If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. -Zen koan

There is no such thing as a true story. -Pema Chodron

Mind cannot see itself, it cannot see its own projections. -the Buddha

New Moon Gemini, Monday, June 6 2005 2:55 PM PST

The winds of change whoosh through our ears, push at our backs. Every idea leads to another and every thought spurns a new one. As fire reaches for air and air adds fuel to the fire, this is the state of our minds. When the mind is working at optimum efficiency, our environment reflects this- active, changing and groundless. The mind is powerful, covering great distances in a single bound. Like a great superhero, wherever the mind turns its attention, solutions appear and dissolve, questions are asked, sometimes answered, sometimes disappearing. Agile & nimble, we find that we think ourselves into circles and the circles lead to even deeper thoughts. It’s an endless thought universe and we’re learning that every thought we give attention to garners & gathers energy, creating something of precious value, and that not every thought is as it first appears.

Yet, some are. How do we know the difference? How do we know when to trust our perceptions? Mercury is the ruler of Gemini, and Gemini is the law of two. With this new moon, we’re divided right down the middle. There are two choices, or maybe it only appears to be two, really each just half of a whole? Because nothing is what it appears to be, the question may appear to be more of a riddle or a Zen koan. ‘How frustrating!’, you exclaim, “where’s the easy astrology 101 lesson?” Well, dear reader, you find yourself at the mercy of a philosopher after a weekend with two venerated Buddhist teachers on the topic of deconstructing the mind. Buckle up, you’ve read this far so might as well continue.

In Buddhist tradition, the root cause of human suffering is conceptuality. There we sit in life always with our divided thoughts, hairsplitting between the old and new, good or evil, happy or sad, black or white. What will you name your concept? Depression versus Happiness? Romantic Love versus Divine Love? Evil versus Good? This job versus that job? My perfect world versus your perfect world? We do this to one another; we do this in the way we divide our self. Isn’t it endless, the way we try to make one side solid and discredit the other?

We need a hero, a special kind of superhero to help us through this dilemma of seeing the world in black or white. But this isn’t an easy task for our hero. We need to believe in what we see to live functional lives that make sense, but hold a space for believing none of it! Enter the trickster Bodhisattva (Sanskrit word for compassionate being) Mercury. Mercury is the planet of relative mind, he is the only one the ancients afford privilege of traveling between worlds human and divine. To pass through the gates of heaven or hell Mercury makes himself invisible, often by wearing disguises. ‘Don’t believe everything you see!’, he says raucously. We simply can’t see the deliverer of the Divine message with our human eyes. Remember that ex- lover who delivered a message you were unable to receive until hindsight? You continue to hold onto your belief: ‘I was jilted, I was wronged, he/she figured out all my buttons and pushed them!’ That is our relationship to Mercury. To quote Pema Chodron again: ‘It gets pretty unsettling to keep trying to put ground underneath our perceptions when the rug keeps getting pulled out from under us.’

But what do we make of the present, caught in either/or thinking? When thoughts are like mercurial trickster elves, dancing all around pretty little ideas about what I Want, about who I Am what I Believe what brings Me Happiness? They tempt and tease, using every possible guise to trick self into believing ‘This is who I Am, this is who I Am Not!’ Heed Mercury’s warning: do not believe everything you think. As the archetypal riddler, Mercury is never as he appears. Yet we must learn how to recognize him when he does.

Mercury shows up virtually unrecognizable, the moment when we are at our wits end. We are at a crossroads in a foreign country and we can’t understand the language, let alone read the street signs. Here is the one legged man, the unassuming helper, the black cat that darts across your path and ends up distracting the hungry wolves, the magician, astrologer, the new lover. Does he carry an answer? There’s something here we don’t trust-he tells us who he is, but we don’t quite believe him. Glib & silver tongued with the most fabulously indistinguishable accent. There’s more to the story than he’s letting on-or maybe it’s all that shiny used car salesman hair gel. Like a love junkie who changes his story for every new girl he meets, we know we’re in the presence of a smooth talker. But whoa, what do we discover in the bedroom? Even his sexuality isn’t clear; in myth Mercury is androgynous. Here we are completely confused by choosing any of the four directions, road blocked by what we do not understand and this strange apparition appears out of nowhere. And so we pin our last hope on this hero with the gift of timing, a sort of superhero of the moment. We trust in the spontaneous arising of this strange character at the exact time we need him. And to our surprise, he pulls it off.

Never before have we so badly needed this superhero. It’s a sign of the times, like automobiles being built with navigation systems, we’re in desperate need of guides, maps, and sudden unveilings. We have barometers that intricately measured the satisfaction of the old life. And that is how we got in this predicament. Our measurements for happiness are incredibly outdated. This brand new life requires new ways of thinking. Old ways of being no longer work, but the new paradigms don’t hold the weight of water-yet.

We need someone who can walk between the worlds of bungled jargon, lectures on morality, or our own hyper cerebral cortex meltdowns of magnanimous proportion. Someone to remind us of our birthright, the vast space between heaven and earth, an arid, dry volcano crater like atmosphere, pregnant with possibility, wonder and awe. Discovery is the promise, and if we can detach our self enough from our subjective bias, engage our curiosity more than our fears, we become true sculptors of fluidity and motion. When we learn this skill, we become yogini mediums of flow. Flowing smoothly between divine connection and divine conception, we are unattached and therefore unmatched. Consider this New Moon an invitation as similar to that beginning of a brand new relationship. It has the quality similar to getting together with a new lover, when directly preceding the get together your mind immediately, habitually puts all the ways it sees the world onto the other. You just jump to conclusions about how THEY SHOULD BE, a recipe for certain disaster. Isn’t it true that the only way the relationship will survive is if you let your mind just fall apart? Like Mercury the Bodhisattva, your ability and skill for holding paradox, the space between, is the only way you’ll survive.

Today New Moon day, 6/06. In case you haven’t noticed, today thoughts are penetrating and powerful. Words should be carefully chosen for they seem to carry a hidden impact or strength. The tendency to obsess or brood can be heightened if only because what you’re thinking about runs so deeply into your personal truth.

The first couple weeks of this moon cycle points to adjustments in thinking and perception. There’s a planetary logic like a cascading waterfall into the rapids. What has recently begun now emerges with sudden apparent awareness, soon taking a twist and course correcting. The net results of awareness are being tested on the stomping grounds of relationship. It’s not easy, but its not overly demanding either-as the past couple of weeks have been. (Astrologers vacation: sorry for missing last newsletter- the shocks and challenges in interpersonal relationships I was unable to point out!) Jupiter’s recent direct motion this past weekend points to a new ease. Don’t worry if you missed graduation, you can still celebrate with a glass of sparkling bubbly, Jupiter’s favorite. What’s been percolating in Finding My Way 101 class since February 1 is now ready for the next step. Now unleash your wisdom on the world! However loud and enthusiastic we feel, truly this New Moon energy is the art of walking softly and carrying a big stick.

6/07 will carry the energy of intense mental output from yesterday, spilling over to tomorrow. The early morning could bring mild frustration, ending in a stalemate. Learn the necessity of going undercover with your opinions, seek the source instead of pointing to the cause. When moon glides into Cancer early evening, ground yourself by staying home and doing things around the house. The mind is relieved when you’re released into dreamtime later this evening.

6/08-6/09 give our thoughts back to our body. Although the West seems to think that mind is located in the head, in Tibet the mind is located in the viscera, the region of the stomach and solar plexus. Does this make more sense? When we’re agitated or excited we can actually FEEL this to be true. Locate your mind in your stomach/\body with Sun, Mercury in Gemini, Moon in Cancer. Generally, this is great instruction for staying in the body during this Sun in Gemini time-the tendency is to live in the head. Refresh your relationship with the body by taking a walk in nature. Make room for pleasure around noon 6/08, or else notice work stop and daydreaming begin. A little excitement during the afternoon leads to reveling in more new thoughts. 6/09 late afternoon to evening propels us into ponderous seriousness. Work late tonight because tomorrow you certainly won’t want to.

6/09-10 a little double trouble. An ant in your tea or a fly in your ear, anticipates a sound off of unforeseeable annoyances. Irritability leads to communication challenges. Whether these are minor or not depends on your ability to fish it out, or at a raw level, swat at it (not recommended). Everything’s a little more or less bearable by the fact that everyone seems to be over the top right now, pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Double your fun. Is it an attack of excess or exaggeration? Easily lending to overindulgence, we eat too many cupcakes and everyone at the party goes home with tummy ache. On the other hand, says Mercury, sidestep the ‘accident prone’ and go prone. Assume the position of relaxation and make sure its easy because lately it seems, we’ve developed an allergy to work. Tonight: seek weekend remedy.

6/10- 6/12 Remedy: some really good music and art this weekend. Moon in Leo demands it. The planet of action & sexuality, Mars, enters Aries 6/11 thru 7/26. Women: we want the men in our life to resemble the archetypal storybook. Assume the appearance of Brad Pitt, now! For all of us, this is truly the warrior archetype, the drive toward accomplishment, competition and action. Here’s Mars’ ultimatum: ‘ Either step up to the plate or get out of the game!’ Over the next few days repeat this martial statement and see if it more easily accesses your inner hero. You’re responding to the urgent, hot drive of Mars, never easy to handle and often best worked out in competitive sports or anything that requires concentrated and precise focus of a life/death quality.

Same day, Mercury makes a very speedy tour of Cancer thru 6/26. Wow, talk about thoughts moving at the speed of light. We’re all abuzz between what was and what is becoming. Although Cancer looks to the past, family and emotional security for stability, perhaps we’re recognizing this is both evasive and problematic. However, the next few weeks the mind is soothed by a certain level of nostalgia for what was, whether that’s warm milk for the belly or the spirit.

Don’t get too homebound yet though, as late night 6/11, early morning 6/12 provides an opportunity for appreciation of the unusual. Do something a little different on Saturday night, as your traditional Betty Crocker Venus in Cancer actually wants to go out instead of stay at home with her knitting needles.

6/12- 6/14 Sunday evening 6/12 re-triggers the walk softly carry big stick dilemma. There’s a question of power struggles, perhaps you’ve let someone else carry the stick and its time to see that which is rightfully yours. Moon in Virgo requires careful analysis of what’s actually going on and now have an ability to see the hidden dynamic of a situation. A sudden insight occurs mid-afternoon that drags us down into the details for the evening. Arm yourself with perspective and a good theme song, like this one:

I love this hour
When the tide is just turning
There will be an end
To the longing and yearning
If i can stand up
To angels and men
I’ll never get swallowed
In darkness again

(see * below)

This new quarter moon marks another turning point- Uranus goes retrograde thru 11/15. Unusual, seemingly senseless activity precedes all change. Changes are less obvious to the seen world, but deep impact appears in consensus reality mid-November.

6/15-16 Moon enters Libra as sociable exchanges and self-reminders to ‘make nice’ are useful, taking precedent over analysis paralysis. We may find more perspective through talking to others, and none too soon as long term goals need the type of attention that a good conversation will bring. When we talk and share, what seemed to be at cross-purposes finds a middle way. The enlightenment continues into 6/16, when communication supports insightful ‘a-ha’ ideas, liberated thinking and freedom from concept! No more nasty old concept, always telling me how things should be, comparing of apples to oranges! Well, maybe not enlightenment, but definitely freedom from at least one concept. (until the next one arises) Moon continues to support harmonious relationships into the evening.

6/17-6/19 Early morning may meet a spot on your work shirt but you don’t mind changing your shirt and the world is well. Yet he day doesn’t seems to understand where it’s going till mid-afternoon when Moon enters Scorpio. This weekend, we sense what we perceive as the message behind the message and this can bring up deep feelings. The feelings may be defenses against uncertainty. Utilize understanding and compassion the afternoon, evening of 6/18. Saturday evening is a good night to rent a movie, have a drink, enjoy some sense of losing your self as therapy for this so-called solid world.

6/19 wherever you’re going, make sure you get there before 1 PM when your carriage turns into a pumpkin, plans just fall apart.

6/20 especially mid-morning offers opportunity for good business interactions, make those calls now. Moon in Sagittarius is optimistic and good -natured and slightly opportunistic if the truth be told. There’s nothing wrong with that today, as kindly energy supports benefit through partnerships. This complementary shift is carried via Sun’s movement into Cancer today until 7/22. We’ve been busy communicating and relating in Gemini, now its time to pull in all those energetic linkages we’ve been so busy externalizing. There’s good reason to be a homebody; the myriad connections need to be stabilized in the feeling world. For the next month, nourishment is vital. What do we feed ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually? Is it working? Look at your energy and see where you feel off balance. This immediately points to an area in which to up the nourishment ante. I’ll let you in on one final pearl of wisdom: self-care is Cancer’s secret weapon.

* song for you who feel the 6/14 energies strongly:

I live in this country now
I’m called by this name
I speak this language
It’s not quite the same
For no other reason
Than this it’s my home
And the places i used to be
far from are gone

You’ve travelled this long
You just have to go on
Don’t even look back to see
How far you’ve come
Though your body is bending
Under the load
There is nowhere to stop
Anywhere on this road

My heart is breaking
I cannot sleep
I love a man
Who’s afraid of me
He believes if he doesn’t
Stand guard with a knife
I’ll make him my slave
For the rest of his life

I love this hour
When the tide is just turning
There will be an end
To the longing and yearning
If i can stand up
To angels and men
I’ll never get swallowed
In darkness again

-Anywhere on this road -Anywhere On This Road from The Living Road by Lhasa de Sela http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/awards2005/profile_lhasaamericas.shtml

*for more Pema Chodron go to http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/buddhist/pemachodron3.htm