poetry moment...


Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it’s Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and recollection,
we sleep like wine in the conches,
like the sea in the moon’s blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from the street:
it is time they new!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.

It is time it were time.

It is time.

-Paul Celan




Imprisoned by four walls

(to the North, the crystal of non-knowledge

a landscape to be invented

to the South, reflective memory

to the East, the mirror

to the West, stone and the song of silence)

I wrote messages, but received no reply.

-Octavio Paz


Who the F*ck is D&G?

Geometry and arithmetic take on the power of the scalpel. Private property implies a space that has been overcoded and gridded by surveying.

From A Thousand Plateaus
Chapter 9. 1933: Micropolitics and Segmentarity, p. 212


Mercury Retrograde!

In lieu of a proper horoscope for yesterday's new moon in Libra (I just can't muster that kind of focus while adjusting to my my gigs and digs in Santa Cruz.), I'll offer up some observations on pesky Mercury's recurring mischievous motion. Here's the physics...
The animated illustration above represents retrograde motion from a geocentric (earth - centered) perspective. Here the earth is depicted in the center of a planetary orbit, for example Mars. [Or Mercury in our case. *e] Because the earth is assumed to be fixed and stable in the center of the cosmos (geocentric and geostatic), and further, all heavenly bodies are assumed to move around the central earth, some device was needed to describe the apparent retrograde loop that planets make when in opposition to the sun. To account for the apparent backward looping of the planet, Claudius Ptolemy (fl. 140 AD) devised a very elegant geometrical construction to describe this motion. His model involved a large circle (deferent) and a second smaller circle (epicycle) on which the planet moved. The result was that the planet moved with a double motion. Specifically, the planet moved with uniform angular speed around the center of the epicycle, and in turn, the center of the epicycle moved with uniform angular speed around the equant point. The equant point, by definition, was an imaginary point situated near the earth. Its exact position varied from planet to planet. In each case its location was determined by observation and calculation. The result was a simple and accurate description of planetary motion. But theory aside, what would you see? Viewed from earth, the planet would appear to undergo a 'looping' retrograde motion against the backdrop of the 'fixed stars.' To all appearances, the planet would move in its direct order, gradually slow down and finally appear to stop (stationary point one). The planet would then appear to reverse its direction (undergo retrograde). After reversing direction the planet would again slow down and appear to stop a second time (stationary point two). Finally, the planet it would reverse direction a second time and continue to move its original direction. In sum, from a geocentric perspective, retrograde motion was one of the major astronomical problems requiring attention in order to 'save the appearances.' To this end, Ptolemy's model was unsurpassed for simplicity, accuracy, and elegance until Copernicus some 1400 years later.
The consequences from an astrological perspective vary. Irritating miscommunications, missed connections, mechanical and digital malfunctions, can occur with unusually heightened frequency. Already I've locked my keys in my office. (45 minutes before starting my first discussion section as a teaching assistant!) I've been sleeping on the floor because the mattress I ordered has yet to be delivered. My cell phone hates me and doesn't seem to work for sh*t. The UC can't get my name right. The whole electronic database that is the hive mind of the UCSC is a non-negotiable morass and it's maybe too kind to blame Mercury for it, but here's to hoping. Most of my students can't get their text books... I pulled a muscle in my leg...my cat is wearing a cone on her head and I shoot bubble gum flavored antibiotics down her throat twice a day. Among many astrologist the term "Mercury retrofucked" covers the profanity inducing frustrations for which the motion is blamed. I will say, for myself, that these are little things. Minor. And when I keep the bigger picture in mind and focus on what is really important all systems are ahead full speed. Roxie's fine and so am I.

Mercury retrogrades serve best those individuals who are patient, flexible, and willing to improvise when things don't quite work out the way one had planned. Although, some proper planning may keep the retrograde from really tripping you up. There are two sensations I attribute to Mercury's retrograde. One is the feeling of apparent backwards motion. It's a good time to review, clean, clear the decks, reduce drag, get old news and business out of your way because- and this is second feeling associated with a mercury retrograde- we are prone to accelerated forward motion, because, in fact, we are all still moving forward. Consider two cars on the freeway. When your vehicle accelerates past another, the slower vehicle will appear to be moving backwards. So, for those of us who've gotten all the distractions out of the way, and can keep up with the kind of running down hill pace of Mercury's six week mission. You're streamlined and good to go. Stay relaxed and focused while you review and run to keep up with a few weeks of high pace. You'll likely get a lot done, more quickly than you might have thought with truer purpose. Although with mercury you never know what unexpected messages might pop up.

It's a mixed bag. Keeps us on our toes. Think of the ancient messengers winged feet. Try to step light. Not too fixed in our position. The Sun in Libra too, helps us with our balance. Makes clear perhaps those things that are preventing us from getting to where we want to be. The potential here is to get there faster, the unplanned segues and glitches towards realizing our vision may offer up some secret short cuts, clarity about what's most important, what really needs to be said, where were really hoping to go, and why. Why? Libra also wants to know with whom. So, stay friendly in the face of frustration. Allies are everywhere. Make the effort to be extra nice, bend where you can. There's luck in this too if you can keep up!

Mercury is retrograde in Libra from Thurs. September 25 until Wed. October 15. The undertow return journey until Mercury returns to its pre-retrograde position has its own thrills and hazards. November 1 we return to "normal" mercurial motion. Enjoy the ride!

Elizabeth Travelslight is an October Scorpio with a Gemini rising and a Virgo moon. She has been studying tarot and astrology since 1996. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has a B.A. in Pure Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and almost has her M.A. in Communication, with an emphasis on poetry and contemporary philosophy, from the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
-William Shakespeare

I feel like most of you readers are pretty savvy folks who don't need "how-to" horoscope instructions. But since I’m still feeling new to the whole horoscope scene, here is a friendly disclaimer...