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New Paltz, Friday, Aug. 24, 2007

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Painting the Past With the Future
Earthtones. Photo by Sharon Bellenger.

Painting the Past With the Future
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

INTERPRETATION IS everything. In astrology we call it an art, and seek the practitioner that has the widest understanding and sharpest insight. We look for the one who has an eye for detail while able to clarify the big picture, a reader who can spot the subtleties without ignoring the synergy of the whole and one who is able to communicate what they see in ways that we can apply to our lives. We select the astrologer that combines intelligence with intuition; we look for the sharpest, brightest interpreter we can find. 

Life is art, as well, and surely our interpretation of it colors everything around us. When we go to an art gallery, it is no chore to interpret the mood of the paintings we study -- it's apparent to us on visual and psychic levels. When we are confident and secure, our creation is wide and easy, expansive and exploratory -- if we were painting a portrait of ourselves the colors would be bright, the strokes bold. When we are in fear or pain, we contract our energy and move carefully. Perhaps our hesitations would reveal themselves in drabber colors and thinner lines, the shape and movement of our work would become tightly managed, disconnected, meager -- or, if our demons were unleashed, brash and angry and out of control. In a sense we, ourselves, are walking, talking works of art that present differently from moment to moment, and our interpretation of our circumstances decides the composition of our creation.
Perhaps if we applied some of our intuitive, nonlinear ability to our daily lives, we would begin to interpret our experience without shaking apart -- and we are, indeed, shaking. We have a president, for instance, who has decided that he and his cohorts are above the laws of the land. He sees the executive branch of government as the one that should interpret the meaning of the Constitution, and those that would interfere with his interpretation as "politicizing" their positions. He has set the judicial arm of the nation, the Department of Justice, on a path toward interpreting laws the way he and his group of merry men chose to see them, and finding loopholes to get around what we in the United States consider "normal" activity. Mr. Bush is painting a picture for us on the parchment of the United States Constitution and he's using crayons.

Bush has reportedly been reading books on past presidents (although some find that notion suspect) and has declared that history will vindicate his position; he cites George Washington as a president that history is still evaluating. Bill Maher, comedian and political wonk, refutes that -- no, says Bill, history has pretty much made up its mind about that first George...father of the country, dollar bill and all.

And history has pretty much made up its mind about the current George as well, given a destabilized Middle East and an exhausted military, a nation foundering under rogue capitalism and unequal tax burden, an assault on civil liberties and privacy, and an economy that is efforting to balance a monumental international debt, a devalued dollar and the largest disparity in income since the early years of the last century. Today Mr. Bush is preparing to give a speech using Vietnam as an example of why we must persist in the Iraq war; that will be quite a stretch -- I'd suppose he'll be using those majick crayons again.

Years of Pluto in Sagittarius and Saturn in Leo have given us a canvas painted in bold, bloody colors, splashed with the bewildering, eclectic qualities of Neptune in Aquarius, and the moody, complex accents of Uranus in Pisces. There has been no way to interpret the portrait these energetic signals has produced except as chaotic, disjointed, dire. The kid with the crayons hasn't helped, either, marking up everything in sight with his personal interpretations and adding anxiety to the finished product.

It will remain a question, one that history will evaluate again and again, why Bush thought he had entitlement to make such a mess, and why the nation found itself unable to wrest him away from so much destruction. Perhaps it will decide that George W. was the perfect guy to illustrate the old, worn-down way of doing things, making way for the new. Perhaps it will signify him as anachronistic, even in his own time. Perhaps he will be defined as the "last shout" of an old paradigm. Perspective is the part of "interpretation" that often comes later; a talented, accomplished artist always keeps it foremost in mind.

Saturn has now inhabited that breathtakingly mythical point known as the anarectic degree -- 29; a "critical" degree, and often an indication of crisis. Surely we see crisis everywhere we look, and Pluto is moving along slowly toward that degree as well. These are "changing of the guard" issues, when the big impersonal planets take on new coloration. The bad news/good news aspect of a planet hitting anarectic is that it is the final yelp of whatever was, giving way to what will be; Saturn will quickly move into Virgo and bring in new energy, new earth colors with which to paint. Pluto will follow eventually with its practical earthy tones in Capricorn.

If Virgo is the skilled, dutiful repairman coming to the door with his toolbox, then Capricorn is the investment banker on the block, trusted with our resources and flush with respect and social position. Saturn will bring responsibility to repair, and Pluto will bring transformation to governing institutions. We should note that both of these prospects are in the drabber spectrum of the color palette -- our days of drawing with bold bright colors seem to be coming to a close, best to stock up on brown and sepia and charcoal and black. A plunge into practicality will be quite a shock but we can welcome the pragmatic possibilities that these changes bring, even if it feels less "unplugged" than we've grown accustomed to. It's been a thrill ride, but unplugged has brought us dangerously close to undone. There's remediation at hand.

I should mention the powerful eclipses coming up, the first of which involves a Grand Cross in the mutable signs -- one more set of colors and energies to change the whole picture. We're a work in progress, aren't we? The changes come at breakneck speed and we witness it all with a critical eye, wondering how muddy our self-portrait will become. But interpretation is the key, and knowing that there is [r]evolution prompting all this should allow us an easier passage through the confusion. That's the equivalent of stepping back to get a clearer impression -- to assessing from a distance; that's perspective.

Accomplished artists create their inner vision from their heart, they strive not for perfection but for beauty, they create form to provoke emotion -- they seek to open themselves, not close themselves off to the muse that informs them. We are the artists of our own lives, the universe is providing us the colors and we are creating a collective portrait of life on planet Terra with diverse and inspired interpretations. The most potent and authentic, ultimately, will remain to inform the whole picture.

I ran across a quote from Lord of the Rings the other day that made me think of us, those of us who would step up to create the 21st century:
Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live through such times. But that is not ours to decide, all we can decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
There it is, there. We're here, in this moment, with purpose; we have art to create, we have a vision of healing and peace to drive us forward -- we have good, productive work ahead. If the colors we choose are dark for a while, it will be with an eye toward the complete picture -- if we keep perspective, then our interpretation will balance itself with hope and compassion for a portrait that touches our collective heart and ushers in a new age. It is due to get messy along the way, but we can be content that all inspired work is just that, long before it is admired as completed and presentable. We can trust the process of creation and believe in our own remarkable contribution to the whole -- never EVER believe in your "littleness;" you are as important a part of this great picture as anyone else on the planet.

So create with gusto, today, and every day. Understand intuitively that everything you do and say and think is part of the great portrait of life on this planet, and that all of us are experiencing it with you. If you drop your brush, or make a mess, laugh and begin again -- sing and dance and splash your paint with pleasure. Contribute from a great open heart that lifts you from plodding to playing, knowing that the universe has not forgotten to provide you everything you need to accomplish your own unique expression. And while we're on the topic of supplies, I hear that WD-40 can get crayon out of just about anything -- let's get us a whole lot of that.

CREDITS: Associate Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact Checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet. Business Manager: Chelsea Bottinelli.
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