How I lost my Sanity 5

Chris Winter caricatureA year had passed when I got my first big break to get to know the patients. Rehab was responsible for holiday activities. Halloween was about to happen. “Wouldn’t it be fun if you were our fortune teller this year?” Dolores asked. I became the ‘palmist’, dressed in satin robes with sun, moon, and pentacles (five pointed star). A silver hand hung around my neck. I called myself “M” (caricature by Chris Wynter).

 

 

 

I examined everyone’s hands, pinpointing their challenges and issues and carefully tailoring my words to their ability to understand me. Most patients instantly reacted, “Hey, you’re for real!” or “You really know me!”. Dolores had inadvertently set me up as a confidant for them. Word of my abilities spread quickly. Soon the art room gained many new recruits who became regulars.

Mohamed was ‘a lifer’. I imagined he’d had enough Thorazine to sedate a small army. A very large middle-aged dark black man, Mohamed was a cross between Muhammad Ali and Bob Marley. He was the most popular patient in the place. Mohamed had been a Hell’s Angel, cocaine addict, and cold blooded murderer. He found `religion’ in solitary confinement. I began receiving Plain Truth magazine shortly after I met him. He placed me on their mailing list. I learned about contraband from Mohamed. Patients with money got marijuana, alcohol, extra cigarettes, and other stuff smuggled through security.

A particularly hard not to notice occurrence was the way large quantities of office and recreational supplies would arrive and vanish quickly. I began hoarding yellow pads, pens, and pencils in my desk before they disappeared. Seemed like staff was getting away with whatever they could. Even office machines vanished. When I asked a friend who worked in another hospital about what was happening, she said it was “par for the course”. Many people who work for government agencies have a kind of chronic poverty consciousness that makes them feel entitled to get away with whatever they can. I thought most workers in helping professions don’t take enough for themselves.

Nothing was as it appeared. One security staff member, who always acted friendly with patients, said to me confidentially, “I’d shoot every one of them in the head at night while they slept if I could get away with it”. I pretended he was joking, but was deeply shocked and awed. Watching patients pretend to act how they believed staff wanted them to be got to be a spectator sport. When backs were turned, patients would give staff the finger or a contorted face. Staff would do the same to patients and each other.

There was a state organization whose job it was to inspect state hospital social service programs. I believe it was called `WXYZ’. The hospital got plenty of notice from WXYZ. They’d show up and lots of hustle and bustle would be happening. It was `Show Time’. Everyone was active and cooperative and everything was `spic and span’. We ran as smoothly as a ‘Timex’. Normally, we were pretty scuzzy and programming ran unpredictably. You know… the kinds of things inspectors need to see.

The biggest scam of all was the creation of the woodworking and refinishing shop. The state allots monies for capital improvements and program development each year. Unspent monies are removed from the following year’s budget. A $100,000.00 surplus needed to be spent quickly. The cabinet approved purchasing expensive woodworking equipment for the Rehab Dept. They failed to inform us that the patients would ‘never’ be permitted to use the tools as they were much too dangerous. I had questioned Billy early on about who was going to operate the equipment. He told me that he and I would do all the machining, initially, but eventually patients would be trusted. I disagreed. None of our conjecture mattered, because when the fiscal year was over, the cabinet scrapped the shop. Now they could ask for more money next year.

I figured if everyone else was getting away with things, so could I. I began collecting more artwork. `Gigolo’ worked security at the hospital entrance. When no one was around, he’d wave me past the bag check and metal detector. To my knowledge, even the director of the hospital was scanned and checked daily. I took advantage of his trust in me by waiting outside the hospital entrance until no one was in the foyer. I was ‘Smiley’, so I’d enter the security area with a big smile on my face. Gigolo would wave me on. In my satchel were a camera, tape recorder, batteries, and extra tapes. I began recording patient songs and stories on audio tape. I knew I could, so I did.

Virginia was abandoned by her mother at birth. Fished out of a garbage can, she grew up in orphanages. As Virginia ventured out into the world on her own, she became a magnet for one co-dependent abusive spouse after the other. Virginia prayed her children wouldn’t be forsaken, but they were. Virginia had a grade school education. She never developed work skills. Her children were homeless and starving. She loved them too much to stand by and watch them starve so she killed them. What else could she do? Virginia’s haunting voice expresses the agony of her soul. I found her tunes and lyrics profoundly poetic and deeply disturbing. She asked me to share them.

“CRIES OF PAIN, CRIES OF JOY

SCREAMS OF TORMENT WITHIN

SILENTLY WHISPERING INNER FEAR

A WALL OF PRETENSE TO HIDE

BITTER REALITY WITH NO REMORSE

CHANGING MOODS, ALWAYS DENY

TRUTH IN A WORLD OF UNENDING STRIFE

REACHING OUT THE LAYER OF LIFE

DREAMING OF THE EVERYDAY CHARADE

MOVING FACES IN A MASQUERADE

REVEALING THE UNRELENTING SOUL

OF A TIRED AND LONELY BEING

HIDDEN QUALITIES SOARING BENEATH

THE EXTERNAL EXISTENCE ABOVE

COULD THE ENERGY EXIST TO FIGHT

THE SHADOWY SILHOUETTE OF I?”

Large ball of thumb with and without lines

“Have you ever seen a hand that frightened you?”

That’s a question I often hear. A sweltering day sent a chill through my soul as I first touched Manuel’s hot sweaty palms. Manuel’s huge reddish balls of thumb were full and smooth with no lines. They looked like they’d been stuffed with extra-large eggs. The picture is simulated. The ball on the right is mine. It has many significant relationship lines within the lifeline. I love a lot of people. Manuel had none. He had a mega-dose of desire, lust, and passion; nourished with fear, anger, and hatred, and no ability to have intimacy with another human being. Manuel allegedly kidnapped eight boys, took them to rooftops, raped, murdered, cut their penises off, and then carved crosses in the bases of their skulls.

Manuel pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to a maximum-security forensic hospital for the criminally insane. When I met Manuel, he was dying of kidney disease. He’d been on dialysis machines for five years. His kidneys were shot. There would be no donor for a child serial killer. Manuel’s time was running out. He wanted to tell his story and asked if I would record it. Before accepting Manuel’s word, I examined his hospital records and psychiatric treatment plans. Dozens of articles about the murders were recorded on microfilm in the news section of the public library.

purgatory newsAlthough the evidence was circumstantial, Manuel fit the profile. The media generated a public frenzy. Hundreds of detectives and policemen were on the case. The first suspect had to be disguised as a policeman in order to not be lynched by the public. ” It took over two hundred police, some wearing riot gear, to prevent over 1000 angry people from storming the xxx police station in the mistaken belief that a suspect in the mutilation murders of four young boys was inside the building.”

 

Manuel’s ball of thumb is the star of his story. Manuel came to the USA from Puerto Rico at age thirteen with his father and brother. He had great aspirations, but got hooked on drugs (marijuana) and headed downhill after that. Manuel said to me, “Drug addiction was in my genes. From the first time I tasted drugs, I never stopped”. A huge round ball of thumb symbolizes sensuality, compulsion, and indulgence. A paradox is that a large ball of thumb can also symbolize a huge appreciation of nature, children, and all things beautiful, along with abundant generosity and warmth. Manuel’s low set thumb and very stiff fingers and life and head line closely tied together at their start symbolizes that Manuel’s bad habits were deeply embedded.

Many thieves and pick pockets have inwardly curving pinkies. Hooked on heroine, Manuel resorted to stealing drugs to support his habit. He hung out with prostitutes and criminals. Meanwhile, his mother died of brain cancer, his sister died of cirrhosis of the liver, his half-brother died of a drug overdose, and his other brother was locked up for murdering their crazy father. Manuel’s tale would make an extremely dark TV sitcom.

Manuel dealt heroine to support his habit. When he turned sixteen, he was arrested for drug dealing. In Purgatory’s “tombs”, Manuel began banging his head against the wall. He was sent to a maximum security outpatient mental hospital to detox and six months later he believed his habit was broken. Manuel discovered he had talents in arts and cooking. He tried living with a woman at seventeen, but he couldn’t stay out of trouble. While in and out of prisons and mental hospitals, Manuel managed to get his common-law wife pregnant three times during his leaves; two daughters and a son. One daughter had to be on dialysis for failed kidneys.

Manuel spent five years in a state penitentiary while his family survived on welfare. The prison system tried to rehabilitate Manuel by teaching him several different trades. He had the best of intentions, but was unable stay out of trouble. Then he found religion and went to live in a church. Becoming fanatical, he began preaching from the bible to his family, friends, and strangers on the street. He claimed he tried to stay away from drugs, but even a drag of a cigarette or sip of beer would rekindle his addiction.

A combination of drugs and religion led to grandiosity. “I was greater than God. I really believed I was Jesus Christ”. Manuel took medication for his hallucinations. On drugs, he could temporarily cope. If he forgot, he’d become mentally and physically ill. Manuel began taking speed and cocaine again. His delusions and hallucinations became grandiose. One forensic psychiatrist described Manuel as a “walking time bomb”, a violent psychopath destined for evil and a forensic lifestyle.

Several authorized and unauthorized exits from QRS, a low security mental hospital, coincided with the mutilation deaths of young boys. Manuel was seen preaching on the streets near the scene of one crime. He was connected to other murder locations because of relatives who lived nearby. Manuel denied killing the boys. He insisted that a court appointed defense attorney talked him into copping a plea of insanity. He claimed he didn’t know anything about the legal system and just followed his lawyer’s advice.

“I was sold down the river. Everyone needed a murderer and I was him”.  Manuel was found criminally insane. There were no more mutilations of children after he was put away. I believed Manuel committed those crimes. I also felt compassion for him. He was born on the short end of a very hard thorny stick in the nature and nurture departments. I felt totally repulsed by him, but I also realized that Manuel might have been a very different person had he had real love and nourishment in his childhood. Manuel could have had a healthier and happier life with the right nurture.

I was reading everyone’s hands, but never shared anyone’s secrets with anyone else. Rehab staff knew, but considered me harmless. They were more neurotic than patients. Many had overdeveloped superegos. They only did what they knew they could get away with. A majority of patients had huge ids and no superego. They did what they thought they had to do, never thinking about the consequences of what they did. They saw only one solution to their problem. On the whole, patients had less peripheral lines in their palms than staff who were more confused.

patient vs staff

Soon a new art therapist would be in place. I began preparing for my prevocational classes. My favorite patients were ready to sign up. A few others I’d I tried to interest remained apathetic. I published an appeal for ‘prevocational classes’ in the ‘Scene’.

Mark is my name. I was `M’, the fortune teller at our Halloween celebration. Many of you know me as part-time art therapist. I’m actually an industrial designer. I design products for manufacturing companies and teach design at local colleges. I also offer workshops to help inventors manifest their creations. My job title here is `Vocational Instructor’.

One year ago (this week), I began working here. I hoped I could motivate many of you to nourish your natural talents and abilities. I planned to offer guidance and support on projects of your creation. I assumed you’d be inspired by an opportunity to work on your own projects. Over the past year, I‘ve heard many reasons why you can’t or don’t want to be involved. You’re so used to circumstances being hard, you can’t imagine anything else. Disappointment is too painful. You’re afraid to be enthusiastic. You’re afraid to trust anyone. Your self-esteem is too low. You’re not worthy or capable, but you are.

I’m appealing to anyone who feels inspired or curious about their potentials and is willing to make a commitment to a weekly schedule to work under my direction. You must be accepted to participate in my class. A brief interview with Mr. Cartozian, Rehab Counselor, will be required. His approval, along with the support of your treatment team will determine your eligibility. If you want my help, you’ve got it.

I promise to dedicate myself to helping class members make their projects a reality. Any project you choose is fine as long as it’s possible. Twelve students will participate in classes. There will be two work / study groups with six students each. Each will meet twice per week; one session on Tuesday and one session on Wednesday.

Here’s my vision: We’re motivated about our projects and willing to do whatever it takes to make them happen. We’re sharing in healthy and constructive ways and learning a lot from one another’s projects. Everyone is learning to draw and make things in our workshop. A variety of projects are happening; works of art, music, writing, and practical items like furniture, magazine racks, floral planters, and boxes of all shapes and sizes. If you can envision yourself in my class, please speak with me directly in the Rehab Department on a Tuesday or a Wednesday over the next several weeks.

Stay tuned as we finally begin vocational classes.

How I Lost my Sanity 4

Two patients were in the art room. One warily tucked in a corner, the other a pretty twenty something African-American woman quietly cutting paper with a child’s scissors.

I gently mused out loud. “You look so healthy and normal. Why are you here?”

“My psychiatrist tells me it’s because I feel no remorse for what I did.”

“What did you do?”

“I killed my roommate. I chopped her body up in the bathtub and flushed as much of her as I could down the toilet. The rest I put in black plastic garbage bags in a dumpster.”

“Did you think you would get away with that?”

“I didn’t think at all. I got the idea watching TV.”

“And you don’t feel badly about what you did?”

“I guess I’m sorry for her family. The girl is dead. There’s nothing I can do about that!”

Mary told me she grew up in a large family with no privacy. She applied for a single room at college, but had to have a roommate. Enduring a year, Mary applied again, but her roommate got it. Mary lost control of her mind and heart and eliminated the problem.

I was glad I’d survived the bog of bureaucratic bullshit. Many strange stories unfolded over the next several months. Every day promised fresh adventure. I was yearning to examine everyone’s hands, but didn’t. I couldn’t wait for astonishing tales and amazing artwork. Many patients had artistic talent. There were even a few professional artists in the group. I supported everyone’s creativity, going above and beyond the call of duty to acquire special materials and supplies for them to work with.

The first patient I bonded with was a refined and cultivated woman in her mid to late fifties. The circumstances that led to Betsey’s hapless and senseless captivity were bizarre. She lived on Treasure Island, a wealthy seaside community near Purgatory. Betsey ran an art gallery, was a gossip columnist in a local paper, and loved to garden. She was an active member of the local gardening community.

A Purgatory lawyer of considerable power purchased Betsey’s adjoining land and let it flourish with weeds and branches that draped sloppily onto her property. Her neighbor‘s lack of landscaping annoyed the hell out of Betsey. One very vexing afternoon, Betsey threatened to chop off every leaf hanging over her domain. Betsey grabbed her axe and severed every limb and brush extending over the line. She was calmly recuperating on her porch, when suddenly and unexpectedly, she was frightened by several police officers in plain clothes who marched aggressively through her gate.

Betsey picked up her axe and attempted to chase them away. The next thing she knew, she was sedated in a psychiatric hospital for further evaluation. Her neighbor had pulled some strings and managed to have her temporarily committed. That’s when extremely serious problems began for Betsey. She got so agitated that Thorazine was mandated and administered. Betsey had a bad reaction to the Thorazine and was rushed to a local hospital where her spleen had to be removed.

Betsey was not a criminal. Nor was she crazy. A series of unfortunate events led to her becoming caught in ‘The System’. Although Betsey had great character references and her son pleaded fervently for her release, no one seemed able to help her. Betsey’s attitude remained positive and optimistic, however, her mental and physical health continued to deteriorate while she lost three productive years of her life.

Everyone admired Betsey. I was the self-appointed president of her fan club. She could draw, paint, and sculpt. She won several patient art awards. Betsey was a positive role model for everyone. She was editor and illustrator of the patient newspaper, The Scene. Betsey also created signage for activities and events. I got special permissions for her to do creative seamstress work. I purchased (with my $) supplies like needles, threads, and unique fabrics for her to experiment with.

Love bug tarantulaBetsey designed lifelike stuffed insects, while planting the seeds of success in my mind. She inspired me to imagine a patient run cottage industry within the confines of our hospital that could serve sheltered workshops in a variety of social / medical networks. We could be their source for design and marketing.

green hand print with poster paintI became braver each day as I talked to patients about their lives. I wasn’t able to divulge or indulge my avocation, but I did begin to look as closely as I could at hands. I made crude prints with poster paint. I assumed that madness would show up in obvious aberrations of their hand morphology and topography. It rarely did, although there were many unusual hands. I saw a lot of frustration, anger, fear, and an uncanny clarity in their thinking. They only saw one solution to their problem, never considering the consequences.

 

I wouldn’t have predicted from their hands that most of these people would end up committed to mental institutions. Many patients lacked peripheral lines. They were more psychotic and less neurotic than the wounded egos and superegos that cared for them. Many of us have repressed rage, confused minds, and constipated emotions. The healthiest among us harness our strengths, choose our attitudes and actions, and embrace whatever challenges we meet on our path to becoming healthier.

Club ThumbI expected to see more, but saw only one club (murderer’s) thumb in the whole patient population. This guy was like Shrek. Motivated by his passions, he totally lacked impulse control. Another patient’s hands were so soft and supple that his bones felt barely attached. He had no energy, enthusiasm, or desire for anything. I observed a psychotic’s skin that was blood red with repressed rage. Other patient hands were so stiff you couldn’t flex their joints with a nut-cracker. These individuals were trapped, inside and out. I saw schizophrenic hands with two opposing sets of lines in each hand. I imagined two lost souls; opposites, suffering, struggling, and striving to find themselves through him.

Betsy and I loved the symbolism of the Tarot. We consulted the cards many times with many questions. Although we rarely heard what we wanted to hear, we always affirmed what we already knew. I collected birth dates, times, and places, but didn’t explain why.

Most artwork and poetry in The Scene came from the art room. The patient newspaper was a venue for creative expression for patients and staff. It offered hospital news and provided space for patients to express their concerns and share their creativity. It was an important venue because it provided an outlet for frustration, anger, and depression. We spent too way much time complaining and blaming our problems on ‘The System’ and each other. I appointed myself spiritual ambassador and diplomatic good sense maker. Our real enemies were our bad habits, bureaucracy, and time. We were a team whether we chose ‘to be or not to be’.

One patient who infected my psyche with doubt was a young black man in his early thirties who grew up in abusive foster homes. A gentle kindness lie beneath the surface of Fred’s blade sculpted façade. Fred was involved in violence, but it wasn’t knife fights and gang warfare that got him locked up. It was unrequited love. Fred obsessed over an innocent teenage girl who was allegedly taken from him by an older man Fred described as an `abusive maniac’. Fred created realistic ‘WANTED DEAD or ALIVE’ posters of the maniac and posted them all over town, offering a phony ten thousand dollar reward. Fred didn’t realize he was creating evidence that would end him in the looney bin.

Fred 2Fred’s large feminine hands, rectangular palms, long slender knotty fingers, and conical fingertips embody a ‘feeling’ type. It’s a great combo for cultivating intuition, being empathic, making and appreciating art, being good at research, organizing, and paying attention to detail. Fred’s long head line sloped into the heel of his hand, revealing a vivid imagination and rich fantasy life. Fred could copy anything perfectly. He could have been a master forger. I cheered his abilities and encouraged him to draw from real life. I convinced his treatment team and security on his ward to let him have pencils and paper and to allow him to draw with supervision when he asked for them.

political satireFred began a private sketch book. He amassed forty or fifty sketches and drawings in the first month that he showed to no one. I asked to see them. Reluctantly, Fred showed them to me. I was blown away. Several political caricatures like the one on the left were at the beginning. What stunned me were realistic pictures of staff sexually abusing patients. Patients were pleasuring staff in the sickest possible ways. Security, therapists, and patients were having bizarre sex using objects of pleasure and pain. Could they be that crazy? Can they get away it?

 

 

Fred certainly had a vivid imagination. There was no way he could have witnessed what he was portraying. I wondered if Fred’s friends were telling him their stories. He let me copy a few drawings. I contemplated the veracity of Fred’s artwork and shared it with Dolores. Betraying Fred’s trust was my greatest blunder and biggest regret. Dolores showed Fred’s drawings to the cabinet. Fred fought fiercely as his drawings and supplies were confiscated. It broke my heart to see him reduced to a drug induced stupor, an artistic genius, never to create (during my tenure) again. I felt responsible and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My second Mary was a high functioning extremely troubled patient. Mary believed she was Satan’s child, a bad seed. Mary said she was three when she first unsuccessfully tried to poison her sister. Then she failed to drown her in the bathtub. A few years later, she tied her to a tree in a lightning storm, hoping she’d be electrocuted. Mary’s staunch Catholic parents enrolled her in a devout fundamentalist Catholic school where they hoped to save her. Mary predictably became more twisted. At sixteen, Mary set a nun on fire and carved her to death with a broken bottle, saying, “The Devil made me do it”.

Mary's devilWhile residing in maximum security, Mary had etched (using a nail file) `666′ in the skin of her arms and legs. She also scratched and carved it into furniture. Mary produced many a dark artwork. I took her drawings home every chance I got. I was learning that it’s not what you do, but what you get away with and how you get away with it that matters.

 

susan atkin's handI don’t often see frightening hands, but Mary’s were scary. Her very stiff fingers curled inward like Susan Atkin’s (Charles Manson) creepy hands on the left. Mary’s skin was hard, dry, coarse, and reddish. She chewed her nails relentlessly, leaving them red, raw, and sore. Mary was self-critical to the theme of total self-hatred. I wished I could help her let go of her irrational terror, but Mary’s soul was hardboiled from a hellish reality of having to grow up in everyone else’s fundamentalist hypocrisy and insanity.

 

 

Mary had a huge crush on me. She was the first to arrive at the art room and the last to leave. I felt a little nauseous when I was alone with her. Even though I was repulsed, I always smiled and acted nice. One day, Mary generously offered to give me a quickie blow-job under my desk. I imagined Fred’s drawings and how easy it would be to become one of his vignettes. Then I thought about all of the abusive shepherds who physically and spiritually rape the lambs they were entrusted to protect. Did the terror of shame, guilt, and disgrace trigger their erotic fantasies? Was the fear of being caught a turn on? When did the Devil sow the seeds of evil so deep within their psyches?

Mary was hovering over me and monopolizing my attention. I got abrupt and impatient with her. The dark rings beneath her eyes began darkening as Mary began feeling rejected. When Mary left, Satan was hard at work, preparing her for evil that night on her ward. It was a full moon. The staff on her ward should have been more vigilant. They’re not lunatic asylums for nothing. After stealing the ‘six’ and ‘nine’ balls from the pool table, Mary loaded them in a black wool sock and nearly beat a new patient to death while she slept. The woman was there for a few days for psychiatric evaluation. Mary said she didn’t like the way the woman looked at her. I imagined she’d think twice before shoplifting again. I felt guilty and responsible. I should have said something.

Gene was the most incredible artist in the hospital. He’d been a successful commercial artist and advertising executive. Scuttlebutt was he’d created some of those TV ads that everyone loves to remember. Gene was unique. He lived like a celebrity on his ward. His private room, the only one, was outfitted with his own furniture, library, audio tape collection, and state of art stereo system, Bose headphones, and a grizzly bear rug.

Gene could have been free if he had wanted freedom and behaved accordingly. I tried to make good sense to Gene and convince him to become an active member of the real world. Gene made his own good sense. He had little interest in worldly freedom. He was free to love his literature, music, and art. I felt a bit jealous of his inner freedom.

A dark satanic aura shrouded Gene. His angry facial expressions and aggressive body language told a tale of uncontrollable rage from a horrible childhood. Gene was hostile. Everything about him screamed, “Stay away from me!” In a jealous fury, Gene slit his girlfriend’s throat from ear to ear. She not only survived, but didn’t press charges, then forgave him. But Gene couldn’t forgive himself. He told me he’d do it again.

Gene's portrait of meGene was the patient Dolores caught in the art supply closet with Janice. Gene and I had many philosophical discussions and co-created several artworks that I still cherish along with this life size pastel portrait which he drew of me. I think he very subtly captures my dark side.

Benny was Gene’s buddy. He was a strong fit black man in his early thirties. Benny’s phobia of homosexuality drove the former transit policeman to a bar full of gay men one late night with an automatic weapon. After freebasing crack, Benny slaughtered eight men.

Benny was uncooperative. He came up bi-yearly for forensic review. He believed he’d be set free one day, but was always rejected. One staff psychologist told me there was a ‘secret’ agenda to never let him go. It was in everyone’s best interest to humor him. If he found out, he’d lose hope, become violent, and need to be permanently medicated.

Jesus ChristMany patients were named after biblical figures and famous people. There were dozens of patients named Mary, Faith, Angel, Grace, and Hope. Whatever their parents had hoped, the reverse happened. Jesus Jefferson was double trouble. Jesus was Puerto Rican. He was the angriest patient in the hospital. Rejected countless times by forensic committees, Jesus had nothing left to lose. Everyone including staff steered clear of him.

 

Jesus had thrown his girlfriend, 3 year old child, and dog from a 17th story window. They died instantly when they hit the ground. Jesus had no remorse and never spoke of the incident. I had a fantasy that Jesus could be a powerful production manager in a patient run manufacturing business. Two staff psychologists agreed with me, but Jesus was too unpredictable and angry to ever be given any real opportunity to have responsibility.

There was never a dull day in the art room. The handsome young patient, just admitted, had cut his mother’s heart out and ate it with her favorite fork and knife on her favorite plate while reclining in her favorite chair. Another man was found combing his mother’s hair on her mantel piece, weeks after he had cut her head off. The entire residence was laden with lunatics and addicts who’d committed violent acts under the influence of rage and/or drugs. Schizophrenics, sociopaths, psychotics, and pathological liars flourished. One sociopath managed to have a Rolls Royce delivered to the hospital entrance as a result of conversations he had with a dealer from a pay phone in the hall of his ward.

If only I could put all of this talent to good use…

Author’s note: This is fiction set in the mid-eighties. Calling my protagonists ‘Patients’ is politically incorrect. ‘Clients’ and ‘Residents’ are used with less negative connotations and implications. For the record, I don’t call sick people ‘crazy’ or ‘lunatics’ in real life. My artwork has been altered and fabricated by me to fit my story.

Stay tuned as I get to know more patients and prepare to teach vocational classes.

Libra – Search for Other

Libra 2

Libra, the 7th sign of the zodiac rules the 7th house of marriage in western astrology. The autumn equinox is a time for partnership, sharing, and giving. Libras strive for balance, idolize harmony, dislike discord, and hate confrontation. They’re the best negotiators. Libras can be very decisive when it really matters, but they’re infamous when it comes to deciding where to go, what to eat, or what to wear. Libras love being frank and direct, but must realize that they may not be liked for it. They can be aggressive, indirect, and vague at the same time, and still manage to get their way. Some Libras tread a thin line between ethics and honesty. Maybe they know something that could change everything, but fail to mention it. Libras wield logic, tact, and diplomacy like a Samurai Swordsman. Athena’s mighty sword is applied with icy emotional detachment.

You don’t have to be born under the sign of Libra to have a Libra personality. Thinking types have square palms and long fingers. Dominant Libra types have long clear gently curving unobstructed headlines that fork near the percussion of the hand. A cultivated Libra sees every side of a situation. With straight and strong long pinkie fingers, they communicate clearly and directly. Dominant bottom and middle phalanges are favorable for commerce, banking, and real estate. A long top phalanx is best for public speaking, journalism, or law. Strong index fingers make ambitious hardworking managers and powerful leaders. A separation between head and life lines increases personal initiative and spontaneity. The wider the space, the more the person doesn’t care what others think. They do what they must do no matter what. Some Libras are blinded by their need to get their way. Trying to change a Libra’s mind is like playing a game of mental monopoly. The best strategy is to be direct and make good sense.

Healthy Libras have strong handshakes and firm pink elastic skin. Long graceful heart lines extend from under the pinkie to the base of the index finger, embodying romance and sentimentality. Sometimes a branch at the end of the heart line reaches down to touch the head line. These Libras can analyze, rationalize, and compartmentalize their feelings. It’s part of their duality to be hard and soft at the same time. Long vertical lines on the ball of the thumb within the life line are soul commitments to family and friends. The happiest Libras will have several clear lines parallel to their life lines.

Libras are idealistic, romantic, and refined. Aesthetics are important to them. You’ll see Libra professionals in chic designer clothing taking clients out to trendy restaurants. Political, legal, publishing, public speaking, public relations, marketing, higher education, and entertainment fields are burgeoning with Librans.

AthenaAthena is my favorite Libra archetype. Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Justice, Athena rules the strategic thinking required in combat. Odysseus (Libra) and Achilles (Aries) worshiped her. Often pictured as a handsome Goddess in battle armor, Athena holds a shield (Intuition) in one hand and a sword or spear (Thinking) in the other. She discards emotion to think with crystal clarity and cut to the quick. Athena is often pictured with the scales of justice and an owl on her shoulder to symbolize wisdom.

 

An Athena type came to me for a reading many years ago. I’ll call him Athen. Athen arrived on my doorstep dressed in an expensive designer suit and power tie. I greeted him in my t-shirt and jeans. As a master business plan writer, Athen seemed out of place consulting a palmist in an east village tenement apartment. A friend of his had attended one of my palmistry lectures and gave me a radiant referral.

Athen’s modus operandi was to find floundering companies and create compelling new products or services to point them in the direction of prosperity. In exchange for writing a first class business plan, Athen would receive a nominal fee and substantial stock options. An emperor of illusion, Athen would weave a sophisticated cloak of investment opportunity. Like a tailor, he threaded his needle with enough preferred non-voting stock to begin weaving his wardrobe. As plans took form, the company’s stock would appear more valuable. For a substantial retainer, Athen would help execute his concepts and guide management through the churning rapids of dramatic changes taking place within the company structure. Once the company was able to survive without Athen, he sold off large chunks of his stock and quickly moved on to the next project. Athen attempted to resuscitate several companies that failed without his help. He always prospered.

Athen explained that he was embroiled in a mid-eight-figure fiasco concerning securities fraud. The IRS was a monkey on his back. He needed strategies for the best ways to proceed. Although we resided in totally different worlds, Athen and I immediately hit it off. Thinking types can bounce ideas off each other for hours. We were archetypal from the get go. Athen was Pinocchio. I was Jiminy Cricket. Like Pinocchio, Athen was smart, but surprisingly naïve. Jiminy appeared because Pinocchio lacked a conscience.

It’s possible in business to be legal and unethical or immoral at the same time. If Athen were to put his ever growing nose in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might get chopped off. That’s what was happening. Athen offered me a generous retainer to be his “Jiminy Cricket”. I declined, but accepted occasional payments and gifts in exchange for my time, advice, and friendship. I used astrology to examine Athen’s timing and behavioral patterns. Tarot cards helped us gain better insight into his relationships.

Libra HandAthen is a thinking type with square palms and long fingers. His long unobstructed straight headlines and long straight and strong pinkie fingers with long bottom phalanges are great for commerce. Athen was inherently an honest and caring person. He was ambitious (strong index finger), hardworking, and blinded by his desire and need for freedom, power, and wealth. You can see from the separation between his head and life lines that Athen doesn’t lack initiative. He couldn’t care less what others think of him.

I decided the best way to communicate with Athen was to be direct and make good sense. His long graceful heart line extends to his index finger, representing a romantic and sentimental nature. You can see from the vertical lines within the ball of his thumb that Athen is deeply committed to his family and friends. I first tried appealing to his compassionate nature.

Why not design and promote healthy sensible products (like Paul Newman) and give as much profit as possible to charitable causes? Athen claimed he loved that idea, but rationalized that he needed to be personally more financially substantial before giving money away. I disagreed.

“Does the world really need another greasy french fry, addictive brew, or violent video game? Why can’t the same resources and labor be used to make healthier products and services? Why not make products more expensive and exploit less people along the way?” “More expensive means more grease”, according to Athen. A higher selling price means more time and money spent romanticizing and glamorizing a product or service. Selling less and making more money is a great idea, but doesn’t come cheap.

“It’s the grease”, Athen would say. Why do consumers pay so much more for caffeine at $tarbuck$?  What makes a person buy an expensive designer brand name when they can get the exact same generic item for less? Revolutionary new products or services are sometimes created and protected. Some become generic and incredibly profitable. Most products and services are just variations on existing themes. Athen offered viable alternative business strategies that seemed likely to happen well if well implemented.

It was easy to see who’d actually benefit and who wouldn’t. The cream always rises to the top. The problem is that every scheme where someone is making heaps of money means others are being deceived, exploited, or used. The poorest people are always scraping for pennies at the bottom of the barrel. Laws that protect masses of ordinary people are created long after the reason for them has been abused. It’s no secret that Philip Morris always knew cigarette smoking was unhealthy. By manipulating the legal system, they shirked their responsibilities and justified their actions.

Truman Capote, a Libra, innately understood how easy it is to manipulate truth and the legal system. “Even an attorney of moderate talent can postpone doomsday year after year, for the system of appeals that pervades American jurisprudence amounts to a legalistic wheel of fortune, a game of chance, somewhat fixed in favor of the criminal, that the participants play interminably.”

Jiminy Cricket guided Pinocchio who eventually found truth and became a “real boy”.  Athen and I weren’t so lucky. Athen ended up losing everything. In Libran style, he started over with fresh ideas, enthusiasm, and a dollop of grease. He’s still wheeling and dealing. Pinocchio and Jiminy keep in touch, but no longer collaborate.

ScottLisa

Scott is a Cardinal Thinking type. His Sun, Moon, Mars, and Jupiter are in the sign of Libra. That’s a lot of Libra. Scott has Scorpio rising and three planets in Scorpio. That’s a lot of fixity in the feeling department. Scott is head ruled, but soft hearted. Much of his emotional growth can be attributed to his partner Lisa, who is a Cardinal Feeling type. Her Sun, Venus, and Uranus are in Cancer. She’s heart ruled, but also a strategic thinker. She has to be in order to partner well with Scott. Scott and Lisa balance each other beautifully. Scott’s strong and firm hardworking hands have designed and built sustainable housing, planted and tended bountiful gardens, and nourished community. He’s also a Tai Chi master, baker, musician, song writer, and good friend. Lisa has strong hardworking multi-talented hands that create many wonderful multi-media works of art and produce many healthy expressive venues for children. www.pompanuck.org.

susan alancraigSusan was born on the same day and year as Scott. She has the same planets at the same degrees in different astrological houses. You’d think their hands would be very similar, but they’re very different. Observe the separation between Susan’s head and life line. She has long index fingers that are ambitious, but in a very different way than Scott. Notice how the fingers on her right (dominant) hand lean towards the index finger. A motivated natural giver, she has traversed much of the Third World In the Peace Corp with her partner Orin, helping less fortunate people live better lives. Her language and communication skills are refined. Susan sings in a chorale; her wonderful voice is a finely tuned instrument. She’s a great gardener, cellist, documentary photographer (my website photos), and good friend.

Cousin RichieMy Cousin Richie, Libra extraordinaire, philosopher, sculptor, and inventor; created Tangle, The Infinite Sculpture (designer series of interactive, interlocking, plastic elbows). Our mothers were sisters. We share the ancestral “happiness”, and “seeker” genes. I once said to Richie, “If you put the same religious fervor into saving the world as you have into plastic elbows, we’d be saved”. He replied, “I am saving the world, one Tangle at a time” He meant it.

Dalai LamaRichie has sold tens of millions of Tangles worldwide. I ran into a mutual friend on the streets of NYC who said he visited a monastery in Tibet and saw a picture of the Dalai Lama with a chrome Tangle in his lap. I wasn’t surprised. When I visited Richie at his gift show booth in NYC, he was talking with a very conservative buyer from Wal-Mart. I leaned closer to overhear what he was saying, “Let me show you the only product in this show worth more than money”. He meant it.

 

The hardest task in reading hands is learning to judge hands. One person’s long, rectangular, and firm might be another’s short, square, and soft. Rigorous practice is necessary to learn to observe and judge hands. Few of us are pure types. You may look at Cousin Richie’s fingers and see them as a bit short for a thinking type. I admit that if I didn’t know Richie, I may have seen his fingers differently, but the opposition between Libra and Aries is powerful. Dominant Libra opposes Aries as autumn opposes spring. Odysseus’s strategy fanned the flames of Jason’s passion on his quest for the Golden Fleece. Knowing Richie’s astrology and behavior has influenced how I see his hands.

GaryMy brother Gary has a Pisces sun. He’s a mutable feeling type. With Libra hands, he behaves more like a cardinal thinking type. Gary is a geriatric psychiatrist. I used to threaten to become one of his craziest patients, but then as a Gemini, I decided not to get old. Gary’s Libra temperament graciously and gracefully deals with the most stressful situations. Pisces gives Gary an ability to have the natural empathy and intuition that many Libras lack. Gary is a wonderful psychiatrist, husband, father, brother, son, and friend.

Heart line touching head lineYou don’t have to be an expert palmist to see certain truths in hands. When the end of a heart line dips down to touch the beginning of a headline, it’s unlikely the person will verbalize their deeper feelings, especially their negative emotions. Their rational mind controls a very impressionable heart. Add a short index finger and that wreaks havoc on a person’s self-esteem. It makes trying to offer advice to anyone with that combination a challenge for anyone who wants to help. From their personal history, you may learn that one or their parents was emotionally or physically absent during the person’s formative years.

Mohandas GandhiOne highly principled Libra was Mohandas Gandhi, spiritual leader, lawyer, and civil rights champion in early twentieth century India. He promoted non-violent disobedience and began India’s freedom movement. Gandhi must have had huge empathy and unshakable conviction to overcome the inertia of his short index fingers. Dennis Kucinich, a Libra, and a long shot in the 2004 presidential campaign, promised to make non-violence a priority by establishing a “Department of Peace”. Russian president Vladimir Putin is a Libra. He was nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Bruce Springstein “The Boss”, has captivated masses for 30+ years with his charisma. Jim Henson and John Lennon were also Libras who mesmerized masses of followers.

SleepingBeautySleeping Beauty symbolizes a search for self through other. Prince Charming (Aries) rescues SB from her hundred year sleep. He bestows a magic kiss that enables her to awaken. They ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Many Libras have unrealistic expectations of relationships that end up a disappointing reality. Most Libras prefer to be married. A marriage license may be a legally binding contract, but it doesn’t guarantee love.

 

Winnie the PoohWinnie the Pooh (Libra) tries to find balance in his life by “think, think, thinking”. Somehow, he always manages to get a pot full of honey for himself. Christopher Robin (Aquarius) knows what’s best for everyone. Winnie lives in the hundred-acre wood with his friends, Piglet (Gemini), Rabbit (Virgo), Roo (Sagittarius), Tigger (Leo), and Eeyore (Capricorn).

Everyone has Libra, Venus, and a 7th house in their astrology. Deep down, we know what’s honest, true, and fair. Most of us have ethical and moral values and boundaries. We also know right from wrong and fear the consequences of our betrayals. It’s easy to analyze, rationalize, and compartmentalize our bad habits and behaviors. “Laws keep honest people honest”, “Locks keep honest people out”, and “Contracts are only as good as the people who sign them” are aphorisms that describe Libran logic.

Historically, when the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited the sign of Libra, forces of good and evil clashed as we tried to find a balance between optimism, pessimism, tolerance, prejudice, progress, and regress. There was not much social or political stability during these periods.

While the planet Neptune (Pisces) transited the sign of Libra from 1942 to 1957, Nuclear weapons began proliferating. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  President Truman instructed the Atomic Energy Commission to produce an even bigger `Hydrogen Bomb’. The United Nations began blossoming. International cartels became firmly established. The European Common Market was recognized. The civil rights movement flourished. Group psychology became popular. The World Council of Churches was established. Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini, founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was the first American citizen canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

The art world went through dramatic changes.  Allen Ginsberg became a popular poet writing, “I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”. When Neptune left Libra in 1957, the bestselling novel was Peyton Place   focusing on sexual intrigue in a small town. People born between 1942 and 1957 tend to be overly idealistic in relationships.  They must learn to harmonize, compromise, and sacrifice.

While the planet Uranus (Aquarius) transited the sign of Libra from 1968 to 1975, the spirit of our nation shifted from optimism to pessimism. Faith in progress turned into disillusionment with national institutions and world progress. This period was marked by useless popular inventions like the “pet rock”, giant platform shoes, and shag haircuts. Punk Rock, along with primal therapy and streaking became popular. The Supreme Court legalized abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy (Roe vs. Wade). Governor Wallace, a racial bigot from Alabama, announced that he would be running for President on the newly formed American Independent Party ticket. He threatened to repeal the “so called civil rights laws”. Meanwhile, the most popular show on TV was a comic satire about a racist named Archie Bunker. Diplomat Henry Kissinger approved the financing of clandestine CIA activities in Chile aimed at preventing the election and inauguration of Salvador Allende as Marxist President. Patty Hearst was kidnapped and brainwashed by the Symbionese Liberation Army. A military junta deposed Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

While the planet Pluto (Scorpio) transited the sign of Libra from 1971 to 1983, growers and pickers finally reached a settlement that ended a nearly ten year grape boycott (led by Cesar Chavez). Farm workers finally had bargaining power. This time marked the official beginning of the environmental movement. The Supreme Court upheld busing as a way of integrating schools.  An assassination attempt left presidential candidate George Wallace paralyzed from the waist down. Prime Minister Idi Amin slaughtered over 300,000 Ugandans and alienated his country from the rest of the world. Violence in Ireland forced Britain to seize control of Northern Ireland and suspend the Protestant controlled parliament. An arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization terrorized the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich. In 1975 South Vietnam crumbled, bringing an end to the Vietnam War. Because of the Karen Ann Quinlan case, `right to die’ rulings were enacted all across the USA. The serial killer “Son of Sam” was finally put away after terrorizing the male and female population of NYC. Religious fanatic Jim Jones got his followers to commit suicide. John Lennon was murdered.

John Lennon - Imagine

John Lennon 1940 – 1980

“Imagine there’s no country,

It isn’t hard to do.

Nothing to kill or die for,

And no religion, too.

Imagine all the people.

Living life in peace”

 

How I lost my Sanity 3

three patients in one flew over the cuckoo nestAfter six to eight working days, I’d met nearly all of the patients. There were five men’s wards and one women’s ward. The wards traveled around the hospital individually, escorted by SHTA’s. Two or three wards at a time would meet in the rehab department for recreational or religious services. Many patients found religion while incarcerated. There were evangelists, fundamentalists, and self-styled ministers. It seemed like everyone attended every service, even the agnostics, atheists, and heretics. I counted three or four Jewish patients in the mix. Jewish services were the most ludicrous of all. Patients of every shape, size, color, and religious denomination wore yarmulkes (skullcaps) and pretended to partake while chanting a sort of pigeon Hebrew. For attending religious services, patients received extra rewards such as cigarettes, tea bags, and candy. They also hoped to earn a few brownie points with God and the forensic committee when they came up for evaluation.

The next several months were both enlightening and frustrating. It became obvious that I needed more clinical training specific to a forensic population. I attempted to reach out from the Rehab department and make allies on the treatment teams and in the cabinet. Unfortunately, protocol and position are your guides in public service. If you go directly to someone outside of your department on your own initiative, it can be misconstrued as a breach of faith or as a failure on the part of your supervisor to control her staff. Every employee generates truckloads of surplus paperwork and asks permission in writing for everything. I was rejected and Dolores was reprimanded.

My initial impression of the patients was that they were generally dull and apathetic, appearing to be motivated by bribery or extortion. They were bribed with cigarettes (nicotine), candy (sugar), tea bags (caffeine), and little packets of Sanka. These were rewards for good behaviors that I believed were ultimately harmful and destructive. Extortion was punishment for bad behaviors; no rewards, no activities, temporary isolation, or mandatory drug treatments. I was observing `Pavlov 101′ in practice.

Jack Nicholson - The ShiningThere were two types of patients. Nearly all had committed acts of violence. Some were briefly there for psychiatric evaluation. Others were assigned for long term care by the court system because they were too unfit to stand trial or too disturbed to be in a normal prison setting. There were a few mass murderers and serial killers. In person, you’d never know it as they appeared meek, apathetic, and ordinary. I enjoyed chatting with them. As they grew to trust me, they revealed their hopes, dreams, fears, tales of intrigue, and horrors.

Reading handsI was steadily earning the trust and respect of the rehab staff. Within a month, I’d read Dolores’s hands and was being asked by other staff members to share my insights and observations with them. The rehab staff was caring and well meaning. I observed unhealthy doses of neurosis combined with fear, paranoia, and overdeveloped senses of responsibility, obligation, and guilt. I tried my best to be constructive, helpful, and leave everyone feeling hopeful.

I suggested to Dolores that she practice saying “NO”. I advised Zandor not to react negatively to criticism, even if it was personal. I encouraged Billy (Skinny) to lighten up and see reality as it is and not how he wants it to be. I encouraged Luscious Lips to let go of his guilt, cultivate good habits (like controlling his indulgences), and begin to schedule activities to look forward to in his life. I applauded Barbara’s ability to maintain clear boundaries and thanked her for her honesty with herself and everyone else. I cheered Maya’s energy and enthusiasm. I let her know I supported whatever she wanted for herself. I encouraged Janice to see and express herself creatively.

Simian line

My reputation as a hand analyst spread quickly. Soon, I was in the hospital director’s office reading her hands. Dr. Helga presented a caring and friendly demeanor, but after examining her hands for a couple of minutes, I was positive she was acting. She had the stiffest hands and fingers I’d ever felt, along with inwardly curving pinkie fingers, and a deep clear simian line in her dominant hand. Her knotty fingers and long index finger were well suited for detailed directorial work. I imagined her father had been a German SS or gestapo who ran a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. There was no place for emotion in Helga’s dysfunctional formative years. She was calculating, very ambitious, and could not tolerate disobedience. She ordered me to never discuss what I saw with anyone and told me in no uncertain terms to stay away from patient hands. I gained insight into the cabinet by reading several members directly and by observing others surreptitiously at meetings and in casual exchanges without their permission.

It took six months to learn the ropes while I generated and accumulated huge masses of paperwork and proposals. I was nearly ready to present my syllabus for prevocational classes to the cabinet when the hand of fate unexpectedly intervened and a quirky thing happened. Dolores accidentally caught Janice, the art therapist, in the art supply closet with her skirt up around her ears. She was dispensing her own personal method of emotional and physical therapy to one of the male patients. Janice was fired instantly.

Janice had self-destructed. I had lucked out. There was no art therapist and I was the only staff member qualified to fill in until another was hired. I knew quite a bit about art.  That I didn’t know the first thing about art therapy or forensic psychology didn’t seem to faze anybody. I was thrilled to put everything aside to become the new substitute art therapist. I’d really get to meet the patients. Nearly all of them frequented the art room. It was their chance to play with art materials and express themselves creatively. They could sculpt with clay, draw and paint, make collages, write poetry, and play music.

The art room was small and private (14’X 14′). I was happy about that because in addition to having the potential for real intimacy, I was required to inventory every pencil, crayon, scissor, and even staple. These were all considered potentially dangerous weapons. Everything in Rehab was either bolted down or fastened together with special screws and nuts that required special tools to unfasten. Every precaution was taken to protect us from patients and patients from themselves and each other.

Jack Nicholson - The Shining 2One very crazy patient who seriously creeped me out was James. Whenever James’s mother visited him, staff would find him mutilating his genitals with a paperclip, staple, or whatever could cause damage. James eventually died of AIDS after repeatedly letting the other male patients have their way with him sexually. I stayed far away from James’s hands, but do remember the ugly brown tobacco stain between the tips of his index and middle fingers from letting cigarettes burn down to ash without taking a puff.

 

Initially, I was cautious around patients. I tried to be helpful and spoke little except when spoken to. Sometimes, I’d sketch the patients. I was talented at drawing and sculpting and they began asking for artistic advice. I was happy to provide tips and tricks. It took over six months to locate a new art therapist. It was during this time that I would meet a dozen patients who would influence my destiny.

Stay tuned to meet the patients…

Author’s note: Unless you’ve read the first episode of ‘How I lost my Sanity’, you may not realize it’s fictional. I’ve written it in the same voice as my non-fiction writing, which might create confusion. As I break rules of grammar and syntax, along with a generous helping of political and social incorrectness, a dark light is being shed on the protagonist. I’ve been advised to produce a separate blog for fiction. One friend suggested I write in the third person. For now, I plan to keep posting episodes.

I’m using characters from movies to parody and give faces to the characters in my story. If my novella ever becomes popular, I’ll have to radically alter the images or get permission from the powers that be to use them. If you have any thoughts, ideas, feelings, suggestions, advice, or whatever about anything, please feel free to comment.

How I lost my Sanity 2

fingerprintMy first few days of work were about rules, regulations, and self-defense. There were many more don’ts than do’s. We (newest recruits) were sworn to secrecy, fingerprinted, and instilled with awkward feelings of mistrust. Orientation was designed to help new staff members understand the organizational goals, policies, and procedures affecting job safety, security, performance, and delivery of care. Mainly, we filled out forms, questionnaires, surveys, and evaluations. We were briefed on the nature, structure, and policies of the facility. We learned about patient rights and privileges, rights and privileges of staff, and hospital policy.

The largest portion of hospital staff were security called SHTA’s. They accompanied patients to every activity. I attended life safety training with them: CPR, First-Aid, and Management of Violent Patient Behavior (MVPB). A violent person could `go off’ and all we could do was to defend ourselves. We weren’t permitted to be aggressive. We were taught Judo style moves by serious martial artists and laughed heartily as we fell, flipped each other on gym mats, and got to know each other. We were encouraged to nickname one another to help us connect. Based on obvious personal peculiarities our nicknames stuck. There was `Skinny’, `Luscious Lips’, `Gigolo’, and `Tortoise’. I was `Smiley’. Forever after, we addressed each other by our nicknames.

Fighting with patients was a scary idea. Despite my comprehensive training in self-defense, I envisioned myself grabbing the nearest chair and clobbering a violent patient over the head in a crisis. I’d be instantly fired and then indicted on criminal charges. Fortunately for everyone, most of the furniture was anchored to the floor or walls with specially designed hardware to prevent that kind of violence.

When I wasn’t watching over my shoulder for violent patients, I was cautioned to be on the lookout for ‘bacterial pathogens’ which cause disease. A lot of patients have hygiene problems and are unhealthy. Samplings are taken regularly from surfaces around the hospital in order to monitor disease. There were patients with AIDS. In 1986, that was scary! What if a patient with AIDS bit a staff member? We were briefed extensively on care and prevention. This job began to seem more than a little risky.

How I lost my sanity 2.1I stationed myself ten feet inside the locked entry to the Rehab department. As I waited to meet the patients, I pressed my back against a wall and fiddled anxiously with my fingers. My stomach grumpily complained. When the door finally opened, the most motley crew nature had ever assembled meandered in, looking like animated R. Crumb characters. Many had deranged looks in their eyes. They were so whacky that I felt like laughing. I imagined many had been given massive doses of thorazine. I was seeing my first twenty of over one hundred fifty violent criminals. I couldn’t wait to find out who had done what. I’d heard that there were a few notorious celebrities in the mix, but didn’t obseve any yet.

keys to the looney binI was given a photo I.D. that I had to wear at all times and keys for areas I had access to within the hospital. Keys were given upon entering the hospital and deposited before leaving. Patients observed me with glaring gazes, furtive glances, and random glimpses. I knew they saw me as one more ‘keeper of the keys’ who was trying to figure them out, discipline, or rehabilitate them. One thing for sure, I wasn’t one of them (yet).

I was directed to sit in on patient activities, assist rehab staff, and familiarize myself with patients. The first few days were uneventful. Important goals were getting the patients to brush their teeth, comb their hair, and to try not to be generally disgusting. Another important goal was to get them to stay awake and participate in activities such as art, music, education classes, and exercise. There were no interesting conversations yet.

The rehab staff consisted of nine members. Dolores was Director of Rehab Services. I was right about her. She was caring, but ineffective. She couldn’t say ‘no’ to anyone. She let me serve my half-time position by working two ten-hour days while the hospital’s needs would have been better served if my time were spread over three days.

My `other half’ was a furniture maker and restorer named Billy. Billy was tall, thin, and very bony. He looked like a scruffy middle aged Abraham Lincoln. Billy was one of the hardest working, enthusiastic, and idealistic persons I’d ever met. Like me, he’d never had ‘a job’. An eccentric renegade from societal rules and regulations, Billy maintained a furniture restoration and refinishing business. Like me, Billy had a hidden agenda. His was unselfish and equally unrealistic. He believed that he could actually rehabilitate these crazies and turn them into functioning members of society.

BillyBilly’s ‘feeling hands’ had rectangular palms and long fingers. A general hardness and stiffness in his fingers, along with his knotty joints added to his need to control his physical and mental life. His especially long middle fingers bent towards the top of his ring fingers. As an oversensitive perfectionist with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, obligation, and guilt, Billy would spend endless hours thinking about what actions he would take next.

 

Insane SantaBilly and I tried to set mutual goals, but my hidden agenda clashed with his. Billy wanted to turn patients into furniture restorers. I wanted to help, but I wanted private time with patients. Billy committed to creating a sheltered wood working shop. I committed to offering design classes to higher functioning patients. I’d also help Billy set up a workshop that would serve the entire patient population. I named the picture on the left ‘Insane Santa’. I’m sitting on Billy’s lap making fun of our Xmas celebration.

ZandorThe Rehab staff was a smorgasbord of affirmative action. Zandor was rehabilitation counselor and second in command. He was Estonian. Zandor should have had Dolores’s job, but management didn’t want a person they couldn’t control in that position. Zandor’s ‘thinking hands’ were complemented by his strong handshake, firm elastic skin, long straight fingers, square tips, and open and frank nails. Zandor had also been abused by too many years in state service. He had a grievance pending against the Public Employees Union for their obvious discrimination against him. Despite unfavorable circumstances, Zandor always presented himself with pride, integrity, and dignity. We quickly became comrades.

BruceBruce (Luscious Lips) arrived at the same time as Billy and me. His meaty practical hands had square palms and short square fingers that were soft and supple with dominant plump third phalanges. His head and life lines were tied together at their beginnings. He was a Taurus type and a huge procrastinator. Bruce was in charge of recreation. He’d served state social service agencies throughout his entire work experience. Sweet and mild mannered, his desire to make a real difference had dulled from too many years of compliancy to authority, rules, and regulations. Bruce had gone as high as he could in institutional politics. He was caring and attentive with the patients, but seemed depressed and resigned to mediocrity the rest of the time. The only times Bruce revealed real passion and genuine enthusiasm was when we talked about gourmet food or going fishing together.

BarbaraBarbara was the school teacher on our team. Her goal was to help as many patients as possible reach high school equivalency. She was a large boned middle aged Afro-American woman and a very kind person. I don’t remember her hands except for her large broad nails and the sparse clear lines engraved in her palms. Barbara had spent many years in state service. She was one of a few who managed to maintain a sense of humor and a life outside of her work. She complained the least of any full time staff member and always kept her cool. Once during English class, one of the male patients pulled out his huge erect penis and started jerking off. Barbara walked over, looked straight in his eyes and without raising her voice calmly said “please excuse yourself and go to the bathroom”. He did. I wished I could have read her report about it.

Bob was the librarian. He reminded me of a Spam and Velveeta cheese on Wonder bread sandwich. Bob was a real life Walter Mitty. He was helpful when asked, but most of the time, gazed into the distance under thick lensed wire rimmed glasses. Whenever I think of him, I can still feel his cool damp mashed potato hand shake that confirmed his total lack of will power, energy, and enthusiasm.

Andrew was art therapist when I arrived. The only thing I recall about him is that he sent his estranged daughter a gross of condoms for her sixteenth birthday. He quipped in his southern drawl, “If she’s going to do it, might as well be safe.” The newest art therapist was Janice. Janice was an unsuccessfully aging frustrated artist in need of a steady income. There was a frequent staff turnover of art therapists.

MayaMaya was recreational therapist. She was young, very private, and a very athletic Afro-American woman. Maya managed sports activities and the patient newspaper, the Scene. Staff liked Maya. Patients loved her. Her powerful ‘intuitive hands‘ were well suited for sports like football, soccer, and wrestling. Everyone thought Maya was gay, but that was nobody’s business.

 

I was a card carrying member of a band of misfits in search of a fit. On the whole, I liked the rehab staff and felt like I was becoming part of a team. I looked forward to our working together and began to imagine that we might actually make a real difference…

Stay tuned as I prepare to meet the patients…

Virgo – Search for Order

Virgo

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”  Stephen King (9/21/47)

You don’t have to be a Virgo to have a Virgo personality. Most adaptable of practical types, Virgo’s square palms and short fingers are less meaty looking and more flexible at the joints than Taurus hands. Capricorn hands tend to be paler in coloration with flatter palms and more developed first knots on lean fingers. Their dominant middle fingers are often crooked or lean toward the ring finger. Well-developed second knots, square fingertips, and short fingernails on any type add more Virgo qualities. If you chew your nails, you’re more self-critical and critical of others, no matter what your type. People with seriously bitten down nails tend to be contrary and choose the other side of an argument just to make a point, even when they agree with the other person.

Virgo is essential where discriminating, reliable, modest, and orderly service is required. Famous for cleaning up everyone else’s messes, Virgos can become overly thorough and meticulous. Ego gratification is not a primary motivation for Virgo, however, it’s vital to value and appreciate them. They seldom ask enough for themselves, but are aware of what they’re worth. They must always be respected and never taken for granted.

Short fingered people (especially intuitive types) dislike details and need to see the whole picture. Contrary to popular belief, Virgo doesn’t enjoy mundane details. They’re pragmatic and practical about them. They do whatever needs to be done, but they can also lack breadth and long-range vision when they get too caught up in the tasks at hand. Virgos must work hard, feel useful, and cherish every grain of what they earn.

Accounting, medical, nursing, social work, health food, maintenance, and cleaning professions are magnets for Virgo types.

carly fiorinaAristaeus `Guardian of the flocks and farming’ in Greek myth is an archetype of Virgo. Aristaeus taught man bee-keeping. He represents the human capacity to dedicate self in service to others. One female former CEO of a fortune 500 company is conservative Virgo, Carly Fiorina. Carly would like to be our Republican President. Despite unfavorable publicity concerning her tenure at HP, she appears to practice what she preaches. With her intuitive left hand’s straight short fingers and rectangular palm, Carly asks us to “Challenge the mind and capture the heart”. Bernie Sanders, a virtuous Virgo, has my vote.

john McCainVirgos who have done the work and earned the rewards include: Writers Agatha Christie and Leonard Cohen; Lawyers Alan Dershowitz and Marcia Clark; Financiers J.P. Morgan and Warren Buffet, Actors Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Paul Walker, Keanu Reeves, Blake Lively, and Cameron Diaz; Singers Michael Jackson and Beyonce’ Knowles; and Political figures Margaret Trudeau, Lyndon Johnson, George Wallace, Yasser Arafat, and John McCain (Taurus hands with intuitive fingertips).

 

 

CadeuceusIn Greek mythology, Virgo is earthy and practical and symbolizes the more scientific and technical aspects of thinking. Virgo is smart, but Gemini is headier. Ideas are more important than practicality. Mercury rules both signs. He’s a messenger with winged feet holding a caduceus (symbol for medicine).  Virgo rules healthcare. Some Virgos worry too much about their health.

Back in the early 80’s, a young man puzzled me with his question. “When am I going to die?” A perfect specimen of Virgo, he was powerfully built, energetic, handsome, smart, and talented. He took excellent care of himself. His strong well-balanced square palms and short straight fingers had long clear deeply engraved lines. He had pink elastic skin, firm consistent palms, and fairly flexible wrist and finger joints. I was thinking about how lucky he was when I realized I was reading the hands of someone with AIDS. I replied, “I don’t know. Only god has the answer to your question”.

AIDS was a homosexual disease, a death sentence at the time. I didn’t have a clue how to look for AIDS in his hands. Nothing stood out. I didn’t know how to counsel him and said, “You’re a naturally healthy type. If anyone can beat this disease, you can.” I felt awkward talking about his positive qualities because he didn’t want to hear about them. I was unable to help and didn’t charge for his consultation. I spent several years after that volunteering twice weekly at centers for AIDS. I printed hands of people with AIDS regularly in order to monitor the progress and regress of the disease. I’d begun to recognize symptoms in the skin ridge patterns, but found myself needing to let go after two years. Lack of adequate funding, time, and technical information made it impossible for me to be thorough or scientific.

One AIDS housing provider retained me to entertain clients twice weekly as a fortune teller. Most AIDS afflicted individuals suppress their potentials because they obsess on the harsh reality of their impending mortality. My mission was to identify their strengths and weaknesses and inspire them to continue making positive choices for themselves. Many clients looked forward to their weekly astrology, hand, and tarot readings.

The healthcare industry is Virgo’s mundane correspondence. Everyone has physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual health challenges. Good health is our birthright. We deserve to be healthy. Our western healthcare system has cultivated a supermarket mentality. Health insurers care more for profit than people. Politicians, money managers, and managed care providers formulate and enforce the rules of the game. HMO executives prosper while doctors are forced to ignore root causes and treat symptoms. When Saturn was last in Virgo from 9 / 2007 – 10 / 2009 (recession), seeds for structural change to the health industry and the affordable care act were sown.

Nails and Health

Fingernails are considered windows to a person’s health. Some illnesses that can be diagnosed by examining nails are anemia, thyroid disease,  malnutrition, carpal tunnel syndrome, psoriasis, eczema, disease of the liver, heart,  lungs, and colon, chronic respiratory disease, lymph system problems, diabetes, Raynaud’s disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, Hodgkin’s disease, and sickle-cell anemia.

Laura examining her handYour health is in your hands and you can see it. In the days before computerized medical diagnosis, doctors used their intuition, tasted a patient’s urine, looked into their eyes, and examined the tongue, skin, and especially hands to diagnose illness. Hands reflect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

 

 

Dozens of stress related problems and some types of cancer can be detected in the fingerprints and skin ridge patterns (dermatoglyphics). Conditions of lines in the hands can indicate conditions of the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, stomach, and male and female systems. When I see a potentially serious health problem in the hands, I don’t diagnose. I calmly let my clients know I’m not a health expert and suggest they see a specialist.

Many health problems are natural predispositions to specific characters. Know the type and know the corresponding potential health problems. Here’s a list of generalized health issues that correspond to particular character types. Click to learn more.

Dominant index finger ~ blood disorders, liver trouble, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and problems with hips, thighs, and throat. Most health challenges result from overindulging in food and drink.

Dominant middle finger ~ skin problems, teeth with age, knees, ligaments, secretion of bile, skeletal, left ear deafness, paralysis, rheumatism, gout, hardening of the arteries, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins.

Dominant ring finger ~ eyesight, heart, and blood circulation.

Dominant pinkie finger ~ nervous, bronchial, and respiratory systems, thyroid gland, headaches, memory loss, and speech impediments.

Dominant ball of thumb ~ throat, lymphatic system, venereal diseases, heart and circulation, and nervousness.

Dominant heel of hand ~ bodily fluids, stomach problems, tumors, female disorders, epilepsy, mucous membranes, gout and rheumatism, kidney and bladder, and mental illness.

Dominant thumb and percussion of hand ~ inflammations, acute fevers, infections, muscular disorders, blood diseases, hemorrhage, infectious and contagious diseases, throat and chest trouble, and high blood pressure.

Scorpio types ~ reproductive system, ruptures, hemorrhoids, ulcers, venereal diseases, and problems with prostate or urethra.

Aquarian types ~ ankle weakness, anemia, cramps, heart weaknesses, nervous diseases, varicose veins, and sensitive skin.

Piscean types ~ feet and toes including bunions and gout, colds, mucous discharges, tumors, drug addictions, and liver troubles.

Bernie SerottaBernie Serotta passed from the physical to the ethereal plane in 2004. Bernie was a Pisces with Virgo hands. It’s easy to see his warm, open, friendly, hardworking, and practical nature from his dominant hand. His square palm and short fingers seem to be saying, “Hello, goodbye, and I have nothing to hide”. Bernie owned and operated a hardware store in Saratoga, NY for forty years. He graciously served his family and community. Bernie was retired when we met. His strong Virgo opposition finally let go so that his less practical more magical Pisces nature could become more important to him as he aged. We often chatted about art, music, and philosophy. He practiced violin and enjoyed playing chamber music with other musicians. Bernie continued to do good deeds for family and friends until the end. I never felt judged by Bernie. I was honored, accepted, and embraced for being me.

When Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited the sign of Virgo, ways in which we viewed health, environment, and civil rights was shaken and changed. Neptune entered Virgo in 1929 and manifested its dark nebulous side. Wall Street crashed and catalyzed the great depression. When Neptune left Virgo in 1943, we were submerged in turmoil from the Second World War. Mass propaganda and deception had poisoned the rationality of Germany. Millions of people were exterminated in the name of racial purity.

Humanitarians and labor unions were born during this period. New concepts in medicine such as psychosomatic illness were presented. Too many neurotics feared too much reality and responsibility. “We Want Beer” marches were held in cities across the country to protest prohibition, which was successfully repealed.

Charlie ChaplinCharlie Chaplin’s motion picture, Modern Times, was released. The top money making movie of 1938 was Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The best-selling book of 1936 was Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Silk stockings transformed into nylon stockings thanks to Dupont, who was unable to satisfy the demand for them. Gasoline rationing was put into effect in 1942. A new mold discovered on cantaloupe yielded ten times the penicillin as previous sources and reduced shortages. People who were born between1929 and1943 with Neptune in Virgo must “serve or suffer”.

Hey MonsantoWhen transformational Pluto entered the sign of Virgo in 1957, we realized that we’d become slaves to scientific and technological trends. Awareness of the dangers of chemical pollutants affecting our environment came into consciousness. Environmental special interest groups were formed. Geneva nuclear test ban talks reconvened. Official school prayers became unconstitutional. People born from 1957 to 1971 were consumers of bottled water and health foods which became huge business successes.

 

When Pluto left Virgo in 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. The Times published government documents about the history of the Vietnam War that revealed that the American public had been consistently lied to. Anti-war demonstrators protested in Washington where two thousand Vietnam veterans rallied. Many threw their combat medals on the steps of the capitol. Ellsberg was indicted for espionage and conspiracy. The 26th amendment giving eighteen year olds the right to vote became law.

As revolutionary Uranus transited the sign of Virgo from 1962 to 1968, `good health’ consciousness began with natural and organic foods. Rachel Carson’s bestselling book Silent Spring highlighted ecology and stimulated concern for widespread damage caused by pesticides and technological progress. Holistic healers appeared. Cigarette companies were forced to print health warnings.

martin luther king 2Civil rights became turbulent. Voter registration drives and segregation protests increased. Several thousand black and white supporters were arrested. A black church in Birmingham Alabama was bombed killing four girls. Two more blacks died in riots following the bombing. President Johnson signed the most important civil rights act in US history on July 2 1964, integrating all public accommodations and prohibiting job discrimination. Malcolm X was assassinated while speaking in NYC in 1965. Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court justice in 1967. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis while supporting a sanitation worker’s strike in 1968. Riots in 125 cities after his death resulted in 46 more deaths.

Robert KennedySenator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles shortly after becoming the Democratic front-runner for the presidential nomination. Anti-Vietnam war rallies were being held in major cities and universities across the country.

 

 

bob dylanThe worst earthquake in modern history leveled Anchorage Alaska. Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine and inoculated the masses. The first transatlantic TV broadcast was made via AT&T’s privately owned satellite Telstar. The first televised presidential debates were broadcast. Russians crash landed the first spacecraft on the moon. Pop Art had its first exhibition. Rock & Roll became popular. The Beatles skyrocketed to musical fame and fortune. Bob Dylan became a star while singing about the hypocrisy of American values and culture. People born 1962 – 1968 have abundant ability to analyze, organize, and compartmentalize their lives.

HOW I LOST MY SANITY

round self portrait

“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding.” Hermes

Boundaries of TemptationYou may think you know your dark side or you may know someone who has been devoured by theirs, but until you’ve been seduced by madness, breached your sacred boundaries, and tasted the forbidden fruit; you won’t experience the boundless breadths and desperate depths of darkness in your psyche or know your abyss.

While purging my darkness in Scorpio nine months ago, I began writing a post for my blog about a shadowy experience of over thirty years ago. That tale has morphed into an illustrated novella, based in fact, but camouflaged and exaggerated by fiction. I hope you wonder what actually happened. I’m only promoting the first of ten weekly episodes. Sign up for more if you like it. Episode two won’t automatically appear in your feed.

This is a tale of hands and of how I tempted fate and lost my sanity. My story is painted in black and white with insanity as black and sanity as white. Oppositions fuel our awareness as our allegories guide us from our whitest whites to our blackest blacks. Love and hate are extremes of the same essence with like and dislike represented by varying degrees of gray illuminating the halls of opposites. When does pleasure stop and pain begin? Where does happiness end and misery begin?

One bleak November evening, as I was leafing through the magazine section of the Tartarus Times, a display ad caught my eye ~ ‘Forensic Psychiatric Center Seeking Industrial Designer’. I’d been an industrial designer. The concept of combining function with beauty while creating something useful and meaningful had inspired me to sign up. I believed an industrial design degree would enable me to manifest my innovative ideas for sustainable energy and transportation. Many of my fellow student designers were searching for that ‘pet rock’ that would transform them into instant millionaires. I too wanted to earn my fortune, but hoped it would happen from working on meaningful projects. I had no interest in fashion for the sake of fashion and hated waste.

Overly optimistic, idealistic, and ahead of my time, I was soon to learn the harsh realities of self-serving economics and unchecked capitalism. Sadly, producers and sellers get more money for fashion, hype, and soundbites than for good functional design. Because of my own pressing financial needs, I adapted to serving my clients’ basic needs and conformed to the unnatural practice of wasting natural resources and polluting our planet in the name of convenience and thrift. I spent too much of my time and energies depleting natural resources and polluting our planet’s body, circulatory, and respiratory systems in the service and glory of ego, money, and fashion.

How much would I have to compromise my ethical principles to make a decent living? How much grayer was behaving in ways that work than being real? Which shades of gray exchanged money for values and traded thinking for feelings? It became too easy to analyze, rationalize, and compartmentalize my creations as useful, profitable, and valuable. I no longer thought about their final destination as landfill decoration.

One day, I had an epiphany. As I perused the isles of Bloomingdales’ to see how my products were being displayed and merchandized, I realized that waste streams were already chockfull of award winning design without mine. If none of my products existed, it would not make a real difference to anyone but me. I accepted responsibility for my insights and changed my focus from industrial to environmental design. I soon became known as the ‘Guru of Garbage’ for my innovative uses of recycled materials.

New York NewsdayMy ‘Designing with Garbage’ and ‘Eco- Design’ workshops and classes at local design colleges became popular. As an expert in materials and manufacturing processes, an industrial designer, and a member of purgatory’s solid waste advisory board, I spoke about recycling and reuse for the tiniest of stipends at design colleges and for free at environmental conferences, local grassroots groups, and community board meetings.

Clients would ask, “Why’s it so expensive?”  And then exclaim, “It’s only garbage!” Everyone loves a good cause until it’s time to pay for it. Very few people were actually practicing what they were preaching. I rationalized that something was better than nothing as I was hired by manufacturers and marketers to facilitate their appearances, a practice known as ‘greenwashing’ (guilt-free polluting). I always had too much to do and never enough time or money to do it right. No matter how hard I tried to be frugal, not having enough money got in my way. I’d gone from planning to buy my private jet to trying to figure out what to do with a bottle cap. I could no longer afford to bankroll my principles or preach to the converted for pennies.

Before and After

Pallet landfill to conference room

Sitting on compacted cansDestiny compelled me to be responsible for my values. Ambition impelled me to create something of significance.  My astrology fit perfectly. My Leo Zenith is closely straddled by my ninth house Saturn (guru) and my tenth house Pluto (garbage). The shoe fit, so I decided to reuse, recycle, and recreate it. That process was a lot more challenging than I had anticipated. Being the ‘Guru of Garbage’ had been an accident. The media was inspired by my creative attempts at recycling trash. They gave me a catchy name to sell more advertising. I enjoyed the name recognition, but needed to get paid.

 

I decided to tackle the mother of all garbage, psychic garbage. Instead of spending my time and energy on material concerns, I’d go directly to the source and wrestle with subjective matters like behavior, values, thinking, feelings, will power, health, work, relationships, marriage, creativity, death, philosophy, purpose, dreams, fears, and spirituality. My favorite obsession and part time avocation became my vocation as I began practicing astrology, palmistry, and tarot.

Being a psychic garbage man was more financially lucrative, emotionally fulfilling, and fun than transforming physical waste. My perpetual quest for physical and spiritual enlightenment and sustainability was morphing into an intriguing journey of self-discovery that would inadvertently guide me down the dusky path to darkness and lunacy. I wondered what it might take to awaken my insanity and was soon to find out.

Criminal minds fascinated me. I knew from my study of astrology that each of twelve sun signs has its own unique criminal style. Here are some gross generalizations. Gemini / Mercury rules con artists and pickpockets. Taurus / Venus commits sex crimes and breaches of trust from petty theft to grand larceny. Aries / Mars loves warfare and commit crimes of passion. Sagittarius / Jupiter wears white collars. Capricorn / Saturn rules master criminals. Aquarius / Uranus rules arsonists, terrorists, and unexpected bad shit happening. Pisces / Neptune rules drug dealers and users. Scorpio / Pluto rules seduction, rape, and murder and lustily awaits you at your final destination.

Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto revolve very slowly around our sun. They represent the collective unconscious. We personalize our outer planets through their relationships with our inner plants. Outer planetary pictures provide a karmic backdrop for past and future generations of actors and actresses striving to learn their roles. Life is a play of plays. Unconscious creates drama. Subconscious directs plot. Consciousness is stage manager. Sun enlightens. Moon reflects. Mercury connects. Venus senses. Mars energizes. Jupiter expands. Saturn limits. ‘God’ is Master Playwright.

As a life-long student of craziness, I coveted this opportunity to serve criminally insane people. I might never get another chance. Back in college, I minored in bizarre psycho- ideologies and isms. Being an active member of a twice weekly study group at a Gestalt psychology institute for two years whetted my appetite for more. Now I had a chance to explore genuine craziness incarnate. I imagined the weird hands, astrology, and odd people I’d meet and held my breath in anxious anticipation as I set up my interview.

forensic psychiatric hospitalAs I drove north along the Styx River Parkway, I felt like Don Quixote applying for his first real job. Approaching my destination, I could see three ominous- looking beige brick buildings rising starkly into the distant sky like dead poplar trees. They stood on the western banks of ‘Cuckoo Island’ in the middle of the Styx River between Tartarus and Purgatory. Two buildings were psychiatric outpatient hospitals. The third was a forensic psychiatric hospital bounded by high electric fences, lethal courses of razor wire, and panoptic video surveillance. A two‑story block structure on the right housed sheltered workshops for mentally and developmentally disabled people and an alcohol detox center. A fleet of city garbage trucks and a truck drivers’ training course was on the other side of the island. Purgatory’s sewage was treated there. The whole damned island was devoted to one form of waste treatment or another.

I entered the premises through guarded locked doors, metal detectors, a bag inspection station, faded beige paint, and buzzing fluorescent lights that zapped my vital essences. Hospital staff appeared to be the dregs of humanity’s helpers. They wobbled and limped, were scarred and splotched, and gazed silently in hopeless desperation with myopic eyes—even when they were smiling. I hoped it wasn’t contagious. It was.

As Director of Rehab, Dolores was beaten down by too many years in state service. Her sad name complemented her careworn face. A telltale twitch made me wonder whether she was actually smiling or frowning. Her unhealthy looking teeth were yellowed from too many cigarettes and too much coffee. A deep raspy voice coughed her words.

Respiratory, pulmonary, and circulatory problems could be seen in her bulbous whitish nails. Her square palms and short square fingers revealed a practical nature, while her dry, reddish, dishpan skin had weathered many storms that seemed to endlessly arrive from every direction. I was concerned she was ineffective. Despite our differences, we liked each other.

I squirmed awkwardly as I learned that the hospital actually needed an industrial arts teacher. Human resources had made a mistake. I wanted to experience this population, but I was overqualified. Dolores encouraged me to take the job anyway. She painted alluring pictures of my designing vocational programs. I’d work directly with patients by lecturing and giving ongoing classes and workshops. I’d have access to patient records and treatment plans. I might be even able to attend treatment team meetings with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. It felt too good to be true. It was.

Dolores was impressed with my qualifications and enthusiasm. I never mentioned any ulterior motives when I told her I was prepared to commit selflessly to public service at this point in my life. I’d start at the bottom. ‘Grade 12′ was a pay scale similar to being fresh out of high school. I couldn’t afford a full time position and didn’t want one. Dolores assured me I could work half-time. She’d find someone else to fill the other half of the position. She promised full public employee health benefits. I accepted.

Stay tuned to meet the rehab staff in episode two.

LEO – Search for Father

LEO

Intuitive types (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) are highly spirited, enthusiastic individuals who dislike details, need to grasp the whole picture, require a lot of freedom to express themselves naturally, and pride themselves on their honesty. As objective independent thinkers, they must set inspiring goals to channel their energy and passion into. They become easily bored with the mundane and routine. They must cultivate far vision and enduring patience. Often accused of ‘being opinionated’, their point of view is crucial. Communicating clearly and effectively is a must. The best way for these extroverts to flourish is to behave responsibly, honestly, patiently, and naturally in relationships.

Leos are fixed intuitive types who love being the center of attention. They’re creative, dramatic, generous, enthusiastic, and fiercely loyal. They’ll try to adopt you into their ‘pride’ when they’re feeling admired and appreciated. Their fans look forward to their humor and stories. Don’t ever take a Leo for granted. Unlike Aries they take rejection personally, even if they haven’t been rejected. As creatures of habit, they can cling to obsolete behavioral patterns, depressing situations, and fruitless relationships. Leos must learn to let go of false pride, pay attention to the handwriting on the wall, and cut their losses by letting go of whatever’s not working. Leos can also spread themselves too thin and become the notorious multi-talented jacks of all trades, masters of none.

Their positive side is charming, creative, talented, and versatile. They’re generally healthy types with physical problems being eyesight, heart, and poor circulation. Leo’s dominant physical sense is sight. The metaphysical correspondence is shedding light.

Donald TrumpDonald Trump is a Gemini with Leo rising. His Leo hands embody the most negative attributes of Leo’s will power and behavior that include being self-centered, self-indulgent, superficial, ostentatious, egotistical, ruthless, greedy, bossy, seductive, and a lousy role model.

 

How many gilded towers, glitzy gambling casinos, golden pedestals, and graven images do we require? Beauty queens, shark tanks, and celebrity idols are our heroes. What has happened to Donald’s (and our) humanity and spirituality?  

You don’t need to have a Leo sun to be a Leo type. Leonine hands are like Arian hands in shape, consistency, and coloration. Leo’s joints are stiffer, especially the thumb. The elasticity of Leo’s hands is tenser and the consistency is denser than their Sagittarian brethren. Leo life and head lines are closely intertwined where the thumb joins the hand. Pure Leos have strong ring fingers. Shapes of the tips, proportions of phalanges, knots, nails, and other markings reveal more about the person. Whorl fingerprints (concentric circles, spirals, fire / intuitive) add originality, independence, and unconventionality.

Finger lengthRing fingers symbolize artistic and aesthetic abilities, drama, versatility, salesmanship, showiness, and gambling proclivities. No matter your archetype, long ring fingers on dominant hands add versatility, adaptability, creativity, and expressivity. Cultivated types savor beautiful things with a highly developed sense of taste and style. I’ve noticed that long ring fingered types are more likeable than short ring fingered folk. A ring finger is judged for length against the middle finger. When the tip is shorter than the middle of the first phalanx of the middle finger, it’s considered short. When longer, it’s long. Long index fingered Leos love being boss. Last time I checked, there were more Fortune 500 and NASDAQ (over 10%) LEO CEO’s than any other sign. I’ve seen similar ring fingers on hands of gamblers. They win, but don’t know when to stop betting. I’ve also read the hands of many architects, designers, photographers, craftsmen, and curators with long ring fingers.

Free will is the most important reason for learning to read hands. Willpower is the esoteric correspondence for Leo. Our thumb is the location of will in our hands. It’s the reason we dominate our simian ancestors. Our minds developed because our thumbs oppose our other four fingers. A thumb is a small body part that takes up a huge space in the cerebral cortex of our brains. We’ve designed all of our tools from a simple pencil to our most complex computers as a result of the placement of our thumbs.

Our hands manifest the messages of our minds. In turn, our character, thoughts, feelings, and experience are mapped in the shapes and proportions of our hands. Our stories are engraved in the topography of our hands. It’s paradoxical that so few of us are aware of the priceless treasure waiting to be discovered at the ends of our arms. The beauty of palmistry is that our changes reveal themselves in the mirrors of our hands over time as our thinking and circumstances change. Freewill is a choice and opportunity for change.

Our thumbs symbolize our three most valuable natural resources: will power, logic, and ability to love. These precious qualities must be balanced. Thumbs, like our other fingers, have two joints that form three segments known as phalanges. The top phalanx is will power. The second is reasoning ability. When will is longer than logic, we may act before we think. If logic is longer, we may figure everything out, but get stuck in thinking. Then we procrastinate when we should act. A bit more logic than will keeps us in check.

Knots symbolize a need for more order in the area the knot represents. The knottier the joint, the more order is needed. The top knot is mental order (or disorder). The second knot needs physical order. If the middle phalange on your pinky is shortest, it may not be easy to keep things in their place. Huge knots may be arthritic or they can alert you to possible OCD. ‘Everything must be as I need it to be.’ The third or bottom phalanx is the ball of thumb (contained by the lifeline). Balls of thumb provide information about our capacities for sympathy, nurturing, maintaining intimate connections, loving, and valuing children, animals, nature, art, and music. Without love, empathy, and sympathy, all the passion, logic, and will in the world will never be healthy.

Thumb size is important. A thumb must be judged in relationship to the whole hand. Does a thumb look large or small in comparison to a hand? Is a thumb high or low set?  The ‘normal’ length of thumb (held closely to hand) is even with the middle of the third phalange of the index finger. If longer, it’s long. If shorter, it’s short. A large thumbed person is a natural leader who wants useful practical results. Small thumbed folk are impressionable, sentimental, and easily led by their heartstrings. A tiny flexible thumbed person might stay home in bed, watch soap operas, and eat bonbons. Read my version of the “Three little pigs and their thumbs”.

three little pigs

“The most difficult job in the world is not being president. It’s being a parent.”

Bill ClintonEx-President Bill Clinton is a Leo. Born in 1946, three months after his real dad died, Bill was raised by an abusive alcoholic stepfather. Many Leos spend much of their lives searching for approval from father figures because theirs was physically, mentally, or emotionally absent during their formative years. One of Leo’s quests in their life is a hero’s journey to overcome the fear of abandonment and become a devoted parent figure who loves unconditionally without expectation. Bill’s Sun, Mercury, Saturn, and Pluto are in Leo. He has Leo hands with a robust ring finger that enjoys marriage, but has very high expectations of his mate. As Commander and Chief, Bill was a polyamorous player of political games, musical instruments, and women.

People judge Bill for his character, but whether you like him or not, Bill is true to his character. Bill’s Sun and Jupiter blend Apollo and Zeus, two powerful, charismatic, and sexy gods in Greek myth. Zeus was famous for his seductions and philandering. Apollo was irresistible. It’s not easy to find healthy creative outlets for all that libido. Many of the most powerful men and women in the world are philanderers with secret sexual addictions. Excess testosterone comes with the territory.

Bill loved ruling the free world, getting away with shameful sex, and playing his saxophone at the same time. Zeus could possess whatever mortal he wanted. His challenge was getting away with it. Hera was famous for kicking his butt by punishing his conquests and their offspring. Due to our culture’s fundamentalist socio-religious values, Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior undermined his position and power. It’s hard to get away with much when you’re both mortal and a celebrity. You can bet Hillary (Scorpio) booted Bill’s behind when he was caught with his pants down around his ankles and his cock in his intern’s mouth. Hillary is less likeable than Bill, but she’ll be a better President if she gets the chance.

Robert De NiroSuccessful actors, artists, designers, businessmen, teachers, salesmen, politicians, and diplomats are Leo ruled. Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Whitney Huston, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Ben Affleck, Steve Martin, and Kenny Rogers are Leos.

Arnold

“I’ll be back”

Apollo and Hercules are solar archetypes of ancient Greece. Samson was Judaic, Osiris was Egyptian, Parcival was English, and Narashima was Indian. The Lion King and Goldilocks are fairytales that Walt Disney popularized. One Leo who feared his father and made a myth out of himself is the ‘Terminator’ / ‘Conan the barbarian’, former governor of California.  Arnold’s short index fingers (may appear short when folded inward) reveal deep issues and challenges about his self-esteem and spirituality. Curved pinkies please while avoiding real confrontation by pretending things are better than they are. They act nice when they don’t feel nice. Arnold’s large flexible thumbs are adaptable and versatile. He can become distracted and unfocused. People accuse Arnold of being a bad actor. Arnold chooses great plots. He’s much more clever and adaptable than people realize. Arnold’s Arthurian myth is the search for the Holy Grail. He must ask the right questions to find a balance between his head and heart.

Mark & Martha

In April of 2001, I read Martha Stewart’s hands on her TV show, ‘Martha Stewart Living’. A critical father encouraged Martha to be obsessively ambitious and compulsively hard working. Born August 3 1941, Leo rules Martha’s Sun, Pluto, and Midheaven. Her multi- talented hardworking Aquarian hands are well designed for gardening and crafts. I didn’t see “fame” in Martha’s hands. I saw an extremely strong index finger on her dominant hand. Martha earns and deserves whatever she achieves.

Martha’s large stiff thumbs symbolize persistent will power, dogged determination, and fiery passion. As a host, Martha was gracious. As a boss, she’s demanding. I observed dozens of hip young people who make sure Martha always looks good. Her intention and mission is to give her fans valuable information and resources. In hindsight, I regret not doing a better job explaining palmistry. I was nervous. When I got home, I examined Martha’s hand prints along with her astrological chart. I wish I could share them with you, but don’t have permission. I realized 2002 was going to be a challenging year in which Martha’s integrity and reputation might be challenged. I offered to discretely share my insights with her. She didn’t reply.

Bernie EbbersWhen the ImClone stock scandal broke, people who knew I’d been on her show began calling to ask if I’d seen it coming. They made cruel jokes and suggested I remove her from my press materials. I was disgusted by how many people found joy as Martha crashed and burned. The media dressed Martha in wolf’s clothing and she became their sacrificial lamb. Meanwhile, real criminals, like George W Bush’s buddy, ‘Kenny Boy’ Lay (Enron), Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco), and Bernie Ebbers (WorldCom) were getting away with capitalistic genocide. I wrote to Martha to offer my insights. Again, there was no reply.

I see Martha as an honest person with straight fingers, firm elastic skin, strong healthy palms, and clearly defined lines. Martha became a high profile casualty of corporate greed and corruption. Innocence or guilt was not the issue. Martha’s Leo pride got in the way. She used poor judgment. She wasn’t thinking “I’m insider trading” when she sold her stock. Sure, she should have known better. Rich people are privy to exclusive information. They can choose to enrich themselves with or without it. Secret actions and absolute discretion are a win win scenario.

Martha should have chosen humility like Mufaasa. Instead, she behaved immaturely like young Simba. Where were Pumbaa and Timon when she needed a refresher course on the laws of the jungle? Goldilocks may have enhanced the porridge and decorated the beds more beautifully, but the bears were still pissed when they get home. Martha demonstrated the hubris that destroyed the gods and heroes in Greek and Roman myth. As a queen, she must always take the high road. She should have apologized to her loyal fans and offered the profit to a great cause. Trust will be re-earned as Martha serves her fan’s needs, battles her ego, and shows true humility and generosity of spirit.

Athena vaseAn appropriate archetype for Martha is the Greek goddess Athena, who ruled Arts and Crafts. In peacetime Athena is pictured with a spear in one hand and a bowl or spindle in the other. She looked after weavers, potters, and craftsmen. Athena clashed with a mortal named Arachne, an incredible weaver. People compared Arachne to Athena and it went to Arachne’s head. She should have given Athena credit. Instead, she arrogantly challenged Athena to a weaving contest. She made matters worse by poking fun at Athena’s family with her art. Her creation was magnificent, but Athena transformed Arachne into the greatest weaver for all time, the arachnid (spider). It’s not a good idea for mortals to mess with Gods.

Martha is dominated by Athena, but she’s not Athena. She has enormous mental, spiritual, and physical energies and resources and is capable of making positive differences by weaving powerful webs of strength, beauty, hope, and faith. Martha can inspire the masses with her good deeds and catalyze positive changes in our world.

Sun

Leo is our sun, royalty, and celebrity. I’ve read many celebrities, CEOs, and mega-rich people that live like self-appointed royalty. People ask, “Did you see fame and great wealth in their hands?”  NO is the answer. Fame and wealth are not fate, but choices. Hands reveal how a person’s potentials are fulfilled. You too can be wealthier if wealth is your top priority (even if it’s not a priority in your hands). Palmistry books tell us of fame lines that form a perfect ‘star’ under the ring finger. Sarah Bernhardt is the example most palmists use. I’ve seen two perfect stars of Apollo in forty years; the first was on Katie Couric’s right hand and the second on Susan Sarandon’s left hand. I’ve mostly read a diversity of hands with a variety of challenges and solutions to problems with self-esteem, wounded hearts, and confused minds. I can’t be more specific because I must be discrete. Powerful people have the same challenges as everyone else. Many successful people have been driven to succeed because of their fears and insecurities. I’ve learned that money can and does help iron out some of the wrinkles.

I’ve personally turned away opportunities for more celebrity. I was offered a live reality TV series. I’d read hands of people who were chosen by the producer. I refused. I didn’t want to be offensive, defensive, or end up being the ‘Jerry Springer’ of the metaphysical world. A person’s inner life is private and should be respected, even if they don’t respect it. Dog and pony shows may be popular, but I have zero desire to be part of one.

Mark, Meredith, Joy, Debbie, and Star

When the producer from ‘The View’ called to ask if I’d be on their show, I initially said ‘no’. I didn’t want to defend myself and palmistry. The producer promised that wouldn’t happen. She insisted I’d have a venue to offer viewers a real taste of palmistry. Unlike Martha’s show (which was taped and edited), ‘The View’ is live with a live audience.

Sure enough, as the cameras commenced, the banter and jokes began. Star Jones challenged me with learning what I was telling her by watching the show. You’ll enjoy my response. In fairness to the producer, they did give me five-minutes to say what I wanted. Please excuse the quality of snapshots. They were captured from the shows.

On the View with a live audience

AvrahamAlan and I met in the mid 70’s, before I moved to NYC. Alan’s rectangular palms and short fingers reveal an intuitive type. His thumbs and fingers are very stiff and his head and life lines are closely intertwined where his thumbs meet his hands. Alan is a Leo with Leo hands. His lower set curved index fingers, bent pinkies, and crooked middle fingers tell his tale of striving for and achieving personal transformation.

Alan was born poor. His real father died when he was four. He lived on a commercial street in a rich Jewish neighborhood. Alan’s mother was obese and in bad health. She loved Alan, but in desperation, remarried a horrible man who became Alan’s evil stepfather. I saw this creepy guy at funerals before I knew Alan. He was employed by the local home to be a part-time mourner at small gatherings. Alan was an unwanted stepchild in his own home, a tiny shabby apartment located above a smelly butcher shop. While other kids wore monogrammed shirts, smelled of fancy colognes, and drove sporty cars, Alan looked over his shoulder to make sure no one would see him climbing the dingy stairs to his very depressing world.

Alan decided early that he would not be poor when he grew up. His bible became Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. John Lennon was his hero. Alan stubbornly persisted and finally earned his law degree by selling ironing board covers and light bulbs door to door. Lawyers with crooked pinkies are notorious for bending the truth and the law. Alan was as clever as the best of them, but he chose to turn his ingenuity toward marketing himself. With truth on his side, Alan could bend everything else. He became a clever pioneer in legal advertising. Other lawyers who didn’t know Alan saw him as a greedy ‘ambulance chaser’, but Alan’s marketing mind put his clients’ needs and interests first. He once told me, “It doesn’t take winning too many good cases to make a great living.”

While walking in our office in the forest one day, Alan proclaimed, “I used to dream I’d be successful and own a lot of stuff and now I do. I’m glad I proved to myself that I can do it. I no longer need any of it to be happy.” I immediately challenged him to let go of everything. We both knew the truth ~ that it would require a miracle or a catastrophe.

When Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto passed through Leo in the twentieth century, enormous changes were taking place in personal, collective, and governmental rights and power. Uranus (Aquarius), planet of change, transited Leo from 1955 to 1962. The sun shined on strong will, rebellion, determination, vitality, forcefulness, and civil rights. Rosa Parks defied a segregation ordinance by not giving up her bus seat to a white man in Alabama. The Supreme Court upheld her civil rights a year later. The University of Mississippi was forced to enroll its first black student. President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock Arkansas to enforce school desegregation. President Kennedy ordered the National Guard to keep schools open in Alabama. Cultural shame cultivated seeds of positive change. Equality and civil rights is still an embarrassment.

New inventions promoted convenience and provided more time for recreation and leisure. Kentucky fried chicken was introduced. Play-Doh became popular. Davy Crocket and coonskin caps became fashionable. Pampers became the first disposable diapers. Crest was the first fluoride toothpaste. The first electric toothbrush was produced. The Teflon Company introduced non-stick cookware. Smith Corona introduced the first portable electric typewriters. Mattel Inc. introduced Barbie. Felt tipped pens became popular. Soft drinks were packaged in aluminum cans for the first time. K-Mart and Wal-Mart opened. Bank of America and American Express issued the first credit cards. The first transatlantic telephone cable began working. The first transcontinental helicopter flight was made. That was only half a century ago.

Neptune (Pisces) takes fourteen years to change sign. When it does, the collective goes through confusing and ambiguous changes. Neptune transited the sign of Leo from 1916 to 1929. Phenomenal world confusion was happening. War brought tremendous prosperity to Wall Street while soldiers earning $16 a month were being killed in the trenches. England blacklisted and prevented over 80 US firms from dealing with neutral countries because they were suspected of trading with Germany. Prescott Bush was one of them. Influenza caused over two hundred deaths a day. Approximately one quarter of the US was sick. Half a million people were dead before the end of 1919.

Daylight savings time began. Arkansas farmers dedicated a monument to the Boll Weevil, whose devastation of the cotton crop caused them to diversify and become more profitable. By 1927, the farm population had dropped dramatically. Countless farmers hopelessly and desperately sold their farms.

Neptune rules alcohol. The underworld, mafia, and gangs thrived. National prohibition began in 1920. Liquor smuggling and bootlegging became big business. Marijuana is the new alcohol.

Congress set a quota limiting the number of immigrants allowed into the country.

A senate subcommittee was formed to investigate the Teapot Dome oil leases.

Walt Disney released the first Mickey Mouse cartoon in 1928. George Eastman created the first color motion pictures. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was performed for the first time as a new form of symphonic jazz.

Doubt, fear, and panic caused the stock market to crash, leaving farmers, businessmen, and both haves and have nots in a state of terrible confusion and crisis.

History repeated itself in the opposition as Neptune transited Aquarius (1998 – 2012). War is still bringing prosperity to Wall Street. Agribusiness and chemical companies like Monsanto are still crushing small farmers and deluding consumers. Immigrants are still being persecuted. Oil and energy companies are still controlling and manipulating us.

The planet Pluto (Scorpio) takes approximately twenty years to change sign. When it does, it disintegrates, destroys, and transforms collective consciousness. Pluto is the dark side of the force. As Pluto transited the sign of Leo from 1938 to 1957, national and personal pride and power transformed. Despite the New Deal, ten million people were unemployed in 1939.  President Roosevelt increased appropriations for building the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Congress adopted the Naval Expansion Act. Roosevelt transformed the Federal Reserve by creating the ‘withholding tax’, which was the beginning of social security. He became the first president to appear on television.

The House investigated un-American activities. It was the beginning of huge multi-national business conglomerates. Western Europe tried to appease Hitler with the Munich Pact, which turned Czechoslovakia over to Nazi Germany. Polls showed Americans approved. The Nazis invaded Poland, which caused Great Britain and France to declare war. Winston Churchill asked President Roosevelt for help. In 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Japanese Americans paid a high price as they were forced from their homes into concentration camps where they became innocent victims of hate and prejudice. Fundamentalist devotion to ideologies and tyrants began to crumble. In 1943, the fascist dictator Mussolini fell from power. By 1945, most of the world knew that six million Jews had been slaughtered in Nazi concentration camps.

The atomic bomb was the ultimate plutonian weapon. After we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered. In 1949, we supported a war in Korea that ended up killing three million Koreans in less than a year. In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy began his sensational tirade against communist subversives and traitors in the US. Julia and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to the electric chair for stealing bomb secrets.

In 1951, the United Nations complex was completed in New York City. AT&T became the first company with over a million stockholders. Christine Jorgensen became the first transsexual to go public in 1952. Norman Vincent Peale’s best seller, The Power of Positive Thinking was published. The first kidney was transplanted. The first mechanical heart was made to work. Chevrolet introduced the powerful sexy Corvette in 1953. The US launched the Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine in 1954. The Soviet Union opened the world’s first atomic power station. Reigning British Monarchs made their first visit to American soil.

We reached for outer space. Better known as the `ME NOW’ generation, people born between 1938 and 1957 have used technology to build personal power. Pluto in Leo still rules capitalism and democracy. Rest assured, plutocrats will have little problem finding money, rights, resources, and technology to own, harness,  package, distribute, and sell our Sun’s energy to all of us when Uranus returns to Leo (2039-2046).

Cancer and Hands – Search for Mother

Cancer

four archetypes

Cancer is a feeling type. Feeling types have the strongest potential of the four basic types for expressing their highest spiritual nature. They’re intuitive, empathic, sensitive, and very aware of the needs of others. They can be very hard to understand because they tend to hide their true selves. They take cover in their shells when you try to pry into their private lives. They’re cautious because they feel deeply vulnerable. Cancer types must learn to be frank and direct, rather than wield tact and diplomacy to avoid emotional confrontation. Avoiding confrontation doesn’t mean they won’t cultivate intimacy wherever and whenever they can. Cancer feelings can swing from loving and devoted to secretive and reclusive to obsessive and fearful. When Cancer types are feeling controlled or confined, they can become dark and moody. They need to feel protected and secure before they can fully trust. Once trust is earned, loyalties run deep. Healthy family ties and close friendships nourish their naturally nurturing natures. Having organization, structure, and detail helps them feel more stable and secure.

Healthy types have no problem expressing love, compassion, sympathy, and devotion. They communicate best with other feeling types and feel safe with practical types who are responsible, reliable, and dependable. Feeling types are thinking and intuitive type challenged. They’re nervous they’ll be left holding the psychic garbage bag and forced to deal with the emotional fallout when idealism, optimism, enthusiasm, and logic wane, and they do. Having acute consciousness of one’s own emotional needs is essential.

Pure types tend to be internally secretive and externally ambitious at the same time. They’ll work extremely hard as long as income matches output. That income provides food, family security, and fertile ground for their roots and resourceful imaginations.

Demeter is the Greek earth goddess of grain and the harvest. I chose her to represent Cancer and water because she’s a powerful mother. Cancer mothers (not all) are thought to be controlling and overprotective of their children. When Pluto abducted Persephone, Demeter exercised her mother power over all the gods, goddesses, and mankind by creating winter (death of flora) for the months that Persephone is with Pluto.

Feeling handYou don’t have to have a Cancer sun to have Cancer hands and behavior. Rectangular palms and long fingers (often held closely together) indicate dominant feeling types. Healthy Cancer hands are firm in consistency and moderate in flexibility with pink elastic skin. Joints are less stiff than Scorpion and less flexible than Piscean types. Healthy types have a firm sincere handshake. More lines add more sensitivity. Head and life lines may separate at their beginnings. Long head lines gently slope downward toward well-developed heels of the hands while long heart lines gracefully curve upward toward the index finger. I’ve observed a lot of round or conical fingertips with long nails and a majority of loop fingerprints, but not enough to generalize.

Lloyd Wilson

“You’ve got to play to lose”

Kennywood memoriesForty-one years ago, this moment was captured in a photo booth at Kennywood Amusement Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lloyd and I met while employed part time at a metal, plastics, and woodworking machine shop where we fabricated preschool children’s learning thingamajigs. We made toys for ourselves on our own time. We were about to graduate from different colleges. I’d become an industrial designer. Lloyd would continue to be an artist. We were actually a couple of Peter Pans on our way to Neverland.

 

Once upon a time, we hitchhiked to a local auto drive-away place, surveyed some pins on a map, and impulsively decided to drive a brand new black Cadillac Fleetwood limousine from Pittsburgh to Miami Beach. We had three days to get there. With a lot of caffeine and humor, we made it in twenty-four hours. We visited Lloyd’s older sister when we arrived, pretending we were successful entrepreneurs. While we were out shooting skeet and racing go-carts at the local track, Lloyd’s sister thoughtfully washed our laundry for us. We came home to find our ragged underwear and socks hanging on her clothes line. The jig was up. Then we drove the Caddy to the beach in search of horny females, but didn’t enchant any.

Lloyd would say to me, “People who tell the truth don’t need to have good memories”. I’d reply, “We may be bastards, but at least we’re honest”. Fifty years of friendship have witnessed many challenging lessons in humility for us. We delayed our outer world from harmonizing with our inner world by always choosing to learn the hard way. There were no shortcuts. We had to finally let go of our need to be more and greater than we were.

Lloyd’s slender rectangular palms and long fingers harmonize with his Cancer sun, which is conjunct my Mercury. His Gemini ascendant harmonizes with my Gemini sun. Lloyd’s head and life lines are tightly intertwined at their beginnings and reveal his desire to feel appreciated. He was a sensitive child who needed love and support, but didn’t  get any. Lloyd tried hard to fix his broken parents, but they were too sick to give him approval and appreciation. Instead, they judged, criticized, and abused him. Lloyd can survive without anyone’s approval, but he thrives on appreciation. He’ll give his friends the shirt off his back, but they had better not take him for granted. Lloyd has literally given me the shirt off his back in my moment of need. I was on my way to an important meeting and got a nasty stain on my shirt. Before I could blink, Lloyd took off his shirt and traded with me.

Lloyd’s a quick thinker and extremely clever with words. Soon after we met, he was on the TV word show “Jeopardy”. When the host asked, “What do you do Mister Wilson?”  Lloyd replied, “I’m a sculptor”. “What kind of sculpture do you make?” Not having a quick easy explanation for his broad eclectic mind and artwork, Lloyd sized up the marketing opportunity and responded in his deep resonant voice, “Expensive Sculpture”.

Lloyd with sculptures

Lloyd didn’t get much nurturing as a child. He developed his quick wit and sense of humor while trying to avoid extreme physical abuse. When his mother was happy, Lloyd was safe. When she was unhappy, she’d incite Lloyd’s rage filled father to hurt him. Lloyd’s mother committed suicide, his father was committed to a mental institution, and his beautiful sister, who I’d met in Florida with her two young children, great husband, and apparently idyllic life, suddenly and unexpectedly blew her head off with a shotgun.

flexible thumbLloyd’s very flexible thumbs symbolize his ability to adapt to the most horrible of circumstances. They also embody his generosity of heart and spirit. It’s very hard for Lloyd to say “NO”. He probably doesn’t realize it, but the gold ring on the bottom middle finger of Lloyd’s unconscious hand symbolizes his need to have clear boundaries, be frugal, and not give everything away.

 

 

Cancers are collectors. Some stockpile food in case of shortage or emergency. Lloyd collects art books, literature (he’s the most well-read person I know), religious art, art supplies, tools, and clothing. When wealthy people die, their families donate their clothing to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Lloyd has a keen eye for the finest designer clothing as he picks through the merchandise. He’s a master bargain hunter. I call him my personal dresser. We wear the same sizes. Lloyd chooses suits, coats, and jackets with me in mind. He has gifted me with suits worth thousands of dollars that he paid ten or fifteen dollars for. Many have never been worn.

Lloyd Wilson is Pittsburgh’s best kept secret because he loves his anonymity. His artwork reveals a magical spirit, but few will ever get to know it. Lloyd personifies Cancer’s best qualities. He’s supportive, sympathetic, receptive, reflective, intuitive, imaginative, and extremely devoted to friends and family.  It’s no surprise he’s my best friend.

USA PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY

Mission Accomplished?

Mission Accomplished?

There have been four US Presidents born under the sign of Cancer. The most recent and worst (in my opinion) President in history was George W Bush. His intuitive hands and personality match his Leo ascendant. George manifested the worst qualities of Cancer and Leo in his presidential intentions and actions. Here’s my rant I featured him in.

 

There were three previous Cancer Presidents. It’s interesting to look at the similarities.

John Quincy AdamsLike George W. Bush vs. Al Gore, the 6th President, John Quincy Adams finished second in the popular vote behind General Andrew Jackson. No one had a sizable majority. The choice was put before the House of Representatives. The House Speaker, Henry Clay, swung the election to Adams. When Adams appointed Clay as Secretary of State, the Jackson followers cried, “Corrupt bargain”.

Unlike Bush, Adams was not re-installed. Here’s a quote on Adams by W.H. Littleton. “Of all the men whom it was ever my lot to accost and to waste civilities upon, he was the most doggedly and systematically repulsive. With a vinegar aspect, cotton in his leathern ears, and hatred in his heart, he sat… like a bulldog among spaniels”.

Calvin CooledgeThe 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, shared his (July 4) birthday with the US Declaration of Independence. His most famous characteristic, “holding his tongue”, earned him the title, “Silent Cal”. Two infamous sayings of his were, “If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it” and “The business of America is business”.  William Allen White described him, “He was an economic fatalist with a God given inertia. He knew nothing and refused to learn”. “He was weaned on a pickle” declared Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Gerald FordThe 38th President, Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., didn’t learn that he had been adopted until he was seventeen years old. His wife Betty performed the domestic chores because Gerry wouldn’t lift a finger around the house.   As Speaker of the other house, Ford passionately pleaded for escalation of the war in Vietnam. He urged members to “unleash devastating air and sea power”.

Ford launched an unsuccessful crusade to impeach liberal Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas as a favor to his buddy Richard Nixon. Ford ultimately granted Nixon a “full complete and absolute pardon” for all his crimes relating to the Watergate scandal. Ford also blamed the democrats for the disastrous rate of inflation and warned that electing more democrats would “jeopardize world peace”. He admitted that he almost never read books, but did find time to watch football on TV. Here are a few quotes from some of his celebrated critics.

“I cannot dislike him personally — he’s cordial and gracious. But he’s consistently wrong and consistency is a virtue of small minds. He’s never proposed a constructive solution to anything”.  Congressman Robert Drinan

Lyndon Johnson accused Ford of “playing too much football with his helmet off”. “Jerry’s the only man I ever knew who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time”.

“Ford isn’t a bad man, but he’s dumb—dumb. He shouldn’t be dumb either. He went to school just like everybody else”.  Reverend Duncan Littlefair

The important thing is that men should have a purpose in life… it should be something useful, something good

Dalai LamaIn contrast to George W Bush, the Dalai Lama is “the reborn soul of Buddha” and Nobel Prize winning pacifist. In Greek mythology, Orpheus was a singer, priest, healer, poet, and musician who could charm anyone. Orpheus enchanted Pluto into letting him enter the collective unconscious to retrieve his beloved Eurydice. In a moment of weakness, Orpheus looked back at death after being warned not to by Pluto. Orpheus lost Eurydice. He symbolizes the wounded healer who can heal others but not himself. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet in 1959. He lived as a “simple monk” in a remote corner of Northern India. His lifetime goals are to promote peace and love in the world and return to Tibet. You can bet whatever we owe China that it won’t happen anytime soon.

Pluto glyphAs the planet Pluto (god of sex, death, and transformation) transited the sign of Cancer from 1913 to 1938, partisan politics, nationalism, and isolationism transformed the world. World War I ended. World War II began. In 1913, President Wilson pressed a button in the White House that blew up the Gamboa Dike resulting in the destruction of the Isthmus of Panama. That action transformed travel by sea by creating a canal between oceans. Wilson legislated the Carter-Owen Bill that established a Federal Reserve System that transformed the strangle hold on the nation’s currency and credit system by banks.

Daylight Saving Time transformed the nation’s clocks. Transcontinental telephone service transformed international communications. World communications and atomic energy were developed. NBC became the first Nationwide Broadcasting Company. Wall Street prospered from the war while soldiers earning $16 per month died in the trenches. President Wilson established a lottery style draft promoting patriotism, while Congress passed the Espionage Act fining draft dodgers $10,000 and imposing a twenty-year jail sentence. No child was left behind.

Everyone was encouraged to “Do your bit”. Liberty Bonds and wheatless-meatless days were promoted. By the end of 1919, the Influenza pandemic had peaked causing over half a million deaths while almost one quarter of the nation’s population were sick. Prohibition banned liquor for all U.S. citizens. A huge black market and bootlegging industry began to thrive. Black leader Marcus Garvey organized The Empire of Africa that attracted over 500,000 followers. He led the largest mass exodus of Blacks in U.S. history. There was little sense of brotherhood.

Great SealIn 1929, doubt, fear, and panic upset the stock market which faced its darkest hour and most difficult crisis in history. Traditional foundations of home and family transformed. People born during this period spent much of their lives taking care of family. Parents with overdeveloped guilt and obligation trips motivated children of this generation to become dropouts and runaways.

Bikini bottomAs the planet Uranus transited the sign of Cancer from 1949 to1955, Mothers stopped staying at home and went to work. Women began wearing the “bikini”, a fashionable French bathing suit. ‘I Love Lucy’, a comical show about a housewife and Cuban bandleader husband became the most popular show on TV. Ranch houses and basement playrooms became popular. The subconscious mind was explored in psychology.  People born between 1949 and 1955 with Uranus in Cancer may be oversensitive and easily hurt by irrational fears, or they may be rational, aware, and strong by choice.

Stay tuned for LEO – Search for Father…

The Dark Side of Gemini

joker-sociopath-dark-knight.2Gemini is the trickster. He’s so clever that he can even fool himself.  It’s easy to see the metaphors for self delusion in our business, political, and religious practices. A quick look at the internet presents obvious symptoms that reveal the dark side of Gemini . It’s easy to see why the human race has become a race against bad shit happening.

 

If content is King, consider this paradox. Cyberspace creates value out of thin air.

E-business produces e-contamination, which results from collecting, cultivating, and not properly disposing of e-garbage. We can close landfills, but what do we do with cyber-fills and digital-spills?  How can we recycle, reuse, and recreate cyber-toxins and hazardous dot-coms? Let’s look at the dark side of Gemini’s cyber-behavior.

  • Superficiality: creating and implementing products without a healthy vision, foresight, well thought out marketing plans, or adequate financial framework
  • Deceitfulness: having no purpose – the IPO is the product
  • Dilettante: technology for the sake of technology
  • Commercialism: inability to integrate content and advertising
  • Detachment: banner syndrome: creating consumer numbness to advertising
  • Too Clever: sex, money, and pop-ups – too many sugar coated widgets
  • Sneakiness: invasion of privacy / cookies / spam / viruses
  • Fickleness: user characterized into a statistic for some mailing list
  • Anything is better than nothing: boring graphics – not enough bandwidth
  • Babbling: too much hype

When the planet Uranus transited the sign of Gemini from 1942 to 1949, emphasis in this country shifted to education. The U.S. Supreme Court abolished religion in public schools. The GI Bill enabled thousands of people to go to college. Occupations in communications fields like radio and television became more prevalent. In 1946, the first computer calculation began at the University of Pennsylvania. It was called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Columbia Records introduced the 33 1/3 rpm “long playing record”. The Atomic Energy Commission was created. The United Nations held its first session in London. The United States joined NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). People born between 1942 and1949 with Uranus in Gemini have nervous and restless temperaments. Still children of the 60’s, their minds quickly grasp new concepts and ideas.

What will happen when Uranus returns to Gemini in 2025? Many children of the sixties will no longer be around. Will the NSA finally get to plant that chip in our brain at birth? Will humanity find priceless treasure in plain sight at the ends of its arms and take matters into it’s own hands? I hope so. What do your hands say about you?