Michael's Musings Column
Michael's Musings was featured on the Free Daily Horoscopes by Michael Star page at STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine. This archive page displays all columns from June 1-30 1999 in chronological order. Archives of earlier columns will be added soon. Please email Michael Star for permission if you wish to reprint any of these essays in another publication. Click here for
July 1999 Archives or 1997 Archives or 1998 Archives.
Michael's Musings on...
Intimacy | Fear | Seeking Success | Sabotaging Success | Guilt | Giving | Greed | Hate | Choices & Consequences | Immunity | Love Without Fear | Following Your Fun | Truth | Evil | Forgiveness | Pride |
Michael's Musings: The Moon's Illusions
In Monday's column I was talking about the symbolism of the Sun and Moon in astrology, and mentioned the Sun's purpose and the Moon's illusions. I thought more about this concept of illusions since then, and wanted to elaborate a little. An illusion is something that is not true, or not real; but only appears to be true or real when we choose to perceive that way. Did you ever consider that darkness is not a real thing, but only the absence of something real - light? If you bring the smallest amount of light to the darkest darkness, it disappears, because it was only an illusion - a "no thing".
In Astrology, the Moon symbolizes our unconscious mind and several functions of our psyche, such as the need to nurture and be nurtured; the need to protect and feel protected; "feelings" in the sense of emotional needs and reactions; and also our perceptions of the past (memories), especially our childhood. The Sign the Moon was in at birth indicates the "strategies" we are most comfortable with using to accomplish the purpose and goals of the Moon functions. There are positive ways to fulfill these functions that lead to happiness, and there are negative or mistaken ways which do not lead to happiness, even when it seems they could. These are what I am calling "the Moon's illusions".
The Moon itself presents several illusions when it appears to be radiating light but is really only reflecting it; when it appears to be as large as the Sun when really it is much smaller, only closer to us; and when it changes in appearance even while remaining the same in form. It even seems to disappear on nights we call it "a New Moon".
I think we will find that any function of the Moon or any planet in Astrology, and any Sign's strategy for fullfilling it, will have a good and true side, and also "a dark side" - just like the Moon has its dark side we never see from Earth. A strategy that works well in moderation may have negative effects when used too much or too little. A need may make us feel happy when satisfied; but neediness can create unhappiness when we are too attached to having what we think we need. If you'll bear with me until tomorrow, I will try to give some examples of the Moon's illusions as they relate to some specific Signs.
©1999 June 1 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: More of The Moon's Illusions
In Tuesday's column I said I would try to give some examples of the Moon's Illusions as they relate to some specific Signs. Remember, an illlusion is something that is not true, or not real; but only appears to be true or real when we choose to perceive that way.
All the Signs have a positive set of strategies which help the Moon express its symbolic functions in ways which lead to happiness and fulfillment. They also have "a dark side" (as the Moon does) which are basically misdirected methods of expressing those same functions. These methods lead to misuse or disuse of the positive potential, and are often (if not always) the result of believing something is true which really is not true - of believing in an illusion.
Let's look at the Sign of Gemini first, since the Sun is in Gemini right now. One of the functions symbolized by the Moon in our birth charts is feeling, such as experiencing our emotions or sensing the emotional state of other people. Since Gemini works well with its strategy of perception (or observation), a person with Moon in Gemini can be very observant and perceptive about noticing the feelings of others.
But observing with the five physical senses and analyzing with the intellect are not the same as feeling. Gemini can perceive how an emotion or feeling affects someone's (or his own) behavior or appearance; but can he know the feeling itself without feeling it? To believe so is one of the Moon's Illusions when the Moon is in Gemini. People with this placement may be great at observing and analyzing and talking about feelings; but when this is all done through the physical senses and the intellect, they can be insensitive to how it really feels to the other person, or be out of touch with their own real feelings. They may think or talk about their feelings, but forget to actually feel them.
Another kind of feeling associated with the Moon is Intuition; and this is quite different from observation and intellectual analysis! To rely on the Gemini kind of perception in situations where there is not enough evidence to let it see the truth, when using Intuition would be the appropriate way to know the truth; that would be falling for another Illusion - believing that perception must be the only way to know the truth about something.
Since the other two Air Signs, Libra and Aquarius also tend to use the strategy of intellectual analysis, when a person's Moon is in these Signs, they may fall for the same Illusion and keep thinking and talking about feelings instead of feeling their feelings, or being sensitive to how others feel.
A positive use of the Gemini strategy of perception in fulfilling the Moon's function of feeling could be to notice your own feelings and choose to allow yourself to really feel them when you do; or to observe how others may be feeling; or pay attention to how your actions may be affecting other people's feelings.
©1999 June 2 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Illusions
On Wednesday night I was doing horoscopes at a corporate function in the Horizons restaurant at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto, which is the world's tallest free-standing structure. I was seated next to a window overlooking Lake Ontario, about a third of a mile up in the sky, and at one point I noticed that the view had changed from clear to completely foggy, as if the whole structure had been engulfed in a thick fog. That's what I thought, until a few minutes later the fog suddenly lifted. I looked down towards the ground, which I could now see clearly again, but noticed wisps of clouds passing beneath me. Talk about illusions - I had literally been in a cloud, while perceiving it as a fog.
You see, perception is always clouded by our prejudices and past experiences. What we observe is interpreted in terms of what we are familiar with, as when I interpreted my viewing of a fog-like substance as the kind of ground-hugging fog I am familiar with. But I was not on the ground when I observed this phenomenon, so my perception of it as a fog was a mistake, a misperception. Since I am not often sitting high in the air where clouds could be, it did not occur to me to interpret what I observed as a cloud. But it looked like fog, and I was familiar with fog; so I perceived it as fog.
How often do we see a stranger, and perceive that person in terms of something similar with which we are familiar - even when we really have no logical reason to do so? Just because something in their appearance or actions seems to remind us of something we have seen in the past, it does not necessarily mean the unfamiliar person really is like some person from the past, or would do something similar to what someone else did in the past. To assume that, would be perceiving with prejudice - bringing a bias to the way we perceive the stranger, and judging that person or his actions unfairly.
When someone has Mercury in Gemini, as I do, they tend to try to understand what they observe by looking for things that are similar to something familiar. This strategy of connecting can work very well - unless one falls for the illusion that something is the same just because it seems similar.
If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck... it might be a goose with a nasal condition.
©1999 June 3 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: The Gemini Connection
Yesterday I mentioned how people with Mercury in Gemini tend to try to understand what they observe by looking for things that are similar to something familiar. This strategy of connecting things is typical of the Sign of Gemini; so people born at this time of year, when the Sun is in Gemini also tend to connect things.
If you look at the symbol (or glyph) for Gemini, it looks like two roman numerals, "I", connected together to make a "II". If you think symbolically and imagine how things could be connected, you can understand some of the typical traits of Gemini.
One of these traits is their penchant for plays on words, such as puns and innuendoes, which are both based on double meanings. To get the double meaning, you have to be able to connect the two different meanings to the same word or phrase; so the Gemini type of person is a natural at this kind of thing.
Another kind of connecting Geminis are known for is their love of "match-making", where they always seem to know someone who would be a perfect match as a date or mate, or candidate for an available job. They love to connect people they perceive as similiar in qualities or interests, and are actually very good at perceiving similarities other people might miss. Perception is another strong point of the Sign of Gemini.
Gemini types are often excellent salespersons or merchants or traders, not just because they are good communicators, but also because they love to connect a product with a potential purchaser, or bring buyers and sellers together. Again, their keen power of perception helps them spot similarities between wants and what would fill them, or between features and benefits.
So we have seen how Gemini is good at connecting concepts, people, and products. What else could they connect? Well, an obvious connection could be the one you are using right now to read this column - connecting through the Internet! Gemini types have a talent for writing, and a love of reading, so the Internet is a perfect way for Geminis to connect with other people and their ideas.
And, of course, you've heard about all those Internet romances and all the match-making services on the Net? Geminis and the Internet just go together like a bird and a feather.
©1999 June 4 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Singing the Blues
I bought a guitar magazine on Friday which contains the full musical notations and lyrics for eight popular songs, and was pleased to find it included an old favorite of mine called Stormy Monday Blues, a.k.a. Call it Stormy Monday. I really love the chord progressions in this old blues favorite which I first heard as a teenager, but I am having second thoughts about singing the lyrics.
As you regular readers might remember, I have often mentioned how I believe that what we think is what we create for ourselves in our own reality. What we think and then say is even more likely to create or attract the very thing we are quite literally asking for. So I am wondering if I really want to sing the words which basically say that Monday is stormy, Tuesday's just as bad, Wednesday's worse, and Thursday's oh so sad! Is this going to help make this come true for me in some way? I wonder...
I seem to really like the sound of The Blues as a musical style, which is kind of an odd choice for someone who is basically a positive optimist. Maybe it's just the sound of the music I like, for I get kind of bored with whining and the repetition of the same sentences I just heard before.
It is said that The Blues evolved as a sort of salve for the soul, to help people who were downtrodden or facing hard times bear their burdens by sharing their feelings with their brothers and sisters in similar situations. I suppose it's a kind of compassion, or a way to empathize; and in that respect it is probably a help in healing. But then I wonder if singing the blues is also a way to stay stuck in the sad situation one is reinforcing with words which say you believe the situation is sad or bad?
It seems to be focusing on the very thing you don't want, instead of the thing you do want.
Oh well, I guess I will just have to learn the Stormy Monday song and see how I feel when I sing the lyrics, and how it affects my personal reality. Maybe I can use the music and write my own lyrics - words which describe a reality I want to be true, but not blue.
©1999 June 7 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: What's Your Sign?
Early Monday morning I wrote here about a song titled Call It Stormy Monday, and then on Monday afternoon here in Toronto we had a brief but violent thunderstorm, with lightning making the lights flicker and great cracks of thunder shaking the windows. You really do have to be careful what you think about, don't you? ;-)
A letter I got today made me think it is time to mention something about Sun Signs and the kind of "horoscopes" you read in newspapers and on this web page. To people who have not actually read a book about real Astrology, they tend to give the impression that there is this mysterious thing called "my zodiac sign" which somehow indicates what you are like, and what is going to "happen" to you each day.
First, let me tell you that your birth horoscope, which is often called your "chart" and which is really just a kind of map or picture of the heavens as viewed from your place of birth at the exact time of your birth, indicates the positions of the Sun, Moon and eight Planets. All of these could be in different Signs.
Signs are just sectors of the sky, as viewed from Earth; and they were originally named after the constellations of stars which were used as convenient reference points for ancient people to mark the movement of the Sun and Moon and Planets (called "wandering stars" because they didn't know the difference then) across a narrow band of the sky called the Zodiac. Many of us today may not realize that when we are looking at a bright "star" in the night sky it might really be a planet which only looks bright when it reflects the Sun's light.
Your so-called "Sign" is really the sector of the sky the Sun appeared to be in at the time of your birth; and since it appears to move through all of the twelve Signs over the course of what we call "a year", then everyone born in a given one-month period will have the Sun in the same Sign. That's what makes it so convenient to use a calendar to figure out what Sign the Sun was in for a given month and day of birth.
What you may not realize is that real Astrology takes the Sun and Moon and all eight Planets into consideration, not just the Sun; so you don't really have "a Sign", you actually may have up to ten different ones! You are a unique and complex person, and Astrology takes that into account because no two birth horoscopes are identical, even for people born on the same day in the same year.
In fact, because the Sun and Moon and Planets are always moving in relation to each other (relative to the Earth), there have never been two times throughout all recorded history when they were all in exactly the same relative positions. There are actually more possible unique "birth horoscopes" than all the people ever born on Earth!
For more about Signs and Planets, please see my Astrology FAQ pages here at STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine.
©1999 June 8 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Living Backwards
Maybe it's an idiosyncracy of those who have Mercury in Gemini in their birth horoscope, but I sometimes find myself looking at words to see what they would spell out if you read the letters in reverse order. When a word spells the same thing in either direction, like deed, I think it's called a palindrome.
But once in a while you find a word that means something quite the opposite when spelled backwards, and I don't know if there is an official name for this. One of the most interesting ones, in my opinion, is the following, which I hope will give you something to think about.
LIVE spelled backwards is EVIL.
In other words, EVIL is the result when you LIVE backwards. If one's philosophy of life is to seek happiness (or contentment or joy or love), and to make choices which would lead to those things; then to make choices which would not lead to them would be living in a way which is "backwards" compared to the pursuit of happiness.
This, to me, is the essence of Evil. I have come to believe that Evil is not a real thing, but kind of a no-thing that is a lack of a real thing - like dark is a lack of light.
Evil is a lack of Love. And all the things which men do that we call evil are the result of choosing to turn away from Love, to act in unloving ways. I speak here of "capital-L" Love, the "spiritual" kind of love, which includes the love humans share for each other, but also things like compassion and good will, and most of all, the kind of unconditional love where we love someone without expecting anything in return. Love seeks only to give, not to take. Love appreciates, and does not judge. Love is creative, not destructive. Love leads to happiness, lack of Love to unhappiness.
I find it interesting that by rearranging the letters of EVIL, you get the word VEIL, which is something that hides or conceals, like an illusion conceals the truth. Perhaps EVIL is what results from a mistake made by believing in an illusion that what one is choosing will lead to happiness; when the truth is that it will only lead to unhappiness. I find it even more interesting that the word SIN comes from a term used in archery, which means to miss the mark - in other words, a mistake.
©1999 June 9 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Violence
Something in the local news today concerning a new Spike Lee movie about the Son of Sam serial murders reminded me of something I noticed while watching the film Terminator 2 (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton). I have never been interested in seeing people being maimed or murdered; yet I have watched many movies and television shows which contain killing and senseless violence. I didn't choose to watch the the Terminator films because I enjoy seeing senseless violence, but because I enjoy seeing Linda Hamilton, and because I am interested in science fiction and android robots, and like to see the good guys win.
I enjoyed the film (the motorcycle chase was a bonus); but when it was nearing the end, I realized it had been a never-ending series of violent acts by both hero and villian, even the heroine. Then the most astounding thing happened.
I watched the surviving Terminator, an android killing machine, perform one of the greatest acts of Love I have ever seen in a film. He (it?) chose to end his own existence to save the world from self-destruction, and then lowered himself into a vat of molten metal to destroy the microchip in his brain which could be used to bring about mass death and destruction.
What a paradox this was! One of the most violent movies I have ever seen, ends with one of the most loving acts I have ever seen in a film. And it was an android, a non-human, which performed this great self-sacrificing act of love. Maybe many other viewers would not see the paradox, or would not be so impressed with it; but for my part, I was struck by the fact that amidst all the evil-doing this film depicted, an act of love shone like a diamond in a dung-heap.
Did I see this act of love because I am more "tuned in" to love than to senseless violence? Did it stand out so vividly to me because I was not watching the film to enjoy seeing people being hurt and things being blown up? Would someone who enjoyed seeing killings and crashes and shoot'em-ups miss seeing what a loving act the android did, or see it only as a self-destruct subroutine in a computer brain?
This is one of the personal experiences which made me wonder if there really is truth in the concept that you can only see what you believe - in other words, what you see "out there" must be "in here", or you simply wouldn't notice it. And this brings up another puzzling question:Does watching violence in video games and movies make you violent; or is it a violence within you that makes you want to watch?
©1999 June 10 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Believing Is Perceiving
Yesterday morning I wrote here about the concept that you can only see what you believe. Then, later in the day, as I watched the television news about the peace resolution regarding Kosovo, and heard the comments from the Serb dictator and various other people on both sides of the conflict; it was pretty obvious how they all "saw" the same situation in their own individual ways, through their own personal prejudices.
Milosevic and his supporters see NATO as "aggressors" and fail to see their own "aggression" against defenseless ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo. They claim a "victory" even while their own country lays in ruins and their troops have been forced to withdraw from Kosovo. Milosevic claims the conflict has shown that his country's troops are "invincible" - perhaps because they managed to murder defenseless male citizens of their own country and march their wives and children at gunpoint out of their homes and towns; or perhaps because they managed to hide themselves and their tanks from NATO air force bombs, or force civilians to accompany their military convoys so the NATO fighter planes would not shoot at them.
On the NATO side, President Clinton and his allies claim a victory in their "humanitarian" campaign to protect the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and stop Milosevic's "ethnic cleansing", even though hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians were driven from their country and thousands were murdered by Serb troops and so-called Serbian "police" forces in spite of all the NATO bombing.
Everyone, including myself, is "seeing" the situation in ways which agree with what they want to believe. How can we do otherwise? Well, perhaps we could try to perceive the whole truth of things, instead of selectively seeing only the parts which we want to see. Perhaps we could try not to judge others for their mistakes, while refusing to see our own mistakes. Perhaps we could question our own beliefs, and see that some are based on illusions.
Perhaps we could realize that we do not like to look at our own shortcomings or errors, and tend to "project" them onto others and blame them, so we do not have to make ourselves "guilty". Perhaps we could not judge ourselves and make ourselves guilty for making mistakes; but simply say, "I am a good person, who made a mistake". And perhaps we could say that same thing about others when we believe they are making a mistake too.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
I don't think this means that someone else will judge us if we judge others; but means that when we judge others, we are also judging ourselves, and that when we try to make others guilty, we make ourselves feel guilty. It's a vicious circle, and it all starts with wanting to see only what supports what we want to believe. We want to believe that we are innocent, and we believe that we can be innocent by making someone else guilty.
Wouldn't it be a cosmic joke on us all if we found out that we were innocent all along, and only thought we were "guilty" - and that nobody needed to be "punished" for making a mistake?
I like to think that whatever God we choose to believe in would be at least as loving and forgiving as a human parent would be with his or her own child. Does a loving parent punish a child for making a mistake? Maybe God doesn't want to punish us for our mistakes, only to help us correct them? Maybe we should stop trying to punish each other for the mistakes we make; but try instead to help each other see that they are mistakes, why they are mistakes, and how to choose correctly the next time.
©1999 June 11 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Choice and Consequences
On Monday's news I heard a report about a boy who died after jumping off a local bridge into a river where swimming was restricted because of the danger. The news reported that someone said, "He had no choice. For the boys to cool off, they would have to go several blocks to a community swimming pool." Doesn't this strike you as an odd thing to say? He had no choice?
We always have a choice.
Even if it is to choose not to choose (and live "by default"), we always have a choice. And everything that "happens" in our personal reality is the consequence of the choices we have made. (Consequence means with a sequence, one thing following another.)
The boy died because he chose to risk taking a swim in a place he knew was considered dangerous. He had a choice of walking several blocks to a safe swimming pool, or jumping into a river that was closer. Perhaps he chose to get a thrill from jumping off a bridge into the water, or maybe he just chose the most convenient place to cool off on a hot day. It was an unfortunate choice, but it was his own choice that created the circumstances that led to his own death.
When we see people - or ourselves - as victims of circumstances beyond control, that really means we don't believe we have the ability to make our own choices, or that we don't want to accept responsibility for our own choices. It seems easier to put the blame on someone or something outside ourselves, than to acknowledge that the consequences were caused by our own choices.
Even when something seems to hit us out of the blue, we still had a choice about being there or not being there, or doing or not doing the thing which put us in a position for something to "happen" to us.
It seems harsh to say that "there are no victims", but I am coming to believe that this is true. When bad things happen, we really need to ask ourselves what we did to contribute to the occurrence, to take responsibility for the consequences of our choices.
We don't need to judge ourselves or feel guilty; only to see that we may have made a misjudgment - a mistake - and learn why we would want to choose differently the next time. That way, we are not victims, but people empowered to make choices - and to learn how to make better choices that lead to happiness instead of unhappiness.
©1999 June 15 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Love Your Enemy?
Now that the Serbs are moving out of Kosovo and the Albanian Kosovars are moving back in, I wonder what will develop next? Will the ethnic Albanians seek revenge on any Serb civilians who remain in their neighborhood?
We have been seeing the Kosovars as innocent victims driven from their homes by armed thugs. We are now seeing happy faces and hearing enthusiastic cheers, as the dispossessed Kosovars are allowed to return to their towns and villages and resume the life they left months ago. But we also see a few incidents of spiteful spitting on retreating Serbs, and a scene of a Serb home burned in spite. Then an interview with a young Kosovar Liberation Army soldier who says he will never give up his gun. Will the watching world continue to see innocent victims, or will the victims let their hate for their oppressors turn them into aggressors?
The old feud between Serbs and Albanians continues. What has changed, other than that now the Serb civilians are fleeing in fear instead of the ethnic Albanians? What has Milosevic accomplished in his campaign of "ethnic cleansing"? It looks like he has only cleansed Kosovo of the Serb minority, not of the ethnic Albanian people. His refusal to allow foreign forces to enter Kosovo to keep the peace has only resulted in his country being ravaged by war and all of Kosovo being occupied by foreign troops. And while his war with NATO brought the Serb population behind him to face a common enemy; now that his war has been lost, will his countrymen turn against him for bringing needless ruin to the country without accomplishing the things they thought were worth fighting for?
"War - what is it good for? Absolutely nothing."
But what else can you do when someone else decides to wage war, whether you want to or not? That's something I can't answer, no matter how much I would like to believe that "love your enemy" might magically make war unnecessary.
©1999 June 16 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Follow Your Fun
I saw a report on CNN about Southwest Airlines, a carrier in the USA which specializes in a no-frills, low-fares kind of service. What is unusual about Southwest Airlines is that the CEO requires his employees "to have fun". This sounds like a strange strategy in an industry which is generally run like a paramilitary organization; but apparently it is working out well for the new airline. Employees say they love working there, and the stock analysts say Southwest is a good investment.
I'm really glad to hear this, since my philosophy has been along the lines of "Do what you love and the money will follow". Why shouldn't the employees have "fun" working at what they do? If you don't love what you are working at, why not work at something else you would love to do? I found that when I worked at something I loved doing, I did it better, worked harder, and made more money doing it. Anytime I heard a successful celebrity or businessman talk about their career, they would mention how they loved what they did and how the money they made was secondary to the enjoyment they got from doing what they did for a living.
Most of us spend up to half our waking hours working for a living. Why shouldn't we enjoy our lives to the fullest, and enjoy that other half of our weekday life as much as we enjoy our hours of leisure? What brings the joy for us is an individual preference and comes in many forms; but it's my belief that to live without joy is less than living - it is merely surviving.
When I first read a book by mythologist Joseph Campbell and discovered his advice to "follow your bliss", it really made me stop and think. What is my bliss, my joy, that thing which makes my life enjoyable?
I don't know if it is that old Protestant Ethic that makes us feel guilty if we seek to enjoy ourselves too much; but I do know that something keeps me from putting more effort into finding joy. Something keeps me from even thinking about it too much. This seems such a perverse paradox to me.
If I had to say what "the purpose of Life" was in just one sentence, I think I would have to say: "to have fun". That may sound like a self-absorbed sixties Hippy-Dippy philosophy, but I don't think it means anything different than "follow your bliss" or "the pursuit of happiness", and joy can be found in selfless service to others or in working on worthwhile projects. So, if "fun" or "joy" is so important, why don't I give more thought to what kinds of things actually bring me joy, and why don't I put more time and effort into doing more of those things?
I'm working on it. I want this year to include more joy, or at least more enjoyment. I'm choosing to do more of the things I really enjoy, and doing less of things I don't enjoy. And I believe, like the CEO of Southwest Airlines, that you can do this and still have a successful business or career.
In fact, I think that if you don't, you are probably working at the wrong thing and won't really be "successful". It may look like success, but it won't feel like success, when there is no fun to be found in it.
©1999 June 17 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Hate - An Antidote to Happiness
I was sitting in my favorite local outdoor cafe, watching the people walk by on a Friday night, when I saw a teenage girl dressed in "Goth" style, with a long black skirt and a black "Marilyn Manson" sweatshirt. On the back, like a walking billboard proclaiming a philosophy as black as the shirt, were the words:
This is your
world in which
we grow and
we will grow
to hate you.
I guess Marilyn Manson, and those young people who think he/she is worth listening to, have not yet learned the hard way about hate. In my lifetime I have not really had much personal experience with hate since that unexplainable and unwarranted hatred of a certain red-headed girl in grade four (it must have been a karmic thing). But I have been a keen observer of Life for a long time, looking for ways to live a life which would produce the most pleasure and the least pain; and have seen the fate of those who hate. My inescapable conclusions about hate, which I have come to accept as Facts of Life, are these:
Hate hurts, but never heals.
Hate hurts only the one who hates.
Hate limits one's natural ability to love and be loved.
Hate is the very worst choice for those who want to be happy.
Another thing I have come to believe, which never occurred to me for most of my life, is that hate for another is usually the result of a hate for something in oneself. When we see in someone else something that reminds us of something we don't like about ourselves, it presents a convenient opportunity to "project" our guilt onto them, our guilt for having this thing for which we have blamed ourselves. Better to blame them than to have to blame ourselves, right? If we can make them guilty for this thing, it might make us less guilty, or at least let us stop feeling our own guilt while we are busy blaming them, and hating them for it.
Hate is not the opposite of Love, but a lack of Love.
I believe we all want to love and be loved. We were born as innocent babies, and babies do not hate until they have learned that not everyone will love them the way they want to be loved. When you first discover that you are being denied the love and attention you were used to receiving, that is when the blaming begins. You blame them for not giving the love you expect, or blame yourself for doing something wrong, or being something wrong, that made them not want to love you.
The insidious thing about the blame game is that blaming them will make you feel guilty for doing the blaming, so it is always a game you can never win, whether you blame yourself or blame others. Blaming will not make you less unhappy when you cannot have what you want.
Hate is an antidote to happiness.
Hate doesn't just happen; you have to judge someone guilty of something before you have a reason to hate them, don't you? Even if they aren't really guilty, you still have to blame them or you won't be able to hate them. If they look like someone who hurt you somehow, or they do something that reminds you of something someone did that hurt you, or they actually do something that hurts you; you have to judge them and convict them before you can punish them by hating them. It's a choice you make, a choice which will not ever lead to happiness, because it just puts you back into that no-win blame game. You will waste a lot of energy keeping up the hating, and it will not even "punish" them - only limit the energy you have to invest in creating your own happiness.
Choosing to hate is choosing to punish yourself. It's like shooting yourself in the foot because somebody stepped on it by mistake.
©1999 June 19 by Michael Star
On Father's Day
Father, you will always beIn loving memory of the best Dad a boy could have.
Within my heart and memory.
I love you now and loved you then,
Though words were unsaid, being men.
I loved the man you were to me,
And hope that I will always be
The kind of man you showed me how
To be, as I remember now.
I learned by your example to
Be honest, fair, and kind like you.
I always knew you would be there;
I'm grateful for your loving care.
Respect for you came easily;
Your virtues were so plain to see.
I wish I'd told you what I knew...
I wanted to be just like you.
No greater compliment could come
From one who's proud to be your son.
©1999 June 20 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Summer, Surf Songs & The Moody Musical Genius
June 28 is the longest day of 1999 - in terms of hours of daylight compared to hours of dark night - and the official start of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also the day when astrologers say the Sun enters the Sign of Cancer, the fourth Sign of the zodiac, whose symbol is The Crab.
As I sit here, stuck for the next sentence to write, I am constantly being distracted by the television which is showing a fascinating "A&E Biography" featuring Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys pop singing group. As I see a photo of one of their albums, called Endless Summer, I see that synchronicity strikes again!
Nothing makes me think of Summer more than to hear one of those classic "surfing songs" by The Beach Boys. And moody musical genius Brian Wilson reminds me of the moodiness associated with the Sign of Cancer, which happens to be a Water Sign, and whose animal symbol, The Crab, is often found on the beach at the boundary of surf and sand.
There is a type of crab known as the Hermit Crab which has no natural shell to protect its soft parts, so it finds an empty snail shell to back into, hiding its vulnerable parts in a safe place. Brian Wilson was a reclusive songwriter, sort of a hermit, who once spent nearly three years in his bedroom, and who wrote a hit song called In My Room which was about having a safe place to stay when feeling vulnerable. The Sign of Cancer traits include a love of staying home, a need to feel safe and secure, and hiding behind an emotional "shell" that protects highly sensitive feelings from being hurt - or at least from appearing hurt when they really are.
Cancer is one of the most emotional Signs, but is also a Cardinal Sign which has qualities of leadership and is an initiator of things. Brian Wilson was the driving force behind The Beach Boys, and the undisputed leader in the recording studio because of his immense talent; yet he would also make an escape at unpredictable times when his mood changed and he could not cope emotionally.
Cancer is also known as a strongly family-oriented and patriotic Sign. Brian Wilson formed a band which included his two brothers and a cousin; and one of his songs was Be True to Your School, a patriotic homage to school spirit and home-team loyalty. In the early 1960s, when groups like The Beatles were leading a "British Invasion" into the American music scene, The Beach Boys were a patriotic symbol for America's nationalistic desire to keep home-grown music on top of the pop charts.
Cancer is a nurturing Sign, and Cancerians are extremely fond of children and especially babies. I learned from the Biography show about Brian Wilson that he was fascinated by the pop song Be My Baby, and sometimes played it up to one hundred times a day!
In a way, Brian Wilson could serve as a modern symbol for the Sign of Cancer. Yet as I write this, I do not know his birth date, or whether his Sun Sign is Cancer at all. Ironically, this California-born leader of The Beach Boys, the creator of the consummate "surfer sound", was afraid of the water!
©1999 June 28 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Greed - An Antidote to Abundance
Greed... is it good for you?
Several things came into my little world in the last 24 hours which made me think about greed and what makes people choose greed over generosity. I saw a show on CNN with a panel of guests, one of whom was Michael What's-his-name, the ex-auto-worker from Michigan who takes a camera into corporate headquarters and tries to confront executives about social issues concerning their company's behavior. He mentioned how Bill Gates is now worth $90 billion, and that means he has more money than 100 million of the poorest Americans combined. He considers this "obscene" that one person should have so much money. There was some discussion by the panel about whether the government should force fabulously wealthy people to share more of their wealth by giving more to charity, or by taxing them more heavily. Is it greed that drives some people to keep amassing more wealth even when they already have more than they could ever need?
Then I noticed in my email a new version of that old "chain-letter" scam that has gone around the Internet for years - the one that says to send $5 to each of five people on the list and then remove the top name and place yours at the bottom, and within a matter of weeks you will receive up to $55,000 in the mail if you send out enough spam letters to other people on the Net (and appeal to their greed). This time it claims that a TV show investigated the scam and found it perfectly legal, but fails to provide the name of the show or any way to verify this false claim. Is it greed that makes people get suckered into "get-rich-quick" scams like this?
Then, after dinner tonight, I ran into an old friend who had come from a seminar on "offshore investments", which he said was basically a "pyramid scheme" in which you made more money by bringing others into the scheme than you did by actually "investing" in foreign tax-free havens like Belize. Is it greed which makes people think they can get rich by participating in what is really just a glorified "chain-letter" scheme?
So greed seemed to be the topic of the day for me, which is why I chose to write about it here. I learned something about greed a few years ago which had never occurred to me before.
Greed is based on a belief in lack, instead of a belief in abundance.
If you doubt that abundance is a reality in this world, then look at someone like Bill Gates who has accumulated an abundance of wealth beyond anyone's imagination. I suspect he believes in abundance; and in his little world there is abundance instead of lack. You see, it doesn't matter if you think the world cannot provide enough for everyone (though it probably can); what matters is if you believe it can provide enough for you.
When you believe in lack, then the logical extension of that is to think there will never be enough to go around and you had better grab what you can before someone else gets your share. The less you think there is to go around, the more motivated you will be to grab even more, out of fear that you may suffer from not having enough. You may even fear it to the point that you start grabbing what might be considered other people's share, and that's when you start being accused of greediness.
I have come to believe that whenever we make choices out of fear, we will find the results unsatisfying. So if greed is based on a fear, it should therefore turn out to be unsatisfying for the one who acts greedy. I can think of examples where this came to pass; but I can also think of cases where the greedy seem to be enjoying the goodies they have grubbed and grabbed for. Is this a paradox?
I think that perhaps the determining factor is whether you are acting out of the fear that comes from a belief in lack, or the faith that comes from a belief in abundance. If a man accumulates great wealth and is happy with his life, then perhaps that is a sign that he has believed in abundance. If he is not happy with all his wealth, or he ends up losing it, or he loses his friends and family from focusing too much on making money; then perhaps that is a sign that he believed in lack and was driven by fear, not faith.
I find that by seeing things this way, I can admire those who accumulate great wealth and seem happy with the life it creates, and not feel envious or accuse them of greed. Of course, being able to see things this way implies that you also believe that people are responsible for their own lives, which means that if they lack the things they want or need then it is because they chose the consequences of believing in lack.
It seems difficult to reconcile this belief with the altruistic ideals that say we should share with our fellow humans and help them out of their state of poverty somehow. But if you accumulate wealth and choose to act altruistically, you will do more good than if you let a belief in lack keep you from having enough to share with others. Even if you choose not to give away your money, you can give away your knowledge of how a belief in abundance could help them out of their condition of poverty or neediness.
But if you truly believe in abundance, you can give away much of your wealth and be secure in the faith that you will always have enough. Perhaps that is what proves your faith, and perhaps those who give away their wealth end up having more and being happier with what they have - or at least being happy with what they have left. Philanthropists are admired, while the greedy and self-serving rich are envied or despised.
Whether they are philanthropists or misers, we can choose to see them as examples of how abundance is possible, and could be possible for us too. I think those who accumulate their wealth with greed will punish themselves by being unhappy with their wealth. We do not have to judge them or condemn them - their own choices will create the appropriate consequences for them. Wealth can be a curse, or a blessing. Look at all the unhappy rich people. Some are so unhappy, they end up killing themselves.
What matters is what we choose for ourselves.
Will we let the wealthy inspire us to believe wealth can be true for us too? Or will we waste our potential by putting our energy into putting down the people who are proving to us that abundance is a real possibility in our own personal realities?
©1999 June 23 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: More Than a Sun Sign
We've probably all heard that line, "What's your Sign?" - and maybe the clever comeback, "Exit!" Many people have some sense of the concept that certain Signs have a certain set of traits or qualities, but less are aware that this is not all there is to Astrology. It is generally understood by astrologers that when someone speaks of their "Sign", this refers to the Sign the Sun was in at birth, or the "Sun Sign" - as in that million-seller book by Linda Goodman called Sun Signs. This book only deals with the twelve Sun Signs, but it was sufficiently fascinating for me to get interested in Astrology after being a skeptic for quite some time.
This use of Sun Signs seems to make Astrology look rather simplistic to the skeptics, and it really is a simplistic way to look at a complex subject like Astrology and the human psyche. It is an over-generalization to talk only of Sun Signs, and not be aware that there is also a Moon in the sky, and eight other Planets besides the one we live on. Real Astrology looks at ALL these heavenly bodies, and several other things besides the Sun.
When you want to keep things simple - and make some generalized assumptions to describe a person's character, personality, and personal style or "image" - it's useful to consider, in the same respective order, the Sun Sign, the Moon Sign, and the Rising Sign (also called the Ascendant Sign).
If someone has the Sun AND either the Moon or Ascendant in the same Sign, they call him or her a "double" Aries or "double" Taurus, or whatever. This indicates that they are likely to exhibit the traits associated with that Sign even more than people with just ONE of the Sun, Moon or Ascendant in that Sign.
If you were born at the time of a New Moon (i.e. on a very dark night), you will have Sun and Moon in the same Sign.
If you were born right at sunrise, or sometimes within about two hours before or after sunrise (depending on the day and year), you will have the Sun and Ascendant in the same Sign. You will be much easier to spot by your "Sign", because the Ascendant Sign indicates HOW YOU APPEAR TO OTHERS on the surface. It is far easier to spot the Ascendant traits in a stranger, than his Sun Sign traits. When both are in the SAME Sign, it gets even easier.
Finding what Sign the Ascendant was in at birth is not as simple as checking a simple table to look up the Sign the Sun was in on that date. The Ascendant is a function of the rotation of the Earth, and is determined by the exact TIME of birth. The Ascendant point moves through a Sign in about two hours; so you have to have a pretty good idea of your time of birth to know your true Ascendant Sign. And if you want to know the exact degree of your Ascendant, you need the exact time of birth, within a minute or so.
Some people, like me, have three or more Planets in the same Sign. Even if their Sun is in a different Sign, they may appear in some ways to be more like that Sign than their Sun Sign. Deep down, they ARE like their Sun Sign (which symbolizes Self-identity, Ego, Will, Purpose, basic Nature). But with that "stellium" (which means a "grouping" of three or more planets) in another Sign, they appear to be a blend of the Sun Sign AND the Sign of the stellium.
For example, in my birth horoscope I have the Sun in Taurus - but few people, even astrologers, guess that I am "a Taurus" on first meeting. I have the Ascendant in Gemini (talkative, curious, clever, perceptive, youthful) and a stellium of three Planets in Leo (creative, self-expressive, seeking attention & respect), which confuses the issue a bit. Neither set of traits describes the typical Sun in Taurus type. My basic nature, or character, is indeed that of a Taurean - but you don't always show your character at a cocktail party! So you cannot always generalize from the Sun Sign alone.
In my experience, it is the Ascendant and Moon which are more obvious when you meet someone for the first time. I like to call the Ascendant Sign your "style", and your Moon Sign your "personality". The "first impression" people get when meeting you usually corresponds to the traits of your Ascendant Sign. They see your "style". You'll get "pegged" by that Sign whether you want to or not; but you probably do want to "be seen" that way, even if you are not really like that deep down.
So I am a Sun in Taurus type of person who likes to be seen as having the style or "image" of a Gemini type. As if you couldn't tell by now, if you read all the words I write! Gemini is the most talkative of all the Signs, and loves to communicate and share information.
So what is the Ascendant Sign "act" that you put on? If you find that people who have just met you for the first time often seem to see you as having certain qualities, you will have some very good clues to help you guess what your Ascendant Sign must be. If you "act like" a certain Sun Sign on a more superficial level, or like "to be seen" as having traits of a certain Sun Sign, it's likely that Sign is actually your Ascendant Sign.
So... "What're your Signs?"
©1999 June 26 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings: Creativity
The other day, I met a waitress who wants to be a writer. Something we were talking about reminded me of a little "parable" I thought up a while ago, so I thought I would write it down here.
A talented young artist who lived in a loft had created many oil paintings, and though he had sold some at very good prices, he had many of his creations still sitting in the loft. One day while he was away, a fire started in the space below and spread to his loft and destroyed all his wonderful paintings.
He felt devastated when he returned and saw all his paintings were reduced to rubble. He felt his life was ruined, now that all his wonderful work was wasted. For weeks he was discouraged and depressed, feeling all was lost.
Then one day he happened to meet an old friend, another talented artist of some reknown, and told him his tragic tale. To his surprise, the other artist broke out into a big belly laugh! How could he laugh at his great loss?"What have you lost?" the artist asked him.
"Everything! All the paintings I created, and all the time I spent painting them!" he replied.
"What haven't you lost?", the artist asked him then.
"But I lost everything!" he wailed.
"No, you have only lost what you had already created," the artist said solemnly. "You lost your creations; but you are the creator. Have you lost your ability to create?"
He was stunned. He pondered on this for a moment, and eventually he realized the truth. Yes, he was the creator of his paintings, and he could create more paintings. It was his ability to create which was important, not his past creations. What he could create now was more important than what he had created in the past. He could even recreate any of the paintings he wished to have again.
So he brightened up and saw his life in a new way, and felt grateful that he still had his talent and his creativity. He could look forward to the pleasure and satisfaction of creating new paintings, and knew he would find it even more fulfilling to finish a new painting than to look at his old paintings. Now that he had lost what he had done before, and still could do more, he would not feel so attached to his creations that he hated to let them go when somebody offered to buy them. He could always create newer and better ones, and could concentrate on moving forward instead of looking backward.
And, as his life unfolded into the future, he found himself painting more and enjoying it more; and was selling more of his paintings and feeling gratified that they would go someplace where more people could enjoy what he had created. He was able to let go of his creations without feeling a loss, and to enjoy the anticipation of creating another painting tomorrow.
Through what seemed like a loss, he found that he had been given a gift that was much greater than what he thought he had lost. And that gift was his creativity, and his desire to keep creating and sharing his gift with the world.
I advised the aspiring writer to write all she could, and to perhaps put up a web site where she could publish her writings for the world to see. I mentioned how many times I had heard of novels being written that were never published and no one ever read; and asked her if she thought it better to hoard one's writings and have no one read them, or to give them away and know that they are being read and enjoyed by those who chose to read them.
I didn't tell her my little parable, because there was little time to talk; but I reminded her that if she gave away some of her early works, she could always create new ones. And I said that perhaps by being willing to give it away for nothing, she might gain something she might not otherwise gain - the possibility that someone would see her work and like it enough to offer her a commission to write some new material, or even offer to pay for the right to reproduce her previous work in a different medium.
She seemed to think that might be a good idea, now that she looked at it in this way.
©1999 June 30 by Michael Star
Michael's Musings on...
Intimacy | Fear | Seeking Success | Sabotaging Success | Guilt | Giving | Greed | Hate | Choices & Consequences | Immunity | Love Without Fear | Following Your Fun | Truth | Evil | Forgiveness | Pride |
These "Michael's Musings" essays are copyrighted ©1999 by Michael Star and STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine. They may be retrieved and stored for personal use only, but not published in any form without the express permission of the author and publisher. All rights reserved. Permission may be granted to re-publish certain portions of this page. Email Michael Star at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hyper links to this page are invited at the URL: http://www.astrologyzine.com/michaels-musings-20170601.shtmlPage-TOP
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