For years, I have been collecting rocks.
My mother and my sister who do astrological charts say it’s because I am severely lacking in earth elements. I used to always keep rocks in my pockets, to touch them, polish them with the oils from my fingers.
The beaches are covered in pebbles where I grew up, glacial pebbles, scraped clean and traveled through a river of ice to come down to be lapped and soothed by the tides. I used to stack them, or gather a bunch of white ones and make a spiral, or fill my pockets full when I went home for a visit.
Then, I started collecting them from places I visited. Central Park the first time I visited New York. the south coast of England where my dad’s girlfriend lives. Paris, Edinborough, Chicago, Ocean Shores in Oregon, New Orleans, the Jersey Shore, Japan, Arches National Monument in Utah.
And when friends went places, they started bringing me rocks back, too. Greece, El Salvador, India. if someone asked me what I wanted from somewhere, I would say, pebbles. beach rocks. Interesting rocks that show the land of a place.
Can you see where this is going?
I have a massive rock collection.
And now, I’m finding that my collections are shifting. Where I used to collect pins, matchbooks, key chains, I am now collecting sex toys, cufflinks, ties. I’ve always collected books; that continues. But my tastes are evolving. My grounding is evolving. I want and need different things surrounding me than I used to. I finally know what Things are useful in my life, because I’ve finally found a path, and I no longer wonder if perhaps one day I’ll get back to being a great jewelry maker, or greeting card crafter, or guitar player.
And after moving the rock collection across the country, and never really doing anything with it, just leaving it in a box after all these (five and a half) years, I’m thinking it’s time for them to leave my care and possession.
The problem is, I’m not sure what to do with them.
I used 180 of them for the keynote ritual in the Butch Voices NYC regional conference. I wondered, when I volunteered to use my collection, if I would have enough. 180 is a lot, right? But it barely made a dent in my collection. I had no idea how many rocks there were in that box, where I’ve finally consolidated all of them.
I could take them to a beach, or a forest, and leave them there, but that seems … unfitting. Plus, most of the beaches and forests around here are not so full of beach rocks or pebbles, and it’d end up being an odd pile of rocks that clearly don’t belong. I could scatter them, I suppose.
I could donate them to a yoga studio or meditation studio or preschool.
They might be useful in a garden, especially the nice ones. But I don’t have a garden. I do know of some gardens around here, but I don’t know who runs them or how to get in touch with them. But I keep thinking they should go back to the earth, somehow.
What do you think? What can I do with this rock collection? Something creative, not too difficult, useful?
I’m not one of those people who is obsessed with astrology, though I’ll admit that I’ve had waves of getting really into charts and types and analysis from books. I know I’m an Aries with a Cancer moon and Taurus rising (though I don’t know that off the top of my head, I had to look that up to find my rising sign), I know I have four major planets in the 12th house, and I have a copy of my psychological horoscope which I go back and re-read sometimes.
So when I say I’m a bit skeptical of astrology, know too that I see it as a useful tool. I am a fan of pretty much any method, any system, any mailing list, that can be a tool for a better understanding of myself, people I care about, and the world around me. I think chart reading is slightly different than the weekly horoscope newsletters, too; the charts tell you much more about an individual than just grouping all people together by sign and having one little drop of wisdom for the week apply to all the Cancers or all the Geminis.
But I take them much like I would take a fortune or advice from a friend or a random story on the Internet: if it resonates, and applies to me, great. If not, disregard it.
Much like Savage Love, Free Will Astrology by Rob Brezny is also syndicated in alt-weekly newspapers across the country, and with good reason: it’s smart, psychologically complicated, and often incredibly relevant. I’ve only recently resubscribed to his weekly newsletter, and I have been looking forward to receiving his forecast for the week and meditating on it.
This week’s was particularly interesting, which is what sparked the inspiration to write about him in this mentor series:
Free Will Astrology, July 29th 2010. ARIES (March 21-April 19): Success coach Tom Ferry says our ability to pursue our dreams can be damaged by four addictions: 1. an addiction to what other people think of us; 2. an addiction to creating melodrama in a misguided quest for excitement; 3. an addiction to believing we’re imprisoned by what happened in the past; 4. an addiction to negative thoughts that fill us with anxiety. The good news, Aries, is that in the coming weeks you will find it easier than usual to free yourself from addictions 1, 3, and 4. On the other hand, you may be extra susceptible to addiction 2. So take action to make sure you don’t fall victim to it! What can you do to avoid distracting adventures and trivial brouhahas?
That list of four things that can damage our ability to pursue our dreams is something I’m going to have to write in my journal and make into an image to print out and hang over my desk or something, because that really explains a lot. I can say I am particularly susceptible to 1 and 3, though I have had my share of melodrama and anxiety, certainly.
But see what I mean about tools? This weekly horoscope just gave me a little bit of a structure in which to contemplate my own addictions, behavior, and tendencies, and that’s what I love about it. I really should pick up his book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. I’ve been on the library waiting list for quite a while, but his writing is so good, maybe it’s just worth owning.
Certainly Brezny is not the only weekly horoscope writer. Michelle Tea was writing for the San Francisco Bay Guardian for a while, now it’s done by Jessica Lanyadoo. Oddly enough, Town and Country magazine also had an amazing horoscope for 2009 that I still often think of, but they don’t seem to have updated one for 2010. Do you have any other favorite horoscope writers to recommend?
well, new to me. not by me, but by Rob Brezsny, who writes and sends out Free Will Astrology weekly. I always love my horoscopes through him.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Have you added some bulk and stability to your foundation any time recently, Aries? Have you grown your roots deeper and asked for more from your traditional sources and recommitted yourself to your primal vows? I hope so, because this is a perfect time, astrologically speaking, to strengthen your link to everything that sustains you. You have a sacred duty to push harder for access to the stuff that builds your emotional intelligence and fuels your long-range plans.
in his newsletter this week he included an excerpt from his book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, which I still haven’t read or picked up yet, but would like to eventually. the excerpt, below, is an example of an “I believe” poem, a list of deeply-held beliefs or commands for one to live by, like whitman’s preface to leaves of grass.
I like this one. I like this format, too. inspires me to write another one myself.
Change yourself in the way you want everyone else to change
Love your enemies in case your friends turn out to be jerks
Avoid thinking about winning the lottery while making love
Brainwash yourself before someone nasty beats you to it
Confess big secrets to people who aren’t very interested
Write a love letter to your evil twin during a lunar eclipse
Fool the tricky red beasts guarding the Wheels of Time
Locate the master codex and add erudite graffiti to it
Dream up wilder, wetter, more interesting problems
Change your name every day for a thousand days
Exaggerate your flaws till they turn into virtues
Kill the apocalypse and annihilate Armageddon
Brag about what you can’t do and don’t have
Get a vanity license plate that reads KZMYAZ
Bow down to the greatest mystery you know
Make fun of people who make fun of people
See how far you can spit a mouthful of beer
Pick blackberries naked in the pouring rain
Scare yourself with how beautiful you are
Simulate global warming into your pants
Stage a slow-motion water balloon fight
Pretend your wounds are exotic tattoos
Sing anarchist lullabies to lesbian trees
Plunge butcher knives into accordions
Commit a crime that breaks no laws
Sip the tears of someone you love
Build a plush orphanage in Minsk
Feel sorry for a devious lawyer
Rebel against your horoscope
Give yourself another chance
Write your autohagiography
Play games with no rules
Teach animals to dance
Trick your nightmares
Relax and go deeper
Dream like stones
Mock your fears
Drink the sun
I saw a girl on the subway this morning so beautiful that I have considered writing a Missed Connections ad on Craigslist:
Red bag, paper cup of coffee, black tank-top, silver necklace, boots with two rows of big buttons marching up the front. Tossing your slightly feathered hair, talking to your friend, then when she got off, you pulled out your compact and began applying face powder, lipgloss. It was such an intimate act, and something about it felt so familiar, like I could see you at your mirror in the morning, getting ready for the day, me pulling my tie through the knot, slipping on my jacket, sipping coffee, pretending to read the paper, legs crossed, at the kitchen table, when really I’m watching you in the reflection of the mirror in the hallway while you’re in the bathroom. And, though perhaps I don’t want to admit it, I felt a little crackle in my chest when I watched you.
Probably it was just my being half-asleep on my commute that gave more meaning to this girl than I would otherwise attach. But this is not the first time this has happened to me lately – I see sudden, recognizable familiarity in a femme and think, maybe that’s her.
I’ve been sleeping awfully this week. Every night, I’m having restless dreams, vivid and sometimes lucid, often full of imagery and messages.
Tuesday night, I dreamt I was stuck in my family’s crypt, a small mosoleum of some sort, which was above ground, walls covered in stained-glass colored mosaic windows. I couldn’t leave this crypt, though there seemed to be some sorts of tours going on, with people in small groups of twos and threes coming in and out. Some of my family was there, my maternal grandmother and her mother, I specifically remember – and things somehow began to turn horrific, and the crypt tourists were zombies, or dripping blood, or other horrible things. I had some sort of perch in a corner, somehow removed, they couldn’t see me, but I was terrified.
I woke myself up at this point, and lulled myself back to sleep only to re-enter right into the same dream, the same crypt. This time, my mother was there, talking to me through the gated door, saying that it was my responsibility, my job, to stay there, that I inhereted this, that it was passed down through generations and all culminated in me.
I awoke feeling that I had remembered something, rather than dreamed something.
Two personal asides: in my astrological chart, I have many planets – Venus, Mars, and Mercury – in the 12th house, and also in the sign of Pisces, which is the 12th house’s natural ruler. The 12th house is often spoken of as the unconscious, and also baggage. In fact, it’s specifically related to family in many ways:
The 12th house may also likely have connections with “family life issues” or “gifts” that our parents (and perhaps our parents’ parents) were given… but they refused or were emotionally unable to give expression to and/or resolve these “family life issues” during their own lifetime. And now it’s been left up to the child (you) to experience and resolve these energies for the parents. (source)
Second aside: I am the fourth generation of first-born daughters. My mother, her mother, and her mother were all the eldest child in their families, and there’s actually a word for that (which I can’t remember or find) and some sort of significance of, again, inheritance.
I spoke with a friend the other day about this, and she said, “The thing is, you don’t have to “inherit” it. You can politely decline the ancestral karmic stuff. It’s not your baggage. You can honor it and honor your ancestors, but it doesn’t have to define your life now. You don’t have to live in a tomb of their making.”
Right. If only I could remember that lesson – and, clearly, it is a big one for me. I don’t have to take on everything from everyone, I don’t have to save the world.
I do, however, have to save myself.
Thanks for all the lovely comments on those last few posts; I have plenty to say about this crush, this long-distance romance, the desires of courtship, of getting to know someone.
But! Amidst the ridiculous sappy love shit, I have a new erotica story I am particularly excited about, and that’ll be up later today. It’s called The Houseboy’s Rebellion and it is, of course, written for Miss DD. Custom smut is so much fun.
I also want to make a few announcements.
Welcome my lovely friend Ariel? Ariel!; she’s posting brilliant rhetoric on things like radical love, where she asks: what do you owe the person you fuck? What to do with the friends with whom you have ambiguous boundaries or desires? Among other things:
I believe in lightning bolt love. I really do. Right down to the soles of my feet. I talk about polyamory and nonmonogamy but really if I found someone who lightning bolted my heart to the sky I wonder if these would become theoretical discussions.
… Oh I just love her turns of phrase. More over at Ariel? Ariel!
You may’ve noticed the facelift on Miss Avarice‘s lovely blog recently, I’ve meant to mention it, specifically the header image, which I designed. And I can indeed confirm that those are Miss A’s shoes – specifically, the shoes she braved New York City subways in when she visited me (ahem, I mean, this fine city) in October.
While I’m linking, I may as well mention that Miss DD made me a mix CD this week, complete with the cover image of my hands bound together in her leather wrist cuffs. (Yes, I sent her some of the photographs she took of me.)
The mix is really lovely (whole tracklist is posted over at her chronicles), and tells a story from the opening track “I’m Not in Love” (the Tori version, of course) to “Think I’m in Love” in the middle, to “This is Love” by PJ Harvey as the closing song. But? It also has “Come to Daddy,” “Nasty Little Thoughts,” “Smack my Bitch Up,” and “Crazy Bitch,” so clearly it is not all sappy ridiculousness.
Kinda like us. Go figure.
She wrote these things as her game-plan strategy, yesterday:
- let myself be excited about you while maintaining some realism
- enjoy the moment and not try to control or predict outcomes, but also not put any expectations on this (the “be present and mindful” strategy)
- date when i want to but not for distraction
- back off the emotional rollcoaster a bit and just focus on accepting this for what it is
And today, I keep coming back to that list, articulate and succinct, attempting to really feel it in my heart, not just know it in my head.
The Muse – my best friend here in New York, another femme spy, if you will, the one who keeps buying me amazingly fantastic ties, the latest being a hot-pink number that is flat at the end instead of pointed (is there a technical word for that style of tie? probably) – The Muse ran our composite charts, and we discovered that we are pretty much astrologically compatible:
… a feeling of “fatedness,” that this relationship is going to play an important role in your lives, even if it is not a long-term relationship. You will be exposed to the most basic and profound aspects of your own and your partner’s inner nature. Both of you will experience psychological changes through this relationship. In a sexual relationship, physical sex assumes an unusual importance. Sex is likely to be seen by both of you as an experience that transcends ordinary reality.
The composite Moon in the twelfth house requires the two of you to do a great deal of work that most couples are unwilling to do. … If you don’t seek out the truth, your relationship will give you the feeling that you have been defeated in life by forces you don’t understand.
In a love relationship, the expression of love will be quite intense, with a powerful quality that will transform both of you in some fundamental way. Your love will not be light and gay but something very serious that involves both of you at all levels of mind, body, and soul.
I wouldn’t necessarily let astrology make or break anything, but I think it’s an interesting tool to give articulacy to the feelings in a relationship, or one’s own sense of self. Strange how it can sometimes feel so spot-on.
She’ll be here next week (six days) for four days. And I’m sending out my own mix CD to her shortly – glad I got hers first, some of the songs actually overlapped.