a pure talent devoid of any bells and whistles. It was the most impressionistic of the festival pieces entitled Songs, Streams, NYC Dreams, and we did enter a sort of dreamscape with her where glimpses were illumined and senses magnified. There is nothing jaded or sophisticated (in the truest sense of that word) about Rachelle’s performance. It speaks in almost a pre-language and exhibits a sort of compassion for the lost innocents of the world. Rachelle seems as serene a character as the lady in the image despite sufferings and sacrifices.

Next came another pure talent, Dane Terry, who, like Rachelle, seems to have retained an untainted spirit despite more hellish aspects of the human journey. Both seem to have not failed their tests of human understanding. In Dane’s case we see this youthful, mercurial character perched atop a piano bench, which he never leaves and yet there is no lack of dynamism. He tells a story of a youth, in Anytime Moe, encountering a series of vivid characters, which he delineates in voice and expression. The youth may falter but remains internally snow white, ultimately emerging with his faith and inspiration intact. There is something golly-gee willakers even about Dane’s descents into darkness.

Rachelle Garniez

Rachelle Garniez

The night was capped off by Brian King and his merry band What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? Even in the title of his piece, Lullabies for Heratics, we note the juxtaposition of innocence and radicalism. The theme of the show was one’s relationship to spirituality and the shaming that can stem from not adhering to dogma and the inate transcendence, via our innocence and ignorance of all such associated guilt. It also just plain rocked as did all our shows; but with a full band on stage, there was a sense of solidarity behind the notions being floated out into the witchy ether filled with song and soulful redemptive power.

After the shows, our friend John Dowd threw a party. I stayed until 4am, the last two hours of which playing piano and singing by myself in the music room, seranading, it would seem, other more usual night owls in the other room. In a state of complete sensual exhaustion, by this point, the scaffolding of my analytical mind was utterly dismantled and I played and sung with not an iota of inhibition, returning to what might be a natural innocent state of creation all my own before the voices in my head (my erstwhile older sister’s in particular) told me I was terrible and set others teeth on edge. I thought I imagined how good I might have been and yet I still offered apologies to my host and fellow guests if I was “bothering them” from the music room. However the next day I learned that my seeming flow state wasn’t my imagination. I received thank yous and praise for my guileless performance. I truly had been in the zone it seemed. I hope that means I can stay there more and stop the violence and tyrrany of self that comes from low self-esteem on the subject of my own talents. In truth, those hours at the piano were a sort of spiritual experience, an ecstacy, a rapture, more so through than of me.

Copyright 2015 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Here Kitty-Kitty

A Lion Tamer Displays His Skill And Character is the oracle at Virgo 23°. Of course it’s ruled by Leo the Lion in a twelve-fold sequence. Crazy (good) how that happens. This oracle is about needing to tame or more vital (or beastly?) energy in order to fullfill our destiny. Well I didn’t do such a great job myself with this one on the Wednesday of Afterglow week. Already living on fumes and no sleep I got a bit wild, letting my hair (mane?) down, and shook, rattled and rolled my way through that night which was a second full evening of wonderful shows. And then I hosted a midnight party during which I fairly soon fell asleep. I commented on there being nothing more chic than hosting a party and then disappearing into slumber. But the truth of the matter is I passed out from fatigue and a bit too much wine and song.

The evening began with Carol Lipnik’s The Séance which was wonderfully witchy and really channeled some real primal energies. That’s the trick. We don’t want to squelch the naturally wild energies within and without us, we want to harnass them, while we become an open channel for them. Talent, like a certain mediumship, is something that must move through you. And I felt that was happening in spades with this great show.

Larry Krone

Larry Krone

Next, Larry Krone, a gentle giant of a cowboy, took to the stage with his show Me Loving You and it was probably the most intimate and personal offering of the festival in a way. I think of cowboys as living in the wild, taming creatures right and left, and yet they posses this quiet, polite demeanor that is sweet and deferential. Larry embodies this. Despite displaying his musical talents he also changed couture creations of his own designing during the show, an element of performance that would be echoed later in the week. Tame, in this case, was a classy boon.

And then there was Martha Graham Cracker who let her lion roam free. And though it was feriocious, coming dangerously close here and there, it still managed to be reined in by pure technique. Still this was a full attack, both vocally and in terms of movement and dance. MGC was a member of that core from whom her namesake character derives. And her energy is boundless, nearly savage, whilst she retains a sort of street-smart noble air. She recalls a Kathleen Turner at most maniacally comical, teetering on the edge of lucidity. And with pipes for days. She roars. Oh and her show was entitled Lashed But Not Leashed.

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The legacy, the legacy

The Sabian Symbol for Virgo 22° would ruled by Cancer in a twelve-fold sequence: A Royal Coat of Arms Enriched With Precious Stones, the keynote of which is “the certification of aristocratic status at whatever level nobility expresses itself in culture eminence.” It’s about whether or not your are able to accept the noblesse oblige afforded you. This degree of Virgo happened on the first full night of Afterglow Festival shows this year; and I’m always torn between remaining this sort of overlord, knowing but detached and playing on the ground with the others, having some good old fashioned fun. But the energy of this sign will out and I must retain a dignified air, while not breathing some rarified form of it.

Chris Tanner’s work, Footballhead, played, I believe unbenkownst to him, on a theme punted by James Joyce in Ulysses, that of spiritual fatherhood as opposed to the actual form. From whom we descend, a notable factor in an aristocratic line, is not always literal. We are inheritors of people, like Stephen Dedalus is of Leopold Bloom of those who aren’t our natural fathers but from whom we are a spiritual chip off the old block.

Erin Markey

Erin Markey

John Early, in his show, Literally Me, expressed a certain aristocratic bearing as he bore down on the cultural shenanigans of living life as a young up-and-comer in these modern times. He exhibited a certain knowingness that has in the past been reserved for those of more advanced age. He is an old soul in a young body. Not one who is floundering around but commenting, and indeed showing compassion for those who are, while finding the absolute funny in it all.

Eric Markey plays, as she always does, on themes of inheritance. Through an ironically loving lense she explores family dynamics and her placement within intimate heirarchies. Her show Deleted Scenes From Fun Home is, in itself, hysterical; and she puts herself in the place of auteur, in a sense, of this award-winning play, while poking fun at its relevance, asserting that more relevant material (hers) was that which was edited out. Erin sees herself as descending, I believe, from a long line of writer/actor/performers/singers who can pretty much do it all on a stage.

All performers must suffer a bit from a messiah complex in order to be compelling on a stage. And all spiritual “kings”—Buddha, Christ—or intermediaries like the Pope or Dalai Lama descend from a lineage of real or imagined predecessors. We all can see our noble inheritance. I used to think mine included impressarios like Ed Sullivan, with whom I share a birthday; Now I’m more inclined to think I descend from more artistic stock, moving from emcee or compare, as I do full center stage. At least that’s where I feel obliged, increasingly, to focus my nobility. To be noted that the sign of Cancer does rule bloodlines and it’s native fourth house ones inheritance, lineage and the home you come from.

Copyright 2015 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.


A Girl’s Basketball Team is the oracle of the day. We traveled yesterday as a pack and now today we play as a team. I kind of love this symbol at 21° Virgo because tonight is the night of our ensemble Variety Show for the Afterglow Festival I produce in Provincetown. And we are nothing if not a bunch of girls in shiny shorts with innovative hairdos setting ourselves up for a collective score. Everyone, as performers know, is always in training, and not just for themselves but for the collective. We must play our individual part as cogs in the wheel, as one organic whole. Why is the team made up of girls you ask? Because the receptive aspect of human nature here is highlighted as a means of increased integration. This symbol is ruled by Gemini in a twelve-fold sequence; we have moved from a Taurus tribe united under a common purpose, to an interactive community that works as a team that requires complex intricacies. Energetically, Venus-ruled Taurus is unified and directional, in a single line, whilst Mercury-ruled Gemini portrays a field wherein action is happening simultaneously and ubiquitously. Taurus has a plan that is singular. Gemini is spontaneously dictated by happenstance and thus improvisational—still with that one goal, making a basket, in mind. The Taurean energy is about planning your work. The Gemini experience sees you werking your plan.

Copyright 2015 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Breaker One Nine 

The notion of competition has utterly given way to that of cooperation here in the form of A Caravan Of Cars Headed To The West Coast, the oracle for Virgo 20°. The West symbolizes a new world of experience and the convoy represents a linking of consciousness, necessary to get there. We are not racing and egging one another on. There is a structure and we are in unison. Taurus rules this symbol in a twelve-fold sequence; the sign is under the governance of Venus, the energy of union, attraction, coming together. Taurus carries a tribal energy, people coming together on the basis of shared desires, talents and modalities of experience. It is an earthy sign, guided by sense, without over-thinking or overanalyzing. It seeks comfort and security, especially in the form of company, such that embarking on an adventure would best be executed in some form of safety and solidarity. This is less road trip than it is pilgrimage. Taurus’ motto is “I have” and its most prized possession is purpose.

I think about this festival I produce, the fifth annual version of which opens tomorrow. I can plan it alone, but I can’t do it alone. And it’s purpose is to open onto a new world, in this case of creating a home for progressive live performance in a place whose heritage befits it and to also journey out into the world under the banner of that purpose, proliferating the name of Provincetown (where the festival resides as the continuous birthplace of the modern American stage—once and future. It takes a village or at least a band of traveling nomads.


Then again maybe I’ll embark on a new journey from this point in time and space. And perhaps it will require another band of like minds. Perhaps the pilgrimage is a spiritual one (as it likely always is) and now is just a jumping off point. Or now. Or now. Perhaps we can always organize ourselves and our energetic constituents into some form of campaign and take that on the proverbial road of life. Maybe you never know when the past becomes the past and the new world opens up to you. It could be that the end is near and so is the new beginning. As an American, California is always a place that beckons, not because of the glitz and glamour, per se, or the weather, but rather for the sense of it being what we see as a new world full of promise. Yogananda landed in Boston but in time made his way to Los Angeles. I’m just saying.

Copyright 2015 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

On Your Mark

At Virgo 19° we find ourselves in A Swimming Race and, being ruled by Aries in a twelve-fold sequence, it suits that sign’s essential energy of objectivity and goal orientation. Competition is a basic element of survival, the first basic impluse at birth, and Aries and the first astrological house expresses this initial energy. Right out of the box, would-be life begins with a swimming race, that of millions of sperm racing toward the ovum. Mars, namesake of the ubermasculine war god (Greek: Ares), rules Aries, and it’s symbol is that which has become the symbol of malehood, the circle with the arrow, which you’ve seen on the doors of countless mensrooms. It recalls the male genatalia, an arrow emerging from a circle—I needn’t get more specific. And yet this oracle isn’t really about competition. It’s about “the stimulation that comes from a group efford toward a spiritual goal. Those sperm aren’t racing against each other but rather collectively, forgiving the pun, egging each other on—the goal is for anyone of them to win via all the rest of them providing as much impetus, all together.

I remmeber my first acting class. There was a German girl who performed a great “object exercise” resulting in kudos from our teacher and sangfroid from most of the students. But I found it inspiring. It just made succeeding, acing the exercise, seem all the more possible, and I went home that week and prepared and prepared and next week I was the student to beat. Only I wasn’t. I was the student to emulate. That’s the difference. The race isn’t for the individual to win. The race is to stimulate all the participants to do their level best. It may be a jungle out there at times but it need never be a rat race. It’s so important to remember that in the two dimensional world of social media seemingly designed to make you feel “less than” just the way the overly competitive people of the world will do. It’s a sickness and those who fall prey to it aren’t happy. Because they are so intent on winning and worship that they cut themselves off from the stimulation and emulation that the thrill of the race is meant to impart. Poor suckers. Without really knowing that this was my criteria for elimination, it has been on this basis that I have removed certain individuals from my life. I find people who compete cheat. Those of us who enjoy being in the game all together, regardless of who wins, understands that we all win.


The important thing is to be in the swim. And it’s important to remember that water symbolizes both emotion and a certain spirituality, the former being the gateway to the later. As swimmers we effectively exist in another element, another realm, with its own rules, freedoms and limitations. Water is Source; so the symbolism of swimming signals a return to It. Just like those littlest swimmers racing toward that egg, on the spiritual level, we do not swim (seek) the source alone. And back being forward, alpha-omega style, we will all evolve along such mutations as originally surface in one individual. Evolution is rebirth, in a sense, such that each mutation, each generation, is one step closer to It. To seek to win, like those poor suckers whom we are ironically leaving in the dust, is to spiritually fail. At the ego level, there is no such thing as healthy competition. What is more unspiritual than keeping up with the Jones, let alone those Kardashians. These are not races that we or they can win. Neither can the Trump-ed up character. But if we let-go-my-ego (sorry these puns keep slipping out, spontaneously) and feel the inspiration and emulation coming from our fellow seekers, we are not just individual winners, together we are winged Victory herself.

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Who’s Zooming Who(m)

Of course today’s symbol of A Ouija Board is ruled by Pisces in a twelve-fold sequence. This points to a means via which we may contact, I won’t say other realms, but deeper recesses of the unconscious via sensitivity to psychic rumblings and portents. At 18° Virgo, we are getting our divination on. I don’t think I’m as fearful of the Ouija board as some folk seem to be. People are funny, aren’t they, the little dears. For, to be afraid of the Ouija is really saying that you’re afraid of your own ability to be an instrument for psychic forces. I say bring it. I mean, if you feel you’re that sensitive an instrument that perhaps you’re an instrument that requires playing. After the previous oracle’s volcanic explosion, we find ourselves freer of those blocks to our conductivity and so why not allow ourselves access to finer vibrations or they to us? In truth they are one in the same.Ouija2

See I think the Ouija works as a way to hone your inner guidance system. The call really is coming from within the house. There’s nothing external (ever) to fear or fret over. No evil spirits are likely to inhabit you that don’t already have a timeshare therein. I think any form of divination can help bring bright archetypal light into the darker places where sneaky little gremlins might hide. If you think things are sinister than so shall they be; but if you endow your thoughts and actions with the desire for truth and clarity and dedicate them to the well-being of others, all sentient beings, you are, in so doing, wrapping yourself in said white light and even that little board game with the spooky name can be a tool for cleansing. Who do you think is really guiding that disk around that board. It’s the proverbial question…

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The keynote of the oracle for today is the explosive energy of long-repressed contents of the subconscious, symbolized by A Volcanic Eruption. At 17° we are under the rule of Aquarius in a twelve-fold sequence. This one is sort of a no-brainer. We sometimes need to explode to release the repressed contents of our psyche. The sign of Virgo is that of mutable fire and it begins on August 23 with the festival of Vulcanalia from whence the word volcano derives. As a god, he is lame—a sort of deity of disability. This is also the festival time of Ganesh who, akin to Vulcan (Greek: Hephaestus) is a remover of obstacles. It is Hepahestus, who wields a hammer, who relieves the blinding pain in Zeus’ head with a swift blow that releases Athena (wisdom) a full-grown birth child. Likewise, we sometimes need cartharsis, much to the chagrin of those around us, often, to break through the obstacles to our own clarity or creativity. Hephaestus is an alchemist, one who purifies by fire, getting the literal and figurative lead out, allowing for more golden experiences. How the sign of Aquarius factors in here is in that explosive, revelatory need for lucidity and translucence. Aquarius very much deals with breakthroughs of a cosmic sort. Here we are faced with our own karmic buildup and we must experience some wee big bang of our own to be able to see clear to our karmic future.819px-Pompeo_Batoni,-_Vulcan_in_his_Forge,1750

There is of course a sexual element in this symbol which is undeniable. But this is not in contrast to any spiritual clarity one is seeking to gain. Sometimes a big bang of a different sort is required to remove mounting tension that is blocking our ability to function freely. At least there’s no harm in you’re keeping telling yourself that.

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