Daily Writing March 23, 2023

I opened the Astrology Application on my phone today and noted that in the current chart, our friend Pluto is presently at 0.00 degrees of Aquarius. The last time Pluto was in Aquarius was from 1778 to 1798, a time which encompassed both the American and the French Revolution. It was also the period of time that America started out with Articles of Confederation which evolved into the United States Constitution in 1789 and the Bill of Rights in 1791.

I was reading about this yesterday evening in my favorite Astrology blog called AstroButterfly . I’m going to quote from that article here:

Sometimes we resist change because “better the devil you know, right”? And while sticking to the familiar may make sense in many situations, when Pluto changes signs, the last thing we want to do is get stuck in the past. Pluto’s key function is CHANGE. As the higher octave of Mars, Pluto wants to keep the engine of the universe going.


I really liked how she described Pluto as the higher octave of Mars, the planet of action. Mars to me represents action and potential on the personal level, and so Pluto is the higher vibration of this, which would be action and potential on the larger scale.

As I walked the dogs to get my coffee this morning, I passed the old coral rock wall in Coconut Grove which has been enveloped by the banyon tree growing on the other side. I have been passing this Coral Wall since I was on my bicycle on the way to School in 1978 when the red brick sidewalks were laid down in Coconut Grove, and the wall was first constructed. Back then, of course, there were not roots entwined in the Coral. The banyon tree spreads its canopy over a huge area, and it does this by a remarkable feat of biological engineering. It drops roots down from the branches, which descend like vines of spaghetti. When they find purchase, they descend into the ground and then they fuse together and form new supportive trunks for the branches. And so with this miraculous engineering, a single banyon tree can cover an acre or more.

So over the years that I have been walking down this path, the roots have penetrated and integrated with the wall. I remember back in 2011 I was recovering from the break up of a year long relationship I had after my divorce. I saw the roots of this tree like the cords of attachment and the rock wall as the structure of my heart. The energetic roots of the relationship were so deeply imbedded in the wall, that to rip them out would destroy the wall itself. I saw my predicament. If I violently ripped the relationship out of my heart to get over the pain of the break up, it would destroy my heart too. I saw in a vision that the only solution was to dissolve the roots, and the solvent was love. By sending love and best wishes to my ex, I was able to dissolve the roots of the relationship, and continue on my happy way without the cords sucking out my energy.

And today, there are several projects that have been kind of in a frustrating holding pattern that are really starting to move now. We are developing the 60 acre property in Hawaii, and this is moving forward fast. We are building a house and a barn and an event pavilion, and we are developing an organic farm based on the principles of restorative agroforestry. IN addition to the commercial crops, we will grow sacred plants, leaves and vines, on the property and hold events there. At the top will be a private residence. The long term plan is to keep the top twenty acres with the house on it, and give away the two remaining 20 acre parcels–one to a farm, one to a spiritual retreat center. This is the same strategy we have with the Cacão farm in Brazil and, to a lesser extent, with the farm in upstate New York.

The project in Hawaii was kind of stuck in the mud since we purchased the land in 2017, but right now it is moving very fast. The foundations are being poured for the buildings and we are buying a front end loader to do the development of the roads and ponds and other major earth moving. The land includes a river which comes straight from the top of Mauna Kea to the bay of Onomea, and on the parcel that the house will sit on, there is a beautiful water fall with a pond at the bottom. It might be the best swimming hole I have ever seen. So to access it, we need to build an environmentally friendly road across the natural terrain that lends itself very well to accessing the water fall. This is rather unique, because most of the rivers carve such deep gorges in lava rock, that you would have to go down a steep cliff to get to the stream. Here there is a flat area of about five acres on the inside of a bend where another stream joins the river. There are ancient stones in the walls along the path down there. Clearly this has been a sacred spot for many centuries before Captain Cook met his demise on the other side of the island. We are being careful to develop the property with the assistance of some of our brothers from the local community. Similarly, things are taking off in Brazil. Charlie and Wylie arrived in Mapia in the middle of the Amazon yesterday, and Padrinho Paulo Roberto arrived in Miami yesterday as well.

And so the roots of this tree caught my attention again today. It felt to me like the roots represented the knots and blocks that have been holding things back while Pluto made its lugubrious trip through Capricorn, and the energy of Aquarius is the solvent that will break up the blocks and let things move again. And movement is already happening here on this first day of Pluto in Aquarius. This makes me a little anxious, because it is my job as Steward of all of these projects to make sure we have the “generator” capacity to support everything we are undertaking while saving enough reserves to anticipate supporting the larger structure we are creating.

This really is the key to managing wealth on any level. I spent about 15 years of my corporate career financing private jet aircraft. I remember the first large deal I did. It was the financing on a 1984 Gulfstream III, which had a purchase price of around $10,000,000. We were proposing to financing $7,000,000 of the purchase price, and I was getting ready to go make the sales presentation to the purchaser who was our customer. I was going over the deal with a more senior loan officer. The payment was something like $79,000 a month, which was an ungodly sum of money to me. I could not imagine paying $79,000 a month, and I was fixated on this as a block. My advisor said and “the best thing is, with the long term amortization schedule, you have a very low payment.” I was shocked, how could anyone say that $79,000 was a low payment?

He admonished me that I was projecting myself into the deal. He said forget about the zeros. The zeros don’t matter at all. they are buying the aircraft for 9.0, and financing 7.0, and the payments are .079. Wouldn’t you agree that .079 is a very low monthly amount to pay for a loan of 7? It clicked. It was much cheaper on a cash flow basis than a car payment! My fixation on the zeros made it seem like a lot of money.

And so it is with managing wealth. It does not matter if you are talking about a $10,000,000 development or a $100,000 vacation condo, or a $1,000 mortgage payment. We have to align our resources with our outflows. And so we have income from our work, and we have income from our investments, and we have outflows for projects. Hopefully, you have zero debt. This is the fundamental requirement of any financial security. You cannot have any savings if you have any debts. It really is as simple as that, because savings are offset by debt on your balance sheet.

So the cash we have in the bank is like a reservoir of water that is ready for immediate use, and we should have enough for the short term, say a year or two. All of the money that we need for our projects must come out of this reservoir. Other liquid assets must be invested for growth and dividends. This revenue plus the earnings from our daily work go into the reservoir. If we have too many loads, and not enough income, we end up with an empty reservoir, and that’s called a cash flow failure. In many cases, this is where debt starts to creep into the picture, and you can see that is like having a Zombie come to your house for Thanksgiving. If the reservoir overflows, then you move some cash into your investments, and that will eventually support more growth.

So as we undertake new projects, the demand increases, so not only do we have to fund the development from the reservoir, we also have to increase our investment returns to generate more revenue. We have to grow our generator capacity at the same rate that we grow the demands. Hopefully, we can invest in projects that become cash flow sustainable. For instance, we generate about $2,500 per month in rent from the little farm house in upstate New York, and this revenue pays for the development of the farming operations. Hopefully all projects have a long term path to self sustainability, or else they will all fall apart after we die.

As these projects are expanding, they are demanding resources, and at the same time, they are growing to demand more resources in the future. It is the management of these cash flows that makes everything possible, and it is up to me to make sure that everything flows right. If I screw up, the whole thing comes undone.

It has been such a journey coming through COVID and all the financial upheavals of the last couple or three years. In some ways, the solid root structure of Pluto in Capricorn kept everything still, and made it easier to manage through the difficult times. But now things are starting to move fast, and this makes me feel a little anxious. But I have to take that anxiety and treat it like excitement for what is coming. And I have to have faith that everything we are doing is to help spread light to all the good people we have in our relations. I have to remember that we want to leave like the last leaf on a tree, and so we need to employ the assets for good.

My core belief and my mission in life is summed up in my email signature, which comes from one of Padrinho Paulo’s hymns — “The expansion of the consciousness will be able to save the Earth”. So this is my mission, to support the expansion of human consciousness. So that we may live as part of nature and so that we may see ourselves in the eyes of the other. With this expansion we can have peace and a future where everyone has what they need and where we take care of each other. So all of our projects have this goal in mind.

But at the same time, we do need to take care of our personal lives so we do not become a burden on someone else, and so as things take off, I need to also create a garden for our own lives, for our CORE life, which is our home and making beans in the pressure cooker, and walking the dogs, and playing Acey Deucey, and taking care of physical health, and being with the people we love. This is where our happiness comes from every day, and this does not really take very much to support. I think I need to carve out a little nest egg that will carry us into the later stages of our lives so all the big moving parts do not upset the delicate balance of our CORE life.

And so now, as Pluto has entered Aquarius, and the roots that held everything fixed are dissolved, and as rapid growth and change comes, I pray for guidance to help me navigate. I received a hymn back when we first got involved down in Brazil which was for Stephanie. It says “Your life is a river that you must navigate. If you go with the force of it, with certainty you will arrive at the sea.” So we have to navigate around the rocks and the fallen trees and around all the things that appear in our daily life. But as to the “path to the sea?” The River will take care of that. We just have to have faith, go with the flow, and navigate around the rocks, and enjoy the company of the people we love along the way.

So Viva to the New Era. Viva to the growth. Viva to the big works we will hold in celebration this weekend. Viva to the visitors arriving from all around the country starting today. Viva to walking the dogs and getting coffee.

The simple part of life is where the happiness lies.


Saturn Return – Material, Relationships, Health and Spirit

I met with a new friend Shannon here in Telluride yesterday. Shannon practices Vedic Astrology and she gave me a reading of my stars. It was very interesting and so different from the Western Astrology that I have dabbled in for several years. As I have said, my favorite part about Astrology is the Astronomy. I love looking up in the sky and seeing the planets (you can see Jupiter and Venus in the twilight sky in the picture above).

I wanted the reading because I have been aware of my second Saturn return coming up, and much to my surprise, according to Vedic Astrology, my Saturn return phase lasted several years, and the last day of this was January 18th, 2023. This happens to be exactly the day that I received the last of my bad news from the cerebral infarction that stroked me on January 3rd. It was January 18th that I went to the Ophthalmologist who grimly offered the opinion that I was done with driving and certainly done with snow skiing.

Well yesterday I drove myself to the Car Henge Parking Lot here in Telluride and spent the day skiing in the trees with the super expert Bill Glasscock. It turns out that the trees are easier to ski in that the open slopes in some ways. There are no people zipping into my path from the left, just trees, and the trees do not move. Also, skiing in the trees requires me to pick my way through deep moguls and to find the best path through the forest. I can study the terrain and link together five or six turns, and then regroup.

I did have a bone crunching wipe out yesterday. I caught my downhill edge on the top of a big mogul and fell downhill and impacted the next mogul on the shoulder. I heard a loud series of crunchy sounding cracks as the entire range of my thoracic and cervical spine received a big chiropractic adjustment. I lay down in the snow for a few seconds waiting for pain, but none came, and I got up laughing. What fun to spend the day skiing through the trees.

I came out of a shoot called Log Pile with my orange vision impaired vest on my chest. Knowing that his was a safe end I had linked together a couple more turns than normal. There was a group of about six people who were pondering their next move from this point. Bill knew one of them and was waiting with them when I came out. He had been boasting about his Vision Impaired student, and everyone was kind of flabbergasted as I came out of the trees.

I have learned so much about neural diversity and disability from this experience. Vision Impaired is absolutely not the same thing as blindness. My vision impairment simply means that I cannot process visual information pertaining to the upper left. But I see everything else just fine. I have learned to tilt my head to the right as I pivot my neck to the left to look over my left shoulder. By tilting my head, I make the horizon of my field of vision parallel and slightly above the ski terrain, and thus, I can see just fine. I just have to adapt to the new situation.

I have learned that every challenge is unique, and that there is joy in overcoming them. I have also learned to stop looking at people in wheel chairs with a sort of assumption that their life is not joyful. Who am I to assume what their life is like?

And so here I am in the autumn of my life. Autumn, not winter. And actually, this is only the very beginning of the Autumn of my life. It’s basically September 22nd in my Life. And yes, while there is a melancholy to the fall, it is also a beautiful time. The final harvests are coming in, the leaves are turning color and the weather is cool but not cold. And so as I enter in this new season with my third lap of Saturn around the Sun just beginning, I want to focus on four foundational areas of a Glorious life.

Material, Relationships, Health and Spirit. The foundations of a life worth living are these four, and it’s amazing how interrelated they are, and how much balance is required. How often do we see relationships, health and spirit suffer if we focus too much on the material? How many spiritual enthusiasts do you know that have a disdain for wealth and material success, or who fail in their relationship while they seek solice in solitude and meditation?

One of the things I love about Telluride is that it brings all of these together. When we are here we cook and clean and do our laundry and walk the dogs and take care of our material. We have great times together and many friends, and the lifestyle and food choices here are great for the health. And for Spirit?

Spirit lives in every rock in every canyon in this magical place. Spirit is the balance of the snow upon the branches.


Schmarya Space Shalom

Lessons from Kaua’i – Firming myself in the Peace of Spirit

I have spent the last couple of weeks here in Hawai’i. We started on the Big Island and then came over here to Kaua’i to spend time with our friends from the community here. Here in Hawai’i I feel very removed from my life on the mainland. The six hour time change means it’s already late afternoon at home by the time I finish my coffee, so any work I might do arrives pretty much after everyone there is done for the day. It seems like even the most simple communication has a two day lag time.

I started to feel this as we crossed the 2640 miles of open water between the California coast and the lava crust airstrip at Kona. There is no fuel along the way. The regular aircraft radios do not work. The internet does not work either. There is nothing but the fuel in the tanks, the constant breathe of the engines, the night sky, and 2500 miles of open water. And so upon arriving here and landing where the black lava field falls into the deep blue ocean, it feels like we have landed on another planet or the Moon.

A lot of energy has been moving over the last couple of weeks. We had the new moon in Leo on July 28th, and then we had the full Moon in the Lion’s Gate on August 11th, and a lot was shifting during this time. I had two communications from people that I have had difficult relationships with in the past, and several “crisis” situations in business, the church community, and my family that seemed to require urgent attention. Most of this energy was just drama, but it is easy for me to get caught up in it in the moment.

From so far away, however, there is really only so much that I can do. There are so many demands that pull my attention away from my present experience in Hawai’i. For the first week of being here, I tried hard to keep up with everything on the mainland, but then in the middle of the week, when we packed up and changed islands, I had to let go of the effort to keep in the loop and trust that everything will be fine until I get back. I hear Padrinho in my ear saying “reduce your sense of self importance.” The concept that everyone will be fine without me is a big step in that direction.

I felt a lot of tension in my body from this energetic division. And once I gave up on trying to stay connected on the mainland, I felt myself really finally arrive here in Kaua’i. This island offers such a gentle and loving embrace. I feel so at home with all of my brothers in the community, and it feels good to work hard outside to prepare the grounds for the spiritual works we have done here. Good hard working brothers make good company and help me feel strong and grounded.

As I felt myself arriving and grounding here on these 5,000,000 year old lava flows that created Kaua’i, what came for me was peace of spirit. I felt in my own body and psyche that I am all A Ok. Sure there are a lot of things going on in the mainland. Sure there are people who are upset because they do not know how their needs are going to be met. Sure there are lots of people who might be disappointed that I am not responding at the moment to their urgencies. But what I have deep in my Solar plexus right now is feeling Irie–which is to say that I have a sense of peace of spirit, that everything is ok here and now an in this moment, and that I am very fortunate to love all of my relations.

So here’s to the islands, and here’s to firming ourselves in the Peace of Spirit that we receive when we are truly present with the Sun the Moon and the Stars, the Earth the Wind and the Sea. All of that is here in Hawai’i.


The Planets of Generation X

The rhythms of Astrology have always fascinated me. The “personal planets” like the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars zip around the zodiac at a relatively rapid pace, and so the transits of these planets happen fast and tend to be short lived. On the other hand the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto move very slowly, so their transits develop over years and affect entire generations. The energy we feel on any given day can be a combination of these short term personal transits and the longer term generational transits.

For those of us who remember Billy Idol, that is, we members of Generation X, the defining transit of our birth was the conjunction of Pluto and Uranus that started in about 1965. Those born before this conjunction are baby boomers and those born after are Generation X.

Have you ever noticed that there was no Generation W? Generation X was not so named because of who we followed, but because we were largely invisible. We are wedged in between the baby boom and the millennial generations who take up all the space in the press. We are hard working and honest. We were born before cable TV, before the home answering machine, before cellular phones. We remember Smoky and the Bandit and we were amazed by CB Radios, which were all the rage in the late 1970s. I remember when we got our first VHS machine. It was before you could even rent movies and there were only a few that you could buy. My Mom invested in Flashdance. I saw it once and then figured the VHS machine was largely useless if you had to pay $75 for a movie. At the $2.00 per hour that I earned baby sitting, it was better for me and my friends to just ride our bikes to the theater, which we did about nine times to watch Star Wars.

Do you remember the phrase “ok boomer” which was a dismissive phrase hurled by Millennials at their Baby Boomer parents? Back before COVID, when the Millennials were taking their Lattes to offices with ping pong tables and basketball hoops in them, they would dismiss the views of members of their parents generation saying “ok Boomer.” Sometimes they would try to aim this phrase at me, but it would never stick, because I am generally not old enough to be their parents. But the Millennials could not seem to get that. Who was this person who is older than me, yet younger than my parents?

Well we are Generation X and we are very quietly coming into our time right now. And there are some major astrological events that are heralding our generational awakening. Most of Generation X will feel two major transits of outer planets in the next several years. The first is likely to be the transiting Neptune in opposition to our Natal Pluto. The second is likely to be transiting Neptune in opposition to our Natal Uranus.

Because we were born under and after the conjunction of Pluto and Uranus, these two planets are very close together in all of our birth charts, and the very slow moving Neptune is now coming into opposition with these planets. Neptune represents our deep spirituality. It is the subtle energy of music, it is our divine connection, and it is our soul contract with our life here on earth. Neptune is the farthest true planet from the Sun and represents our deepest waters. It is sandwiched between the major disruptors of Uranus and Pluto.

Neptune transited in opposition to my Natal Pluto a few years ago, and it came into opposition to my natal Uranus the day before yesterday. This was exactly the day after I had surgery on my vocal cords, and so I have had several days of forced silence to sit with the energy.

I admire those who have deep study of astrology, but I am not one of them. I like to ponder the planets and to see them in the sky, but my understanding of astrology is much more personal and intuitive. When I feel something strong in my life, I often go look at my Time Passages application on my phone to see what is occurring in the sky. And when I see something occurring in the sky, I like to sit with it and feel how the energy is affecting me.

The energy of this one is very clear and obvious to me. If you look at my current chart, which I posted above, you see that it is full of red conflicting aspects. Most of the time we think of these conflicts as difficulties, but they are much more than that. They are also the energy that creates transformation. I personally am experiencing a literal transformation of my voice. My vocal cords are resting for four to five days after surgery, and the image that keeps coming to me is that of an insect in its chrysalis, while in pupates from larvae to adult.

I also feel a new level of maturity and acceptance arising. This process started for me about ten days ago when a close friend of mine shared a hypnotic meditation about patience which brought to my awareness the energy I have of being driven. I have always had inside me an energy of pushing, that is often counterproductive to my happiness. An example of this would be a car ride. Say I’m in the car and I need to be somewhere in 30 minutes, but it’s only 20 minutes away. Why do I grip the steering wheel and take all the short cuts? So I can be there ten minutes early? Why do I not instead take the time to start something interesting on the audio and then take the easy route with few turns even if it’s a little slower? Where is this pushing energy coming from? Not from the outside…it’s coming from within me.

This hypnotic meditation on patience really brought this into my consciousness. And while my surgery was only a few days ago, my ability to speak has been seriously impaired since early January. There have been many instances where I have just decided that it’s not worth arguing or debating with someone. Or not worth talking about some item of the news or some other scandal. Not speaking has been calming my mind.

This has helped me to not take in personally when other people have emotional reactions or if they are disappointed in my reaction to them. I am letting go of the need to talk a lot to fix things. I no longer need to spend a lot of energy trying to explain myself or things to other people. Let them figure it out for themselves a little more. In our spiritual doctrine there is a beautiful hymn that says “you don’t need to give counsel to those who don’t want to listen to you”. And in Portuguese, when they say “you don’t need to” it has a little stronger sense of “you need to not.” Like really, don’t waste your breath on those who do not want to listen. Having this impairment in my voice has helped me a lot with this.

And since these transits I am experiencing are generational, I feel they apply to my peers. We were the first generation coming to disrupt the old order of the industrial world. We were here to lay the ground work for Gen Y (millennials) and Gen Z and to take the reigns from the baby boomers. But really, we can keep our counsel to ourselves when it is not appreciated, and we can share it with those who want to listen. We can walk through life with our divine connection and we can act in integrity. And we can continue to stay out of the news. And we can continue to listen to Billy Idol.


Bamboo Blooms Once and Dies after 50 Years

I remember my fourth birthday party at the Navy Base in Corpus Christi, Texas. We lived in one of the top apartments of a quadruplex. There was a balcony between the top two apartments that overlooked a small yard with burnt grass, and on the other side of the yard was a large oval shaped stand of oleander. I learned to ride my bike when I was still to short to put my feet on the ground, so I would just crash into the oleander and trust its slender branches to hold me upright. My birthday is early February, and so for my party my mom bought two of the same books of punch out valentines day cards. (I remember this, because I punched them all out when I found them, and got in some trouble for it.). My Mom hung the cards from one book on the oleander bushes, and passed out the other set to the kids who came to my party. I remember there were quite a few of us. With card in hand, you had to walk around the bush until you found your match, and then you received your prize, which I remember being a balsa wood airplane with a rubber band powered propeller. I remember it flew surprisingly well from the balcony above the yard.

And then my Dad went to Vietnam, which I really did not know or understand. I actually was not even really aware that we were in Corpus Christi because he was in Officer Training School. But I know now that he had been drafted as a surgeon and had been shipped off to Vietnam and assigned to a division of Republic of Korea Marines where he put bodies back together in a M.A.S.H. unit that was never more than a mile or two away from the front lines. He learned there to be a brilliant vascular surgeon. If my Dad could not save somebody on the table, then they were just going to die. Plain and simple. He had no restrictions on the need to try novel approaches, and he had to work fast. I think he was chief of surgery at every hospital he ever worked at after that.

My Mom took me and my sister to my father’s parents house in Miami, which was the same house my father had been born into, and was about a mile and a half from Doctor’s Hospital where I was born in 1967. My fifth birthday party was at that house, and I remember this because we had a pony. So it was sometime between my fourth and fifth birthday that we moved back to our hometown of Miami.

My Mom has always had an amazing green thumb, and to pass the time, she would volunteer at the Fairchild Tropical Garden. David Fairchild had been a close personal friend of my Grandmother. So had most of the old Miami families, because back in the 1920s there were not any people in Coconut Grove except those who could stand the heat and the mosquitos. My parents bought the house from my Grandparents, and they moved to a smaller house with more land near snapper creek. This sets the stage for my story, which revolves around a stand of bamboo.

My Mom brought home one day a bucket from an exotic plant sale at Fairchild that had bamboo in it. We planted it in the jungle that was the front half of the acre where the house was. On this land, back in the 1940s, my Dad’s family had dug out the soil from a sink hole and used it for a victory garden, and so in the front yard, which was a beautiful lush tropical jungle, there was this excavation of what we called “The Big Hole”. It’s still there today, and it’s about 15 feet deep. It looks like it was some sort of spring from ancient times. Mom planted the bamboo at the back of the big hole, and I used to try to make blow guns out of it. I also used to sit on the edge of it with my BB gun to shoot toy soldiers that I would set up on the rocky coral ledges on the other side of the hole. I had green good guys who were the American soldiers and grey bad guys who were the Germans. World War II had left such an indelible print of good vs evil that we did not have with Vietnam. With Vietnam, war was the bad guy and the people who fought it were all victims.

This stand of bamboo grew and grew. As the stalks got taller and thicker , they started to sprout horizontal sticks with sharp thorns, and created a completely impenetrable thicket. For many years cat birds would nest inside the thicket. I’m sure several generations of the same family lived in there. They would pop out and coo to me while I shot my BB Gun.

It was there in the big hole that I sat on the day of my wedding to Stephanie and prayed and listened over and over to a hymn called “I Invoke My Master” which talks about being a son of the truth and living in integrity. It was just the right vibration for the start of a strong marriage. My kids grew up going down there too. My Mom put a concrete alligator statue in the bottom, and the kids all believed it came alive at night and wandered around the woods. Maybe it did.

That was 50 years ago that my Mom brought the bamboo home in the bucket. Last month we were all delighted when it bloomed, as you can see in this picture. But then the towering stand of bamboo started to break and fall over. We did a little research and found that this is the end of the life cycle for the bamboo. It lives about 50 years, and grows to 70 feet high with thick rods of bamboo about six inches in diameter, and then it explodes into a giant geyser of bamboo rice and flowers, and then the whole stand dies.

A couple days ago, I went and looked around the base for new shoots, and there simply were none. I remember years ago seeing new shoots protruding from the ground as the stand spread, but now there are none. I had thought that each shoot of bamboo was a separate organism, like a bunch of trees growing close together, like an aspen grove. But the entire stand is a single organism, that blooms and dies.

This amazing creature was planted when I was a boy of five years old. I am now a grandfather of 55 years old, and it feels so poignant.

I often write here about astrology, and for me a lot of astrology is like a clock that measures the progress of our life. We have our twelve year cycles of Jupiter returns, our 29 year cycles of Saturn returns, our 84 year Uranus return, and on the shorter scale we have our 29 day lunar months, our four times a year Mercury retrograde, our beautiful oscillating Venus clock as she moves from the evening star to the morning star and back again, and the faithful sun marching out one year at a time… never in retrograde, like the march of a maracá.

This bamboo takes me from my early childhood almost right up to my second Saturn return, and its demise is a milestone in my life. I have been going through a personal process of letting go of being the one who does all the tasks, the Dad role, and of assuming the role of the Grandfather. In the Tarot, this is the fools journey from the Knight to the King, where the Knight is in the battle swinging the sword and the King exerts influence from wisdom and moral authority, but no longer is the one taking the actions.

The other day, when I walked down to the big hole to take these pictures, I could still feel the presence of my little boy spirit with the BB gun. I could still feel the cat bird’s soft coo in the bamboo. I could feel the strength in my heart on my wedding day as I listened to that hymn, and I can feel the incredulous gaze of the children as they pondered the concrete alligator. All this happened under the shade of this big bamboo, and now it is casting those memories into the air in an explosion of flowers.

My Mom, she was about 30 years old when she brought home that bucket from Fairchild Garden, is 80 now. A whole lifetime has passed, but so little has changed.

It makes me feel peace in my spirit. I hope this story brings peace to yours too.


Spring brings all of the planets to the dawn sky

As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of Astrology, and my favorite part of the study of Astrology is the connection it brings me to actually going outside to view the planets. They are the path of brilliant shining stones, the universal treasure, the light of the firmament, and they will all be there in all their glory for us to see this Spring. You may have felt the powerful energy of the recent conjunctions of Mars and Venus with Pluto, and for those of you who are waking up before sunrise with daylight savings time, Mars and Venus have been putting on a spectacular show with the dimmer Saturn just below them. All you have to do is look to the eastern sky before dawn and Venus will immediately catch your attention.

But this is just the beginning of an amazing spectacle that continues throughout the year, as if we are being rewarded for the passages we have all gone through in the last couple of years. And so here I would like to outline some things you can easily observe in the sky to help you feel connected to the rhythms of the celestial clock.

My favorite aspect of this is Jupiters path through the zodiac over its twelve year “synodic orbital period” (the time it takes for Jupiter to go all the way around the zodiac from our perspective on earth, as opposed to from the perspective of the Sun). I remember I was in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest in the spiritual community of Céu do Mapia with my son in late June and early July of 2019. During that year, Jupiter was at opposition to the sun during this exact period. I took the photograph that you see above simply by placing my camera on the ground facing straight up into the sky at midnight. Because Jupiter goes all the way around the zodiac almost exactly every 12 years, it reaches opposition one month later from one year to the next. So in 2020, Jupiter was opposite the Sun in late July and early August. In 2021, Jupiter was in opposition in early September, and in 2022, Jupiter will be there again in October.

So if we watch Jupiter in the night sky, we can see the passage of years. I always remember my trip to Mapia was with Jupiter in this position in late June during the festivities surrounding the Summer Solstice.

As I said up above, the planetary show for the spring of 2022 is already underway in the pre dawn sky, with Venus, Mars and Saturn being the main attractions. But Jupiter is right there in the glow of the rising Sun. The Sun goes through the zodiac 12 times faster than Jupiter from our perspective, so every day at dawn, Jupiter will be a little higher. Soon it will start to be visible through the glare of the morning Sun, and then every month it will rise about one hour earlier, and therefore be about 30 degrees higher in the sky each month. I love to watch the advance of Jupiter across the sky, so I will be out there in the morning when I walk the dog looking for it.

Venus, on the other hand, travels through the Zodiac faster than the Sun. It happens to be at about the point where it is highest in the morning sky. One really interesting fact about Venus, is that it’s never visible at midnight. Think about it. Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, so it can never be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. Instead, Venus oscillates in a beautiful pattern between being the morning star and the evening star. Right now, Venus is as high in the sky as it can get, and now it will start diving back into the sun, until it goes behind the Sun and reappears as the evening star.

But first, it will pass both Jupiter and Saturn. So we have these conjunctions to look forward too. First Venus will pass Saturn, and then it will pass Jupiter. It already passed Mars and Pluto. All you have to do is go outside before dawn and you can see this for yourself!

Something extraordinary is about to happen, and that is that in early June, all nine planets will be present in the morning sky. Of course, only five of them are visible to the naked eye, but they will all be there. You can try to find them with a telescope (I’m not sure if this is possible with Pluto and Neptune, but it is possible with Uranus), but for me, I am satisfied just using a Star Gazer app on my phone to locate them. Then I just ponder the sky and it’s not hard for me to imagine the presence of the planet there. I’m quite sure I can feel the energy of it. Even if you could see it with a telescope, these far outer planets would be simply dim points of light.

But Jupiter and Venus have much more to offer with a telescope. Jupiter will offer up its Moons to a casual observer. I remember the first time I saw the four principle Moons of Jupiter through a telescope. It was on a field of icy snow in the dead of winter in Sun Valley, Idaho. I was astounded and humbled. What a beautiful and profound hidden treasure. I remember the four Moons were all lined up on one side of Jupiter, and I was surprised at how far their orbits took them from the planet. I remember a couple weeks later taking my sons outside to repeat the observation, and was so surprised to see two Moons on either side of the planet. It had never occurred to me that they would change their orientation like this, but they did sure enough. Again I was astounded.

Most recently, I set up a telescope to observe the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in December of 2020. This was on our chocolate farm in Bahia Brazil, that offers and amazing view of the night sky. There again were the Moons of Jupiter, and within the arc of their orbit, was Saturn. Just by putting my eye on a simple telescope I was able to directly observe Saturn so close to Jupiter that it was encompassed by the orbit of Jupiter’s Moons. I will never again see that in this lifetime, unless I travel through the solar system on something other than Earth!

Venus (and Mercury) also offer some grand spectacles to an observer with a telescope. These two planets, because they are closer to the Sun than the Earth, have phases like our Moon. So when you look at Venus, it can appear as a bright crescent. The same is true for Mercury, but be very careful not to let the morning Sun get into the view of your telescope our you can really fry your retina. Best only do this before dawn.

So in early June, all nine planets will be in the sky before dawn at the same time. I don’t remember the last time this happened. But this is not the end of the show! Saturn and Jupiter will continue their path toward opposition. Saturn, with its slower orbit, will reach opposition sooner than Jupiter. Without looking, I was say this will happen in late July. Then, Jupiter will reach its opposition in late summer, which will be the best time to see its Moons with a telescope.

And Mars, don’t forget Mars!, will be putting on a show too. Mars will reach its opposition in early December and it will be huge and bright and red and also fun to look at with your telescope.

You can read all about the energies of all these events in a good blog. I recommend Astrobutterfly on this platform. But I find sometimes that I just need to sit in the quite while I gaze upon these shining stones, and the energy speaks to me directly. I think you will find you can feel in your heart the power of our celestial neighbors.

Enjoy the brilliant spring. Pray for Peace. Show gratitude. Love your neighbor, and enjoy the celestial beauty, the universal gift of the firmament.


Venus, Mars and the Butterfly Effect

It’s amazing how fast the days go by. It’s been quite some time since I last sat down to write, and there are a few topics that come to mind. The first is the array of planets visible in the morning sky on the eastern horizon, which I had the fortune of seeing this morning. Frankie (our dog) woke up about an hour before dawn, and I had already been lying awake in bed, so when he asked to go out, I put the leash on him and walked down to Biscayne Bay to see Venus in the morning sky.

Venus made its transit of the Sun sometime back in January I think it was, and thus it switched it’s role from the evening star to the morning star. I had brought my telescope with me to Telluride so I could look at the Mars transit that occurred on about March 6th, but alas, Telluride is in a box canyon that opens to the west. On the east side is Ajax Mountain, and Venus, at least from our perspective, does not clear the mountain ridge before the sun comes up. I was not able to see it while we were in Colorado.

But this morning I did get to see Venus, still pretty close to Mars. It was so bright like a diamond. Mars was down and to the right a little bit, and then Saturn was closer to the horizon. It’s so pretty when we can see several planets in one view. Pluto was also there, but not visible to the naked eye. Jupiter, in Pisces, was still below the horizon, and I was cold and wanted to go get back in bed, and did not wait to see it rise. But Jupiter will start gaining prominence as the year progresses, until it reaches opposition, I think in September this year.

Have you already started to feel the shift in energy after the conjunctions of Mars and Venus and Pluto? Remember COVID, which suddenly left our headlines to be replaced by constant news about the war in Ukraine? Finally we are through with this pandemic it seems. Funny that the only exception to this is China, where they struggled so hard for years to prevent the pandemic from landing there. But all they succeeded in doing was to delay the inevitable. For the rest of the world, we now have some immune protection and the pandemic will go the way of all pandemics, all the way back to the plague of 1655, which tend to last about two years.

For all the ineffective and pointless reactions we had to the pandemic, we succeeded in shortening it’s duration by about exactly zero. Sometimes I think we would all have been much better off had they never identified COVID as a novel virus and had just written it off as an unusually harsh flu season. If that sounds cold hearted, it’s really not. People who get sick and die from the flu are just as deserving of compassion as those who got sick and died from COVID. The recognition that our responses were ineffective does not reflect a failure of compassion. When you compare the response in Florida, which is led by a regrettably pro-Trump governor, to that of California, you can really see how ineffective all the responses were. Florida eliminated mask mandates and lock downs state wide, while California leaned into every available restriction on liberty, and California fared no better than Florida. Futility of the fight against nature.

Another concept I wanted to touch on is the butterfly effect. I was talking to Stephanie the other day about the war in Ukraine and about how the USA did exactly the same thing in Iraq. Also, in the 1980s it was Russia that invaded Afghanistan and fought for twenty years while the USA supplied stinger missles and other weapons to the “freedom fighters,” but then these same people that we supported in their opposition to the Russian invasion became our enemies, and so we invaded their country, and faced people we had trained and armed. But now they were not freedom fighters anymore, they were terrorists. Same guys. Same pile of rocks.

Of course all war is barbaric, and if you follow the dollars, who is making money off the war, it’s always the same oil and gas companies, arms suppliers and corrupt security firms like Haliburton and Blackwater who make the billions of dollars. Another war drives the price of oil above $100 per barrel, and suddenly talk of the Keystone Pipeline and shale oil are back on the table.

So Stephanie told me to write a post about it, and I commented that while I do really appreciate that there are a few people who read this blog, I suggested that my audience was not wide enough to have a material effect. I said I can blog about it but it won’t change anything.

And then she made a point that really stuck with me. She said… but remember the butterfly effect. I loved the book “Chaos” which describes in detail how sensitivity to initial conditions can give a small input great power over time. There is a point to writing some of these things down, because even affecting the consciousness of one other person in a positive way can be like the effect of a butterfly flapping its wings and changing the weather.

I hope we can all “change our weather” by awakening our consciousness. Every email I send out has the signature “The expansion of the consciousness will be able to save the Earth”. As my beloved God Mother teaches in a hymn that she received… “we must pass through the suffering and aggression that humanity is suffering without the least bit of need.” All this suffering is actually not necessary. We have everything we need in the material world to take care of everyone alive on this planet and to take care of the planet too. But instead we have wars and all this suffering and aggression. It is only a small shift in the consciousness that is necessary and we can all wake up from this bad dream. Flap your wings butterflies. Let’s change the world.


If you see the moon in mid afternoon, how do you know if it’s waxing or waning?

I have long enjoyed the study of astrology and the visible astronomy that goes along with it. In our modern lives, we often read about the astrology of the day, but with our busy schedules and city lights, we can lose touch with the natural rhythms of the Sun, the Moon and planets. Astrology can be a cerebral or theoretical exercise when we lose connection to the power of these astronomical events playing out in the sky. The Moon in particular has a powerful rhythm that we can connect with through some simple observations, and from there we can start to enjoy the even more subtle rhythms of the planets. Then the answers to questions like the one above become a matter of experience.

My wife and I and our family are fortunate that we had a chance to acquire a cacão farm on the coast in Bahia Brazil about six years ago. It is an extraordinarily beautiful place, with frequent power outages and internet failures, and almost no light pollution. Our house sits up on a ridge overlooking the ocean as you can see in this picture, and we have spectacular views of the Moon and the stars and the planets. The monthly course of the Moon is so present with us when we are there in Bahia, and we return to Miami, it’s easy to lose this divine connection to the Moon.

The Moon repeats a beautiful journey on the stage of the sky every month on our farm. The best way to describe this monthly cycle of the Moon is to start with the waning crescent moon, which is rarely seen. We very rarely see a waning crescent Moon because it is visible in sky only briefly right before sunrise, and by the time the Sun wakes us in the morning, the waning crescent moon is already lost in the morning glare. So our story of the Moon will start with the dark moonless nights of the waning crescent.

Let me describe a little bit about the farm to set the stage for you. The coastline there runs basically north and south, and it lies to the east of our farm. So we have a perfect view of the eastern horizon, and we see the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars rising over the water to our east. To the west of us are some low hills, and there is a long field that used to be a one hole golf course. At the end of this field we can see the sun setting over the hills, and we often walk the dogs there and watch the colors unfold in the evening sky. This is where we saw the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn after sunset in December of 2020.

This evening walk brings us to the true beginning of the Moon’s journey, which is the appearance in the evening sky of the new Moon, which occurs suddenly every lunar month in the western sky in the twilight. The day before the New Moon, it’s not there to see, but the day after the new Moon, there she is, a crescent hanging in the sky for about an hour after sunset before she dips below the horizon. Over the next couple days, if we take the same walk, she appears a little higher and a little larger, still in the western sky and above the setting sun.

This continues until the first quarter one week after the new moon. Then she appears directly overhead at sunset as a half moon, and we tend to forget about it. The sunset draws our attention with it’s soft inland colors, but the Moon high over head and half full, does not make a strong demand on our senses. This reduced energy is manifested physically in very real ways. Consider the tides for example. The largest tides occur with the new Moon and the full Moon. The quarter Moons have what are called “nip” tides. And interestingly, nip tides occur when the Moon is square to the Sun, which means their energies cancel each other out a bit. We often read in Astrology about the Moon being square the Sun, and we read that the energies conflict. This physically is a very powerful phenomenon in the real world. Yes, the wisdom of astrology relates to very real physical forces we can measure in the world.

After the first quarter moon, the real show starts. About four days before the full Moon, we see a waxing gibbous Moon high above the eastern horizon at Sunset, and the waxing gibbous Moon stays bright in the sky all the way until the wee hours of the morning. Over the next days, we see the Moon a little larger and a little lower in the eastern sky every evening before sunset.

Then comes the big night of the Full Moon. Everyone knows it is coming, because we all see the waxing Gibbous growing every evening before she is full, and this fills our hearts with anticipation. The evening before the full Moon, she is just above the horizon when the Sun sets, and that is the most spectacular view. It is the view you see in the photograph above. We often have our spiritual works on these nights.

The next night, when the sun sets, there is no Moon in the sky at all, but she puts on quite a show as she rises above the ocean in the twilight, still almost full, within an hour of sunset. Everyone’s gaze is fixed on the eastern horizon waiting for the Moon to appear, and we see the glow and then she breaks above the horizon. The next night, the sky gets completely dark, and still no Moon, and then she rises still almost full, bright and white in the dark night sky. The next night, she rises a couple hours after sunset, and the phase of the waning gibbous Moon is with us, and she is now rising late at night around 10:30 or 11:00 pm.

When we have a waning gibbous Moon, we often wake up in the middle of the night because of the bright Moon shining in our window at 3:00 am. From about 4 to 7 days after the Full Moon, everyone seems to stir in these wee hours before the morning as this bright light comes from the east much like a sunrise. It was under a waning Moon that Mary Madeline woke up before dawn and visited the empty tomb of Christ. This waning Moon energy makes us stir and has since the ancient times.

Finally, after a full week or so, we get to the third quarter Moon, where she rises at midnight and is small enough not to wake us up. The nights are inky black until very late, and zillions of stars are visible. This is the best time to point a telescope at Jupiter to see the Moons of Jupiter. And then we get back to the waning crescent Moon again. Only the owls see her rise above the horizon. And then a few days later, she appears again after sunset in the western sky, and the entire cycle starts again.

These events have profound effects on our energy and our attention. Everyone looks with anticipation for the New Moon…will she appear tonight? When will this new cycle start? This is why in Astrology we say the New Moon is the start of our monthly cycle. It’s because for time immemorial humans have gazed to the west anticipating the appearance of the new Moon. Similarly, since the deep time past, all humans and animals have stirred late at night with the waning gibbous Moon. And everyone sees the powerful waxing Gibbous Moon and anticipates the splendor of the full Moon. We grasp at this memory for a few days as the full Moon wanes, until she rises so late that we are already in bed, but with fitful sleep.

And so, the answer to the question, if you see the Moon in the afternoon, it is always a waxing Moon. Usually you see it after the first quarter when it is more than 90 degrees from the Sun. So if you see a Moon after noon, you know it is waxing. If you see the Moon rise after sunset, you know that it is waning. If you see it high overhead at midnight, then it’s a waxing quarter Moon, and if you see a crescent after sunset, you know it is a new Moon.

If you feel you have lost touch with this, that’s ok, because it happens every night. You can go out and see for yourself! You can keep a Moon journal for a month and write your observations. If you have a window in the east in your bedroom, leave the shade up and see if the waning Gibbous wakes you up in the middle of the night. We do not see this show every month like we used to, because we get busy, and we are inside making our dinner with electric lights, and we don’t always have a good view. We may see the Moon from time to time, and be happy or surprised. We may even look on the internet to see the date of the next full Moon and joyfully observe it. But if you spend a month to observe the Moon, you will really feel the power.

When we sit on the ridge line in the evening and watch the full Moon rise, we are doing the same thing in the same spot that people have done for centuries, back to the dawn of time with the Indigenous people of the area. For thousands and thousands of years, humans have shared this common experience of watching this cycle of the Moon, and when we get in touch with it ourselves, we can really feel the power of it.