Sometimes it’s May so suddenly. Things really can start to speed up now as, for many of us, summer looming nigh doesn’t mean decamping to some island in Maine to read a slew of books until Autumn taps you on the shoulder. It’s showtime in more ways than one. This time of year can be a trigger for me because it is truffled with deadlines and I am hardpressed not to get ahead of myself; added to which I experience a surge of f.o.m.o. with so many events and openings and gatherings and ahhhhhhhh. Decades ago, I might have started chain-smoking or overserving myself libations. So I must be supermindful.
The oracle for today at 14° Taurus is: On The Beach, Children Play While Shellfish Grope At The Edge of The Water. And it immediately slows me down. I believe this symbol is addressing human existence on two different levels: On the conscious plane, where we might as yet be (ye) like little children, and on the subconscious one where our selves are connected to some sort of primordial soup, perhaps, of cosmic awareness. In neither instance are we engaged in anything too socially steeped as to be disengaged from nature with cynical, sophisticated or spinning adult minds. We are not window shopping or playing sherpa to posers or sychophants. That which is manifest is, here, is play; and the rest reads as a primaeval source of consciousness, creativity or some such.
So yes, yes yes: I find this imagery quite helpful today. I am engaged in several creative and heady work projects all at once, and my schedule for the next several weeks is packed with marks to hit and stolen moments when I’m meant to move so-called mountains. But what if I were to approach all my scheduled activity as play, letting a good half of my mind float around in the tide of creativity, ebbing and flowing and washing up ideas, here and there, as needed. If the most functional or professional or together I need be is akin to some kid frolicking along a beach who, when out of imaginative notions, might need only run down to the water’s edge to see what life might be floating there, to consider, poke at or capture? Well then that might surely make the month ahead less fraught and more fun and, possibly, just possibly, yield more successful products than a default type-A personality ticking items off myriad to-do lists might achieve. Frankly, I’ve had it up to here with that guy; and I would so very much enjoy just one May without him huffing and puffing and bemoaning the fact “there isn’t enough time.” For what? To be some self-profesying stress case?
I have been very fortunate to spend all but the first six years of my life with a house a stone’s throw from a beach. (And the first six were spent at the Skyline Cabana Club, now on the site of Liberty State Park, in Jersey City and that was a total gas.) But from the age of seven, I spent every summer growing up “down the shore” in Belmar, N.J. where my parents bought a big house with a wrap around porch just a block from the ocean. It was city-ish compared to the beach experience we had out in Wainscott, where Stella and I rented our first beach house, or on Cape Cod where we bought a house in the days before we rented in Provincetown and Wellfleet. The point is I’ve never been able to be very far from the ocean. I don’t think I’d be happy without at least knowing it’s nearby.
As a child, my mother, sister and I spent the entire summer in Belmar and my father visited on weekends. It wasn’t that far away from our permanent home or his work; and now in retrospect I’m sure he was up to a little bit of no good. And my Pisces mother was happiest in her cups without any overlording by him in those days. My sister was hostile and never spoke to me. So really summer meant that I was completely untethered. It was the seventies and eighties and I too got up to a little bit of no good. Tales of my nighttime teenage revelries that included long and winding bike rides to and from Asbury Park in the wee hours would curl your hair, so I’ll skip that bit—I have to leave something shocking for the memoirs—but my collection of daytimes was one long idyll. Even when old enough to legally drink and work as a waiter in restaurants, partying with a pack of preppy, nut-brown, sparkling tooth faces framed with dry, thick surfer, salt-stiff, sun-bleached hair, I might skip going to bed, but doze on the porch in a blanket in a hammock for a couple of hours until the first old man or woman walking a dog at dawn would wake me; at which point I’d grab a towel, zombie-like, and stroll the block to the empty beach to greet the rising Sun which would paint the entire ocean pink as it poked its way above the horizon; and I would slip into the silky rose brine and swim out as far as I dared indulging in the rare private moments one might have in this environment which would, within hours, be blanket to blanket, boombox to boombox, a battle of Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropics and orange Bain de Soleil played out in the breeze.
I would emerge after an hour at least, imagining myself a young Apollo or Dionysus dripping from my rejuvenating bath, and fall to my towel to finish the sleep I started hours before, often awaking to find myself completely surrounded by the throng. And I would tip toe home to no recrimination, pulpy orange juice and Munster cheese lovingly melted by mother on a plain toasted bagel. Even writing this is chilling me.
Whenever asked to imagine my most relaxing experience or directed to go to my happy place, or attempt to get a lower blood pressure reading than I typically do, I always recall the sense-memory of my morning swims in that pink water, the crystalline pre-dawn sky still twinkling with stars. My favorite spot to slip in was along a jetty that created a tiny cove and pool that was spared the large rolling effect of the breakers, even at low tide, if you hugged the line of jagged rock and conglomerate as you pushed out to sea. There would be tiny minnows and starfish and crabs and whatever those barnacley things are called attached to the rocks—barnacles maybe. The unreal colors led me to imagine I was swimming in an ocean on another planet, or in some Yes album landscape come to life.
The summer before going to college I decided not to work a job; I demurred, really, much to my parents “chagrin”, apparently—at least this is what my friend Dick Badenhausen’s mother Margo said my mother told her though she never uttered anything to me. I spent everyday, all day, on the beach, from 8am until 7pm, with quick runs home for food, bathroom breaks and, quite probably, the occasional puff off of something soothing. And I read. I just read. Starting with children’s books. I know this will sound odd or sad but I never read children’s books as a child. My parents never read to me and I didn’t read. Even in grade school I would skim any reading assignment or just not do it at all. Nobody checked my homework. We were not a conscientious family. I remember the first book I read, besides D’Aulaires Greek Mythology and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, was The Once and Future King which was kind of a doorstop and supposedly too advanced for my ten year old brain. It wasn’t. Though I loved this book it didn’t trigger readership in me and,, by that time, it was too late to go back and read kids books. I had never even heard of The Chronicles of Narnia until my best friend senior year of high school gave me his set to read over the summer after graduation. Which I did all at once, followed by the The Lord of The Rings trilogy and then Salinger’s Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High The Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, plus my university catalog. I was the most tranquil I’d ever been in my life, at seventeen, no longer a child, already possessing dark secrets, while not yet an adult in spite of them.
Even though I’ve been at the beach most of my life, there is nothing like, and no way to recapture, the experience of ones salad days, which for me were very specifically, July and August of that summer. I am so grateful that I had the unwitting forsight not to work that summer. I have something so potent, more than memory, to draw upon, now as a result. And while it’s still early May, today’s oracle reminds me that: no matter what my calendar looks like, I am going to do my absolute damnest to not create unnecessary work or stress for myself, and to channel the feeling of moving through that pink water, as I consciously would, with the smoothest, longest strokes and nary a splash. I’m going to let the Sabian symbol of Taurus, 14° set the tone for the entire summer. In a twelve-fold sequence this forty-forth symbol would fall under the rule of Scorpio which, in contrast to the preceding sign of Libra, eschews the outer world of order and appearances and embraces an inner world, that, of the subconscious. It is the fixed-water sign, concentrated, distilled and crystalized emotion that isn’t expressed but kept guarded and used to power one’s desire, like a dragon protecting its treasure deep in the recesses of the earth. There is no f.o.m.o here or whining or complaining. Scorpio, ruled by Pluto, named for the god of the underworld (subterra and the subconscious), employs the power of elimination, pruning, to inspire growth at the unseen root level of experience. Thus Scorpio and the astrological eighth house are associated with regeneration, sleep, sex and even death, which is only a dreadful name for rebirth.
As a child we are naturally inward focussed; and at seventeen or ability to be so is still rather automatic. As most of us age we lose our capacity for this and have to intercede with meditative practices to reintroduce this element back into our lives. Even in meditation, I employ that pink dawn ocean; so I’m going to return to that source now, in light of all the tap dancing I’m meant to do as fast as I can, and find that fixed-watery place inside myself, the vibrational crystal of my inner being, the insouciant Mona Lisa smile of my salad days and demure, once again, when it comes to work, taking on only that which I can execute as play. I have Mars conjunct Neptune in Scorpio. In simple terms that spells an active imagination, not to mention the ability to cast some pointed spells. Mars is the active self, fighting the good fight; and Neptune is that vast primordial sea of imagination and possibility. And, really, today’s oracle is about working on both levels simultaneously, finding the parrallel between them, returning to simpler joys for revitalization. Running around, like yesterday’s porter, subject to the needs and dictates of others is anathema to the experience of the child taking his cues from his inner life; not to mention remaining connecting to the natural world and its energies.
The message of this oracle is sychronistically the same as the Tarot card I pulled from the deck, as I’m wont to do daily, yesterday and then, curiously, again today, the Page of Pentacles: Connecting with life’s simple pleasures. As Stella and I tell our clients, this may be simple, but it isn’t always easy. We mustn’t attempt at once more than we can achieve via our conscious minds and ego drives. We must keep a toe in that water and skip along the shore. A not so nice voice in my head is saying: Who are you kidding? And the truth is I have already failed to take this oracle on board in the hours spent putting this blog entry together. Living life on life’s terms can be a challenge. But we must live and let live and allow that which isn’t working to fall away, as no amount of struggle or speeding your way through a schedule like a pin ball bouncing off walls and obstacles will serve you in the end. I’ve never said it before but today it seems highly appropriate: Peace Out.
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