thoughts on ‘seeing is believing’

I love astrologer Caroline W. Casey’s advice, “Believe nothing, entertain possibilities.” Love it. LOVE. IT. Recently, this idea has been bringing to mind the phrase “seeing is believing”. (Yes dear reader, I am indeed profoundly fond of aphorisms, thanks for noticing.)

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Now follow me down this side-path for just a moment:

Have you ever head the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”? If so, it was likely within the context of trying to dissuade a curious person – as in, don’t be a fool. Well actually, the full phrase goes more like, “curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back”. (This connects to the cats-having-nine-lives thing and is vaguely alchemical, but anyway!) So basically, this saying was intended to encourage curiosity – not extinguish it. This is a lovely example of humanity’s game of Telephone. So please, let’s all be Fool’s and try not to take everything so seriously.

Back to our regularly scheduled (hahaha jk) programming:

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The meaning behind ‘seeing is believing’ can swing in polar directions. You have the capitalist empiricist version which is all about what the eyeballs are capable of perceiving, what the hands are capable of physically touching – all about concrete, re-producible proof. In this way, all critical thinking and spiritual meaning is null and void. If you see it, there it is, no argument, piece of cake, that’s reality, bam done. In this way, ‘seeing is believing’ smashes the multi-dimensionality of existence & experience into a flat pancake of unquestionableness.

However, this phrase can also take on a powerfully philosophical and spiritual meaning. Seeing pertains to the eyeballs & brain when taken directly and concretely – but language is oh so much more than that, and so is the concept of seeing. Think of when someone explains a riddle to you, and your response is “Oh, I see!”

Seeing can refer to understanding, comprehending, realizing, ‘putting two and two together’. Taken with this broader idea of seeing, the phrase ‘seeing is believing’ refers to a critically-questioned spirituality and/or personal philosophy. Instead of swallowing scripture dogmatically, this is the process of “entertaining possibility”, this is taking a spiritual lesson and testing it in the fires of experience to really see how it works. Only after seeing, after personally experiencing, do you truly believe – like, in opposition to blind faith.

In this way, instead of tacitly agreeing with how others explain life, “seeing is believing” encourages a questioning outlook where life is a series of adventures to be tasted and tested and navigated via our own [personal, unique, intersectional] sight.

 

Morning thoughts on Mercury

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Oh Mercury, sitting in my 7th house, sitting in my shadow. You activate around others, around partners. But I need you when I call you. Can I be my own other? Can I be my own partner? You sit there in steady-as-she-goes Taurus, whispering visions of beauty in my ear – but not allowing them to pour from my mouth – somehow both calming & teasing my solar Gem tendencies. I must swallow all your tasty morsels, sharing your sweets with only my sweetheart. I can’t live like this.

I can’t live for only one other. I live for myself. And all others are a part of the one. I love them, but I do not live for them. Oh Mercury, let’s make our own partnership. Let’s build our bond. When I integrate my shadow, I’m confident you will be there. I’m confident we will dance. Once you’re permanently housed in my throat, your nectar ever-seeping from my lips and fingertips, then our every movement will be the fluid step of a grand dance. I can spread my web where ever I desire, not just in this dreamscape of duality.

Parker’s comment on Mercury aspecting Pluto: “If Mercury and Pluto are personal planets, the need to explore the self will be just as powerful as with the conjunction, but a result may be more easily achieved.” Mercury and Pluto are my ruling planets. And they’re opposed. And I love them both dearly. Their conversation fuels my introspective Cap Moon, who sits in fluid aspect to both, absorbing all their juicy dialogue.

The dialectic is frustrating, though. It’s like tumbling down a mountain, rolling rolling, head over feet – I find myself, I lose myself, I find myself, I lose myself. I know my self, I re-invent myself, I know myself, I destroy that self.

Thankfully, everything is relative. Mercury & Pluto have taught me that creation and destruction are the same thing from different perspectives. I am just as much the same as I am different, but I would like to be just as much whole as I am fragmented.

thoughts on ‘just for today’

Some reiki practices meditate on these five principles:

  1. Just for today, I will not worry / I will trust.
  2. Just for today, I will not anger / I will love.
  3. Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  4. Just for today, I will be grateful for my many blessings.
  5. Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbors and all living beings.

Trust, love, integrity, appreciation, kindness–got it. But why, “just for today”?

I connected the idea back to a self-help book I read recently called Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I came by the book in a weird meandering way; it’s not something I would normally spend my time with. But I’m glad I read it.

It’s a habit-forming system based on “stupid small” steps. Want to form a habit of exercising 30 minutes a day? Start with a mini habit of one push-up a day. Want to form a habit of writing 2000 words a day? Start with a mini habit of 50 words a day.

The author goes into the science of goals and motivation and self-esteem and whatnot. By keeping the daily goal “stupid small”, failure isn’t an option (and you’re even likely to do “bonus reps”). In other words, every day is a success. He doesn’t come out and say this, but basically, it sounds like building a positive emotional foundation allows the mental and physical to follow.

It’s hard to be kind to everyone at every moment. It’s difficult to maintain constant integrity. It takes training to never spark to anger and practice to remain ever grateful. So when bringing these principles into your life, it’s helpful to take small steps. Start with just today.

The reiki principles are like moral mini habits.

Failure is still an option here, but I’d rather fail at not being kind today than not being a kind person. Instead of aiming to transform yourself into some pure archetype, and instead of running away and drowning your sorrows when you can’t uphold yourself to those standards–just focus on how you could act today, on who you could be today.

Focusing on how it feels to take on those principles will build a foundation from which you can think and act on those principles.

tarot spreads in unlikely places

Inspired by Autostraddle’s Laneia, I bought a Passion Planner for 2016.

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It addition to monthly & weekly organizing pages, each month ends with a set of reflection questions like: What was the most memorable part of this past month? What were the three biggest lessons you’ve learned in this past month? How are you different between this month and last month? What or who are you especially grateful for this past month?

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It occurred to this morning that the Monthly Reflection was essentially a tarot spread.

 

 

 

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So basically I had a lovely premier de mars, beginning with a ten-card reflection on February.

Long story short, I made mistakes but I’m moving; I’m actually doing something. I have broken free from that very necessary healing cocoon, and I’m here to kick some ass. Err, read a lot of things..

Don’t Ignore the Signs of a Feline Fortune-Teller

For a week or more, I knew something was coming. Something bad.

There were many signs. One, for instance, was this odd wave of melancholy. What? I’m not sad. Look how great my life is right now! I couldn’t reason out the signs, so I ignored them. Well, okay I didn’t ignore them, I just waited. I waited without taking any action. (Is that ignoring?)

Was I waiting for a more specific sign? A sign the made ‘sense’? A sign that it was going away? I don’t know. I just know that I knew this was coming, and I know I didn’t do anything about it.

I’m still learning what my intuition sounds like. The melody, tune, and timbre differ oh so much from my good friend Logic. Without enough confidence in my gut, my ability to follow through falters.

Last week, we were gifted some halibut, which fed us for a couple days, with the last of it going to the meows. Lure [the Insatiable] didn’t eat any of their halibut breakfast, and just as I realized I wasn’t feeling well, Mercury ralphed theirs. It looked completely undigested, and I immediately knew I would be up all night snuggling a large pot. Cats are excellent at recognizing & expelling toxins; they’re much more proficient at it than humans.

And I have the opposite of an iron stomach.

I spent the afternoon, evening, all night, and all the next morning crying, whining, moaning, and vomiting while trying to distract myself with movies and card games.

I found some peace around noon (meaning I was able to lie flat without pain) and managed to finally catch some Z’s. Three hours later, however, I was rudely awoken by every muscle in my body screaming from dehydration. Abby brought me back to life with a tasty, made-from-scratch veggie & lentil soup.

If I had taken more precautions by pulling my nose out of my studies to fortify my body, this might not have been a 4-day ordeal.

I am feeling better now and more solidly human. Drawing a card for strength in putting myself back together, I came face-to-face with the 8 of Wands.

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I love the simplicity of this card; it’s very to-the-point: eight wands coming from above towards the ground/earth. I need bring all my little ideas & ambitions out of my abstract mindspace and into tangible reality.

Rather than one strong force, this card features eight separate bits all headed in the same direction. Breaking my projects & goals into digestible bits it’s actually a grand idea–both for slowly bringing my body back to life and for finally bringing my career plans to life.

This deck is often painfully direct with me, but here I think it’s being gentle. Instead telling me to pay attention to the earthy parts of my life with a Pentacle card, it’s validating my ambitions and offering a pathway to express them while still being kind to myself.

And I appreciate that.

Perspective: November in Port Protection

I’ve been a studying fiend lately, feasting on knowledge.

Learning the difference between trolling coho and king salmon. Learning about phytic acid and how to build a diet to strengthen teeth and ditch plaque. Learning the lunar mansions and the gifts/challenges of each natal moon. Learning the cleansing & medicinal properties of local plants and how to build my own materia medica. Learning how to track dreams and interpret them with the aid of tarot. Learning how to read the landscape to predict the weather. I get easily caught up in airy pursuits.

My current transient office space is the Wooden Wheel Trading Post in Port Protection, the only store in town. I like chatting with the folks who pop in, but the connection speed is not great and the TV is highly irritating. I generally work until I’m un-ignorably hungry or Abby scoops me up for an adventure.

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Traveling amongst the bush towns of Southeast has made this past year an endless adventure. The landscape beckons the soul to expand. The creative use of resources brings a fresh perspective to human ingenuity. And the people are brimming with stories of wisdom and whimsy.

NatGeo has a program [ingeniously] named Port Protection, but it really misses the nuances of all those things. Okay well, some of the nature shots are breath-taking, but the people and lifestyle are awkwardly framed and hyperbolized. Yes, there is a tight community out here, but the show forces folks together who don’t normally interact. And yes, folks go hunting  frequently, but the only people hunting bear are out-of-town trophy hunters. Bear is not tasty, and the folks out here are not starving.

It’s rather disappointing that NatGeo is more interested in emotion baiting rather than knowledge spreading. I haven’t watched much television in the past 5 or 6 years, aside from Netflix. Is this just what it’s all like now? When I think of the brand that is National Geographic, I think of cultural exploration, but these Alaska shows seem more like cultural exploitation.

I learned pretty much zilch watching Port Protection. They glazed over the didactic opportunities and ripped sarcasm out of context to create the most extreme emotional situations possible.

Lame. I’ll stick to my own studies.

HOW NOW MERCURIAL COW

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Hello hello, I’m Tango.     philosopher. astrologer. witch.

My love for all things academic matched with a deep disdain for modern academia has led me out of Hell and into my own personal Wonderland. It’s been a process of shedding the scientist to reveal the philosopher underneath, the witch that 12-year-old me predicted and 22-year-old me never saw coming.

This blog is where I shall practice organizing words into sentences and paragraphs, while giving space to my auto-didactic tendencies and probably, like, some feelings.

[Header art by the glorious MJ Goebel.]

Our two-day trip to Petersburg took four days, and not because of site seeing.

Day one: Miscommunication

I think we’re leaving the dock to anchor near the front of the bay where I’ll have full cell service (that is, internets) for the entire day, a luxury I haven’t experienced in months. While holding to an easy anchorage, I planned on putting in hours at my tech job and accomplishing various other internet chores.

Abby thinks today is a great chance to get a head start on our trip to Petersburg and that I only need a couple hours to complete my work. So while I settle myself behind my laptop, she shoots us out of the bay and across the channel, away from the cell tower.

When I almost lost service, we reconvened on the goal of the day, and realized our miscommunication. We anchored where I had a decent connection, and stayed for the night.

Day two: Why did we anchor here?

Surprise Harbor is not a good anchorage. The whole place is pretty shallow, so winds create large swells easily. We tried to leave but the winds matched our engine power, creating a stand-still. We re-anchored in the shitty weather and proceeded to re-check our position every 5-10 minutes for over 24 hours (thankfully only having to reset the anchor once). The boat continued to rock all day, just enough to make reading [or anything requiring focus] impossible. We weren’t in any danger, but we also couldn’t relax.

Day three: What’s the equation for wind plus tide plus boat?

Abby made a similar trip to Petersburg in one 16-hour day, so she thought we could travel this one section in 8 hours. We did some motor sailing (I’m still amazed by wind power; having the sails catch takes the breath out of me), but by midday we knew we weren’t on schedule.

With 3 hours left of daylight, we calculated we were still 7 hours from the nearest anchorage. We had not planned to run at night; we don’t have great lights for running at night; we were really freaked about running at night.

The night sky was packed with stars, and a waxing moon rose to my right, encouraging me along the way. I won’t lie; it was scary. Beautiful, but a bit scary. You can’t see the water, so you can’t judge the water. No one knew we were out there. Radar and GPS are not perfect.

The sun set around 6. I did most of the night driving, and by 10pm Abby was dropping anchor while I was drifting into dream land. We made it just fine, but we need to learn more about winds & tides.

Day four: Finally.

The last day was a breeze. Calm waters carried us the 5 hours into Petersburg. We even rode a couple back eddies, which doubled our speed. Abby pulled into the harbor like a pro, regardless of the nervous sweat she broke out in. And I saw my first grocery store since March. We promptly loaded up on junk food and spent the evening bingeing the entire first season of Transparent. We earned TV and Oreos, dammit.


I love love love living on a boat. It brings this nomad’s heart such fulfillment. I’ve only been living aboard for about 3 seasons, but I can’t see myself calling a piece of land ‘home’ ever again. Abby’s been doing this nautical dance for about 5 years now, and we’re both learning more every day..as are our cats.

Chronicles of Pain: the need for a name

This column is about my personal experiences with chronic pain/illness, but it’s not actually going to be in chronological order. Some information may not make sense until I get around to other things. Like, I should probably describe all of my pains & symptoms up front, but no, I’m not ready to do that. And I don’t want to try to plot out all the doctors and procedures and medications. Ugh, no. I’m just going to write about whatever comes to me when it comes to me.. or else I won’t write it at all. And I’m tired of not doing that. Somehow, not talking/writing about it has just made me really tired. I will now proceed to slowly wake up..


I have chronic pain. I have had chronic pain since I was at least 9, so about 15 years now. I don’t think I ever extensively wrote about my migraines [or other symptoms] as a teenager. Being in pain was baseline, was normal; there was no need to beat a dead horse by noting it in my journal.

I honestly couldn’t see how it influenced my energy levels, moods, reactions, decisions, perspectives. It was a part of my daily existence; it was a lens I could not remove or see around; it was a part of my being. I had no name for my pains and no way to understand its effects as separate from myself.

As a teenager, every time I was finally graced with the presence of a neurologist, I silently prayed & pleaded that some disease or disorder would finally grace me with its awe-some authenticating powers. I wanted that almost more than a cure. I got “used to” the pain and pretty much lost hope ever parting with it. What I couldn’t get used to, however, was explaining why I can’t do this or why I reacted like that. Without a name for my illness, I was just a freak or a bitch.

After three neurologists ignored the twitching altogether (my only visible/obvious symptom), a fourth finally sent me home with a word: myoclonus. I have myoclonus. She even gave me a pamphlet. I must’ve been at least 16, because I remember driving myself home while plotting my research approach and repeatedly thinking to myself, I have myoclonus.

My hopes for hours of intense, enlightening research were dashed within five minutes. Myoclonus: “irregular involuntary contraction of a muscle usually resulting from functional disorder of controlling motor neurons.” It’s.. It’s a fucking umbrella term for all involuntary muscles spasms! So it was a category term, not a specific term. And it was to label a symptom, not the whole condition.

Gasping for information like a fish out of water, I remembered the pamphlet. But she gave me a pamphlet! It offered no relief. It was about epilepsy and what to do when someone has a seizure, because that’s the most common manifestation of myoclonus. I do not have epilepsy. I cried myself to sleep that night.

ruminating: 10 of Pentacles.

Suit: Pentacles
Up until about a year ago, I rarely had nice things to say about pentacles or the element of earth. It was either too mundane or too heavy or too slow. In the context of the society I grew up in (middle-class America), it was just too-emphasized in general. Who needed more materiality? And living with chronic pain, I was always avoiding the element of the body. The abstract, mental parts of my life were a sanctuary to me as a closeted, queerasfuck teenager because the pentacle parts felt like shackles.

Number: 10
Numerologically, 1 is the number of beginnings and 0 is of infinite possibilities. So 10 is a begin-again kind of number. Arthur Waite’s keyword for the tens was “fixing”. 10 is the chance to begin-again with experiential knowledge–knowledge is power. You may begin-again by taking the next step in front of you, or you may begin-again by taking a giant leap sideways, or you may decide to begin-again by launching straight up towards the clouds. Infinite possibilities with the power of conscious judgement.


 

The Waite-Smith version of the 10 of Pentacles features a busy marketplace, a familiar place, a normal place. But the pentacles on the card form a new way of seeing this place, a gateway to something more than a quotidian, capitalist, heteronormative life. This card shows you the new in the old, the fresh in the stale, the fairies in the forest, the magic in the mundane.

Through this card’s lens, I see humanity as more than a binary system and how every person embodies the masculine & the feminine. I see that life can be about more than how much money I have or how many things I possess. That 0 tells me not to find a role but to make one, to queer ‘roles’ altogether.

Not all leaps need to be profoundly original or pre-approved. Just go outside and listen to the birds. There’s magic there. And if you feeling like singing back, sing back. There’s magic there too.