Scorpio and the Collective Psyche in the 20th Century

Outer planets have a powerful influence on the personal psyche. They also symbolize massive transformations in the collective psyche as they change sign. When Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited the sign of Scorpio in the 20th Century, our views of Sex, Violence, and Death transformed forever.

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.

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.

Insurance is very 8th house. We’ve all heard, “The only guarantees in life are Death and Taxes”. Life is not ensured or assured like Death and Taxes, but you can purchase life 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 (2nd house). 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.

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 few months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds worth?  What’s the premium for a graceful painless final exit? I’d like 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.

The Greening of Our Psyche

Humanity needs to open its eyes, minds, and psyches and realize that our physical problems and challenges are symptoms of ideological, philosophical, and spiritual disease. The human race has become a race against bad shit happening.

‘Psychic Pollution’ is the mother of all pollution. It’s the most insidious, contagious, and pandemic of all contaminations, infecting the immune systems of our souls and the spirit of our planet. We must wake up and smell the ‘Psychic Garbage’. Our negative ideas and beliefs are catalyzing the fear and terror that is endangering our good health and the good health of our world. Terror and wrath boil and bubble in a cauldron of trouble. Our personal health and the health of our planet is a consequence of our thinking and feelings. We need to observe our thoughts objectively and realize that all physical manifestation is a result of our thinking. We can close landfills, but what can we do with malignant mind-fills and toxic emotional-spills?

It’s time to look in the mirror. Walls divide, boundaries detach, censorship destroys, and lies deceive. How many gilded towers, glitzy gambling casinos, graven images, beauty queens, shark tanks, and celebrity idols do we need?  Must we prostrate ourselves before an over-clothed self-appointed emperor on a polished brass pedestal? Being financially wealthy and spiritually bankrupt is a strain of spiritual cancer. Preaching love and faith and practicing hatred and fear is not a good idea. Vengeance is not a solution to violence. Enough minds focusing on toxic thought creates self-fulfilling prophecies.

Fortunately, truth disinfects. Hindsight catalyzes foresight. Our present and future is in our hands. Our mother is immune deficient. She suffers from tumor’s we call towns and cities, varicose veins we call roads and highways, cancerous lungs we call air and sky, and polluted arteries we call streams and rivers that are turning our reservoirs, lakes, and oceans into toxic waste sites. Why must everything be bright white, squeaky clean and lemon fresh? We consume massive amounts of highly toxic chemicals every day in our wars with insects, rodents, weeds, dirt, stains, odors, germs, bacteria, pathogens, viruses and other potential and invisible enemies. We’re marinating in the chemicals that heat and cool us; power transportation; provide us with products; color, flavor, and preserve our foods; and enable us to communicate on a grand scale. We eat, drink, breathe, wash, brush, and apply risky chemicals to our scalps, armpits, toes, and crotches.

What has happened to good sense? Why are we debating climate change? Must we always lose to learn to value? Why is pollution profitable? Fossil fuels are finite. Hundreds of horses gallop under the hoods of gas guzzling vehicles that can go twice as fast as our highest speed limits. Screening ourselves from the sun has become a way of life. We will all need air and water purifiers. Oxygen will be marketed over the counter like bottled water. We’ll be able to purchase “a breath of fresh air” at oxygen bars. Designer oxygen masks and lemon scented oxygen will become fashionable. Pharmaceutical, apparel, and cosmetics industries will create new chemicals and products to protect us from their past, present, and future chemicals and products.

In ancient Egypt, Hermes explained that anyone can connect with anyone at any time. As father of the cell-phone, Hermes taught that everything is made up of cells and our brains are the hardware. Our job is to put our minds where we want them to be and then tune our links. Hermes said, “The All is in all and all is in The All”. We create value out of thin air.

By observing our plant world, we can better understand the life cycles of our human world. In order to cultivate a healthy world it is essential to select healthful concepts for planting.  We must clear away destructive and unproductive thoughts and plant positive ideas in our minds. Healthy attitudes and circumstances will enable new hope to sprout. A healthy society must have healthy nutrients and a natural, supportive environment in which to create strong roots. It’s our responsibility to show the world by example that we truly care. We need to pull the weeds of greed and prune the branches of waste in order to serve mankind wherever and in whatever ways we can. We must nurture relationships and conditions that fortify our world. In time, our gardens will bud and blossom. We can fertilize our crop by promoting diversity and achieving unity with other nations that will enrich our garden and prepare us to bear fruit. Many varieties of fruits and vegetables can thrive together in a garden. Many types of people can thrive together in our world. Thinking of humanity as a flourishing garden ensures a bountiful harvest for the soul, an abundance of good health, happiness, prosperity, and peace of mind.

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.

Blood Moons and Biblical Prophecy

Blood Moons and Biblical Prophecy

Blood Moon

 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Bible’s Book of Joel, Chapter 3:3-4

star of david 2Today is Passover. A total lunar eclipse occurred a moment ago. The transiting moon just squared Pluto. It’s about to oppose Uranus before it goes void of course. We’re still wandering aimlessly and endlessly across a bleak and barren desert, led by our sacred cows and golden calves that must be sacrificed on the altar of true love and faith.

 

Many people are preparing for ‘End Time’. Before I begin my rant, I want you to know that I’ve broken rules of syntax, spelling, spacing, punctuation, rhyming, and alliteration. Most of my artwork has been excavated from the electronic ether. I’ve parodied or radically altered it to avoid copyright infringement. I’ve also included a selfie from my ‘Exhibitionist Meets Voyeur’ collection. Please suspend your preconceived ideas and beliefs. I’ve left nothing to chance but you. Take what works. Leave what doesn’t.

The human race has become a race against bad shit happening. Pious philosophies and pointless politics pollute higher purpose. Partisan paradigms and pestilential practices poison our psyche. Faulty families feast frenzily on filthy banquets of flawed feelings, vague values, and toxic thinking, copiously spiced with needless fear, desperation, and hatred. We analyze, rationalize, and compartmentalize our ideologies and beliefs while we sacrifice our dignity, integrity, and nobility on the altars of nonsense.

George and the dwarves

The sheep are restlessEveryone is frantic about what’s happening in the mid-east. Focusing on insane ideologies like “Armageddon” transforms hazardous theories and toxic beliefs into self-fulfilling prophecies. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Fear, anger, and hatred are potent catalysts for apocalyptic thinking. Vengeance is not a solution to violence. Just watch the nightly news or Jerry Springer for live action.

A spiritually corrupt society worships idols from amateur hours and applauds scripted survivors. Masses of meek minds are mesmerized by meaningless media. Captivated by courtroom melodramas, viewers become critical and judgmental of the pettiest behaviors. Cunning narcissists, warped exhibitionists, and religious perverts expose their sleaziest selves to a desperate and depraved public. A culture of winners and losers has become a world of haves and have-nots.

Dick as DopeyOur planet and collective psyche are immune deficient. We preach love and sympathy and practice hate and fear. Our appallingly apparent apathy produces pandemic pathological paradigms. We fixate on sex, violence, disease, and death, while shortsightedness, greed, and fear rule our personal and collective unconsciousness.

Donald TrumpWe’re fascinated by fake vampires, werewolves, and zombies while real vampires, werewolves, and zombies thrive virtuelessly among us. We vote for political prostitutes, prostrate ourselves before self-appointed emperors, and worship megalomaniacs on gilded pedestals. We reward religious rapists who pay for their offenses with an eternity in hell. We need a megadose of sanity, but how can anyone be sane in an insane world?

who fartedWake up and whiff the weirdness. How sane is consuming massive amounts of highly toxic chemicals every day in our wars with insects, rodents, weeds, dirt, stains, odors, germs, bacteria, viruses and other invisible enemies? We’re marinating in the chemicals that heat and cool us; power our transportation; provide us with products; color, flavor, and preserve our foods; and enable us to communicate on a grand scale. We breathe, drink, wash, and apply risky substances to our scalps, mouths, armpits, fingers, toes, and crotches. Why must everything be bright white, squeaky clean and lemon fresh? Why do fossil guzzling polluting cars go twice as fast as our highest speed limits?

Mission Accomlished

Mission Accomplished?

Evil acts are symptoms, not causes. As we examine our thoughts objectively, we see action comes from thinking. Why do so few herd so many and harvest so much? Why do so many people secretly believe they’re better than others? Why do we harm cultures we’re supposed to be helping? Why do we trade prejudiced politicians for terrible tyrants?

 

Sitting on compacted cansWhen my daughter Cassie was two, I was ‘Guru of Garbage’. I taught ‘Designing with Garbage’ classes at Parsons School of Design, and co-taught Environmental Design classes at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. I was on NYC’s Solid Waste Advisory Board and spoke at design schools, community boards, and National Design Museum about recycling, reusing, and recreating materials from the waste stream. My work was exhibited in eco-tours and museums around the world.

 

 

As Cassie and I walked down the street, she’d pick up trash, “Here daddy”. Graciously, I’d thank her and deposit it in the nearest trashcan. When others noticed, they’d stoop to pick something up and turn to smile at us as they dropped it in the can. We felt proud.

George W BushJoanna and I were concerned that Cassie worried too much about the planet for a kid. Many of her friends were also tormenting themselves about their future. In fifth grade, Cassie took matters into her hands and wrote a letter to the editor of an East Village newspaper. Her ‘Earth School’ fifth grade class wrote to George W Bush.  At the end of their concerns they wrote, “Please don’t send us a signed picture of your head”. I altered the image to reveal the true nature of the beast.

Dear Editor,

I’m a 5th grader at the earth school in the east village of Manhattan. A lot has been happening in the world and this is a paragraph to explain my point of view. I wrote it at home this afternoon and it is unedited and done completely by myself. I was wondering if you would be interested in publishing it in your newspaper.    Sincerely, Cassie Seltman

We are deeply worrying about Saddam’s toxic and chemical weapons but what we are not realizing is that we are using just if not more as dangerous toxicants in our everyday life.  Eventually at the rate we are going and the life style we are living we will kill ourselves off.  The only difference with Saddam’s weapons is it will happen faster.  Really all it takes to turn the world evil is one bad mind.  We can easily find excuses to do certain uncalled for horrible things.  What we need to do is think positive and constructive for our own benefit.  We have to also be cautious about who we elect for president because that one bad mind could be his and make all the difference.  We are being so concerned with Saddam Hussein but you should think about it like Saddam Hussein is one ant in a whole anthill.  The only reason ants survive is because they work as a team to carry food and build that huge hill.  Even without war we are still heading towards a bad future.  If we continue to pollute our earth we are going to have nothing left.  If we get good ideas and stop polluting right now we will still have a chance to save our earth and the people on it.

The EmperorThe emperor weaves a wardrobe of secrecy and deceit. Our good health and the health of our planet depend on our ability to share healthy thoughts and loving feelings. We must shift our broken philosophical and spiritual paradigms so that we can live and thrive in a healthier world. We can no longer substitute money for values, religion for spirituality, or collective delusion for reality. When you’re ready to meet the Messiah, you must look in the mirror.

 

Authors note: Today’s moon is in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter. At 12:58 pm, Jupiter will become direct in Leo. Since Jupiter rules publishing, I’ll click ‘Publish’ at that moment. Jupiter also rules publicity and promotion. I’ll promote my artwork using social media.

If you enjoyed this rant, you’ll love my next writing project. ‘How I Lost My Sanity’ is a story about hands and a tale of how I tempted fate and lost my way. Sign up for all seven episodes. They won’t automatically appear in your news feed if you don’t.

How I Became the Guru of Garbage – part 2

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

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

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

OFFICE in a BOX

Office in a Box

Office in a Box 2

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

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

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

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

Pallet landfill to conference room

Reincarnated lamp and mirror

Thrown

Odds and Ends

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

Cherry Desk

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

My first paid speaking engagement was for the IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America). They said I could speak about anything, so I decided to talk about design and metaphysics. As an industrial design student, I had studied how hands relate to products. Now I would share with my peers how the same hands relate to character and behavior.