Tales of Cindy and Ella – Two Faces of 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 – Virgo)

Virgo - Cindy

You don’t have to be a Virgo (8/23–9/22) to have dominant Virgo symbolism embedded in your psyche. Where the sun was when you were born does not define your character. Palmistry and astrology share the same western mythological archetypes and the same dysfunctional families and relationships – and how they live on in our psyches and lives.

As one of twelve basic archetypes, Virgo is best when discriminating, reliable, modest, and orderly service is required. Ego gratification is not a primary motivation for Virgos, however, it’s important to value and appreciate them. They often don’t ask enough for themselves, but they do know what they’re worth and want to be appreciated and rewarded accordingly. Virgo hands have square palms and short fingers. They tend to be less meaty and more flexible at the joints than Taurus types. In Capricorn types, the top knot on the fingers is often more well developed. Add well-developed second knots, square fingertips, and short fingernails to any archetype, you get more Virgo qualities. Virgos are reputed for cleaning up everyone else’s messes. Some are overly critical and meticulous. If you bite your fingernails, you’re probably critical, no matter your type.

Most short fingered people tend to see the whole picture and dislike details. Virgo types; however, are pragmatic about details and facts. They just plain do what needs to be done. They sometimes lack breadth and long-range vision. Virgos must work hard to feel useful and they need to cherish every inch of what they earn. Virgo rules healthcare.  Accounting, medical, nursing, social work, health food, maintenance, and cleaning professions are magnets for Virgos. Some Virgos worry too much about their personal health.

Cinderella is incarnate in millions of women. She’s a Virgo archetype who faithfully swept the cinders, scrubbed the floors, made the beds, and served the meals to her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Cinderella dutifully served her family while they treated her like shit. Cinderella’s fairy godmother came along and provided the magical coach, gown, and glass slippers that helped Cinderella capture the heart of the Prince. At the stroke of midnight, Cinderella had to run away before turning back to rags. The Prince searched for Cinderella and finally found her. The glass slipper fit perfectly and they lived happily ever after. Many Cinderella types have been kissed by frogs and beasts. Few have been saved by Princes.

The following is a tale of a true life Cinderella and how her virtue overcame her evil nurture. I can confidently say that no scientific palmist who I know would ever have predicted what actually happened in Cindy’s life from her hands. Cindy was born with a pure and virtuous spirit. That made the devil mad. He worked hard to erode Cindy’s trust, promote her fear, and take away her hope. It’s hard to believe he didn’t succeed.

When I met Cindy, I was anxiously searching for someone to rent a home from my friends who were in the Peace Corp. I was responsible for their idiosyncratic house and finicky cat, which needed constant attention. I’d advertised for a tenant, but hadn’t found anyone suitable. Cindy showed up by referral at the eleventh hour. She seemed careworn to me, with missing teeth and weathered skin. The tip of a large vertical scar traveled downward from the top of her breastplate, but Cindy had an inner radiance that shown brightly. The sparkle in her eyes and the pride in her step made me confident she was right for the job.

Cindy consented to let me examine her hands. She’s a Virgo with Virgo hands (above). The number 6 in the image relates to the 6th house of work and health of the horoscope. Her square palms and short straight fingers were much healthier than I had anticipated. They were strong and firm and her skin was elastic with a healthy pink color. It was instantly clear to me that she was honest and hardworking and had no problem taking responsibility. Over the many years I’ve know Cindy, I’ve grown to admire and respect her more each day and to deeply cherish our friendship.

Cindy is a real life Cinderella. Cindy’s higher nature overcame her evil nurture. She was born to an alcoholic drug addicted prostitute who didn’t want her. Her first memory at age one was of her mother crying out in pain while strange men were beating her up. She remembers ashtrays full of stale cigarette butts that would be re-lit again and again until every last drop of nicotine was gone. Cindy’s mother routinely screamed at her and punished her for “stealing her cigarettes” when the pack was empty. When Cindy was two, she was playing by the stove. Her mother grabbed a red hot cast iron frying pan and pressed it against her innocent little hand to teach Cindy a lesson about playing near a hot stove. She still has the scar that makes that lesson hard to forget.

Cindy doesn’t remember much about her father. She knows he spent most of her formative years in prison. He was occasionally granted leave to visit his family. He began abusing Cindy sexually from the time she was 1 ½ years old. When she had begun to speak, she remembers walking into a bathroom while he was peeing. He yelled at her and lectured her about privacy and morals. Cindy didn’t get it. She had already seen, touched, and tasted his penis. Cindy had an adult cousin who was married. When he’d come over to visit with his child, he’d take Cindy into the bathroom, shove his hard penis into her mouth, then wash her mouth out with soap when he was finished because she did such a dirty thing.  She hated him.

Cindy’s mother habitually left her with strangers. Cindy had a brother who was five years older. When he was two, his mother left him in a carriage on the streets for two whole days. Cindy’s mother’s mother found him and took him to live in the “dark dank cave” she and her husband called home. He grew up with those grandparents. Cindy recalls that he was compassionate and caring towards her, though she rarely saw him. He took her to see horror movies on several occasions. One of Cindy’s most vivid and positive early memories is of the smell of a neighbor’s fried pork chops, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, and homemade applesauce. Cindy was malnourished and her kind-hearted neighbor fed her when she could.

Once in a while, Cindy’s mother would drop her off at the local Catholic Church where the nuns were very nice to her. Like her fairy godmothers, they cleaned her up, gave her new clothes, and a doll. She couldn’t believe that anyone could be so nice to her. Cindy’s mother hardly recognized her when she came to pick her up. When they arrived home, she told Cindy that she was still worthless and that one day, she’d end up as a skinny little whore in a gutter. Everyone, including Cindy, thought she was probably right. Cindy fantasized about becoming a nun, but even as a young child, she already knew that she was not a virgin, nor was she baptized in the family church. She believed that she would remain in LIMBO until she’d eventually rot in HELL.

Cindy ran away. A sixteen year old girl who lived nearby took Cindy in. Cindy hid in a closet in her room for a month before this girl’s bizarre mother found out. Her mother was angry, but somehow managed to arrange with social services to get paid for Cindy’s care. Cindy didn’t get much actual caring, but at least she had a roof over her head for a while. When her foster mother threw her out, Cindy found a second foster home and lived there for a few weeks. She arrived home from school one day to find all of her stuff out on the sidewalk. Her evil foster mother, regretting the loss of her stipend, had spread nasty rumors about Cindy and got her back.

At nine years old, Cindy fainted and was dumped on the steps of the hospital. They discovered that she had a serious congenital heart problem because of her mother’s substance abuse during pregnancy. Cindy was forced to remain in the hospital for a year, mainly because no one wanted a homeless kid with serious heart problems. The doctors and social workers fell in love with Cindy, but there was not much they could do short of adopting her and no one did. Cindy has had three major heart operations at ages 14, 24, and 42.

Cindy actually had a happy foster care experience for nine whole months. It was difficult at first, because Cindy didn’t know how to respond to kindness. She hid in her room. This foster family treated her like a real human being and actually wanted to know her. They taught Cindy to sew and work with wood. Cindy began to respond well to their kindness, but her evil foster mother lied once again to social services and eventually Cindy was back with her. This sick bitch cut off all of Cindy’s long beautiful natural red hair to punish her. Cindy didn’t feel loved, but she did have some remote sense of stability and security as long as a social service was paying for her. She bonded with a stepbrother at that time and still maintains a positive relationship with him, although he’s a redneck.

As long as her evil foster mother was getting her check she didn’t care what Cindy did. At fourteen, Cindy went off to live in her own apartment that she paid for by doing factory day work for Manpower. She tried to get an education at the same time, but it was impossible. When social services came looking for Cindy, her foster mother had to track her down to get her back. She informed Cindy’s landlord that he was renting to an underage prostitute who was using his place for business. Cindy once again found her stuff in the hallway and locks changed, though she had paid a month’s rent in advance.

Cindy’s heart gave out. She ended up back in the hospital, having her first major open heart surgery. Three weeks later, Cindy was forced to go back to her foster home, only to be thrown out again. In a state of hopeless desperation, Cindy asked one of the men whom she had met at Manpower if she could stay with him. He was arrogant and physically aggressive towards her, but she decided to put up with him, since she didn’t know what else to do. She tried to physically distance herself from him, but eventually he got her pregnant and she had her first child at age sixteen. Meanwhile, he was becoming more and more abusive – beating her up and slamming her hand in a door to punish her for not being a worthy servant. Cindy lasted for two years – long enough for her to get pregnant again.

While Cindy was pregnant for the second time, she unexpectedly received a letter out of the blue from her father that contained a month old front-page newspaper clipping about how her brother had been brutally shot and killed. Reading about her brother threw Cindy onto an emotional roller coaster. He was a kind and caring person who worked so hard to rise above his circumstances, only to be violently murdered. He had gotten himself educated and was working in a nursing home. Cindy’s partner scolded and punished Cindy for mourning. “You hardly knew him”, he complained. He wanted nothing to interfere with his clean house and hot food which had to be served in a timely fashion.

Cindy ran away with her two girls and found her own place. She lived in poverty, but Cindy was extremely resourceful, growing much of her own food, chopping her own firewood, fixing her home, and sewing clothes for herself and her children. She worked odd jobs like cleaning other people’s homes, care taking, and painting. Cindy managed to create the best life she could for her kids. She was deeply committed to caring for them and giving them a good education.

Cindy attributes having children to saving herself. She rose with grace, strength, and wisdom to her challenges and responsibilities with a soul full of love and dedication. Cindy did a remarkable job. Her kids have endured their own relationship challenges and become strong healthy women with their own families. Cindy has five grand children who adore her. When I interviewed Cindy for this article, she was working as a tech person in a hospital; drawing blood, wiping butts, and cleaning bedpans with dignity. The patients were blessed to have her. Cindy’s long term plan was to earn a nursing degree and pay for her grandkid’s college educations.

As I listened to Cindy’s story, I felt an uncontrollable rage rising in me. How could so many people be so sick? I imagined horrible ways of getting revenge on the monsters who abused Cindy. She was in a different place, however, having forgiven everyone who had ever hurt her. “I feel sad and sorry for them”, she told me. Cindy hasn’t found her prince yet, but when she does, he will be one of the luckiest men in the world.

I once had a girlfriend who was a Virgo with fine skinned Virgo hands. I’ll call her Ella. I arrived as Ella’s prince, but departed as her persecutor. Ella frequented a cafe’ in Soho every morning at a certain time and sat in a certain seat. She’d peacefully sip coffee and write in her journal. This cafe had excellent coffee and pastries that were served by attractive hip young waiters and waitresses in a rustic natural décor. I stopped by for coffee a couple of times a week. Ella and I would nod and acknowledge each other.

One morning, Ella asked me if I’d like to join her at her table. She was healthy looking and attractive in an earthy way. She had long very dark silky hair, large sensitive eyes, a rosy complexion, full pink lips, and shapely hips. I could see from her square palms and short squarish fingers that she was a practical type. Her conical finger tips informed me of her intuitive and aesthetic side. Her knotty finger joints and short nails clued me to Virgo qualities. She was addicted to order and routine. I knew that Gemini (me) with Virgo (Ella) was like Peter Pan with Wendy. I could hardly believe how incompatible Ella and I would become as we got to know each other.

Ella set her sights on me. I don’t think I ever had a woman pursue me so relentlessly before. It was too late before I realized our relationship had no future. Gemini types prefer to flit from flower to flower like a butterfly. Obligation, responsibility, and guilt are like bad tasting medicine. Ella would call, “I was thinking of you while I was shopping today and purchased a beautiful piece of tuna big enough for the two of us. Would you like to come over to my apartment for dinner?” Her timing was impeccable. I’d be on the verge of forking down Chunk Light, straight from the can.

Ella set a beautiful table with perfectly matching tableware, flowers, candlelight, and soft music. Her home was spotless and she always smelled freshly showered. She was smart, sensual, and amazingly patient. Resistance was futile. At first, I’d eat and run. Ella offered to massage me. In hindsight, that was the beginning of the end.

I began sleeping over regularly. It was like being a kid again, only better. Ella worked so hard to please me. I rationalized – if she wants to, why not? Peter Pan needed Wendy to darn his socks and sew his shadow back on. If Ella wanted more than I was capable of, I’d just have to fly back to Neverland. Ella and I were literally too much like Peter and Wendy and just as destined to eventually part ways.

It wasn’t until I moved into Ella’s apartment that I realized the consequences of my choice and actions. While Virgo loves consistency, reliability, and dependability, Gemini hates being restricted and confined. Ella knew that, but secretly hoped that I’d change. She adapted as much as she could to my needs as she worked hard to try to change me. I did need more structure in my life, but I felt like I was sacrificing a huge chunk of my freedom in exchange for that structure. Ella provided a positive framework. She’d gently wake me at 7:30 am, having already quietly stretched for an hour, cleaned the house, organized, showered, and set a beautiful breakfast on an elegant table awaiting my arrival. At first, I thought, ‘this is too good to be true’. Our relationship felt incestuous. Ella was more like my mother or sister, than my lover. It was easy to please Ella, which added fuel to her desire to love and nourish me.

I marveled at Ella’s discipline, structure, and focus, however, I began resenting her routines as I realized that they were directing my life. I had an idyllic situation and yet I was feeling trapped. If only I were a Capricorn or a Taurus, I’d have thought that I was Adam with Eve in Eden. Ella would look at her watch and say “It’s time to make love now if you’d like”. I began feeling shame and guilt for not being able to love Ella as she wanted me to.

‘Am I insane?’, I thought.  Ella loves me. She even accepts my unpredictability and unconventionality, while I’m resenting her lack of spontaneity and secretly strategizing my getaway. She’d have been better off with another practical or feeling type, instead of a thinking type. I finally faced the handwriting on the wall, deeply wounding Ella when I announced, “I need to breathe”. We shed a lot of tears together for different reasons. I slinked away with bowed head, a sad heart, and a deep sense of relief.

How I Became the Guru of Garbage – part 2

Necessity truly is the mother of invention.  I hadn’t anticipated how hard it would be to make money while trying to make a difference in the world. I needed to generate more income. While working in my tiny study in the back of our apartment one afternoon, I began thinking about how many people have small living spaces and how much stuff they have. It’s not easy to stay organized and uncluttered. Even though I’d given up designing products for the sake of fashion, I figured I could still design something useful, environmentally correct, and hopefully make money at the same time.

Many people work out of their homes and don’t have a private work space. It’s a good idea to conceal your work when you’re not working, even if it’s already separate from the rest of your living space. I estimated that a 6’ X 6’ X 2’ deep box can hold a small home office and also open out to become a room divider. I sketched a few possibilities and then tested various materials and manufacturing processes. When I felt confident that my idea would work, I presented it to Lisa Smith, a successful furniture designer. Lisa liked the idea and offered to let me use her model making shop, photo studio, and furniture industry contacts in exchange for a partnership on the project.

Lisa and I fabricated scale models out of natural long lasting materials like jute, hemp, and homosote. We approached major office furniture manufacturers like Knoll and Steelcase, who nibbled on our bait, but didn’t bite. We were told that it would take a minimum $50,000 investment to fabricate full scale prototypes and test market them. Nobody was willing to advance the money. We had hoped to walk away with a deposit and a royalty contract. Unfortunately, our back burners were already overflowing with unrequited projects like our ‘Office in a Box’.

OFFICE in a BOX

Office in a Box

Office in a Box 2

I mentioned earlier that I have very strong Scorpio symbolism in my horoscope. Saturn and Pluto straddle my Midheaven, conjunct in the sign of Leo. Pluto rules Garbage. Saturn is the Guru. NY Newsday, Metropolis Magazine, and Fox TV – ‘Good Day NY’ serially dubbed me “The Guru of Garbage”. Garbage was a weird distinction, but I figured if the shoe fits, “Recycle, Reuse, or Recreate” it. I became internationally known for my innovative uses of recycled materials. I was the focus of numerous magazine and newspaper articles and television appearances. I participated in panel discussions, spoke at universities, gave workshops, and presented my creations in museums, galleries, and traveling exhibitions around the world. I was featured as a successful ecological designer in German and Japanese newspapers, magazines, and television.

During my seven year tenure as Guru of Garbage, everyone wanted to contribute to my cause by giving me his or her unwanted trash. Manufacturers began sending samples of their manufacturing waste. I received everything from truckloads of trimmings of cork and various plastics and composite materials, to barrels of greasy sludge. They thought I could perform alchemy and make treasure from their trash. I appreciated the sentiment and valued the challenge, but the process of turning trash into treasure is lot more work than reward, except for the high esoteric value. Trash to treasure is a metaphor for transforming liabilities into assets. Saturn (Lead) can be turned into (Gold) the Sun.

I forgot to mention that my Guru of Garbage days coincided with the birth of my daughter, Cassie, and her early childhood. I hoped to make a better world for her. Even at two years old, Cassie was well aware of my preoccupation with trash. As we walked along the streets of NYC together, she’d constantly be bending over to pick up some gross and disgusting thing that some person had thrown on the sidewalk. “Here daddy!” she’d exclaim. I’d thank her, then walk to the nearest trash can and throw it away. The best part was when others noticed. They were either inspired or shamed into picking something up off the sidewalk. They’d always look and smile at us as we acknowledged their good deed with a nod of approval. Sometimes, I wondered whether I was blessed or cursed by my obsession to make a difference.

The following several pages contain pictures of trash that I transformed into treasure.

Pallet landfill to conference room

Reincarnated lamp and mirror

Thrown

Odds and Ends

One day I was driving down a country road in upstate NY and noticed a couple of weathered farmers sitting in front of a broken down barn. I was searching for old wooden planks that they’d be willing to sell. They took me up to an old hay loft and showed me a stack of dusty rough cut lumber that had probably been laying there for at least thirty years. I had no idea what kind of wood it was, but it was heavy. I felt sure it was some kind of hardwood. I bought the whole stack for $10. They helped load it into my station wagon. When I got back to my workshop, I ran the rough lumber through the wood planer. It turned out to be beautifully aged solid cherry with a lot of rough edges and ends and lots of knots. Most woodworkers cut these defects away in the process of furniture making. I decided to design defective furniture from the get go. I found the imperfections very beautiful and used them as design elements. My client was in the recycling business and loved my creation!

Cherry Desk

It’s rewarding to transform something useless into something useful. It’s also great to be loved and appreciated by family, friends, colleagues, students, and clients. Without real financial support, however, it can be extremely challenging. I found myself delving more deeply each day into the mother of all garbage – Psychic Garbage. Stay tuned.

The Esoteric Power of the Sun

Sun

Solar Talisman MugOne dreary mid-winter day in 1998, I sat quietly drinking peppermint tea from a cobalt blue mug with a radiant orange and yellow sun surrounded by stars. It had been a gift for speaking at a National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) educational conference for astrologers in NYC. The horoscope in the hands was my topic. I’d been a faculty member and resident palmist for over 20 years. I needed more sun energy in my life and decided to transform my sun mug into a talisman to help me acheive that goal.

 

I felt inspired and rummaged around for an appropriate mug shot of myself. After cutting out my face, I carefully glued it to the center of the sun. Over that I applied several layers of crystal clear film. As I burnished down the edges, I imagined myself as Apollo, the Greek Sun God. When I finished, I raised the cup in my left hand to observe my handiwork. The phone rang. I picked it up with my right hand. “Hello, I’m the Public Program Coordinator for the National Design Museum. We’re curating a major Solar Energy Exhibition in June and are wondering if you’d be interested in conducting the Lecture / Workshop series on the symbolism of the sun?”

I almost fell out of my chair. I’d experienced synchronicity, but this seemed impossible. How could a talisman work that quickly? Confidently, I replied, “You’ve come to the right place.” The magic of the sun had materialized the moment I combined the esoteric power of the sun with my clear desire, intent, and action. My life instantly became sunnier.

Speaking of mugs, back in the early ‘80’s, a manufacturer of drinking mugs asked me to design a collection of astrology mugs for upstairs department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. The six masculine sun signs were printed in 24 carat gold and six feminine signs in platinum. Customers loved the mugs, but began returning them soon after they were damaged in the dishwasher, even though they had been merchandised as ‘wash by hand’ only. My collection was discontinued despite my unrequited pleas to the manufacturer to try again with dishwasher safe inks.

Astrology Mug Collection

Hex SignA talisman is anything (including a simple piece of paper) with a scribble on it that’s symbolic of something you want to impress on your psyche to create change or reinforce something that needs to be strengthened. Amulets and hex signs are solar symbols used for protection. You see a lot of Amish hex signs blessing barns and homes and protecting livestock from harm.

These are some of the sun’s many correspondences. The sun in Leo (July 23 – August 23) rules the fifth house of the natural horoscope. The Sun’s day is Sunday. The Sun’s hour is noon. Gemstones besides diamonds that the sun rules are amber and topaz. In Kabala, Tiphareth corresponds to the Sun and the number six, which balances the tree of life. The Crown Chakrah is ruled by the sun. The heart is the organ ruled by the sun. Solar archetypes exist in every culture: GREEK – Apollo and Hercules, JUDAIC – Samson, EGYPTIAN – Osiris, AFRICAN – Anansi, INDIAN – Narasimha, HINDU –Vishnu, PERSION – Mithra, JAPANESE – Amaterasu, NORSE – Odin, IRISH – Lugh, and   ARTHURIAN – Percival. The Lion King and Goldilocks are solar fairy tales. Lots of Leos are myths in their own minds. Musical links for the sun are the key of C and most instruments. Solar trees are citrus, walnut, bay, and palm. Solar herbs, plants, and scents are sun flower, yellow poppy, saffron, marigold, cinnamon, pepper, peony, musk, honey, frankincense, rice, and all aromatic herbs. Aroma of Frankincense (Christ and the Nativity) when used in ritual magic brings good health, wealth, success, acclaim, mental clarity, fearlessness, confidence, and spiritual awakening. Gold and diamonds worn on a ring finger are marriage magic. Pyrite, fool’s gold, eases anxiety, frustration, and depression. Pyrite is wise man’s gold when charged with clear vision and pure intention to attract wealth, boost self-esteem, aid communications, and enhance appreciation.

It’s best to create your own talisman. The more tuned you are to your intent, the more powerful your talisman will be. The more esoteric correspondences you use, the more potent the talisman’s effect will be. After my mug experience, I was inspired to create a  small metalworking shop where I could make talismans to my heart’s content. Specific metals, minerals, and gems are incorporated for specific purposes on specific months, days, and times of day. Everything matters. Even facing the right direction, smelling the right incense, and hearing the right musical vibration while you’re creating your talisman can enhance its potency. I made the four talismans below for myself.

talismans

As you can see, ‘Grounding’ is a bit beat up. I wear it often because I need a lot of grounding. It works for me because I created it with the clear intent of becoming whole, centered, and peaceful. Copper represents Venus and earth and is grounded in practical reality. Silver symbolizes feelings and emotion. Gold promotes clear thinking, passion, intuition, and inspiration. Square shapes within circles add structure, discipline, and focus. Circles within circles help center, inspire, and empassion. The rest is the quest.

‘Energizing’ is solid bronze with an opal in the center. There was a huge crack in the casting. I almost chucked it, but decided the crack was like a bolt of lightning and an important pathway from the outside of the circle to the opal. When I finished polishing the talisman, it felt perfect for me and my purpose.

‘Strengthening’ was created on a picture-perfect day in May (Taurus). Horns remind me to be determined and persistent. This talisman helps me think with my head and feel with my heart. Being mainly bronze, it’s a blending of copper, tin, zinc, and lead. Alchemically, it blends Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn in order to balance ambition and compassion with order and action. A solid foundation helps a healthy framework become a powerful structure.

‘Centering’ consists of circles within circles, heart (copper) surrounded by mind (gold) and emotion (silver). Six small outer circles within two large inner circles represent masculine (gold) and feminine (silver) principles and twelve aspects of my character I must balance: behavior, values, thinking, feelings, will power, health, relationships, creativity, philosophy, purpose, hopes and dreams, and spirituality.

In case you’re not convinced of the power of the sun, let’s look at how religions, politics, governments, dictatorships, and corporations use the power of the sun to magnetize and mesmerize the masses with their ideologies, products, and services.

Target

Circular logos and iconic names like $tarbucks are no coincidence

Solar Symbols 2

Solar Symbols 3

Solar symbols 4

Products to Services

 

SunLeo rules the Sun, which rules the MC (Midheaven) of my astrological chart. The MC is the cusp of the tenth house, the zenith of a horoscope. The MC symbolizes a person’s career and purpose and illuminates the relationship between father and child. Wherever Leo is in your astrology chart, you need to shine like the Sun. Saturn and Pluto are planets that closely straddle my MC in the sign of Leo. Ancient astrology books define that combo as a recipe for disaster. When I was 29 and Saturn returned to its natal position by transit, my father suddenly and unexpectedly died at age 54. At the times in my life when Saturn or Pluto was transiting my natal Saturn Pluto conjunction; a devastating fire destroyed my candle factory; partners with alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions ruined our businesses; a cotton crisis wrecked my opportunity for success; and one more great opportunity was demolished by a hurricane. I felt like my career was a tragedy waiting to happen.  Any person with Saturn conjunct Pluto in Leo needs to be crystal clear in their intent, disciplined, structured, focused (Saturn) and willing to let go and change (Pluto). Lead is transformed into gold when Saturn and Pluto are employed in the service of the Sun. Real alchemy is metaphysical, not physical.

mark seltman rt hand smI never foresaw any catastrophic events in my hands. Even with 20/20 hindsight, I’d never have predicted misfortune. I have an overlapping break in my fate line for this period, but that could easily have been interpreted as a transition from one career to another. Hand reading is best for identifying basic character. Astrology is useful for gaining insight into a person’s motivations, behavior patterns, habits, and timing. Tarot cards are good for getting at unconscious issues. It’s nearly impossible to be fully objective about oneself.

Everyone plans. No one can truly predict their future.

solar symbolMy intention had been to become a rich and famous designer. I was grandiose, hungry for power, and positive that I’d eventually design some product that everyone wanted or needed. I began wondering if maybe I wasn’t supposed to be doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing.

 

 

After my light filtering window shade fiasco, I became anxious about money. I hadn’t a clue where the next influx would come from. The owner of a butcher block factory who I had designed kitchenware for recommended my design services to a friend who manufactured wooden paddle-ball paddles for a large sports design and marketing company. This guy was rudely awakened when he was told that if he didn’t lower his prices, the company he was supplying would go to Taiwan to purchase their paddles. Making someone else’s paddles was already not all that profitable, so he decided that he needed to create his own proprietary product line and retained me to come up with new design ideas. His company was morphing from being the hired help to becoming the competition. I designed a dozen or so graphic treatments which he felt were too outrageous to speculate on. He asked me several times to go back to the drawing board until he ended up with imitations of the original paddles he had been producing with minor decorative variations. Here are a couple of my efforts and the results. I made a few thousand dollars in the process.

Paddle Ball Paddles

Meanwhile, Avraham and I weren’t about to give up. We tried to “think and grow rich” several more times as our business schemes became even more grandiose.

Hopscotch“Twister” was a very popular floor game at the time. It was printed on a vinyl mat. We did our homework and found that a “Hop Scotch” mat had never been marketed, so we fabricated a prototype. Our challenge was to find a way to protect our investment. Anyone with a piece of chalk owns hop scotch. There was no way we could patent, copyright, or trademark the name. There was also no way we wouldn’t get knocked off by a large player in the game industry if we were to become successful. Then there was the potential insurance liability if anyone slipped and broke their neck or was injured in any way while using our product. We decided there were just too many obstacles to proceed. We also agreed that maybe it was time to put our product ideas on the back burner and try something new, so we stuck our restless toes in the tumultuous waters of the service industry.

“AMERICAN AUTOMOTIVE WARRANTIES CORP” was our attempt to provide new car owners with the maintenance insurance that the automotive industry had recently taken away. We courageously designed and marketed our new concept, initially sending out thousands of carefully crafted brochures to new car buyers. Unfortunately, we were way out of our league and unable to accumulate enough money in escrow to become an insurance company. We tried to find investors, but ultimately had to return the money to customers who had sent us checks.

Our next concept was a bona fide winner, although we ended up being losers. New York City was in a major financial crisis in the mid 1970’s. Avraham and I had an epiphany during one of our many brainstorming sessions. NYC was losing a fortune by not attempting to collect their out of state non-moving traffic violations. We formed NATIONAL TRAFFIC VIOLATION SYSTEMS, INC. and designed official looking stationary informing violators that they had been caught red-handed. We decided that NYC would be a perfect test market for the idea. Other large cities would follow.

It was a slippery slope because a summons is not a judgment and because no one had ever figured out how to quickly and easily trace out of state license plates to drivers. We did. We assumed that enough people would be scared or paranoid enough for us to make a respectable living. We contacted the department of motor vehicles in NYC. They nibbled on our bait by asking for more information on how to pull the idea off. We assumed we could trust them and revealed our entire plan to them. We waited patiently for several weeks for a response. The next thing we knew, we were reading in a Pittsburgh newspaper about how New York was preparing to collect fifty million dollars in non-moving out of state traffic violations.

Needless to say, we were pissed. With plenty of registered letters and correspondences with officials of New York City in hand, we planned to fight for our rights. It’s not how we had hoped to make our money, but it was better than nothing. We showed up in NYC and tried to find a law firm to represent us. Many of the largest law firms had conflicts of interest. NYC was or had been a client of theirs. They told us to let go – to give up. It would be extremely expensive and ridiculously difficult to squeeze a cent out of NYC during their financial crises. NYC was close to bankruptcy. Adding insult to injury, we ended up having to pay the NYC parking violations we’d accrued on our path to failure.

Avraham and I finally decided to throw in the towel. We’d continue to do our own things and be friends and sounding boards for each other. It’s been nearly forty years since our last attempt to do business together. We still speak frequently and still share grand ideas. I was recently walking in the woods with Avraham when he turned to me and said, “I used to dream that I’d be successful and own all sorts of stuff and I do. I’m glad I proved to myself that I could do it and am happy to report that I no longer need any of it to be happy”. I immediately challenged him to let go of it. I doubt that’s going to happen.

After Avraham and I parted ways, I went through a kind of dark period in my design thinking. Punk Rock was popular and there was a kind of fatalism in the air. I designed a collection of printed beach towels that looked like broken glass, rusty nails, hot coals, and a bunch of other stuff that no one would ever want to lie on. Here are a few.

Beach Towels

I’d been designing mugs for a large drinking mug manufacturer when I approached them with my punk-like designs below. I figured that there had to be a market for novelties of this type. They weren’t interested. Since I’d already done the design work, I thought I’d try placing my artwork on a different kind of product. I approached a novelty toilet paper manufacturer who was already printing money and faces of prominent people on toilet paper. I really thought they’d go for my idea. Instead, they told me to “take my socio-political statements elsewhere”.  I didn’t get it. Maybe I’d try t-shirt manufacturers next. I wasn’t sure what to do with my frustration.Mug and toilet paper designsThis is a self-portrait I created during this time. I call it the twelve phases of darkness.

round self portrait

Let There be Filtered Light

AvrahamI met Avraham several years before I moved to New York City. He’s a Leo. Avraham has an Intuitive hand shape with rectangular palms and short stiff fingers and thumbs. His headline and lifeline are joined at his thumb. Avraham grew up on a busy commercial street in a wealthy Jewish community. His father died when he was four. His mother was obese and in poor health. She loved Avraham, but unfortunately for him, she remarried a horrible man who became his evil stepfather. I had no idea who he was, but I used to see this creepy guy at funerals. He was a professional mourner, hired by the local funeral home to lament the dead at funerals. He was a mean spirited man and treated Avraham as an unwanted stepchild in his own home, which was a tiny shabby apartment located above a smelly local butcher shop. While other kids wore monogrammed shirts, English Leather cologne, and drove fancy cars, Avraham looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was watching as he climbed the dingy stairs to his impoverished depressing world.

Avraham’s short index finger and crooked pinkie and middle fingers make for an interesting tale. Despite low self-esteem and his depressing circumstances, Avraham decided at an early age that he would not be poor when he grew up. His bible became ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. John Lennon was his favorite hero. Avraham studied diligently to become a lawyer. I’ve read many hands of lawyers with crooked pinkies. It’s very easy for them to bend the law. Avraham was as clever as the best of them, however; he chose to embrace rather than twist the law. “We’re all guilty until proven innocent”, he’d say.

Other lawyers, who didn’t know Avraham, saw him as another greedy ‘ambulance chaser’ with questionable ethics. Avraham was the first lawyer in town to post billboards at the scene of regular car accidents and to advertise on local TV. There was nothing illegal about what he did. Avraham was actually a pioneer and a very clever marketing person who put his clients’ needs and interests first. He eventually became very wealthy.  Avraham would say, “It doesn’t take too many good cases to make a decent living”.

At the time Avraham and I met, I was designing and subcontract manufacturing mushroom lamps and a variety of other plastic widgets and fighting with my business partner over his gambling addiction. Ready for change, I viewed Avraham as an opportunity for me to make a lot of money ‘the easy way’ (or so I thought).  At the time, large manufacturers of plain white roll-up vinyl window shades were competing with each other for pennies (still are). Avraham became my partner and our attorney in the window shade business.

We created the ‘stained glass window shade’ and applied for a patent on a clear vinyl roll-up shade that looked like real stained glass when daylight passed through it. We hoped to license Tiffany’s designs, but Tiffany didn’t want any part of cheapening their image with plastic. We should have known better. Instead, we retained a stained glass artisan and made exquisite prototypes of our own. When we presented them to the ultra-conservative buyers at Sears, J.C. Penney’s, Montgomery Ward, and other retail chains, they told us, “Stained glass is for churches, consumers won’t buy them”. We weren’t about to give up.

stained glass window shades

There were mainly cheap plain white vinyl shades on the market. We figured that there were more than enough ugly views from windows to make a fabulous living. Our primary challenge was to pay for expensive materials, tooling, setup charges, and minimum production runs. We traveled all over the USA, trying to license our stained glass window shade concept to the shade industry. There were seven major players at the time. We heard ‘NO’ seven times for a variety of reasons. We had gotten a fascinating education, but could no longer afford to speculate on our idea. We hadn’t sold enough shades in two years to meet our minimum financial requirements. Our patent was still good for another 15 years. Frustrated, but hopeful, we waited for a sign from the Cosmos. Our beloved Stained Glass Window Shade was on a back burner.

Avraham and I strolled in the woods, which was our office at the time. Why weren’t decorative window shades everywhere? Our pondering led us to a variety of challenges. Window shades were dirt cheap. Our concept was to increase the value of the plain white shade with fashion. We figured that producing more elegant translucent shade materials and utilizing inexpensive beautiful printing methods would appeal to consumers, buyers, and the logic of shade manufacturers. We’d say, “You get more money for fashion”. They’d reply, “You have to make a lot of shades to pay for your mistakes”.

Window Shade departments were the most mundane utilitarian department in the home furnishings industry. They were nearly as bad as trying to locate palmistry books in bookstores. If you looked for the drabbest, remotest, most inconvenient corner of the bargain basement, you’d find plain white shades in different lengths stacked in vertical bins under cutting machines. Many little plastic bags of shade hardware hung above.

Our research revealed that seven major textile mills controlled upscale department store markets for sheets, comforters, blankets, towels, table cloths, curtains, draperies, and upholstery fabrics. JP Stevens & Co was the leader of the seven. We approached them with our coordinated shade idea and licensed their most successful patterns; polka dot, gingham, calico, and denim. Seemed like a lot of money for squares, squiggles and dots, but we were now married to a powerful octopus with many very long tentacles. Our plan was to purchase short production runs of printed cotton sheeting which we’d then coat with vinyl resin and convert into window shade cloth. We’d produce them by piggy backing production runs of their most popular patterns and tacking on a few thousand yards for our product at the end of their run. We needed to sell a lot of shades to break even, but assumed that JP Stevens’ retail customers would gratefully purchase our shades.

Our next challenge was finding the best way to approach retail shade buyers. It would take some serious alchemy to transform their dowdy merchandising to chic. We begged buyers and merchandise managers for ten square feet of floor space in the drapery department with electricity to illuminate our product. We provided JP Stevens and department store buyers with pictures of coordinated shades for bed and bath product merchandising, advertising, and promotion. I designed the display fixture below. The picket fence swung open to reveal narrower width shades which were stored inside. We convinced Bloomingdale’s and Federated Department Stores to take a chance on us.

Fashion Shade Display

We prototyped Wamsutta’s Ultracale fine cotton bedding collection.

Wamsutta Ultracale Collection

We chose designs for kitchens, family rooms, and children’s rooms.

Shades for Kitchen, Family Room, and Kid's Room

We converted upholstery fabrics to window shade cloth and designed shade housings.

There are more windows than beds

We were feeling pretty good about the progress we were making, but realized that we were still at the starting line of our obstacle course. We cut the children’s patterns loose   because the royalties and minimum guarantees were ridiculously exorbitant. The shades would have cost a small fortune before they even reached the consumer. We decided that we would negotiate a better deal later. We contracted with a large shade manufacturer who was willing to produce, package, and deliver shades made from our materials for a very reasonable price. They were selling utility. We were selling fashion. We figured that they’d buy our shade business from us when we proved ourselves.

We were chomping at the bit to get started. I collected a $50,000 initial purchase order from A&S Department Stores and another $10,000 order from Bloomingdale’s. That’s when Murphy’s Law galvanized like a lightning bolt from hell. When we contacted JP Stevens to purchase yard goods, we were told that there was a cotton crisis and they didn’t have enough sheeting to supply their own needs. We suggested that they print our product on muslin, but they still had the same problem. Meanwhile, A &S was getting nervous because they realized that the shade patterns would be visible from the outside of the windows, especially at night when shades were lit from the inside. We’d anticipated that some people wouldn’t buy the shade for that reason, but didn’t consider that to be a huge problem. We had looked into laminating a translucent white vinyl film onto the back of the shade cloth. It added substantially to the price of the finished shade. It also created a possibility that the shade might curl inward instead of hanging flat in the window. Both sides must be laminated to create proper lay flat. We considered printing the patterns on vinyl shade film, but it was cost prohibitive to purchase expensive rotogravure print rollers for minimum production runs.

We contacted the department stores, explaining that we were unable to deliver their orders on time. We let each other off the hook. Meanwhile, the Burlington Domestics Bedroom Scenic Collection had become the hottest selling patterns in the market place. With a burst of inspiration I thought, ‘Why not offer consumers natural sheets with real nature scenes?’ I rendered up a batch and showed them to department store buyers.

My bedsheet designs

Closet accessoriesI also sketched some closet accessories to match and then met with the president of Burlington Industries domestics division. He told me that “they were unable to do a project of this nature at this time”. He told me that a person with my creativity should be working on “new ways for people to sleep”. That was a nice compliment, but it didn’t help me pay my rent.

 

Avraham let go of window shades to pursue more lucrative projects at that point, but not me. I was at my wit’s end when I came up with what I believe was my most brilliant window shade idea. If shade manufacturers, buyers, and consumers wanted plain white vinyl shades, I’d give them plain white vinyl shades. Elegant patterns could be illuminated when daylight passed through translucent shade materials that had been printed with an opaque white ink that matched the vinyl. I created prototypes and licensed the idea to Kenney Manufacturing Company. Dick Kenney was my favorite CEO in the shade and drapery hardware industry. It felt like a perfect match. I named my collection ‘Reflections’.

This is how the plain white shades looked when daylight passed through them.

white on white shade collection

I also created a unique collection of illuminated pattern designs which I called

New Early American Folk Art

New early american folk art

Hurricane HugoOnce again, we were all set to go when disaster struck. Hurricane Hugo hit Kenney’s shade manufacturing plant in Charleston, SC and completely destroyed it. Dick Kenney called and apologized to me while I offered him my sympathies. My most important project was once again reluctantly placed on a back burner. I was mind boggled. Every time I got close to what I wanted, it was ripped from my grasp by outside circumstances. Stay tuned for more of my physical and metaphysical misadventures.

My Metaphysical Memoir 2

a bike routeI just got back from my bike ride. Bike riding is a daily ritual for me. My goal is to be at one with my bike and environment and ride as often as I can. Hot or cold, rain or shine, except for icy conditions, I traverse several fifteen mile bike routes that run in opposite directions from our country home. It takes about an hour to circle around over Vermont back country roads and forest trails. I’ve traversed nearly 4,000 miles of dirt roads on my bike over the past couple of years. Old logging roads are exhilarating when I’m in the mood for obstacles like ruts, potholes, gravel, rocks, boulders, logs, branches, sharp curves, steep hills, and muddy weather conditions. Mother Nature constantly challenges me with her ageless beauty, timeless transformation, and capricious temperament while she nourishes and encourages me to become whole, centered, and peaceful.

plastic injection molded mushroom lampAfter my candle factory fiasco, I no longer wanted to be married to manufacturing. I decided that it was better to hire someone else to manufacture products while I concentrated on designing and marketing them. I formed a fourth partnership that we dubbed ‘Universal Media’. I became the executive vice president. We subcontract manufactured injection molded plastic mushroom lamps, along with a variety of other plastic items. I no longer have a picture of our actual lamp, but it looks a lot like the one in this picture. Our best-selling lamp was created by mixing colored plastic beads together in the molding process, which resulted in an unpredictable marbleized effect. Each lamp was different and exotic in its own way. Our products were assembled and packaged in sheltered workshops.

“This is It”, I thought.  I’m helping handicapped people, giving consumers attractive and useful products, not doing the dirty work, and making a profit. It didn’t take long; however, for me to become extremely frustrated by being forced to do police work. I’d have to show up unexpectedly, roll up my sleeves, and dig my work out from the bottom of the pile. When a product is not proprietary, it’s not a priority. That was a hard pill to swallow, but as the money rolled in, my new partner’s no longer secret gambling addiction made it easier. He would effortlessly throw away five thousand dollars at the craps table in Las Vegas. Following numerous yelling matches, I walked away empty handed, but relieved.

That was the end of subcontract manufacturing for me. I decided to manufacture design only. I’d create products and completely remove myself from manufacturing problems, pollution, police work, and pathetic partners. In my quest to sell my first new product idea, I bounded from one potential client to the next, living in the cheapest fleabag hotels in the largest cities across the country. I’d wake up and look at my date book to see what city I was in and who I’d be seeing where and at what time.

old times squareAfter two years of not selling anything, with finances by the seat of my pants, I moved to New York City where I had one friend, my Dad’s sister, Aunt Lil, who expressed great consternation as I settled into a seedy fleabag hotel at 43rd St. and 8th Ave in Times Square. I ignored Lil’s disgruntled pleas and warnings, figuring it was cheap, centrally located, and within walking distance of never running out of doors to knock on. Once a week, Aunt Lil treated me to lunch including a care package of home cooked comfort food. I never told her, but often shared her nutritious meals with my homeless neighbors.  Aunt Lil was a personal secretary to one of the top VP’s at Citicorp. She volunteered dutifully to also be my humble secretary, never judging, criticizing my choices, or complaining about the work. I adored Aunt Lil and couldn’t wait to see her each week. We confided in each other and shared our deepest secrets. By day, I wore three-piece suits as I knocked on doors with my design portfolio and prototypes in hand. The rest of the time, I did piece work in local machine shops. I’d operate a drill press and do repetitive work all day long. Other times, shop owners would take on specialized projects if I agreed to fabricate them. At night, I patronized misfits in local bars in exchange for their stories and frequented the glut of porn and martial arts theaters in the hood.

Of course, Aunt Lil was right. One dark evening, I was mugged at knife-point while innocently exploring the outskirts of Times Square. I naively got backed into a dark corner of a parking lot. As my predator probed my pockets, he allowed his knife hand to drop by his side for a moment. I slammed him with all my might in the chest with my fist. He flew through the air, landing on his back. With my heart pounding like Olatungi on crack, I ran red-faced, jackrabbit style for several blocks. Suddenly, I stopped and thought, “I should have grabbed his knife and killed him”. I considered going back. That’s when I realized I had watched too many Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood movies.

I stayed in my hotel room the following night with a fifth of Jack Daniels from the liquor store. I’d never been much of a drinker, but managed to polish off the entire bottle. The next morning, I felt sicker than I could ever remember. I lay incapacitated for three days; feeling dizzy, barfing my brains out, inhaling the musty smells of poor housekeeping (a sordid stench), and hearing echoes of human pain and suffering that I had previously ignored or failed to notice.

Immediately, I engaged a roommate service. At first, my leads led to lonely gay men looking for love. I finally ended up lying about my diet and living on the upper west side as a single carnivorous man in an apartment full of lovely single vegetarian women. The experience made me crave sex and rare hamburger. After a year of too much rabbit food and not enough decadence, I moved to a large loft space in Tribecca where I set up a design and model-making studio. I shared a wall with Meryl Streep who was not an icon at the time. She was living in an adjoining loft with her sculptor boyfriend.

Cutting BoardsAfter several months, I sold my first design concept. Kitchen Art was a line of finely crafted expensive cutting boards, knife blocks, rolling pins, and other wooden-ware. I’d been designing and fabricating limited editions of expensive kitchenware for crafts fairs, galleries, and fancy retail gift stores. I’ve included several of my favorite pieces from various collections.  I envisioned each object as a symbolic charm such as a talisman or an amulet with an ability to attract and protect. My artistic creations became “lost leaders” in department stores. My cutting boards and knife blocks made their expensive staple products sell better because they were much less expensive in comparison to mine.

rolling pins

Trivets and Coasters

Commercial Cutting Boards

I believed I was on my path to fame and fortune. I worked tirelessly for about six months, producing hundreds of prototypes, which lost much of their magic in their commercial translation.

Knife Blocks

All the `at a boys’ and ‘pats on the back’ from buyers and merchandise managers fueled my optimism and idealism. Cutlery companies provided sample sets of their highest quality knives for my blocks.

Clocks

It seemed like a short jump from laminated cutting boards to designing clocks. All I needed to do was mill a space in the back large enough to accommodate a battery operated movement. I foraged into designing decorative electric clocks and novelty night lights for exclusive markets.

Electric Clocks

I was unable to market plug in products to department stores because they didn’t have UL (United Laboratories) approval, even though I’d used all UL approved parts. I needed to have my designs tested, which required many thousands of dollars of initial investment and a long waiting period.

Night Lights

I explained in an earlier entry that when I arrived in NYC, one of the first things I did with my limited resources was to consult top hand readers, astrologers, and tarot readers. I was warned that New York City was a dangerous place for me and as predicted, I was accosted several times at knife point and once at gun point over the years. I was also informed that I was a late bloomer and that I would continue to have a series of disasters and misadventures until I finally settled into my proper niche, at which time I’d become a very well-known authority on that topic.
Hermes“The lips of wisdom are closed except to the ears of understanding.” I began my life as Hermes (Peter Pan). I personified Aphrodite as an adolescent, Apollo as a young man, and Chronos in middle age. At sixty-seven, I’m a maturing Hermes (Mercury), father of modern wisdom. Every one of us embodies all archetypes in varying degrees. Although we always have a dominant archetype, secondary archetypes become temporarily dominant at different periods in our lives. An awareness of our archetypes and archetypal relationships corresponds to actual changes in our current behaviors and relationships.

 

My Sun/ Uranus conjunction in the sign of Gemini symbolizes my need to be rebellious and an inventor. I have Aries on the cusp of my astrological sixth house of work and health. Aries and Mars rule fire; a single candle or a candle factory burning down. Aries represents my passion for work and my need to pioneer. Taurus rules arts and crafts. My Moon Mars conjunction in Taurus embodies my desire for security, comfort, and prosperity. It also corresponds well with my Aries partner, Joanna, who has Venus conjunct Taurus rising. I sometimes call her ‘Rambull’.  Aries and Mars rules arguments and disagreements. I had more than my share of those with business partners. Taurus on the seventh house cusp can symbolize having partners who are stubborn obsessive-compulsive types. Having a Taurus Moon helps me stay pragmatic and calm in the face of adversity. Scorpio rising and my Saturn/Pluto conjunction in the sign of Leo on my mid-heaven presided over my many business disasters and my frequent encounters with sex and violence on the streets of New York.

My Metaphysical Memoir

mom and dad 2My last two stories introduced my mom, dad, and childhood. It’s time to examine my character. I’ll attempt to explain how I perceive and interpret my archetypal relationships with family, friends, clients, celebrities, heroes, and anti-heroes. I plan to share my insights and understanding of our symbolism as our relationships and lives unfold.

 

When I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.A. in Industrial Design in 1969, my parents assumed that I’d be designing for someone else. “It’s time for you to go out and find a job”, they announced. “A job? Not me. I’m going to be an inventor.”  “What will you invent?” they asked. “Ways of making a living.”  I replied. They assured me I had their mental, emotional, and spiritual support. I thanked them and immediately put on my thinking cap because my greatest challenge was not having any money.

My chronic lack of finances motivated me to ponder my dilemma on a macro and micro scale at the same time. I had become a craftsman and model maker, specializing in fabricating objects from wood, soft metals, and plastics. I would easily survive. I figured that if someone could make a fortune creating and promoting a “pet rock”, I could surely invent something that would provide me with a good income and creative freedom.

Big Mac Coaster SetThere were not many novelty coaster sets on the market at the time. I cut seven circles and a square from wood and replicated a Big Mac hamburger, staining and painting the individual pieces to simulate ingredients. They actually looked pretty appetizing. I felt confident that MacDonald’s would go for the idea. We could injection mold individual plastic pieces and imprint them. I presented the idea to product management at MacDonald’s corporate headquarters and suggested they call it a ‘Big Mac Coaster Set’. I encouraged them to market it with box tops or give it away with a certain size order. They weren’t interested. So I went directly to upstairs department stores with my hamburger coaster prototypes. Buyers liked the idea and wanted to purchase small quantities to sell, but not enough to pay for tooling and minimum production runs. My hamburger coaster idea went on a back burner. Eventually, someone else produced hamburger coasters and profited.

Candle catalog coverI launched my first real business venture with a fellow industrial design graduate and several hundred dollars. We were determined to be successful. Basic column, taper, and votive candles ‘ were staples in the marketplace at the time. We envisioned pioneering a niche for uniquely scented black light candles, ice cream candles, recycled can and bottle candles (Earth Day #1, Aries 1970), and sand-cast candles.  Combining unique methods, materials, and manufacturing processes, we produced limited editions of high quality handcrafted products at wholesale prices. For several months, we trekked a waxy trail between my partner’s living room and kitchen, ruining his stove, pots, pans, and wooden floors. Although my partner was creative and passionate, he was unreliable due to his alcohol dependency. I threatened to abandon him and his two alcoholic mutts (Michelob and Budweiser) and finally deserted them following several ugly and untimely binges. Meanwhile, we’d established a small market for our products in head shops and gift stores.

mushroom candleI promptly relocated to a three thousand square foot warehouse space with a new partner who was also an industrial designer. We borrowed a few thousand dollars each and labored like a couple of obsessive-compulsive maniacs to create equipment, set up manufacturing systems, and generate more substantial orders for candles. This time, my partner deserted me. He ran off to Brazil after his wife was violently killed in an automobile accident. We were under tremendous pressure and he couldn’t handle another drop.

Graciously, my partner apologized and donated his half of the business to me. While he became a tourism guide and fisherman, living with fresh air and water, I tried to hold on to my sanity while sweeping floors, keeping books, purchasing raw materials, and making and delivering orders that were way too large for a small crew of people working full time (let alone the two of us).

recycled can candlesCoca Cola was threatening to drive me out of business for recycling their discarded soda cans into candles. They’d rather have seen them incinerated or land filled than let me use their logo for free. I tried fighting, but quickly learned that it’s futile to fight with a god, so I reused everyone else’s cans.

 

Despite my setbacks, by the end of my first eighteen months in business, I had acquired nearly ten times the warehouse space, and was buying wax by the barge load, essential oils by the barrel, and artificial dyes by the drum. It was a lot of hard and dirty work, but I figured that eventually I’d be able to pay other people to do the dirty work for me.

candle factory fireOne morning I awoke to find that an electric immersible heater malfunction had transformed my factory into the largest candle in Pittsburgh’s history. Smokeless flames over one hundred feet tall had leapt passionately into the night sky. Seventeen fire engines and many firemen worked all night, but were unable to rescue it. While sorting through the rubble, I imagined Hiroshima. Large steel beams had sagged and aluminum molds had melted like ice into puddles. Everything else was charred to a crisp. That was my first really intense experience with pollution. Not just environmental pollution, but a psychic pollution that occurs when you owe a lot of money and have none.  After a year of legal battles, as I frantically scrounged to support a life style that I could no longer afford, a jury awarded me a financial settlement in an insurance lawsuit over my landlord’s (third partner’s) faulty sprinkler system. Bill collectors, like unrequited stalkers, finally let go when I settled with my creditors and investors for ten cents on the dollar. I got nothing.

mark seltman astrological chart

I hadn’t a clue about my symbolism at the time all this chaos was happening. In hindsight, I realized that I was destined to be an inventor, a rebel, a pioneer, a communicator, and failed businessman. I was forced by circumstance to understand what I value, how I think, what I feel, and believe. My candle factory fire and many other disasters and catastrophes that were to follow in my future were also meant to be so that I could become who I was meant to be. I’ll explain as my story unfolds.

Dad and Metaphysics

Dad with his kidsMy father was a Pisces, born 2/22/22. His astrological Sun, Venus, and Uranus are conjunct his ascendant in the sign of Pisces. Dad was a super Pisces. He was also a super father. My brother, Gary (Pisces), sister, Jennifer (Taurus), and I (Gemini) were extremely blessed and we knew it.

 

I didn’t begin reading hands until after dad passed away, so I never analyzed dad’s hands from a symbolic perspective. I haven’t found good pictures of his hands, either. I remember dad’s hands being warm, strong, and capable. He had a grip of steel and a very firm hand shake, but his energetic touch was always gentle and loving.

If the definition of a genius is an average kid with a Jewish mother, ours was father. When I was seven years old, I played a Chopin Prelude on the radio. Dad distributed radios to every class in my grade school. He made sure that everyone who we knew listened. Despite my mortification when I found out, I became an overnight celebrity and ‘child prodigy’ in my grade school and little community. In hindsight, it was great fun.

Dad was an incredible storyteller. Hardly a night went by in early childhood when my brother, sister, and I didn’t go on an exciting far off imaginary adventure at bedtime. “BoBo” the gorilla and “Squeaky” the mouse were friends and two of dad’s magical characters that are still part of us. We draw strength and humor from having known them. I told those stories to my daughter many times in her early childhood. I can imagine her children telling those stories to their children one day.

Pride and JoyI know, it’s a corny salesman’s tool, but dad would ask people if they’d like to see his ‘Pride and Joy’. Dad was a super salesman who always worked for a fixed salary. That never made sense to me. Why would he work for someone else when he could sell nearly anything? Ironically, dad never found anything to sell that truly turned him on. Dad wholesaled products like crystal, candles, pens, and furniture. He also sold products like insurance and real estate.

 

Dad's commercialsThe reason Dad was such a great salesman was his desire and ability to care about people. Everybody looked forward to seeing him and he was as happy as a puppy to see them. Dad remembered everyone’s important personal stuff and made them feel glad to be themselves when he was around. His heartwarming smile and Mom's exercise ball videocomical humor was contagious. Click here to watch dad in action. Although the quality isn’t great because this was converted from old 8mm film, I guarantee you’ll laugh at the content. In case you haven’t seen mom’s famous ‘exercise ball’ video, click here.

Dad at 2Dad carried this embarrassing picture in his wallet. When there was any conversation about testosterone or being well endowed, he’d ask, “Would you like to see a picture of me when I was 2 years old?” At his funeral, dozens of people we never met or knew existed showed up to let us know how valuable and important dad had been to them in their lives.

 

Dad dreamed of becoming a doctor. When WWII came, he lied about his age (17) and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He became a staff sergeant. His next quest was as a tail gunner on a B-24 bomber in the air force. I can’t imagine a scarier job. Dad was the only member of his crew to survive the bloody massacre as their plane was shot down over Italy on their 49th (next to last) mission. Dad bailed out, waiting until the last second to open his parachute because the sky was full of flak. He ended up several hundred miles behind enemy lines with a badly broken leg. He ate from garbage cans at night as he dragged himself to freedom. At daybreak, dad hid under people’s porches or in their basements. When he finally reached the allied forces his leg had become totally black.  Army surgeons wanted to cut it off, but Dad told them that they had better cut his head off while they’re at it. He had been an athlete and great sprinter. Dad once told me that he came close to breaking Jesse Owens world record for the one hundred meter dash while in the marines. Dad’s leg healed with surgery and therapy. It never bothered him.

Dad never ever spoke of his war experiences. When he passed, we went through his personal effects and found photos of him with his air force buddies, press clippings about their tragedy, and a stack of medals. That experience was the turning point in Dad’s life. His intent and priorities became crystal clear after that. Dad was a war hero, but when I was called for my army physical for the Vietnam War, he insisted that I was not to participate in a meaningless and senseless conflict. If it were Hitler’s Germany, dad would have wished me luck and hugged me goodbye. Instead, he wanted to send me to Canada. I applied to all the branches of the armed services as a designer; however, those jobs are reserved for rich people’s kids. Fortunately, I convinced an army psychiatrist that although I was willing to serve, I wouldn’t make a good soldier.

mom and dadDad was highly romantic, old fashioned, and sentimental. Shortly after the war, he spotted my mom at a bus stop. It was love at first sight. Dad swept mom off her feet. They were married three weeks later. I was conceived on their wedding night and born nine months and one day later. I became a huge responsibility in progress. Both mom and dad had to grow up quickly, accept that responsibility, and become very practical. That’s the main reason dad became a salesman instead of a doctor.

Dad and mom danced around the house like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, doing the cha cha, mambo, polka, and tango, and loving it. We kids thought they were ridiculous. Dad treated mom like a goddess and frequently brought her fresh flowers. He made sure to tell us “I love you” a lot. When mom died, we found albums full of hand written romantic anniversary cards that dad had mailed to her every single month for nearly 30 years.

As a family, we watched ‘Leave it To Beaver’, ‘Father Knows Best’, Ozzie and Harriet’, ‘My Three Sons’, and all those other ‘wholesome’ 50”s television shows. TV characters were role models for us. They reinforced our family values. It boggled my young mind to realize that most of the world didn’t actually seem to share those values.

mom and dad's headstoneOn the day Dad died of a sudden massive heart attack, he left a one line love note for mom. She laminated it in plastic and cherished it until she died. After thirty years, we dug dad up and buried him and mom together. I designed a headstone in mom’s favorite red marble.

 

I loved Dad’s visions, inventions, and get rich quick schemes, though none ever materialized. There were super-duper pooper-scoopers, bed wetting prevention devices, unique foods, and numerous gadgets. One of dad’s friends created an “Ant Farm”. Dad tried to raise a relatively small amount of money in order to become a partner. We all thought it was a lunatic idea. Why would anyone want ants in their home?  Next would be the poison ivy terrarium. We may have undermined Dad’s confidence. He never got it together, while his friend became an overnight multi-millionaire. Dad never complained, but there was rarely extra money around.

I remember how Mom and Dad would compose music and write lyrics together. She’d play piano. He’d sing (Piscesrules music). She played Eurydice to his Orpheus. They knocked on doors up and down Tin Pan Alley in New York, trying to peddle their creations. Dad loved Johnny Cash (Pisces). He felt Johnny was the perfect performer for their favorite creation, “The Crack of the Carbine”, a tragic ballad about a hunter and his whitetail prey. We all thought Dad was a better choice than Johnny, but Dad was determined to have Johnny sing it. The story goes that Dad stalked Johnny Cash. One day, he cut Johnny off in a parking lot with his car. Johnny had to agree to hear Dad’s song before Dad let him go. Johnny wasn’t interested, but it did make a good “Big Fish” story to add to Dad’s burgeoning repertoire. Mom and dad ultimately found a relatively unknown group ‘The Limelighters’ to sing their song. They published a 45 rpm record.

There was a dark side to Dad’s Character. His shadowy side revealed itself when the kids flew the coop. Life’s meaning and purpose became abstract and elusive for him. Mom used to tell us that dad would bring little kids he met in the supermarket home. Their parents would lend them to him for the afternoon.

Pisces rules smoke and drugs. Dad compulsively smoked cigarettes. He never coughed or wheezed or we’d have had something to get on his case about. We kids complained that we didn’t want to be passive smokers, so he stopped smoking in our presence. Over the years, Dad became a chain-smoking cigar addict, inhaling his beloved cigars. He finally clogged up. Mom said he was also drinking too much alcohol. He tried to hide his deepening depression, but he’d get too happy and that worried her. I realized how co-dependent we were with dad when we had to do everything for ourselves. Dad would have chewed our food for us if he thought it would help. I believe one of the reasons Dad died so young was so that all of us including mom could grow up.

Two months before Dad died, we had a family reunion. Dad and I hiked into the forest. It felt reminiscent of our magical hikes in early childhood. I grew up believing that elves, fairies, and gnomes skillfully hid under rocks and in trees. They only came out when there were no people around. Dad and I tread lightly like ‘Native Americans’ as we scanned for creatures, plants, rock formations, trees, and bubbling brooks. I spent endless hours with him as a child, turning over rocks in streams; looking for crayfish, lizards, and salamanders. I’m the only person I know who adores the smell of skunk (Cassie may). When dad and I traveled alone in the car, he used to pull over next to a skunk road kill, flap the car door and inhale as deeply as possible. We were sorry for the skunk, but would heartily laugh ourselves to tears at the uniquely pungent experience.

Dad and I stood silently, deep in the forest on that day. A gentle autumn wind rustled the leaves in the trees. We turned and our eyes met. “I love you, Mark” he told me. “I love you, Dad”, I replied. We embraced each other with our hearts pressed together, both of us holding back tears of joy and sadness. It was hard sharing the painful parts. Dad had lost his best friend, Bernie, (sudden massive heart attack) two weeks earlier. Mom said dad was “deeply depressed”. He searched for solace, only to find more sadness. I felt sorry for him. I too, was melancholy because I had recently realized that I had made some bad choices in my life. I didn’t know how to share them with him.

If we had more time together, we would have talked about those things. As we crept stealthily and peacefully through the forest, dad stopped suddenly and put his finger over his mouth, which meant ‘be quiet’. Had he heard a deer, a bear, or a fox? I waited patiently for a moment or two and then said “What?!!”  Dad cut a thunderous fart. We laughed like adolescent schoolboys. That was my next to last memory. My last memory of dad was with thumbs up waving to each other from our cars as we drove in separate directions. Two months later Dad was suddenly and unexpectedly dead at age 54.

“Never say never.” Dad would say. Boy was he right. I swore I’d never be like him in certain ways; however, I turned out a lot like him in ways that matter most. My father’s influence was powerful.  When Cassie was a baby, there was nothing I enjoyed more than being a good old-fashioned homemaker. Joanna told me that other mothers in the park hated me. I used to tell them that Cassie’s shit smelled good (it consisted of her mother’s milk for the first six months). I’d say to Joanna “they’re jealous because they don’t have husbands like me”. I was obliviously proud to be Joanna’s husband and Cassie’s dad. We argued about which of us was luckiest. We all were and still are.

Mom and Metaphysics

On my mother’s birthday, June 20, it feels appropriate to write this blog entry about her.  It’s the last day of Gemini and the summer solstice arrives tomorrow.

“Eighty years of age does not seem old to me. Old is when one is again dependent as we were in infancy – needing help as a constant to feed and care for oneself. Who knows, I may die from an illness before I ever get old, then on to the next adventure.”

mom with hands upI spoke earlier about how my Dad unexpectedly died when I was twenty-nine. He was fifty-four. Losing Dad compelled me to get to know myself in new ways.  Mom was eighty-three when she passed away. She continued to ponder the meaning of her life until her last breath, while battling metastasized breast cancer and a grapefruit sized mass of malignant tumors in her liver. Mom’s eternal optimism and loving encouragement compelled me to be true to myself.

Bobi and ZadiMom considered herself to be very lucky, having led a worthwhile and productive life. Despite her obstacles and challenges, her life was filled with joy. Mom was a super Gemini. She had square palms and widely spread long fingers. She was the youngest of hard working Russian Jewish immigrants who loved and adored each other and their five children. Mom’s two oldest sisters died when they were very young. Mom’s long strong index fingers symbolize her ambition to achieve. She was the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. Though her family struggled financially at first, they never felt poor. Mom’s father (my Zadi) was the most generous man I’ve ever known. He always had loose change and an abundance of warmth and good spirits for everyone. I remember in my early childhood, Zadi showing up with a diversity of people off the street at meal times. I cherish the special memories of time spent with my Bobi and Zadi.

Geminis can be wonderful friends. Mom felt blessed in this arena. She attributed her friend making ability to moving frequently in childhood. With so many changes involving multiple schools, mom learned to adapt and develop social skills in order to make new friends. As you examine the balls of her thumbs, you can see many long lines parallel to her lifeline. Mom maintained intimate friendships from early childhood. They continued to love each other through heart attacks, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Cancer, and many other diseases of old age.

mom and dad honeymoonThe luckiest thing mom ever did was to hook up with my dad. They met at a bus stop. It was love at first sight. She was a twenty-one year old virgin princess. He was a twenty-five year old former bad boy in the process of turning good. She played Eurydice to his Orpheus and Persephone to his Pluto. I was conceived on their wedding night and born nine months to the day later. Mom wanted to have a natural childbirth, however after thirty-six hours in labor, I was cut out. She came within inches of dying and spent weeks convalescing. When I first discovered Astrology, I sought an eminent astrologer for my first reading. “This is a death chart” she told me. A person’s horoscope is also their mother’s transits at birth.

When I was forty, I hired Laurie Nadel, a psychologist to regress me to a past life. She had written a book called the ‘Sixth Sense’ on past life regression and was well known for her work in that field. As she gently talked me into a state of deep relaxation, she encouraged me to visualize my life as a tunnel with a series of lights going back through time. As we regressed through this life, my job was to turn on the lights wherever they were out. I had to jog my subconscious memory in order to do that. When I arrived back at age three the tunnel was black. As I turned those lights on, I found myself sitting on the potty, not needing to have a bowel movement, but still making grunting noises while my mom was concurrently teaching me to read. No one could ever accuse mom of being unambitious or inefficient. I guarantee I was the first boy on the block to be out of diapers and reading at the same time. I also remembered mom setting the timer on a variety of occasions (with the threat of punishment) to help me achieve tasks that needed to be completed in a timely fashion. In her defense, considering my highly flexible thumbs at that time, I must have also been the most unstructured, undisciplined, and unfocused kid on the block. Peter Pan doesn’t like restrictions. I never did get to any past lives in that session.

My brother, Gary, was born when I was four. At seven my sister Jennifer arrived. Mom used to say, “Most parents make most of their mistakes on their first kid” (which was true in my case). She considered raising her children the greatest accomplishment in life. As I began my early twenties, I confronted mom to tell her that I wasn’t perfect and that she had made plenty of mistakes. She replied, “Well son, I’m sorry for anything I did which caused you any harm. My mistakes were not intentional. I tried my best to be a good parent. You’ll understand when you’re a parent. You’re an adult now. You must grow up and get past whatever holds you back. You need to be as healthy as you can be.” She was right. What could I say? My brother and sister were spared most of my hard lessons. We did turn out OK in ways that matter most.

Mom was a cultivated Gemini. She was one of the most well-read people I ever knew.   When I was about ten years old, mom read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.       It reinforced what she already knew and confirmed her most significant value in her life, which was the knowledge and understanding that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you have the power to choose what you think, feel, and do about what happens to you. Whether you’re going out in the rain with or without an umbrella or going to the electric chair screaming or with dignity, you still have the ability to choose your behavior.

Mom as poster child at 77Even in the direst of circumstances, mom had a sense of humor. She was lying in her hospital bed with tubes going in and out of her and she said to me, “What worries me most is how nice everyone is to me. Do they know something I don’t?”  My sister warned her “You’re not allowed to die until you finish raising my (teenage) kids”. She joked about buying mom’s casket at Costco and mom loved the idea. My brother said to mom, “I’ll start worrying when you stop putting on your makeup”. He threatened to taxidermy her and stick her in a corner in his living room. Mom’s intensive care doctor told us that in all his years, he never had a patient who was so sick and so determined not to look like it. While wheeling mom around the hospital, people thought I was her husband. I’d say “Thanks for the compliment, but I’m her father”. “Pleased to meet you”, they’d say. The joke was on me. At sixty, I was still a potential embarrassment to my mom. Some things never change. Mom was a poster child for the geriatric crowd at seventy-seven. If you want to get a real taste for mom, you’ve got to check out this exercise ball video that mom made as a response to my sister sending her the ball. Though the quality isn’t great, I guarantee you’ll love the content!

Gemini

`Gemini image

 GEMINI   MAY 23 – JUNE 21

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

HermesThe greatest Communicator of all time was Hermes Trismegistus, founder of Astrology and Occult Wisdom and discoverer of Alchemy. Hermes was a real person who lived in ancient Egypt. He was reputedly the mystic teacher of Abraham. The Egyptians deified Hermes as Thoth, Scribe of the Gods. Thoth became the Greek archetype, Hermes, god of Wisdom. The Roman version is Mercury, messenger of the Gods. In Tarot, Hermes is the Magician at a crossroads with all of the resources and tools he needs to go anywhere and do anything at any time. In Astrology, Gemini (social) and Virgo (technical) are the residences of Hermes. Tradition recorded that Hermes refused to grow old and lived gracefully for nearly three hundred years in the flesh. Peter Pan, who can fly and never grow old, is a twentieth century adaptation of Hermes’ adolescence. I’ll be sixty-seven in a few days. I still feel like a teenager on the inside!

Hermes was the real father of wireless communication. He taught his disciples that our brains are the cell communication hardware while our minds transmit and receive messages. Long before Moses, while other Alchemists were still trying to turn lead into GoldHermes realized that the real world consisted of relationships between cells made up of energy and matter vibrating on different planes. These ever blending planes are labeled Physical, Mental, and Spiritual in Hermetic philosophy. We are individuals made up of individual cells; physically, mentally, and spiritually connected with all other cells on all other planes at the same time. We can connect with anyone and anything once we learn to establish and tune our links.

Hermetic alchemy deals in the mastery of mental forces, transmuting one kind of mental vibration into another instead of material elements. Hermes calls the unknowable and indefinable spirit “The ALL”. Hermes explained that “While ALL is in The ALL, it is equally true that The ALL is in ALL. To him who truly understands this truth hath come great knowledge”. The inner nature of The ALL is unknowable. That’s why we have anthropomorphic Gods and institutionalized religion. Hermes describes spirit as the essence which permeates and the glue which connects everything. Spirit gives form. Our spiritual development is dependent on the recognition, realization, and manifestation of the spirit within us.

Hermes recognized and established seven basic metaphysical and philosophical principles: Mentalism, Correspondence, Vibration, Polarity, Rhythm, Cause and Effect, and Gender. Applying these principles enabled Hermes to explore, examine, and explain everything.

ying yangHermes described opposites as two extremes of the same thing with many varying degrees between them. Where does heat end and cold begin? Where does darkness leave off and light begin?  What about hard and soft, sharp and dull, noisy and quiet, high and low, positive and negative? The same principle operates on the mental plane. Love and hate are simply degrees of the same thing. Somewhere in the middle are shades of like and dislike. The vibrations of hate can be changed to the vibrations of love through the art of polarization, a phase of mental alchemy known and practiced by ancient and modern Hermetic masters. “The Secret” is the “Law of Polarity’s” latest PR crusade.

The Kybalion states: Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair           of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature but different     in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.

Hermeticists were the original astrologers, alchemists, and psychologists. The ancients possessed knowledge of transcendental astronomy called astrology; of transcendental chemistry called alchemy; and of transcendental psychology called mystic psychology.       They cultivated inner as well as outer knowledge.

Evolved philosophers and thinkers throughout history have unlocked the mysteries of nature using symbolism. What do the following historical figures all have in common?  Galileo the Astronomer; Pythagoras the Mathematician; Confucius the Philosopher; Plato the Thinker; Aristotle the Scientist; Nostradamus the Astrologer; Leonardo Da Vinci the Artist; George Washington the President; Carl Jung the Psychologist; and Joseph Campbell the Mythologist. They were all Grand Masters of Symbolic thought.

Anyone can learn alchemy. Real alchemy has not much to do with turning lead (Saturn) into gold (Sun). Real alchemy is a set of magical formulas, tools, and esoteric instruction for becoming healthy, happy, and fulfilled in life. Alchemy is about cultivating vision, nurturing relationships, making healthy decisions, embracing right choices, having faith and healthy attitudes that build sound structures on good foundations, and facing challenges with strength, courage, and wisdom. Accomplished alchemists are disciplined, focused, mentally and emotionally balanced, and spiritually connected. Alchemy is like spiritual magnetism. The law of attraction works best when you know what you desire and your intent is clear. It’s possible to transform negative circumstances and challenges into positive results. Taking a leap of faith and letting go of fear is vital.

Hermes asks us to know ourselves and to allow our minds and willpower to embrace the positive aspects of who we are. We can choose to embrace the healthy side of our character. We can attract nourishing relationships and roles for ourselves. We can shine our most noble and beautiful qualities brightly on the most beneficial and constructive aspects of our character. We can turn lead into gold.

Astrology is one of the languages which Hermes used to unlock the ancient mysteries. Astrology is a symbolic system that compares and contrasts the heavens with the affairs of mankind on earth. Astrologers espouse Hermes second principle of correspondence “As above, so below – as below, so above”. Our diversity of astrological symbols and their relationships reflect one big, but not necessarily happy family and world. Each and every relationship changes each and every other relationship on a cellular level by raising or diminishing its vibration, polarity, and rhythm.

Hermes types are free thinkers. She has a quick mind and is adaptable like a chameleon. He has no problem seeing your point of view, even when he doesn’t agree with you. She seems to be able to converse about absolutely anything with anyone. He’s versatile, curious, logical, spontaneous, and witty. She’s one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. He can handle plenty of analysis, detail, and information, but would rather be free of mundane responsibilities. She’s too clever for her own good sometimes. He’s not beyond bending the truth to suit his needs. On her dark side, she can be a con artist, thief, or pickpocket. He can be nervous, superficial, unreliable, and restless. She’s notorious for being ambiguous and ambivalent. Sometimes he’s accused of being schizophrenic. Maintaining long term relationships that aren’t true friendships doesn’t really work for her. His success comes from learning to stay structured, disciplined, and focused.

Hermes was the shortest of the gods. The pinkie finger is normally the shortest finger. When the tip is longer than the crease between the first and second phalange of the ring finger, it’s considered long. When shorter, it’s considered short. A dominant pinkie fingered person is often short in stature (Ed Harris). His or her body and face are slender. He has expressive hands, dark hair, and penetrating eyes with crow’s feet in the corners. He’s youthful looking.  Men frequently have thin beards (Johnny Depp).  Hermes types tend to be childlike. Michael Jackson actually lived in Neverland. They love children and often marry someone like their mother or father. Most Hermes types are androgynous. Many (although they may not know or admit it) are bi-sexual. Hermes had an affair with Aphrodite in mythology. The result was Hermaphrodite. David Bowie is a Capricorn with a very strong Hermes. Hermes dominant physical sense is hearing. A dominant pinky fingered person prefers small musical instruments that require a lot of dexterity. Health issues center around the nervous and bronchial systems. Hermes types may also have problems with headaches, thyroid glands, memory loss, and speech impediments. Dominant Hermes types make great lawyers, politicians, doctors, orators, writers, engineers, teachers, accountants, bankers, and shopkeepers.

Our pinkie finger shows our ability to communicate. It also indicates truthfulness. Our early family dynamic may be observed in the way the pinkie is set on the hands. If it is very short or low set, trust is a major issue. Some women who have very low set pinkies have told me that they have trouble having orgasms. Their real challenge is in trusting someone enough to have real intimacy. The length and proportions of our pinkie finger symbolizes technical language, family, and sexual potentials.

Pinky ringGold and diamond rings are often found on the pinkie finger of acquisitive people. Pinkie rings can symbolize the sublimation of sexual energies in order to accomplish something requiring a lot of libido. I recently examined a group of fifty young men and women who were all born into wealthy families in the 80’s. Considering the prosperity of the period, it seemed a paradox to me that every single individual had an obviously short phalange on the bottom segment of the little finger of his or her dominant hand.  Money will never be the governing motivation for their career choices. Family and personal values will drive these individuals.

Healthy Hermes types can be social and intuitive geniuses. They’re great judges of character. Their liabilities are trickiness, fickleness, nervousness, restlessness, and superficiality. People preaching on soapboxes, most pickpockets, and a majority of con artists have dominant pinkies (most inwardly curving). I work at special events with great magicians. These amazing tricksters are Mercurial with dominant pinkie fingers. They surprise and astound by deceiving the eye and mind of the beholder.

Stay tuned for the first installment of my metaphysical memoir. Since my mother was a Gemini and I’m a Gemini, I’m starting there.