Old time greetings from the oldest inhabited city in the world: Damascus. One of the things about visiting a country so far away from home is that you just don’t know: whether your bags will arrive, the visa will be waiting at the airport, the internet will work (spotty as of this writing I don’t know whether I’ll be able to send this to you!) or if you’ll ever want to return. Travel is less about taking things on faith that it all will work out brilliantly (because sometimes it won’t) than endeavoring to appreciate and delight in everything that does.
But first, you’re curious about Damascus, aren’t you? It’s easy to see why travel is a Jupiter/Pisces (in traditional astrology, Jupiter is ruler of Pisces) experience. Chaotic, mind-expanding, the sheer number of possibilities can be overwhelming. Standouts of the trip so far: the narrow alleys of this city lead to never-ending mazes of corridors. Colorful and richly textured souks (markets). Roman ruins crumble in the unlikeliest places; a solo column stands alone, and an archway, with nothing to support any longer, serves as a landmark for locals. The wafting smell of fresh baked pita. Blaring horns and police whistles interrupted by midday prayers projected throughout, hailing from loud speakers from every mosque in the city. Girls in burkas, dark-rimmed eyeliner with western influences: jeans, great boots, constant texting on cell phones. After hours of wandering the city miraculous, the way we’d happened to find our way back to an efficient cafe and experience the most amazing baba ganoush ever tasted.
I believe life is magical. Visiting Damascus during a Virgo Full Moon has caused me to think about how many threads have woven together to arrive us here, at this moment. It’s easy to be an outsider looking in on a city so meticulously well-run that one never sees how it works. Yet the hustle and bustle of Damascus is transparent, a clear home to visible worker ants like you and me, people who work hard at their profession to make it happen. Silversmiths, bakers, perfumers, leatherworkers, I easily can become absorbed in this strange city of colorful chaos, foreign-ness and the lucky happenstances of wandering down the right street instead of the wrong one. However, for all the Pisces mystique, the inner workings are Virgo. From the man whose sole job it is to refresh the hot coals on the hookah, to the clear difficulty of keeping the internet functional, someone out there is always diligently, tirelessly and (often) thanklessly working so all can enjoy a semblance of normalcy and sanity, and that fact doesn’t escape me.
Today’s Virgo Full Moon features the Sun joined with Jupiter in Pisces. This transit of Jupiter bodes well for dreamers and artists as the kinds of lucky breaks, opportunity and fortune Jupiter brings are seeded in the fertile imaginative consciousness. If we dream, imagine, dance, and create art from an inspired anything’s possible place, Jupiter in Pisces will be generous with us. We need to believe in more than this to move our life beyond ‘this’. We can download an inspirational movie of better days to come, but the shadow of Pisces is big dreams and no strategy or dedication for making those dreams happen. Life won’t ‘work’ without Virgo’s skills. We become the Queen or King of brilliant ideas – all of them trapped in our imagination.
I value dreaming magically. You could say magic is the charmed underpinning of my latest book, and leading a magically charmed life is possible. This feat of love alchemy landed me in Damascus! But magic that works is equal parts prayer and sweat. The practical know-how of Virgo pulls it all together. How? Dedication, craftsmanship, apprenticeship (ie, studying the methods and ways of people who have the know how you want) are all uber Virgo-helpful. We also need elbow grease; to be willing to roll up our sleeves and just put in the time, effort, frustration and hard hours. If you’re a writer you’ve probably heard this prayer from Julia Cameron: ‘I’ll take care of the quantity, God will take care of the quality.’ I practice this motto often. We also need the persistence. In my experience we often underestimate what we can learn by sticking with something – often, and delightfully, a goal changes shape and form over time – but we’ll never know if we don’t let anything stick. Patience. I also do believe we underestimate what we can achieve over time (a book! a career! a dream!). So why aren’t there more people living their dream?
To achieve anything worthwhile, there will be challenges to persist through; pesky details, annoyances, mistakes. On any trip, you sign up for myriad discomforts. Case in point: due to my seriously ‘special’ diet I had worked hard preparing food for hours at home (grinding almond butter!)- all accidentally thrown away by the maid. Except for a very random block of tofu (which the director of housekeeping, dressed in a business suit returned with profuse apologies while inquiring as to what tofu, is). His attention was appreciated by me. It reminded me that very few of us are made obviously wealthy by our invisible efforts, yet somehow, amidst the precarious balance of method & madness in our lives, the fatigue and things that do go wrong, we can find it in our hearts to esteem each other, be kind, to smile, to offer what we can – as small or inconsequential as we may think that may be. I believe we need to self-esteem acts like these – positive acts of self-regard made on behalf of our self – with our own appreciation. No one will necessarily do it for us. Be it working tirelessly in a service job, or being setback on a trip, without finding the positive meaning in the little things we bump into and using that as fuel – we just cave.
So here’s my Virgo Full Moon advice : stick to it. Inconvenience and discomfort happens. A technical setback or discouragement may be enough to turn us away from a dream. But imagine…what we can do with a little positive self-regard and persistence. We may just have what it takes to create something absolutely dreamy.