Fingers and Planets

twelve hands

All palmists agree on the importance of the thumb. Although the thumb is a small body part, it takes up a huge space in the cerebral cortex of our brains. The thumb opposes our other four fingers, which has enabled our minds to develop. It’s the primary reason we have dominion over our ancestors, the apes. We’ve designed all of our tools from a pencil to the most sophisticated computer because of the placement of our thumbs. As our hands carry out the messages of our minds, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are reflected in the morphology and topography of our hands.    

The thumb symbolizes our most valuable resources: willpower, logic, and ability to love. It’s essential to our well-being that these three very important qualities be balanced. Like our other fingers, a thumb has two joints and three segments known as phalanges. The top phalange represents will. The second or middle phalange represents logic and ability to reason. If the will segment is longer than logic, you frequently act before you think. If there’s more logic than will, you may figure whatever out, but then procrastinate. A tiny bit more logic than will keeps us in check. The bottom phalange is the ball of thumb, contained by the lifeline. The ball of thumb governs our capacity to love and have compassion and sympathy for others, to maintain significant relationships, to appreciate people, animals, nature, art, and music. If there’s not enough love and sympathy, all the logic in the world won’t matter.

Unlike our other four fingers, our thumb is not ruled by a single planet. It’s obvious that willpower, logic, and love contain all elements and modalities. You can assign a sun sign to any detail to gain more insight. A particular element or modality may be strengthened or weakened by the shape of the tip and / or fingerprint. For example, a spatulate tip with a whorl print adds cardinality and fire. A square tip with an arch print adds fixity and earth. A round or conical tip with a loop print adds mutability and air or water. Many combinations are possible. I’ve written several blog posts on the thumb: The Basics ~ A Parable ~ The Murderer’s Thumb ~ Generalities

Fingers and career

Once you’ve established a dominant element and modality for both hands, examine the fingers. The lengths and proportions of fingers, shapes of tips, knots, and nails reveal our relationships with others and what types of career and work we’re best suited for. How are your fingers spread? If they’re widely spaced, freedom is essential to doing things your way. If they’re held closely together you’re a team player, cautious at beginnings, and prefer not to make important decisions on your own.

 

Index FingerDominant index fingers (Jupiter) are long and stand independently from other fingers. A strong index fingered person prefers to partner. As ambitious types, they visualize their goals and then plan to accomplish them. As career minded individuals, they’re motivated by professionalism. They have natural leadership abilities that attract opportunities for them to manage. They’re drawn to others like themselves who are ambitious and proactive. Controlling behavior patterns, obsessive habits, being critical, judgmental, and indulging in too much good food and drink are weaknesses. Other flaws include false pride, gluttony, vanity, and bossiness. Dominant index fingered individuals must overcome their excesses by practicing moderation. Success comes more easily than most other types, but it still must be earned. Many successful judges, journalists, lawyers, politicians, producers, promoters, priests, speakers, salespeople, and the finest and worst chefs have dominant index fingers.

Basic hand shape will reveal whether the person is more adventurous, practical, thinking, or feeling. Shapes of tips, knots, nails, and fingerprints can dramatically modify any interpretation. You can assign an element and modality to any detail to gain more insight into the issue or challenge you’re addressing. Want to befriend a dominant index fingered person? Be honest, direct, proactive, and take pride in your career.

Many dominant index finger types are of medium height with generously proportioned bodies, wide chests, high foreheads, wide eyes, full faces, and wavy dark hair. Long index finger folk are naturally healthy types who may overindulge in rich exotic foods, luxurious desserts, and fine wines. It’s not a paradox that their physical sense is taste. The older they get, the higher the toll. Temptation knocks and Jupiter unlocks the door to eventual blood disorders, liver trouble, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and problems with hips, thighs, and throat. Many people believe short index fingers are connected to homosexuality. That’s not true. Here’s what I have to say on the subject.

10.cancerThe middle finger (Saturn) is the balance wheel of the hand. It should always be the longest finger, although it may appear shorter relative to index and / or ring fingers, which may be above average. Structure, discipline, and focus are needed. Harnessing these qualities is another story. Saturn is his own worst critic and easily frustrated. Finding healthy uses of will power is essential to having a healthy life. Dominant middle finger types are loners and need alone time. Less inclined to marry than other types, they’re dependable, organized, efficient, patient, and faithful. Their troubles begin with spending too much time feeling guilty, fearful, self-critical, frustrated, and depressed. Being overly responsible and perfectionistic is a recipe for depression, frustration, and fear. Notice how the strong middle finger in this photo magnetically draws the other fingers toward it. This man is an incredible artisan and a confirmed bachelor. He worked as a night watchman for many years.

Donald RumsfeldDominant middle-fingered folk are frequently tall, slender, and angular in appearance. Pure types have dark hair, large bones, stern features, and bland complexions. The prevailing physical sense is smell. Many Saturn types love string instruments and prefer classical music with a tinge of sadness. They eventually have problems with teeth, knees, ligaments, and hardening of arteries, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, or deafness in the left ear. When the middle finger leans toward the ring finger, you’ve got an individual with a very strong need for privacy. When he’s feeling confined, controlled, or restricted, he gets cranky. Notice the curved middle finger on Donald Rumsfeld’s left hand. There’s no doubt he’s a curmudgeon. Abraham Lincoln (Aquarius) and Clint Eastwood (Gemini) are quintessential Saturnians.

Many conservative business people, real estate moguls, writers, technical individuals, craftsmen, therapists, night watchmen, master criminals, morticians, undertakers, and derelicts are middle finger types. Powerful individuals with dominant top phalanges lead the way in research, science, mathematics, and humor.

Have a dominant middle-fingered boss? Do your homework with a very sharp pencil. Your precision, attention to detail, and realism are vital to achieving your goals. Don’t be late and don’t make excuses. Assume responsibility and be pragmatic, reliable, and dependable. You’ll avoid criticism and maybe even get some praise.

The middle finger is the finger of fate. It’s where illusion and delusion meet reality. No matter what else is happening in your hands, the middle finger forces you to face the facts. Then you have to do whatever needs to be done. It’s always about work on your part. The remedy for many maladies is inherent in the challenges in and around the middle finger. Whether you do the work or not, what you do will show in your hands. A grille (schmutz) is a bunch of lines crisscrossing in every direction under the middle finger and a sure sign of frustration resulting from too much perfectionism or not doing what needs to be done. People with schmutz below their middle finger are their own worst critics. They must lighten up, buckle down, and bite the proverbial bullet. Taking one step at a time is the best medicine for letting go of frustration. Healthy attitudes will in time reduce or erase the grille. Healthy people have strong healthy middle fingers.

8. GeminiRing finger types are happiest. Dominant index fingered folk are the most ambitious. Middle finger types are the most serious. The sun (Leo) finger is symbolized by Apollo, who hauls the sun across the sky each day in his chariot. Apollo types are attractive, brilliant, charming, graceful, artistic, and successful on the inside. Healthy dominant ring finger types are versatile, adaptable, creative, and expressive.

 

Being so brilliant with so many natural talents and abilities has a downside. It’s easy to be spread too thin (“jack of all trades”). Concern with outward appearances and being tempted by casual attractions is a waste of valuable time. They enjoy marriage, but have very high expectations of their mates that can lead to disappointment. So much solar energy makes them irresistible. Apollo types are healthy, medium height, naturally muscular, and athletic. Their dominant sense is sight. Physical weaknesses are heart problems, eyesight, and circulation. Dominant ring fingered people are lucky. They can trust their gut. When they take calculated risks, they often succeed. I’ve read the hands of many gamblers with very long ring fingers. Their biggest challenge is in knowing when to stop. Their optimism and idealism cloud reality. The most successful actors, artists, musicians, designers, and sales people have dominant ring fingers.

strong pinkyThis powerful pinky finger fits a communicative, curious, and quick-witted individual. Dominant pinky fingered people are bottom liners. As quick thinkers and excellent communicators, they’re well aware that if their presentation doesn’t add up, they won’t make the sale. They’re eternally childlike and cherish their freedom. In relationships, they love variety until they end up marrying someone like their mother or father. They love children and will bear any burden for family.

Hermes is the Greek god attributed to the pinky finger. Peter Pan (adolescence), Puck, Knight of Swords, Court Jester, Magician, Thoth, Loki, and Mercury are all Hermes. Clever tricksters can also be great communicators and potential archetypes of wisdom.

Early family dynamic can be observed in the way the pinky is set on the hands. When it’s short or low set, trust is a major issue. Many women with very low set pinkies have told me that they have trouble having orgasms. Their real challenge is in trusting themselves and others enough to have real intimacy. A pinky finger emphasizes technical, language, and family, in addition to sexual potentials. Hermes’ dominant physical sense is hearing. Hermes prefers musical instruments that require dexterity.

Finger length

The pinky finger is normally the shortest finger. To determine whether the pinky is considered long or short, look to where it lines up with the ring finger. When the tip of the pinky finger is above the crease between the first and second phalange of the ring finger, it’s considered long. When the pinky finger is shorter than that crease in the ring finger, it’s considered short. Hermes was the shortest of the gods. A dominant pinky fingered person tends to be short in stature. His or her body and face are slender, with expressive hands, dark hair, and penetrating eyes with crow’s feet in the corners. Ed Harris is a great example. Pinky fingered folk are youthful looking with men frequently having thin beards. Johnny Depp is a Mercurial type. Mercurial types are androgynous. Many (they may not know or admit it) are bi-sexual. David Bowie was Mercurial. Michael Jackson (Peter Pan) actually lived in his very own Neverland.

Health issues center around the nervous and bronchial systems. Problems with headaches, thyroid glands, memory loss, and speech impediments are common. Healthy types can be intuitive geniuses and great judges of character. Their liabilities are trickiness, fickleness, nervousness, restlessness, and superficiality. People preaching on soapboxes, pickpockets, and successful con artists have dominant pinkies (most inwardly curving). Mercury types make great lawyers, doctors, orators, writers, engineers, teachers, accountants, bankers, shopkeepers, and magicians. I work at special events with famous magicians. These amazing tricksters are very Mercurial. They surprise and astound by deceiving the eye and mind through sleight of hand. Hermes leads the way in science, law, medicine, writing, and banking.

George Tenet

Is this man telling the truth?

The chirological equivalent of Pinocchio’s nose is a deeply inwardly curving pinky finger. If your pinky finger is curved inwardly, you typically hate confrontation and spend too much time behaving in ways that work. You’ve spent so much of your life acting and bending the truth that you aren’t even aware you’re doing it. Most curved pinky fingered people learn early in life that “nice” works. Their biggest challenge is that “nice” ends up becoming safe instead of satisfying. Curved pinky fingered people are peacemakers. They try to fix other people and circumstances. If you’re one of these people, be yourself and not who you think everyone else wants and needs you to be.

Pinky ringGold and diamond rings are often found on the pinky finger of acquisitive people. Pinky rings can symbolize the sublimation of sexual energies in order to achieve something requiring a lot of energy. I once examined a group of fifty young men and women, all born into wealthy families in the 80′s. Considering the prosperity of the period, it seemed a paradox to me that every single one of them had an obviously short phalange on the bottom segment of the little finger of his or her dominant hand. The bottom phalange represents the material world. Money will never be a motivation for this group’s career choices. Family issues and personal values will drive these individuals.

Palmistry for Astrologers ~ Four Elements

Hands never lie

Palmistry is the science and art of knowing self and other through a visual and tactile examination of hands. Our hands are topographical maps of our character in past, present, and future. Hands reveal our current and major life issues, talents, abilities, challenges, and the degrees to which we are fulfilling our potentials. Hands provide detailed information about our values, thinking, feelings, health, relationships, sexuality, creativity, philosophy, career, purpose, hopes, dreams, and spirituality. Palmistry is simple and fun. Everyone can learn to navigate their map and chart their course.

Astrology’s ‘house system’ offers a powerful framework for examining hands. Astrology uses planets, signs, aspects, and houses to symbolize human nature. Hand size, shape, and proportions disclose four basic elements and corresponding archetypes. Skin texture, elasticity, colors, hand consistency, and finger flexibility provides three modalities that explain how we take action, maintain the status quo, and adapt to changing conditions. Finger lengths and proportions, shapes of tips, knots, and nails, reveal how twelve unique types function in the world and communicate with others. Lines and gestures offer detailed information about our life choices and circumstances. The arts and crafts of interpretation and counseling require study and practice.

Whether you’re using astrology or palmistry, you must first understand the gestalt of a person before proceeding to details. Until a natal chart is understood, adding outer planets, asteroids, and man-made points to horoscopes provides endless combinations, permutations, and possibilities. It’s the same with hands. Every detail means something, but getting bogged down in details confuses the basic issues. Every detail must be examined in the context of the whole and all other details at the same time. All questions are in every detail and every detail is in all answers.

It’s best to progress from issues to details, rather than details to issues. Details provide valuable insight into a person, but the meaning of any detail can change depending on the question asked and a person’s character. The danger in interpreting details out of context is in substituting one form of pre-determinism for another by reducing individuality to cookbook formulas. Many astrology and most palmistry books do that.

All hand details have meaning, even rings, scars, warts, and birthmarks. Until you’ve determined a person’s basic character, however, the details are superficial. No matter what our socio-economic background is, we can choose to exercise our free will and modify our thinking, feelings, and actions. We cannot alter our past, but we can change our present and influence our future. Our hands change as our thinking and circumstances change.

Hands are like a Meyers Briggs personality test incarnate. When you know a basic type and their corresponding challenges, you also understand what they need. Large hands enjoy detail and organization. Small hands hate detail and love big ideas. Small handed folk must learn to delegate detail work to avoid frustration, boredom, and impatience.

Shapes and proportions of hands reveal one of four basic types

four types

INTUITIVE

2. leo

Rectangular palms ~ Short fingers. These highly spirited and enthusiastic individuals dislike details, need to grasp the whole picture, pride themselves on their honesty, and require a lot of freedom to express their true selves naturally. They’re easily bored when life gets mundane or routine. They need to feel inspired and passionate and cultivate clear vision and enduring patience. They enjoy taking chances when they’re inspired, and become impatient, restless, and bored when they’re not. As extroverted, very busy, objective, independent thinkers, they must learn to set clear goals to accomplish clear objectives. They’re frequently accused of being opinionated because their point of view is so very important. Communicating clearly and effectively is a must. In order to flourish and blossom, intuitive types must learn to trust their intuition, behave responsibly, act naturally in relationships, and express themselves creatively.

PRACTICAL

5.Taurus

 Square palms ~ short fingers ~ developed bottom knots. Skin ridge patterns are coarsest of the four types. Pure types have few peripheral lines in their palms and few interruptions on the head, heart, and life lines. Square fingertips and arch fingerprints are often seen, along with stiffness in joints of fingers and thumb. Work dominates their life. They’re logical, methodical, pragmatic, and make decisions based on objective reality. As the most responsible, reliable, dependable, pragmatic and objective of all types, they have an innate understanding of how the world works. They trust what they can see and feel, not inspirations, ideas, or intuitions. They can become so involved in practical matters that any imagination or abstract ability is limited. They must be careful not to get addicted to routine and order. Their biggest challenges are learning to trust their gut and let go of circumstances beyond their control. Driven by their physical senses, they love their homes, yards, cars, family life, friendships, and food.

THINKING

8. Gemini

Square palms ~ long fingers ~ widely spread. Thinking types love the idea stage of development before projects materialize. They can detach themselves from mundane reality and gain objectivity and a fresh perspective on almost anything. They overvalue the intellect and downplay emotion. Most social of all types, they’ll acknowledge your point of view, even if they don’t agree with you. Capable of plenty of analysis, detail, and research, they’d rather be free of mundane realities. Often accused of being impractical dreamers, not much new happens without them. They often spread themselves too thin because they’re interested in everything. They’re easily distracted, scattered, and resist remaining focused, disciplined, and structured. Uncultivated types are infamous for being fickle, nervous, restless, superficial, and unreliable.

FEELING

10.cancer

Long rectangular palms ~ long fingers ~ held closely. Most intuitive, empathic, and sensitive of all types, feeling types live in a world of deep emotions. They’re hardest of the four basic types to understand because they hide their true selves. Most are very vulnerable and have a strong need to feel protected and secure. They embrace detail, structure, and organization to help them feel more stable. Feeling types avoid emotional confrontation whenever possible. Feelings are an integral part of their decision-making process. Naturally cautious, they must learn to allow others to earn their trust. When trust is earned, loyalties run deep. Feeling types get along best with other feeling types and with practical types who are responsible, reliable, and dependable. It’s challenging for feeling types to trust intuitive and thinking types. They’re afraid they’ll get stuck with the emotional fallout when idealism, enthusiasm, and interest wane and they do.

Stay tuned for the three modalities as seen in the hands…

Palmistry for Astrologers

Sun

Tens of millions of people read their horoscopes daily in newspapers and magazines without realizing the true value of astrology. More ancient than the pyramids, astrology is a science and art that symbolizes and examines relationships between the cycles of celestial bodies and life on earth. Every moment in time and space has an exclusive signature. Symbolic patterns synchronize with life experience and personality patterns.

I studied astrology for several years before I began learning palmistry. Initially, I found astrology to be complex and mathematical, however, with practice I began to recognize a profoundly simple and elegant system for examining human nature, patterns, timing, and life cycles. One problem with natal astrology for me was that accurate forecasting is an exacting science. I know from personal experience that most doctors, nurses, and parents are not watching the clock at a baby’s first breath. Clients often give birth times on the hour or half hour. Many don’t know whether they were born in the morning or evening. Others depend on a vague memory from their mother long after the event. My mother planned to have a natural childbirth. After 24 hours in labor; the obstetrician finally cut me out to save her life. My mom believed that she remembered my birth time correctly, but her memory was different from my birth certificate, which I ended up using to construct my horoscope. I later rectified my chart, which had changed by six minutes.

One more important thing I discovered while reading hands was that even when a birth time is correct, it doesn’t mean that a natal horoscope reveals the whole person. The astrological ascendant (rising sign) of the natal horoscope is considered the foundation for determining behavior. I discovered from reading hands that a person’s sun or moon or powerful aspects between planets or perhaps a stellium (three or more) of planets in a particular sign or house may actually be dominating their personality.

The value of reading hands lies in its capacity to help us easily identify our personality traits and motivations. By understanding our natural strengths and weaknesses, we can transform our negative thought patterns into positive behavioral patterns. The beauty of reading hands is that as our thinking and circumstances change, so do our hands.

Once we pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses, we can alter our thinking, exercise our free will, and those changes will reveal themselves in our hands over time. As we influence our destiny, we can observe our successes and failures reflected in the mirrors of our hands. While other symbolic systems such as astrology and numerology show potential challenges and talents, hands show what we are actually doing with our potentials.

Astrology and palmistry share the same mythology. Those same Greek and Roman gods are still alive and well inside and outside of us. As Joseph Campbell once said, “Oedipus crosses 42nd Street”. Hands contain both physical and celestial DNA. Planetary symbols are alchemical keys to unlocking knowledge and wisdom.

Western Hand diagram

Our Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are labeled personal planets. They symbolize the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious aspects of our individual psyches. Here’s an oversimplified generalization: Sun (ring finger) expresses father and spirit. Moon (heel of hand) relates to mother and feelings. Mercury (pinky finger) concerns siblings, thinking, and communications, Venus (ball of thumb) reveals our aesthetics, love and appreciation, and intimate relationships, and Mars (mid palm from thumb to percussion) is about libido, aggression, physical strength, and resistance.

Jupiter and Saturn are considered social planets. Jupiter (index finger) reflects ambition, self-esteem, philosophy, and spirituality. Saturn (middle and hopefully always longest finger) is the balance wheel of the hand. A healthy Saturn provides a solid foundation of structure, purpose, and wisdom. An unhealthy Saturn (extremely long, knotty, crooked middle finger with grilled lines underneath is one example) symbolizes perfectionism, frustration, moodiness, and depression. The native needs to become more structured, disciplined, focused, and work harder as a remedy for their negative qualities. That’s hard.

Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are transpersonal planets. As they orbit our sun very slowly and change zodiacal signs, they form exact geometric astronomical relationships with personal planets, each other, and various celestial bodies and zodiacal points in the cosmos that mirror our shifting paradigms and transformation from the status quo.

Outer planets symbolize mass psychology and reveal powerful changes in the collective unconscious. They disclose generational influences that affect individuals in personal ways depending on their placement and relationships with personal planets in a natal horoscope. Many modern palmistry books tell you that the outer planets can be located and interpreted directly in the hands. I’ve tried, but not found this to be true. Outer planetary influence can be seen as reflected in the collective qualities in hands. For example, if a person is erratic and unpredictable, or maybe they’re an inventive genius, Uranus is strong. If they’re addictive, escapist, or visionary, Neptune is strong. Highly sexual, secretive, controlling, and obsessive folks have strong Pluto. My plan is to share the outer planetary generational changes as I examine individual signs and hands.

mark seltman rt handI have Scorpio rising. Jupiter in Scorpio in my first house is a singleton in the bottom hemisphere of my horoscope. Saturn and Pluto closely straddle my Leo midheaven.  My Gemini Sun is conjunct Uranus and Venus is conjunct my North Node in my Gemini eighth house. You’d think my hands would be Scorpion, but instead, they’re Gemini with square palms and widely spread long flexible fingers. That’s not to say I’m not Plutonian. I am, but not in the ways I behave.

Sometimes clients are very different than I expected from examining their horoscope. Imagine their chart is dominated by mutable water or air and there’s not a drop of earth. I expect them to float through the door. Instead, an extremely grounded person walks in. When I look at their hands and see lots of earth and no mutability, air, or water, their astrology begins to make more sense. They’ve compensated in their life for whatever they lack in their astrological symbolism. Ocassionally, a challenging aspect from a transiting outer planet impels them to come for a consultation.

I’ve learned not to depend on a person’s natal horoscope to observe their character. Learning palmistry with astrology has helped me to understand both better. Astrology is especially helpful in confirming and affirming what I see in a person’s hands and can provide additional information about a person’s behavioral patterns, timing, and life cycles. I use numerology and tarot to get at things I can’t see using astrology and palmistry.

A majority of modern palmistry books agree that there are seven or eight basic archetypes that can be seen in the hands. I’ve applied an astrological framework to palmistry to identify and define twelve basic character types. Western astrology and palmistry share the same Greek and Roman gods. The combinations, permutations, and probabilities of their relationships are always and forever being acted out in our individual lives. Humanity is one huge dysfunctional family and each of us is a member.

People ask, “Does astrology rule your life?” No, it doesn’t. “Do you use astrology to plan your activities?” When my symbolism fits, that’s wonderful. When it doesn’t, I consider the best and worst that can happen.I usually ask myself “Is what I want possible? What’s the best outcome I can envision?”   Then Imake an informed decision, and take action. Thanks to hindsight, I get to see how and why my choices have or haven’t worked out and how that fits with my symbolism.

“Do you read your own hands?” Definitely! It’s not easy to be objective about oneself. I meditate on my hands for clarity and insight. Self-scrutiny and vigilance are endless and eternal. Knowing myself helps me be myself.

Hillary Clinton natal - progressions - transitsA natal horoscope is a unique map of the positions of planets in the heavens at the specific time and place of a birth. Expert astrologers offer accurate and in depth perspectives of our personalities, possibilities, probabilities, and prospects. Emperors, kings, presidents, dictators, philosophers, mystics, scholars, and artists throughout history have used astrology (and still do) to understand and influence world events.

Astrology empowers us by giving us a menu of life’s choices. Countries and inanimate objects have sun signs. A Cancer sun will forever symbolize a signing of a Declaration of Independence. The exact date, time, and place of a corporation’s first trade (IPO) symbolize its partnership with the public. Even thoughts, feelings, ideas, and questions with accurate birth dates, times, and places have astrological lives of their own. Many applications are available because astrology is a symbolic system.

Natal astrology examines character, patterns, and life cycles. Astrological progressions map psycho-sociological patterns of past, present, and future.  Astrological synastry examines the symmetry between two or more horoscopes. Medical astrology analyzes the physiology and psychology of health and illness. Political, economic, and mundane astrology focus on natural and manmade challenges such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, economic and plane crashes. Meteorological astrology researches weather patterns. Horary and electional astrology answer particular questions and establish specific times to initiate action. Excellent astrology books, educational opportunities, charting services, and sophisticated state-of-the-art interpretive astrological software are readily available to all. I wish the same were true for palmistry, which is even older than astrology.

NY Stock Exchange 2015 - 2025

NY Stock Exchange – outer planetary transits 2015-2025

 

In my next blog post, I’ll introduce astrology’s four elements as four basic hand types:

 

Capricorn ~ Search for Purpose

Capricorn - Search for Purpose 2

CAPRICORN

DECEMBER 21 – JANUARY 20

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

                                                                                                       Martin Luther King Jr.

You don’t have to be a Capricorn to be Saturnian. Healthy types have a strong self-assured hand shake, firm hands, pale skin, flat square palms, and short stiff fingers and square fingertips with loop and arch prints. Dominant middle fingered folk tend to be the most serious and responsible of all types. The combination of prevailing middle fingers and first and middle phalanges make them very different from AriesCancer, and Libra types. Every thought and action must have a purpose. As great business leaders and managers, they embrace responsibility with commitment and dedication and carry out the specifics of everyday business while maintaining a long-range vision of their goal. As structured, focused, disciplined, and dependable individuals, they expect you to be on time and do as you say. They have very little patience for excuses. As natural skeptics, they don’t trust slick and flashy types. As workaholics, they don’t think twice about coming in early or staying late when a task needs to be finished. They can patiently wait until the right conditions present themselves.

Dominant Saturn fingerMiddle fingers should always be longest no matter what your type. Short middle fingers are lives out of balance and control. Middle fingers embody our need for structure and reveal our ability to focus, be disciplined, and responsible. We can see from our middle fingers how serious and reliable we are and how we manage our restrictions, obstructions, obligations, and guilt. Saturn types tend to be well organized, efficient, patient, dependable, and faithful. Stiff knotty joints, bent middle fingers, long middle phalanges, square tips, and short broad nails combine to reveal obsessive order, methodology, and punctuality. The most self-critical of all types, he habitually must learn to “lighten up and smell the roses”. Traditional music and dry humor helps. Practical, prudent, and persistent, Saturn types become easily frustrated and aggravated when their strategies don’t go according to plan. An overdeveloped sense of responsibility and obligation causes them to feel guilt, shame, and depression. Many have a cynical, sarcastic, or fatalistic sense of humor rooted in a pessimism they’d much prefer to hide. They become extremely defensive or offensive when they’re depressed. Pure types rarely stray from provincial, traditional, or conventional boundaries.

Donald RumsfeldDominant middle-fingered people are often tall, slender, and angular in appearance. They have dark hair, large bones, stern features, and bland complexions. They’re loners; needing private time, including from family and partners. Their prevailing physical sense is smell. Pure types love string instruments and prefer classical music with a tinge of sadness. Eventually, they have physical problems with teeth, knees, ligaments, rheumatism, hardening of the arteries, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, or deafness in the left ear. When the middle finger leans toward the ring finger, there’s a need for privacy and personal space. I guarantee that when Donald Rumsfeld is feeling confined or controlled, he gets cranky and irritable. You can readily see it on his face. A majority of scientists, technical individuals, conservative businessmen, researchers, writers, craftsmen, therapists, night watchman, undertakers, morticians, and derelicts have dominant middle fingers.

Hermit“Father Time” is a strategic planner. In ancient Greece, he was called Chronos. In Roman myth and western astrology, Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. Where structure, discipline, and focus are required, Saturn is always present. At best, he’s healthy, happy, wise, prosperous, and compassionate. At worst, he’s frustrated, controlling, greedy, and self-destructive.

 

 

Jesus ChristThe most famous Capricorn of all time was Jesus Christ. Jesus was the first not for profit Prophet. This self-styled Jewish self-help guru would have reformed the business of religion had he stuck around. Who needs codes, dogmas, and doctrines when they’ve got spirituality? Jesus shared God’s essence as he spoke the words “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Jesus was crucified and martyred for loving too much.

 

Martin Luther KingDr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1/15/1929 – 4/4/1968) was martyred for his fervent beliefs. A Baptist Minister and passionate Social Rights Activist, Dr. King led the black civil rights movement in the United States from the mid 1950’s until his assassination in 1968. Dr. King’s mission was a pursuit of truth, peace, justice, and equality for all. Dr. King’s dream has become his legacy and a legal holiday.

Mel GibsonCapricorn Mel Gibson irreverently and irresponsibly exploited the dark side of love in his ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Jesus writhed as Mel punished us for torturing him. Maybe Mel can capitalize on Dr. King’s final moments. He can call it, LETHAL WEAPON 666 ~ even more reasons to spread shame, guilt, fear, hate, and terror. Mel would be much less harmful as a used Hummer salesman. He could market ‘already been road-warriored’ models, like worn jeans or distressed furniture.

Abraham LincolnCapricorns want to be number one. Muhammad Ali was King of Boxing. Elvis Presley was King of Rock ‘n Roll. Tiger Woods was Prince of Golf. David Bowie and Rod Stewart are mega-musical prodigies. Daniel Day-Lewis (Taurus / Saturn) played Abraham Lincoln, a pure Saturnian type. Clint Eastwood is a Gemini with dominant middle fingers. Paul Cezanne and Henri Matisse were great Post and Neo-Impressionist French artists. Albert Schweitzer was a famous humanitarian.  Louis Pasteur was the father of pasteurization.

ScroogeMaster criminals ruled by Saturn don’t depend on cleverness like Gemini, or spontaneity like Aries and Sagittarians. Saturn strategizes every move and waits until the time is right. Scrooge is the epitome of Saturn’s stinginess, choosing greed over generosity. Relationships are only important as they relate to profit.

 

Bernie EbbersGhosts of Christmas past, present, and future haunt Bernard Ebbers. As former CEO of WorldCom, Ebbers contributed to society by making telecommunications competitive. Too bad he compromised his principles to reach his goal of power and worldly achievement. Bernie played both sides against the middle and got caught in the squeeze.

Janet - CapricornJanet is a pragmatist with crooked middle fingers and separated head and life on her dominant hand. This combination of features makes her a very independent freedom loving perfectionist with an overly developed sense of responsibility, obligation, and guilt. There’s always a ‘should’ or ‘supposed to’ in the way of that adventure she wishes she was having. Janet was a high-powered corporate consultant in the publishing industry when I met her and took this picture.

NeptuneDuring the late twentieth century, Uranus revolutionized Capricorn from 1989 to 1996. Political institutions and structures were transformed. The Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall were ripped down. On October 3, 1990, Germany was reunited as the political demarcation between East and West vanished. The Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen republics in 1991. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibited discriminating against the disabled.

VoyagerUranus brought the Voyager space probe that successfully explored the outer limits of our solar system. Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years behind bars and successfully galvanized the Anti-Apartheid movement around the globe. Jean Bertrand Aristide, a radical priest, became Haiti’s first freely elected president. Ten months after his election, the military seized control of the government. After Asylum in the USA, Aristide returned to office in 1994, accompanied by 20,000 American troops. Operation Desert Storm liberated Kuwait from the Iraqi invaders. Bosnia declared their independence from Yugoslavia that resulted in a religious civil war pitting Serbs and Croats against Muslims.

Johnny CarsonAt the end of Uranus’s transit, the US and the UN brokered a prickly cease-fire and did what they could to end ethnic cleansing. Representatives from over a hundred countries met in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992 to discuss how to better preserve the earth. Good intentions haven’t worked. Johnny Carson retired after 30 years of hosting The Tonite Show on NBC TV.

Arafat and RabinExpect the unexpected. PLO leader Yassar Arafat shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to try to end hatred. The Irish Republican Army agreed to lay down its arms in exchange for a role in Northern Ireland’s political future. The Brady Bill for gun control was signed into law thirteen years after Brady was shot and paralyzed. The NRA became more powerful than ever. Smoking was banned in New York City restaurants. Women began smoking cigars.

ChernobylWhen the planet Neptune transited the sign of Capricorn from 1984-1998, lines between chemical industries and moral responsibilities dissolved. A gas leak at a Union Carbide plant in India killed over 3,000 people. British scientists pinpointed a hole in the earth’s ozone layer. Two years later in 1987, seeing the hand writing on the wall, fifty-three nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce the number of CFCs in the atmosphere. The most serious nuclear accident in history occurred at Chernobyl. Thirty-one people died instantly. Another 40,000 were later diagnosed with cancer from exposure to radiation. The Exxon Valdez shipwreck was the worst oil spill in history. It contaminated hundreds of miles of Alaska shoreline and killed thousands of creatures.

Hey Monsanto

Monsanto, creator of Agent Orange, PCBs, DDT, and Dioxins, launched their first “Round-up Ready” GMO soybean, which was approved by the FDA in 1994. ‘Frankenfood’ was a focus of environmental activists and comedians on late night TV. Mad Cow disease mysteriously appeared in the UK in 1996. The slim line between science and science fiction was crossed when the first sheep was cloned in Scotland in 1997. The FDA approved a drug called AZT, which was designed to treat AIDS. In 1997 and 1998, El Nino was attributed to bizarre bad weather conditions.

Bill CosbyNeptune transformed the illusion of fatherhood. Bill Cosby was the most popular father in 1984. Saturn was in Scorpio. Bill wasn’t practicing what he was preaching or Saturn wouldn’t have punished him when it returned to Scorpio in 2014. Racial bigots Archie Bunker and Homer Simpson were wildly popular fathers. ‘Married with Children’ offered a warped view of fatherhood. Disney produced the father and son story, ‘The Lion King’. Murphy Brown revealed her powerful animus.

In the world of big business, Ivan Boesky preached virtuosity and honesty and then got busted for insider trading. A frenzy of mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers in the ‘1980s destabilized financial institutions. General Electric purchased media giants NBC and RCA. When the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) collapsed, regulators from 69 countries seized their assets and charged officers who had been hiding substantial losses from investors. History once again is repeating itself as the guys at the top escape scrutiny. Congress closed the House of Representatives Bank in the wake of scandal in 1992.

Ronald Reagan right handNeptune dissolves both political and financial structures. Mikhail Gorbachev reformed the controls that kept the Soviet Union together. Growing concerns over a growing federal deficit catalyzed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. The Reagan deficit soared to 2 trillion dollars (2X 1981). On Black Monday, the stock market suffered a mini-crash with a huge drop in stock prices. Texaco filed the largest bankruptcy in history.

Follow the moneyPluto entered Capricorn in 2009. Ninety-nine percent became aware of the power of one percent. Plutocracy, faulty financial foundations, and deceptive business practices were beginning a never ending journey directly to hell. Commerce, politics, and religion will transform as greed, corruption, and secrets are exposed on all levels of business, government, and religion.

GoogleNostradamus made astrological predictions. His ‘whether’ forecasts for Pluto in Capricorn include the demise of the NY Stock Exchange and the bubble created by the illusion of social security. How can society prepare for widely fluctuating interest rates and inflation? How can we reform broken systems? Cyber-Terrorism can reach into anyone’s computer, cell phone, or electronic devices these days. Revolutionary new ways of managing our energy needs and environment must be implemented on a large scale. Recycling and reuse needs to be more practical and cost effective. More women must have positions of power. The Federal Reserve Bank, a Capricorn, will experience major upheaval. Its purpose was to keep the mega-rich from controlling all the wealth by forcing banks to keep certain percentages of their assets in the Federal Reserve. Neo-plutocrats own the majority of votes in Congress and the Senate.

Declaration of IndependenceAstrologers agree that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 1776. There’s a dispute over the USA horoscope as to whether Gemini or Sagittarius is rising. Either way, our Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are in the sign of Cancer. As Pluto opposes them, the USA will try even harder to control everyone and everything, but will have great difficulty maintaining economic power and its status as a world leader. The world will see our behavior like short sighted little children. NYC’s charter was signed January 1 1898 at 12:01 am. Pluto conjoined NYC’s Sun in Capricorn in 2013, creating chaos concerning physical and financial infrastructures, public transportation, and corruption. Future world challenges will include hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, and other unnatural anomalies. The USSR Constitution has Capricorn rising. It promises political and economic upheaval as Pluto highlights where real responsibility begins and accountability ends.  We will all learn the hard way that the bottom line cannot justify the means.

Scorpio ~ Search for Love

Scorpio

You don’t have to be a Scorpio to be Scorpionic. Feeling types have long rectangular palms and long fingers. The main difference between Scorpio, Cancer, and Pisces hands is that Scorpios tend to have much stiffer joints, especially the thumb. The consistency of fixed hands is generally denser and the skin is less elastic than cardinal and mutable types. Head and life lines are frequently tied together at their beginnings. Nails are often long and broad with rounded or conical fingertips and well developed knots on the second joints. I’ve seen less vertical lines in the Scorpio ball of thumb. Scorpio has a harder time trusting others as they have so many dark secrets to keep.

Steve StollmanSteve Stollman is a close friend and a Scorpio with Aquarian hands. This is an instance where palmistry and astrology need each other. Some signs are more mysterious than others and Scorpio leads the pack in my mind. It’s easy to see the Aquarian in Steve, but some of his behavior is unexplainable from his hands alone. For instance, you might look at those strong meaty thinking hands and long independent pinkies and think, ‘this guy is good at making $. He does seem to attract it, but for some mysterious reason, he’s very bad at managing it. Steve personifies some of the most positive and negative transpersonal powers of both Scorpio and Aquarius. He satirically cites James Cabel, “An optimist believes this is the best of all worlds and the pessimist is afraid they’re right”. Another favorite saying of his is “The second biggest problem in the world is feigned competence. The biggest is feigned incompetence”.

I met Steve shortly after moving to NYC about 40+ years ago. He was advocating for better working conditions for blind news dealers, laboring inhumanely for peanuts in hot polluted little green wooden boxes on busy street corners. Steve was determined to improve their lots in life and created a woodworking machine shop which specialized in building custom newsstands and street furniture. Steve graciously offered to hire me on my own part time schedule. You would think his large hands and long fingers would embrace organization, but instead, he abhorred detail and loved simplicity. He saw complexity as an obstacle to progress. He’d emerge from his bathroom early each morning with an empty coffee cup in one hand and a dimensionless sketch on toilet paper in the other. “Here, make this”. He’d hand it to me. “What is it?” “It’s a box. We make boxes. We eat, sleep, and shit between ninety degree angles. Just cut the wood and put it together”. I’d sardonically reply, “It might help to know the materials, dimensions, preferred joinery, and hardware.”

Steve’s a paradox. He’s a creative thinker with a heart of gold and simultaneously a one-man obstacle course. I’d clear space to work and within a few minutes there’d be a new obstacle in my way. I couldn’t understand why he always seemed to get in his own way. I used to call Steve a “Would Worker” due to his casual attitude about schedules, structure, discipline, details, and deadlines. Steve called me ‘MEGLOMEGLIAC” due to my incorrigible ego. Steve championed the downtrodden. I was in NYC to become rich and famous. Steve had a sympathetic ear for every indigent person who crawled in from Houston Street. I disparagingly nicknamed his shop the “Houston Street Lonely Hearts Club”. It took me years to realize the very important and valuable social work that Steve was doing. Tirelessly and selflessly, he worked, like Bernie Sanders, a curmudgeon for humanity who’d always show up to testify for the downtrodden at public hearings.

I believe Steve’s true genius is as an artist, a composer, musician, and singer of social ballads. Once you learn to enjoy his raspy ‘Tom Waits’ sounding voice and pay attention to his lyrics, his art is profound. I emailed Steve and asked for some links to his ballads. This is his response ~

www.SteveStollman.com has 10 of my songs and links to writing. www.LightWheels.com has the models of Human-Powered Vehicles. Thanks for the plug. It will be interesting to see if anybody responds. Invite responses please.

Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

Bill GatesBill Gates’s Sun, Venus, and Saturn are in Scorpio. His rectangular palms and short fingers reveal an intuitive type. Bill must be passionate and inspired in order to tackle his goals. He’s an aging Luke Skywalker, still learning the awesome responsibility of having and using the force.

 

Little Red Riding Hood is a Scorpio / Persephone fairy tale. When Bill was Little Red Riding Hood, he was seduced by the Big Bad Wolf while on his way to Granny’s House. They teamed up to deliver costly bundles of goodies everywhere. The Wolf promotes Red, but Red’s actually a very private person. Red would much rather disappear into the electronic ether if he could. Bill’s philanthropy sheds an affirmative light on the Wolf. He needs to give more, wherever, and whenever he can. Plenty of poor people give more time, energy, and money than Bill compared to their income. When I volunteered for the AIDS community in NYC, I was shocked by how many deserving individuals slip through the cracks in the system. Good intentions are not enough.

Scorpios are the best kept secret keepers. The famed former CEO of General Electric is a Grand Master. No memoir will ever reveal his dark secrets. With Sun, Mercury, and Midheaven in Scorpio, Jack Welch is Darth Vader. During his reign, GE benefited the world while their highly toxic dark side was destroying it. I believe Jack turned his back on Mother Nature while GE profitably pumped PCB’s into the Hudson River. Many clandestine behaviors lie hidden beneath the tips of the largest icebergs.

Scorpios must learn to love without lust and seduction and let go of their need to control and possess the objects of their desire. They must maintain a strong sense of purpose, even when they’re warring within themselves. When they love and respect you, they’re fiercely loyal, although their greatest loyalty is always to themselves. Scorpios are creative and imaginative. They envision what they want and know they’ll eventually get it. A near death experience may awaken them to their higher selves. They’re excellent researchers, great problem solvers, sleuthful spies, perceptive psychologists, skillful surgeons, top therapists, and the best and worst mystery, crime, and horror writers.

voldemortScorpio is Hades, Greek God of the Underworld. He’s Pluto, Roman God of Death, Sex, and Transformation. He’s a Devil in Christian myth. He’s Death in Tarot. Darth Vader, Voldemort, the Mummy, and the Big Bad Wolf are the dark side of Scorpio rolled into one. He’s a Rapist, Terrorist, and the Priest who sexually abuses little children. Executioners, coroners, undertakers, and morticians are all ruled by Pluto.

Pluto is lord and master of the sexual orgasm (little death). From first breath to final exit, Pluto patiently awaits you with his kiss of death. Hungry crocodiles, slithery snakes, and poisonous spiders stealthily lurk beneath his sultry surface. The path of too many dark secrets leads to the palace of socio-pathology. Pluto doesn’t get mad, he gets even. Temptation, seduction, and betrayal are his modus operandi. Whether with pleasure or pain, you’ll eventually stenchily emerge from his bowels.

Scorpios can be controlling, compulsive, manipulative, jealous, possessive, fearful,   resentful, obstinate, secretive, suspicious, subtle, and subversive. They make abusive parents, jealous partners, manipulative bosses, and mean spirited jailers who hide their true feelings, especially the shadowy unstable side of their emotional nature. Your friendly neighbor, a model citizen, devoted husband, loving father, loyal friend, and faithful parishioner dies. His family finds hidden pornographic literature, secret love letters, sado-masochistic sexual supplies, illegal drugs, and concealed money.

We hide our most secret lusts for sex, money, and property. Our deepest darkest fears and desires can drive us toward physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual perversions. Everything is ok as long as our secrets stay secret and we hide the truth from ourselves. Many of us rationalize our bizarre behaviors because we can get away with them. The evil Priest feigns love and compassion while he physically and spiritually rapes the innocent souls he has been entrusted to protect. Their Guilt, Shame, Remorse, and Fear closely guard his Evil secrets.

High PriestessPersephone is the feminine side of Pluto. She’s tall, dark, stunning, seductive, and impossible to resist. Helen of Troy was the type, symbolizing the magnetic and hypnotic powers of feeling. Helen was so charismatic that men fell hopelessly in love with her. The Trojan War was fought because of that power. Plutonian types have mesmeric personalities and healing powers. It’s hard not to feel special when you’re around these folks. They bring out the best and worst in us. They frequently wear black or dark colors.

 

 

Insurance is Scorpionic. You’ve heard the saying, “The only guarantees in life are Death and Taxes”. Life is not ensured or assured like Death and Taxes, but you can purchase insurance, which is a contractual arrangement whereby one party pays another party to guarantee them against a specified loss. Insurance implies that we have something of value. Perhaps we can’t afford not to value something. Assuming our premiums are paid, we worry less about the costs of bad shit happening to family, health, home, car, property, or whatever we value that’s insurable. Insurance is a form of gambling. Your agent is your bookie. Your insurer is the casino. The house is always favored financially due to statistical permutations, combinations, and probabilities. High risk means high stakes. You can check your odds by examining insurance actuarial tables and know your prospects by observing your premiums. The insured shoots craps and always loses, even when he wins. My good friend Lloyd tells me he’s depending on Lotto for his retirement. He assures me it gives him hope, “You’ve got to play to lose”, he quips.

Insuring may be confused with ensuring or assuring. Spraying crops with pesticides ensures fewer bugs and weeds. It assures we eat drink and breathe toxic chemicals. Investing Social Security in the Stock Market does not insure that the market won’t collapse. Employees of Enron believed their pensions insured a secure retirement. Drilling for oil in the wilderness does not insure that we will have enough oil. It does ensure and assure that we’ll have social, political, and environmental problems. Conserving energy ensures that we will have more energy and waste fewer natural resources. Offering vengeance as a solution to violence assures more violence.

Everyone dies. Life insurance protects the living. What are your last years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds worth?  What’s the premium for a graceful painless final exit? What’s it cost to pull the plug? I want to live a long and healthy life and enjoy a quick and graceful final exit. Having an abundance of Scorpio symbolism in my horoscope, I’ve created my very own “Dr. Death Do it Yourself Kit”. It’s a breathing apparatus attached to a tank of helium.  When necessary, I’ll have a logical, practical, painless, and peaceful alternative to facing a future of pain, dependency, lack of awareness, no love, or abject poverty in old (hopefully) age. Read Final Exit by Derek Humphrey if you want to learn more about Dying with Dignity.

Pluto takes twenty years to change astrological sign during which time it disintegrates, destroys, and transforms collective consciousness. Pluto almost doubled its speed when it transited its own astrological home of Scorpio from 1984 to 1995.

Historically, as Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited the sign of Scorpio, our views of Sex, Violence, and Death transformed forever. It was a challenging time to keep secrets. Sex combined with death to expose the dark underbelly of Scorpio. HIV came into being while condoms were promoted on national TV to stop the spread of AIDS. Homosexuality came out of the closet to be the topic of everyday conversation. Religious fundamentalists and politicians had plenty to preach about. Sex scandals ousted Senator Gary Hart and televangelist Jim Bakker. Scorpio rules other people’s money and Bakker was later convicted of defrauding his followers of 158 million dollars.

Police bombed the headquarters of a black radical group called MOVE. Terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Front seized the Italian cruise ship Achille Laura. Oliver North exposed the Iran Contra scandal. He and Ronald Reagan walked away intact. Terrorists bombed Pan Am flight 103, killing 259 passengers and 11 villagers in Scotland.

Nobody wanted our famous Garbage barge which carried 3,100 tons of Garbage 6,000 miles before returning home to be burned.

“Dr. Death” (Jack Kevorkian) became a household name.

When Neptune (Pisces) transited the sign of Scorpio from 1957 to 1970, it offered an opportunity for spiritual transformation. Neptune regenerates or degenerates. It began with sit-ins and peaceful demonstrations and ended with race riots, terrorist bombings, and hijackings. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by `two of her own bodyguards’. Racial tensions rose. Bernard Goetz shot four young black men in the NYC subway system. He claimed they were robbing him. They claimed not to have provoked him. Political unrest catalyzed the assassinations of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. It was an era of escapism. Drugs, pornography, and indiscriminate sex became normal. Oral sex and contraceptives became popular. Thousands of men went into exile rather than serve in the Vietnam War.

When Uranus (Aquarius) transited Scorpio from 1975 to 1981, it marked the end of the Vietnam War for America and the beginning of new terror in Cambodia. A senate committee admitted that assassination was modus operandi in U.S. foreign policy.

Mass humor was irreverent as seen by the popularity of Saturday Night Live on TV.

Scorpio rules the reproductive system. In 1976, scientists at MIT created the first synthetic gene. The first test tube baby was conceived outside of the womb in 1978.

Scorpio symbolizes powerful women. The Episcopal Church ordained the first woman. Barbara Walters was the first woman national news anchor on ABC TV.

The first Death (Pluto) sentence was carried out in ten years when convicted murderer Gary Gilmore went before a firing squad.

Punk Rock was loud and nihilistic, an unconventional rebellious expression of Uranus.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show became a cult classic.

Ultrasound became an alternative to x-ray radiation.

Performance art became a new art form.

Palimony suits became popular.

Over 1,000 “No Nukes” protesters were arrested on Wall Street on the 50th anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash.

1980 saw the first professional actor in the Whitehouse following the lowest voter turnout in modern history.

Fidel Castro’s “Freedom Flotilla” embarrassed the U.S. when we discovered that Castro had unloaded his underworld criminals, mentally ill, and misfits on us.

IBM introduced the personal PC and revolutionized the computer industry forever.

How I lost my Sanity 5

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“CRIES OF PAIN, CRIES OF JOY

SCREAMS OF TORMENT WITHIN

SILENTLY WHISPERING INNER FEAR

A WALL OF PRETENSE TO HIDE

BITTER REALITY WITH NO REMORSE

CHANGING MOODS, ALWAYS DENY

TRUTH IN A WORLD OF UNENDING STRIFE

REACHING OUT THE LAYER OF LIFE

DREAMING OF THE EVERYDAY CHARADE

MOVING FACES IN A MASQUERADE

REVEALING THE UNRELENTING SOUL

OF A TIRED AND LONELY BEING

HIDDEN QUALITIES SOARING BENEATH

THE EXTERNAL EXISTENCE ABOVE

COULD THE ENERGY EXIST TO FIGHT

THE SHADOWY SILHOUETTE OF I?”

Large ball of thumb with and without lines

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

patient vs staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned as we finally begin vocational classes.

How I Lost my Sanity 4

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

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

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

“What did you do?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

How I lost my Sanity 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Stay tuned as I prepare to meet the patients…

HOW I LOST MY SANITY

round self portrait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before and After

Pallet landfill to conference room

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned to meet the rehab staff in episode two.

LEO – Search for Father

LEO

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three little pigs

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

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

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

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

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

Arnold

“I’ll be back”

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

Mark & Martha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sun

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

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

Mark, Meredith, Joy, Debbie, and Star

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

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

On the View with a live audience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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