Relationship Yin Yang
Do you have a heart?
I didn’t have one when you first met me, and you didn’t have one either when I first met you. We were complete strangers, remember? But we took a chance, put our personalities aside and saw each other’s point of view, got to know each other. We stood face to face, and that’s when you saw my heart and I saw yours too. We stepped into the seventh house as equals; first as friends, then as partners, and here we are now as open enemies. But your question tells me you don’t even consider me an enemy anymore. If you no longer see my heart, we’re back to being strangers. We’ve left the seventh house.
In the Car by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963
I’m sure this painting’s all about the seventh house. The seventh is across from your ascendant sign, or your solar or lunar sign if you identify more with one of them, and it’s how you relate with others, how you do relationship. I love it that it’s called the house of friends, partners, marriage and open enemies. Who else can become your worst enemy but the person who knows you best? I mean look at this couple. I’m sure they’ve been together for a long time, and now he’s asking her if she has a heart. He can’t see it anymore. He’s obviously hurt and she won’t even look at him; won’t even show him her heart to reassure him that she still has feelings for him. Too bad, cause they look like a perfect match; I mean physically, they look perfect for each other.
In the Car. Painting of a woman enjoying a painting by Roy Lichtenstein, by Gerard Boersma, 2018
Here’s a guy who really understood the seventh; equal interdependency, at least in his paintings. You step into another’s shoes and blend for a bit, then step back into your own shoes. You go back and forth between secondary and prime. Not like when I was with my ex and forgot my identity. Did she ever push me around. The only colour in the house was hers. It should be like when you watch a movie and identify with a character; you turn orange, purple and green for a couple of hours. Then when the movie’s over, you go back to prime. Or when I was pulled over for speeding this morning; I could really see the guy’s point of view; he told me all about his kids, how none of them wanted to go to school this morning, how he’d pretty much dragged them to the bus stop to catch the school bus so he could get to work on time and give me my speeding ticket. I turned purple and saw his heart briefly, took the damn ticket, and went back to prime. Yup, Piet Mondrian understood the seventh house.
Tic Tac Toe. Men Enjoying Paintings By Piet Mondriaan, by Gerard Boersma, 2019
He used to be so docile when he first moved in with me. I used to give him a list of things to do while I was at work, and he’d get them done by the time I got back. When I got him a part time job, I’d give him a list of things to do before and after work. I couldn’t stand seeing him sitting around. One day he tore the list I gave him and told me to stop being so controlling; to stop pushing him around. He said I didn’t blend with him at all. If red was my colour, it stayed red when I was with him. He was just a black line running through. It had to always be my way and my point of view. He asked me what kind of seventh house was that, and he left me before I could answer.
Vir Heroicus Sublimis. A painting of a woman enjoying a painting by Barnett Newman, by Gerard Boersma, 2018
The fifth house is the house of romance, love affairs, creativity and children. The seventh house is where we become one with another in an understanding. It is the house of partners, business partners and marriage partners. It is the house of contractual agreements and disagreements, and that’s what brings lawsuits and open enemies to the seventh house. Secret enemies belong elsewhere; they’re in the twelfth house, along with secret loves.
The Ring by Roy Lichtenstein, 1962
In my astrology class, everyone felt sorry for me when I said I had Capricorn in my seventh house. Capricorn’s all about duty and responsibility and maturity, and all that boring stuff, and they all wondered, Who’s this poor girl gonna marry?
Capricorn’s ruled by Saturn and Saturn’s a disciplinarian. In the seventh house, he teaches you from a young age to keep your promises. When I broke a promise to my best friend, she wouldn’t speak to me for days, and I agonized, punished by Saturn. I’m an adult now who doesn’t make a promise unless I can keep it. I don’t partner with anyone easily either. I approach any sort of partnership with caution; I check and recheck before I commit to anything, and I check and recheck before I sign my name on a paper.
The cautiousness of my seventh house doesn’t transfer to the other houses in my chart. In fact, I met the man I’m going to marry when I wasn’t being cautious at all about my driving, when I wasn’t checking my speedometer. Who knows how fast I was going, when I heard a siren and saw Saturn himself behind me. I don’t mean it literally; what I mean is that the police are ruled by Saturn. They punish you and keep you in line and have your back, and that’s what Saturn does.
I had no idea when this happened that the city wanted the police to get more involved with the community, to focus more on relationship building; which is really paradoxical if you think about it, because how do you punish people when you’ve shown them your heart? So I got pulled over, and when my future husband walked up to my window, I was surprised when he started telling me about his morning; how he’d spilt milk all over the floor and had to clean it up right away cause his dog’s allergic to milk; how the whole milk accident delayed him and he got stuck in traffic trying to get to work; how he luckily made it on time, and here he was, by my side and able to give me my speeding ticket. Gee, I said. Thanks.
I told him my dog’s allergic to milk as well; what medication was he giving his dog? We got to talking about medications and side effects, and I asked him if he’d let me go with a warning, and he said he would this time. We’re both half French and when we said good bye, we kissed each other on the cheeks, and when he came close, my fifth house lit up. I have Scorpio in my fifth house and it screamed to me that this man smelled right. I asked him out and we exchanged numbers, and after an intense romantic period where I checked and rechecked him, here we are now, about to get married and about to step into the seventh house.
So who’s this poor girl gonna marry?
Not Saturn himself, obviously, but a child of Saturn. Astrology class eat your heart out.
Katz by Katz. Painting of a woman enjoying self portrait by Alex Katz, by Gerard Boersma, 2018
When I told my astrology class that I’m a gallery owner and work with artists, they thought I was a Gemini and had Sagittarius in my seventh house, but it’s the other way around. I’m a Sag, and Gemini is in my seventh.
I don’t work with artists who make art for art’s sake. In fact, I’ve never met one. I only work with artists who paint to put food on the table. If they’re not selling, they’ll invite me to their studios because I have a gift that I give away for free. I can foretell what will sell, what the public wants to see, collect and trade. The artists who invite me over to see their paintings aren’t necessarily Geminis, but they do have strong Geminian qualities; they’re open to my critique and they’re mutable; they’ll change their style, subject matter and colours to please the market. Gemini, after all, is ruled by Mercury, and Mercury rules communications and commerce.
So you see, I foretell future trends. It’s the gift Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, has given me. If you have a gift bestowed by Jupiter, you’ve got to give it away for free. When I do, artists produce what sells, and we support each other.
My clientele at the gallery trusts that the works I display will be a good investment, and I make sure they are. I only partner with artists who have good technique, who are skilled in their craft, and who know how to make a statement. They are trendy, bold and visionary.
As for marriage, I’ve been married three times and each time to an artist. I have Aries in my fifth house and my passions run high. You saw me in the car with Brad, telling him that I needed a change, that I was attracted to somebody else; I had to be honest. He didn’t take it well. It was with me that he produced the masterpiece that brought him fame, and he fears his fame will dissipate without me. But I know it won’t; he’s talented, and if he lets me, I’ll continue to work with him as an artist. I just can’t be confined. In that sense, I’m true to the sign in my seventh house, true to Gemini and its multiplicity.
Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein, 1962
I have a lawn care company and my favourite season is fall. Raking leaves is such a simple task; you’re focused on your movement, your body. To see the leaves piling up; the smell of them, beautiful and melancholic. Then comes the feel of the yard bags going over your head, the feel of what was once wood surrounding you and you open them up with your arms up high. The satisfaction of filling those bags is like no other; picking up the leaves and feeling their texture and moisture as you drop them into the bags. I wish my relationships were as simple as that.
Instead I have Scorpio in my seventh and I attract women who won’t let me rest. I went out with a woman who wouldn’t let me chill during winter, the season when I recover from all my hard work. She went and got me a part time job shovelling snow; it was torture but I did it to keep her happy. She’d leave me lists of things to do; she had to keep me busy, busy and tied to her. That’s what it was; she needed to keep me tied to her, belonging to her.
She’s a plumber; best in the city. Her life’s about solving one crisis after another. Look around; I mean, turn 360 degrees and look around you. Everything you see dissolves in water. I should say, water dissolves everything you see. Drink a glass of water and drink everything you just saw; it all ends up in the water you’re about to drink.
She taught me that. Water’s her specialty; the water that lies beneath you, hidden underground. She’s there when it rises, to figure out what’s blocking its way down, what’s taking so long to dissolve; your tea leaves, your hair, your toothbrush. Water’s her specialty and she’s like water herself. She dissolved my colour, my primary colour; the only colour in our home was hers. I realized it when I was pulled over for speeding. The cop didn’t dissolve my colour; my blue blended with his red. I needed to see my blue again and I went around speeding and hoping to be pulled over.
When it finally happened, she walked up to my window, and before she could tell me all about her morning, I told her all about myself, the plumber I had left, and the primary colour I needed to recover. She asked me to step outside my vehicle and to stretch my arms out. I thought she was going to frisk me, but instead of frisking me, she hugged me. She said that I needed a hug today and she hugged me and together we weren’t purple, we were a deep indigo blue. She wasn’t red like the other cop, she was blue like me, and her blue didn’t swallow mine, it blended with mine and made a deeper blue, deeper than you’ve ever seen.
Of course I asked her out, what did you think, that I was going to miss out on this blessed opportunity? She looked at me for a bit and her critical eye illuminated my fifth house of Virgo. I knew I’d do whatever she asked of me. She said that she liked a spotless man, and I told her that I was on my way to the barber and then home to shower and put some clean clothes on. She said that she only rode in a spotless car, and I told her that after I was spotless, I was going to vacuum my car and take it for a car wash. She said that she wanted to be picked up at 6 o’clock sharp from the station, and I told her that I’d be there on the dot at 6 o’clock. She said that she wanted to go to swiss chalet, and I told her that’s exactly where we were going.
I told you I attract women who won’t let me rest.
We rose up slowly by Roy Lichtenstein, 1964
My paintings weren’t selling, and when she came into my studio, she looked around and said that she saw perfect lines and colours, a perfect balance between lines and colours, so perfect that all the lines and colours in my work disappeared into the background and allowed her to say there was nothing worth noting here. She said that I had created a body of work that was like wallpaper; it wouldn’t call anyone’s attention.
She walked over to my worktable and asked me to take a clean paintbrush, and she picked up two cans of paint and stood in front of an empty canvas. She asked me to choose a colour, holding the cans of paint toward me, and I couldn’t choose between yellow and red. They’re equal, I told her. They’re primaries and they’re equal, and without an image in my head, I can’t choose between them. She came up close to me, so close that our lips were just inches apart and she lit up my fifth house of Aquarius. Choose, she said. She was unusual, eccentric, exotic, rich and aloof; she was all the things that turned me on, and I understood what she wanted me to paint; she wanted me to paint the kind of work that would turn me on. I chose red, the colour of seduction, and made a stroke.
We made love right there on my studio floor and between our lovemaking, I painted bestsellers. She was a Sag, but when she entered my studio and my seventh house as a friend helping me out, she took on the qualities of Aries; she was instinctual, impulsive and decisive, the qualities I needed to succeed. She pinned me down and made me choose. We became partners and now we’re getting married. I’m replacing Brad.
Brushstrokes by Roy Lichtenstein, 1965
I learnt in my astrology class that Capricorn in your fifth house can delay romance in your life, and that was the case with me. I was timid and self-conscious growing up, and while everyone around me went to parties and had boyfriends, I stayed home and dreamt of romance and romantic encounters that never happened. With Brad I finally got a chance to experience all that I had dreamt of; not Brad the painter who’s about to split up with the gallery owner; he comes into my story later. I’m talking about Brad the lawn care company owner; that Brad. Whatever I had missed out on when I was younger, I recovered with Brad and his intense scorpionic sexuality. It made me grab on to him like I’ve never grabbed on to anyone before; his seventh house in Scorpio turned me into a controlling and possessive and suspicious fiend.
I myself have Pisces in the seventh, and he claims that my seventh dissolved his primary colour. I don’t know how that happened; maybe he’s colour blind. I’ve analyzed the whole relationship ad infinitum and to the point where none of the astrology makes sense anymore. The bottom line is that we weren’t compatible, not for the long run. Pisces in your seventh is supposed to bring you a partner who needs your mental skills, your organizational skills, your practicality, but also someone who helps you relax and go with the flow of life, and who reminds you to trust in god. Brad didn’t do any of that for me; he turned me into someone unrecognizable even to myself. The most humiliating part was that I had no idea he was so unhappy until the day he left me.
When he left, I wanted to die. Here I was, the person who’s always at her best in a crisis situation having a crisis of her own and wanting to die. I threw myself in the river. I’m a very good swimmer, so I had to really make myself relax and let the current take me. That’s when I heard someone ask me if I needed help, if there was someone they could call to help me. He was definitely not a plumber and not one who could handle a crisis very well. Whoever he was, he wasn’t a quick thinker. I mean, you don’t go around asking people if there’s someone you can call when they’re trying to drown themselves.
I told him to rescue me and I ended up rescuing him; he’s not a strong swimmer. You could actually say that we rescued each other. He too had been thinking of jumping into the river because his wife had just left him, but he jumped in because of me. Now I know that Pisces in your seventh can bring you the artistic type. This Brad’s a famous painter.
Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963
I’m so madly in love that I want to do something grand, something I’ve never done before to show her how much I love her. That’s why I’m heading to this famous art gallery; I’m going to buy a famous painting, something that will impress her.
I met her when she was speeding on the highway, which is something we have in common, we both like to speed. It’s one of the reasons I joined the police force, to drive fast in peace. Love is turning me into a poet; I’m beginning to rhyme words; how crazy is that!
She loves dogs and I love dogs; she wants kids and I love kids; really, we’re made for each other. She’s studying astrology and she tells me that I have Leo in my fifth house which makes me exuberant when I’m in love and that’s how I feel, exuberant.
I’m an initiator, she tells me, and look at me, on my way to an art gallery for the first time. Aries rules the head she says, and I have a strong head; and Aries is a cardinal fire sign she says, and that’s why my hair is thinning, which I don’t mind now that I know why it’s happening. I’m on fire. My head is my erogenous zone she tells me, and that’s true too, and she’s always caressing my head and my thinning hair and driving me wild. She says that when we get married and get more serious, she’ll have to make compromises for me because Libra’s in my seventh house. Aries is a leader and the people I partner with have to follow me or things don’t work out. She says I’m a diamond in the rough and she’s going to polish me up and help me shine throughout my life. She’s already taken on Libran qualities and she’s redecorating our place. To be honest, it looks a bit bland so I’m going to add my own finishing touch, something that will remind her of me.
Explosion II by Roy Lichtenstein, 1965
Aries invited me over to see his painting and the piece blew me away; it set the house alight. He was so pleased with my reaction, and I was pleased with my reaction as well because I’m not good at hiding my feelings. If I had not liked it, he would have seen it on my face and been disappointed. I said, the next time I fall in love, I’m buying one of those. That pretty much said it all.
We stood in front of the painting, and I told him about my weekend with my kids. I’d taken them fishing, and not far from us, a woman had thrown herself into the river fully clothed. Before I could find my phone to call 911, a man jumped in and tried to save her, but the woman ended up saving him instead. The funny thing about the whole incident was that before the man jumped in, he asked the woman if he could call someone to help her, and she said something like, I’d rather sink than have you call Brad, so why don’t you save me instead.
Weird, don’t you think? I asked Aries.
Sounds familiar, actually, he said. He’d seen a painting at the gallery of a drowning woman with a speech bubble that read, “I’d rather sink than call Brad” or something close to that. You’re kidding me, I said, and for some reason, I needed to go see the painting. I can’t stay, I told him. I needed to go to the gallery, the painting was calling me, and he gave me the address and I left.
I got to the gallery and asked where the painting was, and as I walked toward it, I saw a woman standing in front of it and I stood beside her. The woman began to tell me the story of the painting, and my fifth house of Sagittarius lit up. A good story always lights up my heart. She said Brad had come into the drowning girl’s life to fulfill a need she had, and that the drowning girl had come into Brad’s life to fulfill a need he had, and when they were both fulfilled, it was time to part. “But she can’t let go of him,” she said. “She’s in a crisis. She doesn’t know that every crisis has a silver lining. Let go of the Brad that’s become wrong for you, and the right Brad comes along.” I told her that I had witnessed the scene, and that in fact the right Brad had come along and thrown himself into the river to save her. The right Brad must have painted this over the weekend because it happened on Saturday when I was fishing with my kids.
You’re kidding me! No way! Amazing…
She said the woman was probably a Virgo having an eighth house crisis. Virgos have Aries in the eighth house and are very good at dealing with crises, but not always with their own, and not when it involves matters of the heart. The eighth house was probably going to be the next topic in her astrology class, she said. I told her that my best friend’s girlfriend was taking an astrology class; She’s a Cancer; do you know her? Of course, I do, she said. She’s my student.
You’re kidding me! No way! What a small world…
She asked me if I was a Leo, and I said, yes, how did she know? She said I lit up the room with my mane, and that’s when I fell head over heels in love. I asked her out and she said yes, and I bought the drowning girl to inaugurate the beginning of our relationship.
According to Cancer, my seventh house is Aquarius and I’m drawn to partners who are independent and who give me space and who don’t steal my light. The woman at the gallery didn’t steal my light; she acknowledged it.
Drowning Girl (A woman enjoying a painting by Roy Lichtenstein) by Gerard Boersma, 2017
When I wear my uniform, I forget my biology, as much as that is possible, and I try not to think about having left the kitchen lights on or whatever, as much as that is possible. I wear my uniform and become my profession; I’m there to keep the public safe. But we’ve been told to build relationships with the public, to show that we’re just as human as everybody else, which we are and we’ve always been, but we’ve kept it hidden in order to give speeding tickets with authority. Otherwise it would be like your neighbours telling you to mow your lawn; how dare your neighbours tell you to do anything at all; who do they think they are. But if your neighbours came to you wearing uniforms and guns, well. you’d mow your lawn right away. It’s psychologically complicated, but I hope you get my point.
So I’ve been attempting to balance both things, my humanness and my authority, and I’m not so sure that I can. There was this guy I stopped for speeding, and before I could tell him about my morning, how I’d left the kitchen lights on, and how much that was bothering me, he told me about the plumber he’d just left and how she’d obliterated his primary colour. First of all, let me say that his physical appearance lit up my fifth house. If I’d just been my uniform, my fifth house would have been under control, but with my humanness exposed, my fifth house kept telling me how attractive this man was. With Taurus in my fifth house, I’m attracted to earthy and sensual beauty and this man was of the earth; he even told me he was a gardener. When he said he needed to recover the colour he’d lost, I couldn’t help myself, I hugged him, and when he hugged me back, I felt safe in his arms.
When he asked me out, I got butterflies in my stomach, but I hid it by looking at him critically, and I sensed that he liked that. I told him in a teasing way that he needed to look respectable and to drive a respectable car if he wanted to go out with me, and he agreed to all my terms and conditions. During our meal at swiss chalet, I told him that I was taking an astrology class and that I had Cancer in my seventh house of marriage, and that I would only marry a man who was loyal to me and to this country, loyal and patriotic. He said he was a Taurus (which explained why my fifth house was practically on fire) and I told him he had Scorpio in his seventh house. He asked me what that meant, what did he need from a marriage partner if he had Scorpio in his seventh, and I told him that he needed devotion. So you’d have to be devoted to me, he said, and I said
The best thing about this whole community-relationship building the police force has embarked on is that I get to walk around the neighbourhoods and all my digestive problems have disappeared. Driving all day was messing up my stomach, and not just mine, everyone’s. If we went from parking in opposite directions so that our driver-side windows lined up to parking side by side, it was to allow a corridor of air between us, just in case. But things are better now.
The other day, the neighbourhood I was patrolling was so nice and quiet that I forgot I was in uniform. My mind saw me wandering and automatically switched to off-duty mode. I found myself taking a walk by the river, like I would when I’m off and the weather’s nice. A woman in the distance caught my attention. She was standing like you would when you’re trying to let go and let yourself drop into the water, but then I saw something that made me think I’d reach her in time; she dipped her sandaled foot to test the temperature. I started running, and the bulk I was carrying brought me back to uniform mode. She jumped in before I could grab her, and I called for help and sat by the shore and tried to get her to talk to me as she struggled not to swim. That’s when she told me she had dissolved her lover’s primary colour; she couldn’t stand seeing him idle and she used to give him lists of things to do. I asked her if her lover had a room of his own; every man needs a room of his own to be idle in, and she told me he chose to be idle on the main couch and in plain sight. I told her that in that case, he was asking her to dissolve him. A man approached us and asked if he could help in any way, if he could call someone to help the drowning woman, and the woman answered that she’d rather sink than have him call Brad. I’m a Brad too, the man told her, and he jumped in to save her before I could stop him.
They pulled each other out of the water by the time water rescue arrived, and when they were safe and covered in blankets, I went up to them to say goodbye. I told them that the whole episode had felt surreal to me; the whole time I felt like I was part of a story in a comic book; you know, like in an Archie comic. The man looked at me and I could see he’d just had a flash of inspiration. He told me that my words had inspired him; he was a painter and he knew exactly how he was going to paint this scene. I wished him luck and headed back to my vehicle. I was done walking around for the day.
I have Gemini in my fifth house and people often say that I have a way with words. I show my love with words and I offer you my heart with conversation. If I stop talking to you, you know I don’t love you anymore. Remember Cancer told you she broke a promise to her best friend and her best friend stopped talking to her for days? That was me. I show you that I’m upset with word withdrawal.
When I sat by the shore talking to the drowning woman, I could see my ex husband in the distance, fishing with my children, our children. He used to tell me that when we were dating, I wooed him with my words. He’s a Leo and I have Leo in my seventh house and our marriage should have been perfect and ideal, and that’s how it started but that’s not how it ended. Leos are regal and many become king in their profession; they need space to shine. My ex excels and shines in what he does, but so do I; we both needed attention and that led to ego clashes. Our primary colours stopped blending with each other; they just crashed against each other. But we’re good friends now. He’s the only one I’d line windows with when my tummy’s bad.
Yellow and Red Brushstrokes by Roy Lichtenstein, 1966
It was such a beautiful day that I thought I’d drive along the river before heading to the gallery. The gallery owner had called to ask if I had anything new; she said her walls looked empty since she’d sold my last painting, and I had promised to bring her my latest.
There were no cars on the road that time of day and I slowed down to enjoy the river view, the shimmering water, the seagulls. That’s when I saw Aquarius; she was walking up a pathway that led from the river to the road. There was something striking about her. I pulled over and pretended I was lost. I asked her for directions to the gallery and I watched her as she gave them to me. Her features weren’t perfect; she wasn’t a classic beauty; on the contrary, her features didn’t match, but together they made you want to look at her, they called your attention.
I asked her if I could give her a ride and she said that her vehicle wasn’t far. Then my painting caught her eye. She told me that a colleague of hers, Aries, had bought a painting very much like the one I had sitting in my back seat. The funny thing was that his girlfriend had been trying to create a more soothing atmosphere at home because he’s super excitable, and he went out and bought her a painting called Explosion II. I told her that the one in the back seat was called Explosion III, and she burst out laughing. She asked if I had bought it or painted it, and I told her that I had painted it; I’m an artist, I said, and she shook her head in wonder. She’d just met Brad the artist down by the river, and I told her that Brad the artist had been a student of mine. She looked at me and said things that lit up my fifth house in Pisces; she said that she was having one of those days that made her believe in god; it was a day that made her love life.
I told her that I really wasn’t lost; that I found her striking; that I wanted to paint her if she would let me. She kept shaking her head, not believing what I was saying. I asked her to at least come to the gallery; let me introduce you to the gallery owner; she’ll tell you more about me, reassure you that I’m a serious man. She finally agreed. She’d drop her vehicle off and meet me at the gallery.
The gallery owner showed her photographs of my work and told her that she owed her gallery’s success to me. I was already famous when she opened her gallery; I could show my work anywhere I wanted; the fact that I had chosen her gallery was an honour. The gallery owner convinced her to pose for me.
We got to know each other and fell deeply in love. She told me that she didn’t know Leo in her seventh would bring a celebrity into her life, and I told her that I didn’t know Taurus in my seventh would bring security into mine.
Head with Blue Shadow by Roy Lichtenstein, 1965
I was never very good in math, never really knew where I was heading. Whenever I’d get an inkling of where to go, life would take me somewhere else. Like when I thought I’d be a makeup artist and became a hairdresser instead. That’s how I met the gallery owner; I used to style her hair. She would tell me more or less what she wanted me to do, and when I’d finish, I’d hand her the mirror and she’d say that I had magic in my hands; I not only gave her the look she wanted, I added touches that enhanced her beauty. When she opened her art gallery, she invited me to the inauguration. I thought, what better gift to bring her than her own portrait, and I painted her from memory. When she saw the gift I brought her, she sent me to study with the painter of the Explosion series, and she changed my life.
I would come to her gallery to get her advice and her opinion on my art, and she always made herself available; she fulfilled my need for reassurance. Her attention lit up my fifth house in Cancer, but when she noticed that I loved her, she pushed me away; she was older and I was younger, no way. She didn’t know that Cancer’s ruled by the moon, and the moon feels what people need, and I knew she needed original works of art. I became an original artist, and I asked her for kisses in exchange for my paintings, and I lit up her fifth house in Aries.
When she married me, she entered my seventh house in Virgo and I matured as an artist. When I married her, I entered her seventh house in Gemini and I became well known. Then came the brushstroke artist who broke our marriage, and the river called me, and I met the drowning girl.
I painted the drowning girl from memory because after the river incident she wanted to be alone. I kept calling her, insisting that she pay attention to me, consider me, be the light of my fifth house. When I dropped the painting off at the gallery, I asked her to come and see it; I’d pick her up; I’d be in charge, and when I took charge, I lit up her fifth house in Capricorn. She needed commitment and I showed her commitment, and we’ve entered the seventh house.
Pisces is a romantic sign and when I’m with her in her seventh, we do romance. Virgo is a practical sign and when she’s with me in my seventh, we take care of practical matters. In between, I go to my studio and to my primary colour. My studio’s where I paint and where I dream; every man needs a room of his own.
Girl in Mirror by Roy Lichtenstein, 1964
I met my boyfriend when I was looking at a painting in the famous art gallery; that’s what the gallery’s actually called, The Famous Art Gallery. The owner obviously believes in the power of a name because her gallery has become the most famous of all.
When my soon-to-be boyfriend walked into the gallery and stood beside me, I could see by his expression that the painting I was looking at had called him there; he was moved by it. Here is a man who needs a story, I thought to myself, and I told him the story of the woman in the painting, and when I was about to end my story, he turned to me and gave it a happy ending. That’s when I knew he was a Leo. Leos need happy endings, and Geminis like me know that if you speak a happy ending to a story, your words come true. Words have power; I know, I’m a Gemini and I’m ruled by Mercury, the planet of words. Whisper something, anything, that walnuts are good for the brain, and see what happens. All the test result will confirm that walnuts are good for the brain. Now whisper the opposite, that walnuts are bad for the brain, and see what happens. All the test results will confirm that walnuts are bad for the brain.
In the painting, the woman was drowning because of the old Brad, and Leo said that the new Brad jumped in and rescued her. The moment he said this, I saw the woman of the painting walk into the gallery holding hands with the new Brad. I saw words come to life, and I knew that I wouldn’t let this Leo go. His words had as much power as mine.
I have Sagittarius in my seventh house of relationships, and Sagittarius is a open minded and friendly sign that enjoys people from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds. That’s why I enjoy relating with everyone; people are my hobby. When Leo told me he was a cop, he lit up my seventh house. I’d never met a cop before. He said that he also enjoyed the theatre and did some acting on the side, and he lit up my seventh house some more. I’d never met an actor. I mean, we’re all actors, who isn’t an actor, but to do it on stage is something else; it takes courage.
I told him that I was an astrologer, that I discovered people and helped people discover themselves through their birth chart. Like the drowning woman; if I had a chance to talk to her, I’d tell her that the old Brad had entered her life to teach her to go with the flow, to sit on the couch with him, cuddle with him. He ended up teaching her to go with the flow when he left her and she jumped into the water. Things would now flow easy with the new Brad.
When I spoke to him about astrology, I could see that he was interested in knowing more about it, and he invited me out for lunch. Leos have Aquarius in the seventh house, and Aquarius is a progressive sign, a new age sign. It’s the sign of new technology and it’s the sign of telepathy. When we enter the age of Aquarius, cops won’t need radios anymore; they’ll be able to communicate telepathically. We’re heading in that direction. Say it and it will come true.
Before we left the famous art gallery, he bought the painting that brought us together to mark the beginning of us. When he gave it to me, he lit up my fifth house. I have Libra in my fifth, and Libra is the sign of elegance. My heart sings when you gift me with fine art.
Brushstroke Nude by Roy Lichtenstein, 1993
I woke up this morning with the feeling that today would be different, something would happen today that was different, and I decided that today would be the perfect day for me to wear my new jacket. I grabbed it before leaving for work and drove to the intersection where they needed me to direct traffic. It was one of the city’s busiest intersections, and I stood in the middle of it and made all the cars wait until I put my new glowing bright yellow jacket on. Then I asked everyone if they could see me, and when everyone honked yes, I began directing traffic.
It always amazes me that with one hand signal you can get a hundred cars to go in one direction; change the hand signal, and a hundred cars go in a different directions; signal them to stop, and a hundred cars stop. I use my own hand signals because when I use the ones in the driver’s handbook, nobody understands them; they all look at me thinking, what does that mean. So I use hand signals that make more sense than the ones in the driver’s book, and they work.
I’ve got to be careful because I can get a power high directing traffic. Sometimes, I’ll have the cars that need to make a left turn wait, and while I’m making them wait, I’ll hear them tell me telepathically that it’s their turn now, but I’ll still make them wait, and I’ll hear them tell me again that they’ve waited long enough and to let them go, but I’ll make them wait a little longer, and right when they’re about to start honking in protest, I’ll make the left turn signal. It’s a power high, and I should be careful because the last thing I want is for the 84s to run me over. We call a person who’s lost their patience an 84, even though a person who’s 84 is usually pretty patient. They should change it to 48; 48s don’t have patience.
Anyways, there I was this rainy morning, glowing bright yellow and directing traffic, when I see a man running; he’s crossing the road and holding something tight, looks like a vase, but the sound of fire trucks takes my attention away from him. My intersection turns chaotic when cars ignore me to make way for the 11s. We call emergency workers the 11s. We’ve given ourselves the master angelic number because when you call 911, angels don’t fly down to rescue you; we do. We double up the number for fire fighters to distinguish them among ourselves; they’re the 11:11s because they’re the biggest, flashiest and loudest, and also because they’re the messiest; you should have seen my intersection when they went through it. I had to double up my signals to clean it up, and just when things went back to running smoothly, the 1:11s appeared; the 1:11s are the ambulances. They’re better; they’re smaller and they somehow manage to zigzag their way through, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled my hair and cried, Could someone please give me a break! And like a miracle, someone tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I was a free to go. A colleague appeared out of the blue to relieve me; a classic 11 move.
So I’m walking back to my vehicle, and I see the man running with the vase again, and I see him trip and fall on the road and my eighth house lights up. I stop traffic, help the man get up, pick up the broken vase, and get him and the broken vase to the sidewalk. I’m a Virgo and I have Aries in my eighth house; the eighth is how you handle a crisis and Aries is a sign of fast action. I look at the man and he’s on his knees praying, and I ask him if he’s thanking god, and he tells me that he’s praying for a miracle to restore the vase; it’s a relic, a precious antique. I tell him that’s not going to happen and that he should change his prayer. Ask god to help you find a good restorer, a master of Kintsugi.
I’m a Leo, and I’ve been told that when I’m going through a crisis, I need to have faith. I have Pisces in my eighth, and Pisces is a sign of faith, of letting go and letting god. But when the kitchen fire broke out, I couldn’t let go of my vase; I ran in, grabbed it and ran out. I’m a chef and I brought the vase to work this morning to show it off. The last thing I expected was a fire to break out. I ran with the vase as far away from the fire as I could, and while running, I remembered how much I enjoyed running, how much I had missed it, and I was determined to pick it up again. When I saw the fire trucks leave, I turned around and started running back to work, but I tripped and fell on the road and into oncoming traffic. I was sure no one could see me sprawled on the ground, sure my time had come, when a woman saved me. She saved me and my broken vase, and I prayed to god for a miracle; please fix my vase. God answered my prayer through the woman who saved me. She told me to find a master of Kintsugi.
I’m a master of Kintsugi. Now I am. I used to work as an onsite restorer of old architecture; I restored the ornamental details of churches and temples until the day I fell off a scaffolding. The fall was a life-transforming experience for me, and to survive it, to survive the recovery, I kept my mind and my hands busy mastering the technique of Kintsugi. I’m an Aquarius and Virgo’s in my eighth house. The eighth is how you overcome a crisis and Virgo’s about perfecting your skills; I overcame my fall by perfecting my knowledge of Kintsugi. Kintsugi means to repair with gold; the technique originated in Japan where broken pieces of china were glued together with a lacquer made to look like gold. When I hold a broken cup or a bowl or a vase, the first thing I do is to feel it’s history. The fall that broke it is also part of its history, and I show it to you with Kintsugi; I make the fall a beautiful part of the broken ware.
I’m an Aries and I have Scorpio in my eighth house. There’s a connection between my first house and my eighth because of the planet Mars; Mars is the ruler of Aries and the traditional ruler of Scorpio and it pulls both houses together. It’s like I was made to handle matters of the eighth house. The eighth house is many things; it’s the house of debt and inheritances, of other people’s money, hidden money, of the occult and of secrets, of sexual intimacy and deep transformation. It’s the house of crises, small ones and big ones, from a broken vase to a fall that turns your life around. I’m a 1:11 and I handle medical emergencies; I handle them with the decisiveness of Aries and with the emotional strength of Scorpio. When the restorer fell from the scaffolding, I made sure she stayed with me, responded to me. Stay with me, I kept telling her; you’re going to be okay.
When the restorer was able to leave the hospital, I came to her house every day to do her physio and to help her with self care. She would tell me that my presence had the power to lift her spirits and that I had the energy of a healer, and I think I know why. I have Sagittarius in my eighth house; I’m a Taurus and Sag is in my eighth house of how you experience trauma and how you heal from it. Sag is an optimistic sign, it is the orange sign par excellence, and it believes in the goodness of life. In my opinion, your belief in everything. Sag is ruled by Jupiter and Jupiter could have been our second sun; his mass and gravity protect the earth from getting hit by space debris. He is our good luck planet. Not everyone is born with Jupiter in his own sign of Sagittarius, and I’m one of the lucky ones. If you were born with a planet in their own sign, the qualities of that sign are your strength, and you’re here to master the house that the sign is in. In my case, Jupiter shines his light through my eighth house in Sag and I’m mastering the art of healing.
So I’m an 11:11 and my team and I we’re putting out a fire this morning in a commercial kitchen when the chef approaches me. I tell him he needs to leave the building but he says he’s left his vase right there on the counter and if he can run in to retrieve it. I tell him it’s my job to save lives, not vases, but he tells me he can see it and there aren’t any flames near it. He’s right; I mean, I do a quick survey and I know he’d be fine running in to get it. You see, I’m a Scorpio and I have Gemini in my eighth house of dealing with emergencies. To begin with, the eighth house is a scorpionic house; it’s the house of death and rebirth, and no matter what sign you have in there, the underlying energy is the energy of Scorpio, and Scorpio happens to be who I am. I’m the guy you want in any emergency; when I assess a situation, I combine the instincts of a Scorpio and the quicksilver mind of a Gemini and I can tell you whether it’s safe or not. I knew the chef would be okay running in to get his vase, but I wanted to know what motivated him. So I ask him what’s so special about the vase; he’s going to have to tell me before I let him jump over the hose to get it, and this is what he tells me. He says his beloved dog died and his dog was an Akita, a Japanese breed. He bought the vase, a Japanese antique, to keep his dog’s ashes. Okay, I tell him; run in and get it.
I’m an 11:11 too, and I was with Scorpio when he let the chef get his vase. He got the team into trouble for it. We went from dealing with a kitchen fire to dealing with an emergency that involved authority figures, and I was asked to handle it. I’m not surprised; I’m a Gemini, and I have Capricorn in my eighth house. Capricorn in the eighth brings me emergencies having to deal with people who go by the book, who want answers and forms filled, and who don’t have fire feelers. I had to put down in words what kind of fire we were dealing with, how it was behaving, and why we allowed someone to run in and get a vase. I couldn’t even begin to describe the alchemy of a 1st house Scorpio – 8th house Gemini combination that allowed it to happen. Running in to get the vase took seconds, but describing the context of that action took me hours to compose. Anyways, I made a mistake in my description that put the pressure off us; we were just told never to allow anyone to retrieve a vase again. My mistake was in thinking that the vase was an urn containing the ashes of an Akita.
Now, I’m aware that this story’s about Kintsugi and this is what I have to say about that. No way you could repair the kitchen we put out with Kintsugi; it had to be replaced.
I was on the scaffolding when my friend fell and I lived with a terrible sense of guilt when she was in hospital. I found that I couldn’t thank the gods for keeping me safe because that meant they hadn’t kept her safe, so I focused on praying for her recovery. I’m a Pisces and I have Libra in my eighth house; Libra’s about one on one relationships, and my transformations in life have come through my close friendships. My friend is the one who encouraged me to become a restorer like herself, and after she fell, I couldn’t make myself climb up a scaffolding. I concentrated on any restoration I could do on the ground level, and this led me to Kintsugi.
When my friend was back at home, I came to see her every day after work and I introduced her to this art. We healed each other from her fall through the qualities of Libra; through friendship and through beauty. We began with small broken pieces; we made the lacquer, got the right consistency, applied it, let it dry, abraded along the rifts. While I was at work, she perfected her technique. She began to restore broken ware from her home and then opened her own workshop. Her reputation grew through word of mouth and she became known as a master of Kintsugi. As her healing progressed, I was able to work from a scaffolding again.
When I get home after work, I take my new jacket off,
I rest the bag holding the broken pieces of my vase on the kitchen table,
make myself a cup of tea,
and I google Kintsugi.
There’s a master restorer not too far away.
I call her and make an appointment to bring my vase.
I call her and make an appointment to meet her.
I was a taxi driver and she didn’t drive. When she was doing restoration work at the church, she hired me to drive her home every day after work. I’d arrive early to the church to watch her; I found what she and her team were doing fascinating. We became friends. One day, I came to pick her up as usual and I saw her fall. She’s the one who broke, but I felt my spirit break when I witnessed her fall. I tried to see her at the hospital, but they weren’t allowing visitors yet, so I left the city and went to the woods. I needed a quiet place to think and sort things out.
I’m a Libra and I have Taurus in the eighth house of crisis and overcoming difficulties; my first house and my eighth are both ruled by Venus. In her purest form, Venus is love, and when there’s a crisis, she drives me to do loving things, to transform my life with an act of love.
I woke up one morning knowing what I was going to do.
When I was allowed to see her at the hospital, she told me that she would probably not walk again. I told her that I’d still pick her up whenever she needed a ride. I was a para driver now, and she could count on me to take her wherever she needed to go. When she was well enough to return home, I picked her up from the hospital. Now I drive her every day to her workshop and back. She’s always on my route; it’s a matter of heart.
I’m a Sagittarius and I have Cancer in my eighth house. Cancer is the sign of family, a group of people you have an emotional connection with; it is ruled by the moon, symbol of the mother. With Cancer in the eighth, most of my transformations have been triggered by crises at home and at work; I consider the people I work with my family. My transformations are more like illuminations; they help me understand the world I live in better.
When I read the report concerning the 11:11 team that allowed the retrieval of a vase, I knew that we could turn this into a major crisis if we looked at it from the point of view of civilization. Civilization is about controlling human instincts, our survival tool. Control your instincts, says civilization, and go by the rule book. The 11:11s broke a rule. But if we looked at the vase incident from the point of view of the moon, of trusting our intuition, then there was no crisis here. If we cannot trust our intuition, and in this case, the intuition of an 11:11, then we deny our connection to the gods, to the planets and the luminaries.
I told the person who brought me the report to tell the 11:11s not to allow people to retrieve vases anymore, and after that, to shred the report. My intuition told me that the vase played an important part in a story. I suddenly remembered seeing a man sprinting with a vase while I waited in my car to make a left turn. The traffic lights were out and the officer directing traffic was taking forever to give us the left turn signal.
I’m a journalist and I found out about the vase incident. I tracked down the man who owns the vase, the chef who works in the kitchen that caught fire. The fire was controlled right away and the kitchen was back in operation, so I went to have a meal there. The chef told me he had bought the antique vase to keep the ashes of his dog, but he broke the vase and was taking it to be repaired by a master of Kintsugi. I had no idea what that meant, and he told me the history of the art of gold repair. It originated in Japan, and the underlying philosophy of the art is the acceptance of life and its imperfections; embracing the falls that we have in life and how they transform us; patching our lives with threads of gold.
It attracted me; this whole Kintsugi idea had my attention. Listening to the chef brought back a memory. Growing up, I was hard working and praised for it, and I didn’t doubt that I’d attend the university of my choice. But it didn’t happen; I wasn’t accepted to the university I longed to go, and it humbled me. It didn’t crush me; it humbled me. I kept my pride, my thread of gold, and I went to the university that was second on my list and became the trusted journalist that I am. I would say that’s what it means to have Leo in the eighth house. I’m a Capricorn and Leo’s in my eighth. Leo is ruled by the sun, father in the sky, and in astrology, the sun is our ego. Having Leo in the eighth brings me personal crises that keep my ego in check; but Leo is a proud king, and the sign reminds us to keep our pride despite our falls; nobody’s perfect.
I realized that I had a choice of how I would write this story. It could be a story of accusation; how could an 11:11 allow the chef to save his vase when the kitchen was on fire; or it could be something else, and my intuition told me to make something else of this story. I asked the chef if I could accompany him to his appointment with the master of Kintsugi and he said, of course; it was the following day.
We arrived to the workshop at the same time the restorer did. Her para driver took her up to the door, and when she opened it and turned the alarm off, he settled her in and left. The chef introduced himself to her and presented me as a journalist curious about the art of Kintsugi. She welcomed us and we took seats around her worktable. She looked at the broken pieces of the chef’s vase and said that she enjoyed the puzzle of fitting broken pieces together; she did it tenderly, figuring out where each piece belonged. She said that all restoration gave back dignity, and Kintsugi restored one more thing, a thread of pride. I asked her if I could stay and watch her work, take pictures, write a story, and she agreed. The chef had to go and just as he pushed his chair back, an acquaintance of his, an 11, walked in. They were surprised to see each other and spoke animatedly, and the restorer joined in asking questions. A kitchen fire had brought the 11 and the chef together and led them here to her workshop. This was going to be a fabulous story.
I started from the beginning, with the restorer’s fall; the 1:11s who rescued her; the nurse who cared for her; the taxi driver turned para driver as an act of love; her best friend who introduced her to the art of Kintsugi, and above all, her resilience. I continued with the kitchen fire; the 11:11s who allowed the chef to rescue his vase; the authority figure who trusted the 11:11s decision; the chef falling into oncoming traffic and breaking his vase; the 11 who rescued the chef and told him to find a master of Kintsugi. I ended the story with a picture of the chef putting the ashes of his Akita into the Kintsugi vase, and I called it, Running with my vase to meet the Master of Kintsugi.
I wake up in the morning, put a sweater on; it’s cold. I start the coffee, get the newspaper, and when I sit down to read it, I say a silent prayer; please god, no phone calls.
It’s been a traumatic week. Three sink holes appeared in the city and I drove into one. It was so unexpected, so quick; there I was driving and listening to the radio, and the next thing I know, my car hits bottom. That’s Aquarius in the eighth house for you; a sudden and unexpected turn of events. It took me a while to process what had happened, and when I did, I hoped that another car wouldn’t fall on top of mine. I called 911; I’m in a sink hole, I said. While I waited to be rescued, I was surprised to see how spacious it is down there. Maybe having an underground train isn’t such a bad idea; plenty of room for one. People have been asking for an underground and I happen to be the Mayor.
News travels fast in my city because I heard that I was in a sink hole on the radio. Then I heard a voice coming from above; Sir, it said, we’ve secured the area and we’re waiting for the rescue team. I looked up and saw the Royal 11s. I asked how come the Royals were in charge, and they said they were already in the area, faster to reach me than anyone else; didn’t want another car toppling over mine. Boy oh boy, I thought to myself; I love my city; we’re all on the same page.
So here I am this morning, praying for no phone calls, no sudden and unexpected crisis that will turn my Saturday around, when an article in the newspaper catches my eye, Running with my vase to meet the Master of Kintsugi. What the hell is that? I read on and my eyes well up. I’m a first house Cancer and I’m an emotional man. I reach for my phone and call my staff. I want everyone in my office at city hall in half an hour.
When I walk into my office and see everyone, I realize that an eighth house Aquarius can also create sudden and unexpected turns for other people. My staff looks frightened, and I can hear them thinking, What happened now? I show them the Kintsugi article and I ask them to find all the people mentioned in it. We’re going to hold a ceremony and award them with the Order of Our City.
I was touched by the gods and I became a miner; I was part of the group that went to the holy city of Embrun to the see the Oracle at the Temple of Op-Pollo. My name’s Warren of Eye. The group reunites once a year to remember the pilgrimage; we sit on the rocky terrain around the footprint and take turns telling the story of all that happened to us back then. We share our lives as well, the things that matter. I once told the group that I had been feeling restless, that mining wasn’t enough for me anymore, and they told me it sounded like a Saturn return. How old was I, they asked me. Almost 30, I replied. That’s it, they said; it took Saturn almost 30 years to go around the zodiac and to reach the same place it was when I was born. If Saturn is discipline, a double Saturn is double the discipline; it’s like having two Op-Pollo’s in the sky waving a finger at you. A Saturn return marks a new stage in life with new responsibilities; entering adulthood and leaving youth behind. Sometimes it makes you question your life and what you’re doing, and that’s what it seemed to be doing to me. I made a change and became a gemologist as a result of that reunion with the group, and I was satisfied until recently.
My new restlessness is not because of another Saturn return; it’s only been a couple of years since I became a gemologist. It began when a woodpecker became attached to the tree outside my window. This woodpecker has a peculiar way of drumming; it’s got a two-beat rhythm; tap-tap, pause, tap- tap, pause. What I end up hearing in my head is man-na, man-na, man-na. I was so curious about manna as a child; I used to ask everyone if they’d ever seen it, tasted it, and everyone would say no, but it must be delicious because it came from the heavens. I finally asked my dad one day; he was shovelling snow and he said that the only thing he’d ever seen come from the heavens was rain and snow; manna must be that, but I wasn’t convinced. I can see my dad in my mind’s eye wearing his black and white winter jacket and holding his red shovel, the same colours as the woodpecker outside my window. Best to wait until the group gets together again to figure out what’s happening to me.
Encounter by Luchita Hurtado, 1971
The King of OP was having his second Saturn return and it was tough on him; he would be turning 60 in a couple of months; how could that be. He was in a bath complaining about it, and his twin Royal and Loyal scribes were trying their best to change his perspective.
“You need to embrace the aging process, Sire; embrace the elder,” said Royal.
“Remember how awful it was to be a teenager, Your Majesty,” said Loyal.
“But my 20s were sweet and my 30s were sweeter and my 40s the sweetest and my- “
The king was interrupted by a knock on the door. He heard El Cristo Negro ask if he could come in.
“Come in, come in!” said the king, glad to hear the voice of his good friend.
“How’s the Saturn return coming along?” asked El Cristo, walking into the royal bathroom.
“Not good,” said the King and his scribes in unison.
“You can do two things when Saturn comes along the second time around, Your Highness,” said the black rider. “You can relax and be content with what you’ve already achieved; ride the wave till you’re home, so to speak-“
“Are you- Are you talking about home home?” asked the king, pointing to the ceiling.
“Yes, home home; not everybody makes it to the third Saturn return, and even if you did, how much can you do when you’re 90?”
“You’ve got a point there,” said the king. “What’s the second thing?”
“Saturn gives you the discipline you need to take on new challenges and to endure the hardships that come along with them. Many have taken their second Saturn return as an opportunity to do the greatest things they’ve ever done.”
El Cristo’s words gave the King of OP the impetus to rise from his bath and declare that he was such a person, willing to take on new challenges.
“That’s the spirit, Sire!” said Royal, joyfully helping the king into his royal bathrobe.
“It’ll keep you young, Your Majesty!” said Loyal, scurrying off to fetch the towels and the coconut oil.
“But which challenge should I tackle first?” asked the king.
“You should pray to the god Op-Pollo for guidance, Your Highness,” advised El Cristo.
“I’m not good with receiving intuitive messages,” said the king. “Better my Royal and Loyal scribes journey to the sacred city of Embrun. They can seek the counsel of the Oracle at the Temple of Op-Pollo on my behalf. I know those oracular messages always turn out garbled, but at least I can hear them.”
And so it was decided that the scribes would journey to the sacred city the following day at dawn.
The Road across the Worlds by David Hockney, 1997
When we got together again at the footprint, I told the group about my new restlessness and the woodpecker that triggered it; the woodpecker that kept drumming the word man-na on the tree outside my window.
“Op-Maul!” they all cried.
“Those are his colours, remember?”
“You must be having a Mars return.”
“That’s right! Op-Pollo’s like Saturn and Op-Maul’s like Mars the Warrior.”
“A Mars return happens every two years and only lasts for 2 or 3 days, but it demands action and will make you restless until you act.”
“It makes you assertive and helps you solve problems. Do you have any problems you need to solve? Any people you need to confront?”
“Not really,” I said.
“A double Mars energy pushes you to act. It renews your drive to do something you’ve wanted to do or need to do.”
“But what exactly am I supposed to do?” I asked them.
“Go on a pilgrimage!”
“The Search for Manna!”
“You should seek the counsel of the Oracle of Embrun first.”
“I’m not sure that I want to go back there,” I said.
“Don’t forget that Samuel is the Temple Attendant. You’ll see him there.”
“C’mon Warren! A Mars return is supposed to give you courage.”
“You should do it or all that raw Mars energy will accumulate and you’ll end up getting sick.”
“What kind of sickness are we talking about?” I wanted to know.
“A terrible rash; a Mars rash is the worst thing.”
“Stop inventing! You’re scaring him!”
“All you need to do is to direct all that energy into something meaningful; that ‘s it.”
“Go find the manna, Warren.”
“When you find it, share it with us.”
“Okay,” I said. “I will.”
And so it was decided that I would journey to the sacred city the following day at dawn.
Ares by Pedro Fernandez Rodriguez, 2018
I met the scribes on the road to Embrun. They’re identical twins but I could tell them apart once I got to know them; they have such different personalities. Loyal is quiet and perceptive, and Royal sees the big picture and likes to take charge. They’re like Yin and Yang.
We walked and talked, and they told me about the King of OP, his second Saturn return, and his desire to tackle a challenge. I told them about my Mars return and my restlessness; how I was trying to calm it by directing all my energy into finding manna from the heavens, the sacred food of the gods. I wanted to see it and taste it, and I was hoping the Oracle would point the way to where I could find it.
The scribes asked me if I knew about the Battle of Op-Maul, and when I said that I didn’t, they entertained me with the story. They told me how at the end of the battle, Op-Pollo and Op-Shiva had come to collect their brother Op-Maul from the sink hole. Before returning to the skies, the brothers had rested on the meadows along the OP River, and Op-Pollo had played his majestic singing bowl and filled it with enough manna to feed them. The curious thing was that after the gods left, the meadows became wet meadows, saturated in water. It’s as if the weight of the gods had sunk the lands, allowing the river to soak them. When the scribes finished their story, I felt the meadows calling me, but the feeling was interrupted when a boy holding a red shovel appeared in the distance.
When we came closer to the boy, we saw his standing in the tall grass, pretending to shovel snow. Each time he made as if to scoop snow, tiny white seeds appeared on the shovel and he poured them into a small bowl.
“Magic!” cried the scribes.
The boy laughed and said that all he was doing was shaking the grass with the shovel; when he shook the grass, the grass seeds dropped on the shovel.
“It’s man-na from grass,” the boy said.
“What does man-na mean?” I asked him.
“Man means seeds, and na means from. Man-na means seeds from. There are seeds from grass and there are seeds from heaven. This is as close as you’ll get to the seeds from heaven,” the boy said, giving us manna from grass to taste. The seeds dissolved in our mouths like nectar.
The boy then handed the bowl with the seeds he had collected to the scribes; he said they were for the King of OP from the god Op-Pollo, to sweeten the king’s Saturn return.
“And this is for you,” he said, handing me the red shovel, and when I took it, he disappeared.
“Magic from heaven,” whispered the scribes.
We continued on to the Temple of Op-Pollo in silence, in the kind of silence that comes when you witness something you cannot repeat. When we arrived to the temple, Samuel was there to receive us.
I embraced him; it had been a long time. Samuel was the only one in our group who couldn’t join the reunions that took place by the footprint. He told me he would come and get me once the twin scribes had consulted with the Oracle, and he took the scribes inside the temple. I went to sit in the shade of a tree, holding my little red shovel, when a giant version of the one I was holding scooped me up. It was the mighty Op-Shiva who held the giant shovel and I bowed to him and asked for his goodness.
“Ha-ha!” the god’s voice boomed. “Did you recognize me on the road, Warren?” he asked me, and still bowing, I said that I didn’t, but then I did. “Ha-ha!” he said again, and then I heard him yell, “Op-Maul! Catch!” I looked up and saw what appeared to be a giant pileated woodpecker in the sky holding a net. Oh-oh, I thought to myself, here we go again, and I held on to my little red shovel for dear life as I was launched in the air.
Can I shovel off the snow? by John George Brown, 1871
The twins stood in front of the Oracle and Royal took a step forward and said, “Sacred Oracle, she who speaks the words of the great Op-Pollo, holy protector and disciplinarian in the sky, we come to you on behalf of our king, the King of OP.”
“Continue,” said the Oracle.
“The king’s second Saturn return has ignited in him the desire to take on new challenges, and he would like to know which challenge the god Op-Pollo suggests he take on first.”
And this is what the Oracle said, “The seed of man and the seed of plant are different from each other. One is wet and the other is not.”
Royal turned to look at his brother, and when he saw the spark of understanding in Loyal’s eyes, he thanked the Oracle. The twins left the temple, and when they stepped outside, they saw Warren lying on the ground, his shovel resting on his chest. They ran to him and asked him what happened, was he okay, and Warren said, “I just had my Mars return.”
When I was able to get up, I went inside the temple and stood in front of the sacred Oracle. I told her that I had come to ask the god of prophecy to show me where to find manna from the heavens, but now I knew that I would only find something like it but not the same.
“You’re sad, Warren,” the Oracle said.
“All my life I have wished to see and to taste manna from the gods. Please tell me how is it different from the manna available to us.”
“Only this time I will show you.”
I waited expectantly and saw a light appear behind the Oracle, and the light came toward me and as it came closer, I saw that the light was a giant and translucent seed filled with nectar, and the next thing I knew, the seed exploded in my face and I tasted what was meant for the gods.
Before I left the temple, the Oracle peeled the seed off my face and put it in a bowl; for me to share with my friends, she said. She showed me a basin with water where I could rinse my face, and I did and I thanked her, and she said that I probably needed some pampering after being tossed around by the gods.
“Did you see me?” I asked her.
“From the corner of my eye, I did,” she answered.
The twin scribes said that the manna tasted like honey, and Samuel said it tasted better than honey, and I said that it tasted like the manna from the heavens that it was.
We said goodbye to Samuel and started on our journey back. Along the way I shook all the grass that I saw with my shovel, and none of it had seed. That’s when I remembered the meadows in the Kingdom of OP and heard them calling me again.
“I hear your meadows calling me,” I told the scribes.
“That’s because the grass in our meadows is the only type of grass that bears the seed that is manna from grass,” said Loyal.
“Really?” Royal asked.
“Aye; that’s what the Oracle meant when she said that the seed of man is wet and the seed of plant isn’t and shouldn’t be wet. If our meadows were dry, we’d have plenty of manna from grass. The first challenge for the king is to dry the meadows.”
“He should build a dam,” said Royal.
“He should,” said Loyal and I agreed.
The twin scribes asked me to accompany them to their kingdom but I said that I couldn’t. I would go there at a later time, when the meadows were dry. Right now, I had to return to the Valley of Eye and share the rest of this manna that I had with my friends.
The Arrival of Spring by David Hockney, 2011
The twin scribes arrived to the palace and went to see the king in his study.
“My Royal and Loyal scribes, what news do you bring me?” the king asked them.
“Sire, may we first present you with a gift from the god Op-Pollo,” said Royal, giving the king the bowl with manna from grass.
“I can’t believe this!” said the king, taking a look at the contents of the bowl. “I’ve complained so much about this stuff that I can’t believe the gods haven’t heard me!”
“Why, Sire, what do you think it is?”
“No Sire, it isn’t that. You’ve got to taste it; its manna from grass; it’s meant to sweeten your Saturn return.”
The king tasted it and said, “Your right; it’s delicate and sweet. What is it called? Where does it grow?”
“It’s called manna, Sire,” said Royal.
“Manna from grass doesn’t grow anywhere else but here in your kingdom, Your Majesty,” said Loyal. “Well, it would grow here if it could.”
“You’re beginning to sound like the Oracle, Loyal!” said the king.
“What I mean to say, Your Majesty, is that these seeds would grow in the meadows of OP if the meadows were dry.”
“But they’re not,” said the king
“Precisely, Your Majesty. That’s why your first challenge as you approach your 60th birthday is to dry them.”
“By building a dam to prevent the river from flooding the meadows, Your Majesty.”
“Never done that before.”
“There’s the challenge, Sire.”
“Hmm,” said the king. “We’ll need engineers… the best engineers this kingdom has…” The king began to pace around his study. “We’ll have a competition and let the people of OP choose the best design. Scribes! We have work to do!”
“At your service, Sire!”
“At your service, Your Majesty!”
The Bay from the Mountains by David Hockney, 1990
I did not talk about my second encounter with the gods; I didn’t want anything to set me apart from the group. All I talked about was what happened inside the temple, how the light appeared that became a giant seed that collided with my face. We agreed that Op-Pollo did it on purpose; as strict as he is, Op-Pollo has a sense of humour.
My restlessness disappeared as did the woodpecker outside my window. But the bird left me a reminder of its presence; little pecked holes on the tree that spelt the word man-na. At first I didn’t notice, but then I did.
Untitled by Luchita Hurtado, 1942
Grace of Eye
I have a different take on returns; more realistic. The chakras in our bodies are each ruled by a different planet, and when a planet returns to their original placement in our birth charts, they trigger the chakra they rule.
Saturn rules the root chakra, the chakra that reminds us we’re terrestrial and need certain things to survive and to live the life we want. The first time Saturn returns, he triggers our root chakra and we become acutely aware of our socio-economic situation. Do we have enough and do we want more? It’s this awareness that brings us into adulthood. Of course, how we secure our socio-economic situation will be different for all of us; tinker, tailor type thing. The second Saturn return triggers the root chakra again, but this time we think of retirement. It’s only if we have enough to retire that the choices El Cristo spoke about become viable. You can’t do great things if you don’t have a secure bank account.
Saturn’s not the only one that can trigger the root chakra. My dad triggered mine before my Saturn return, when I was in my mid 20s and still living off him. I had borrowed his carriage to go to Warren’s manna-tasting party, and while I waited my turn to cross an intersection, a beggar asked me for money. I looked at the beggar and he looked familiar; I looked again and saw my dad in disguise. Dad! I yelled in shock, and he said, This is how we’ll end up if you keep living off me. Shock and fear can trigger and open a chakra, and in my case, the shock of seeing my dad begging, and the fear of not having enough opened my root chakra.
When I got to Warren’s place, I went straight to Jane and asked her if she’d take me as an apprentice. I couldn’t see myself living the valley’s spiritual life and I couldn’t see myself mining, but I could see myself working with gems. I started matching gems to chakras and ended up seeing the chakras’ planetary connections.
I wasn’t part of the group that had the encounter with the gods in the sacred city, but I was invited to the manna-tasting party because Warren’s my brother. He told me he had a second encounter with the gods when he went on his manna pilgrimage, but he asked me not to mention it because he wasn’t telling the group about it. What united the group was a story they all shared, and he didn’t want to disturb that.
My brother’s second encounter with the gods coincided with a Mars return, and he joked around saying that the return of Mars had been a literal one. I couldn’t believe his change in attitude and I pointed it out to him. I reminded him how fearful he’d been after his first encounter; how he hadn’t stepped outside the Valley of Eye, afraid he’d meet the gods again. True, he said; the return must have helped him leave the valley, but so did his friends. As for his fear of the gods, he gave in to it, and now he sees them as giants who play rough; how else could giants play?
I told him that all of it, from being receptive to his friends’ advice, to leaving the valley, to giving in to his fear, all of it was due to Mars returning and triggering his third chakra, the navel or solar plexus.
Mars rules the third chakra and the third reminds us that we’re here to go out into the world and be all that we can be. It’s the chakra of success. Mars returns every couple of years to make sure we don’t get stuck in the same place and with the same fears year after year. When he returns, a restlessness build up inside our third chakra, and birds and people add to this restlessness like a crescendo, motivating us to take one step further out into the world. Look at my brother now; he journeys back and forth to the sacred city to see the Oracle like it was nothing. He told me that when the Oracle helped him save the manna in a bowl and offered him water to wash his face, he recognized her. Tess? Is it you? he asked her, and she said, Yes. He then told her something he would never have said if his third chakra had not only been triggered by a Mars return, but also been opened wide by the shock of meeting the gods; he told her he used to have a crush on her in high school. He needed all the help he could get to make such a bold move.
I met Tess at the manna party. My brother sent her an invitation through Jane who goes every weekend to the sacred city to see Samuel. He didn’t think she’d come, but she did. After everyone had a teaspoon of manna from the heavens and felt totally blessed by it, they walked over to the footprint to do their storytelling part. Tess and I left them and took a walk. She asked me questions about my brother, the main one of course was whether he had a girlfriend, and I said he didn’t. She told me she’d seen Warren being bounced around by the gods through an opening in the temple, but she didn’t know who it was until he came inside holding a red shovel. The man in Op-Maul’s net had been holding on to that shovel like you would a security blanket. A real Canadian Tire type, I joked, but she didn’t laugh. She smiled that inward smile that said she had developed special feelings for him. She told me she remembered him from high school as being super shy, and I said he still was; a Mars return had emboldened him the day he went to see her.
I could tell that either my brother or a Jupiter return or both had triggered her sacral chakra. The sacral chakra is ruled by Jupiter and it’s the chakra that reminds us of the sweetness of life. It’s the chakra of finding satisfaction and joy in love and intimacy and creativity. No matter who had triggered it, I was sure it opened when Op-Pollo threw the seed at my brother. Tess told me it was such a shocking surprise; the gods were such pranksters, and she laughed.
Untitled by Luchita Hurtado, 1971
Pro Mark on chakra healing
The heart chakra’s about love and Venus rules it. She returns every year to trigger it and to make sure we stay loving, loving somebody new and renewing an old love. Ultimately, that’s what life’s about, love.
I love Star. I must have been experiencing a Venus return when she asked me if I’d take her on my moped to film Yogi; I’m sure I was because that’s the first time I’ve felt jealousy over a woman. I was jealous of the way she looked at Yogi and I was jealous that she looked like Yogi too. I didn’t want Star to look like me, but I wanted her to look at me the way she looked at Yogi. She opened my heart chakra the day she leaned on my back and asked me to take her back to the palace; she didn’t want to film Yogi anymore. I found myself lost in love when she put her cheek against my back and traced the Neptune tattoo below my neck and asked me why I always listened to the weather station.
When we started going out, she’d complain that I never said the words I love you to her. I’d explain that those words didn’t convey all that I felt for her. She was the world I wanted to inhabit for the rest of my life, and that sentence was bigger than the words I love you. She decided one day that I needed chakra healing, specifically my throat chakra. She was sure that if she unblocked it, I’d be able to express myself more easily. Mercury rules the throat chakra and the throat chakra’s the bridge between the heart and the head, and it’s supposed to help you express matters of the heart easily. I agreed to it; there was no point arguing with her.
She read up on the stones that unblock the throat chakra and bought all of them: aquamarine, angelite, lapis lazuli, blue lace agate, blue kyanite, blue apatite and turquoise. Then she waited until the day of my Mercury return. Mercury moves quickly, so she had me lying down an hour before the exact degree of the return with all the stones piled up on my throat, candle lit and incense burning. She kept herself busy praying to Mercury to unblock my throat chakra and ease my self-expression. As soon as Mercury returned, we had to rush and meet her dad at the arts centre. There was a big performance that day organized by some of the embassies at Sky Blue, and her dad wanted us to see it. Honestly, the performance blew me away, and I think it was the performance that ended up opening my throat chakra. I squeezed Star’s hand to show her how much I was enjoying myself, and when she leaned on my shoulder to tell me how glad she was, I spontaneously whispered to her that I loved her.
Did you hear someone suddenly exclaim OMG! in the middle of the performance? That would be Star when she heard me say I love you. She didn’t just squeeze my hand, she crumpled it and said OMG! Pro! It worked! My chakra healing worked! I put my arm around her and kissed her, and was about to tell her what I just told you, when my third eye chakra told me to keep my mouth shut; don’t steal her moment.
The moon rules the third eye chakra and the moon returns every month to trigger it. It is the most active chakra in our lives. The third eye is the intuitive eye, the eye that tells us on an intuitive level what we should and should not do or say, what someone needs and does not need to hear. It brings understanding on a soul level. The shock of love, the sudden realization of how much you love someone, and the fear of losing something precious, something that cannot be replaced opens the third eye. It happened to me when I saw how happy Star was, how my words could jeopardize our relationship; that’s when my third eye opened and told me not to speak.
Léa I think it was the alluring nature of the lawyer that triggered our yin eyes.
Mary He may have been a siren for all we know.
Rose The shock of those headlights must have opened them wide.
Landscape by Luchita Hurtado, 1969
We were sitting in the theatre listening to the performance when Pro suddenly whispered in my ear that he loved me. I couldn’t help myself blurt out OH MY GOD in the middle of someone’s throat singing, but it just took me totally by surprise. I couldn’t believe that I was hearing Pro say the words I wanted to hear him say so badly, and right after my healing ceremony. My crown chakra opened and I felt the warmth of being loved by god; a prayer answered; like it was my birthday.
The crown chakra is ruled by the Sun and we have a solar return every year on the day we were born. The Sun triggers the crown chakra on our birthday and keeps the connection between us and the father in the sky alive from one return to the next. Prayers answered open the crown chakra, and in the theatre, a prayer answered opened mine.
It’s the surprise of a prayer answered that opens the crown chakra; the moment you catch your breath with the realization that a wish has come true. You feel you’re not alone; you feel the love of god wash over you. It happened to me when I was standing guard at the entrance to the palace. An incredible sunset roused prayer in me, and I prayed to be loved by Star, and then I heard her shout out, “Hey Pro!”
King of OP
My crown chakra opened on the day we won the battle against Op-Maul. When the god of war fell into the sink hole, it opened and I felt the light of the sun blessing me with victory. My story flashed through my mind, from the day I was born to the day I joined the O and P valleys to create this kingdom that I had defended valiantly.
I thanked Op-Pollo, god of light and prophecy, for the help of my scribes and of El Cristo Negro, and for the people of OP. They helped me conquer my fears and kept my sacral chakra energized in the training fields. They joined me in building courage in my solar plexus and showed me that I was worthy of love. They sang with me and told me stories after love making, and while we lay in the fields looking at the night sky, the moon opened our third eyes and united us at the soul level so we’d charge united in battle. My crown chakra and everyone else’s opened when we won, and we were infused with sun energy, the nectar of humankind.
Leclerc (Clerk 1, bald)
When the boys rescued me from the water, I saw the sky as if for the first time; it felt like a rebirth. The good moments in my life flashed through my mind, and I thanked the Sun for my life, and I felt my crown chakra open and receive his warmth. He blessed me with a flyer that announced a job made to fit my style, and I was saved.
When I saw the twin scribes wearing the pyrite rings of the god Op-Shiva, my crown chakra opened and I felt love, pure love, innocence.
When I saw the six-rayed star in the sapphire I found, I felt the light and warmth of the Sun rush through my crown chakra, illuminating all my chakras until it reached my root that connected me to the earth. Of the Sun and of the earth, sacred and profane love, sacred and profane innocence.
Sunset by David Hockney, 2011
The Twelfth House
We were born from the shadows of the twelfth house into the light of the first…
In that case, best to keep your secrets in the twelfth, hidden from view. My twelfth is in Aries, the sign of the soldier, and my secrets are top secret. I suppose my secret enemies have the fiery qualities of Aries; I know my secret love did, but I’m married to her now. It’s not surprising that I married her, since Mars, ruler of Aries, also rules my seventh house of marriage in Scorpio. He made me legalize the affair.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
The twelfth and seventh house connection manifested differently for me. The twelfth is how we escape reality and retreat from daily life; the things we do and the places we go to rest, recover and relax. With Aries there, I’m adventurous; I like travelling to new places and I met my husband in a foreign land.
You know, I had no idea Aries was behind me; no wonder my secret fantasies are so hot and passionate. I mean, listen to this one: I’m walking on a soft and sandy beach; waves gently wash my feet; I turn to look at the water, and I notice foam bubbling on the surface; suddenly, a shell emerges from the water, and on this shell stands the most beautiful and exotic woman that I have ever seen. She looks at me in all her unapologetic innocence, and she tells me that she’s here just for me.
Gemini 1 I can’t believe this, Taurus! You stole my fantasy! Venus rules you and you’re behind me; Venus is my secret fantasy.
Taurus 3 Trust me, Gemini; my fantasy Venus is a warrior in bed; she’s more like Venus meets Mulan; she’s not at all like the one who rules me.
Gemini 1 Really? Mine’s not a warrior; mine’s all about the 5 senses.
Venus, after Botticelli, by Yin Xin, 2008
I have Taurus in the twelfth and Taurus is the sign of sensual pleasures and wealth. It rules richness and wealth and collections of beautiful things. It is the sign of preserving and conserving all that has value, including books. Taurus rules history, historical and personal history.
When I retreat into the twelfth for some r & r, I enjoy chit chat and gossip, I’m curious about what’s going on with people, their stories, past and current; who’s having an affair with whom, how much is so and so selling their house for, how much money do they owe the bank. I end up with a treasure chest of other people’s secrets. That’s why when I talk to you, the twinkle in my eye and your sixth sense tells you that I know what you’re hiding.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
When I finally get organized and take a break to travel, please put me in a luxury hotel; I like to be surrounded by comfort. The twelfth house rules hotels and bathrooms, and I like my bathroom to have a good and strong showerhead; a jacuzzi and hot tub would be nice as well. I like going to the sauna, so please make sure the hotel has a spa. Good food and good wine is essential for me; If I can see how you cook my food, I’d be in heaven. Make sure that all your ingredients are plump and fresh, freshly harvested; don’t feed me any garbage. After I’ve toured the city, I’d like the turndown service please, and extra pillows. I’m sleeping in tomorrow, so please put the do not disturb sign on your way out. I may sleep in all day but my mind never rests; my mind and my sweet dreams keep me company when I let myself loose in the realm of Taurus.
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1485
The twelfth house is the house of mourning, of loss, of the dissolution of ego, when one of us returns to the spirit world. It rules the spirit world. When my father died, I sat on his bed facing the window, and I asked god to give me a sign that he was okay. A magnificent hawk with wings spread out flew toward the window, and before touching the glass, rose to the sky. I did not doubt this sign from god that brought me peace. With Gemini in my twelfth, I ask for signs with ease, and I do not doubt them. Gemini, after all, is ruled by Mercury, the intermediary between us and the gods.
Illness and imprisonment can also dissolve the ego, and the twelfth house rules hospitals and prisons, places that isolate us. During my time in prison, I kept my mind busy reading, writing, studying and learning; doing the things that Gemini rules; like Nelson Mandela; he was a Cancer too. At night, I told stories, stories about unrequited love, romantic love, erotic love; I let my imagination run wild.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
Mercury, ruler of my twelfth house is also the ruler of my third house. I have Virgo in my third and the third rules siblings, neighbours and acquaintances; it rules daily life and the people we interact with when we run errands. Mercury pulls the third into my twelfth, and as a result, I have a very busy twelfth house. People confide in me naturally and wherever I am, on a bus, on a train, on a plane. I’m always the one trying to disappear behind a hard cover book when I travel. The moment I try to retreat from the world, an invitation draws me out. Gemini in my twelfth has turned me into a social butterfly; I rest at gatherings.
I do not have any planets in my twelfth house so the sign of Gemini is allowed full expression there. If I had Saturn in the twelfth, for example, it would restricts the expression of the sign in some way. Money restrictions or certain obligations would limit the busyness of my twelfth. A Saturn transit through my twelfth could also bring me two and a half years of a quieter twelfth house, hopefully not because I’m in prison. A sabbatical to regain my vitality would be nice.
Planets flavour a house. If I had Mercury, the ruler of Gemini and Virgo, in my twelfth, I’d be mastering the twelfth house in some way. You never know, I’d probably be the one collecting information to put someone in jail, like a detective working undercover.
Mercury can be naughty and so can my secret fantasies. I actually got the chance to fulfill a secret fantasy back in 2006. The Musée d’Orsay was celebrating its 20th anniversary and wanted museum staff to be photographed in front of their favourite paintings; they could choose their own staging. I was working there as a security guard and I chose to pose in front of Edouard Manet’s Le dejeuner sur l’herbe. My photograph, however, was not included in the 20th anniversary exhibit; it was considered too risqué.
Cyrille sur l’herbe. Photograph by Rip Hopkins, 2006
My twelfth house is in Cancer , the sign of home and homeland, and my secrets are homeland security secrets. If someone tries to hack them, I sit behind my screen and monitor their moves; I study them until they feel my presence; two souls that meet over the internet. I try to hold them as long as I can to find their location. If I do, I bring them over and have them work for me. They can put their hacking skills to good use; help me improve national security.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
Cancer is the sign of the soul, and wherever Cancer is in our birth charts, we feel deeply. I have Cancer in my twelfth and I retreat into Cancer when I travel for pleasure; I feel the places I go to; I feel their spirit. There are some places that make me ill and that I would never return to, and there are some places that feel like home. I felt at home in Paris, and when I stood in front of the Mona Lisa, I got her. There she was, smoky with sfumato, coming from the shadows of the twelfth into the light of the first; her secret love affair still lingering in her eyes and on her lips.
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, ca. 1505
I’m a Leo and Taurus is in my tenth house of vocation. Taurus in the tenth can manifest in myriads of ways, and in my case, I became an aesthetician. I was born with the moon in Taurus, and the moon rules Cancer in my twelfth house. The moon draws my twelfth house of secrets and intuition into my tenth. Sometimes I think that all this means is that my secrets have to do with skin care and make-up, and that I share these secrets with my clients, which I always do. Sometimes though, I think it’s more than that.
There are times when a client doesn’t know how to explain to me what they want; they may not even know what they want themselves; a different look, some pampering, some love and care. Those are the times when even I’m surprised at what I end up doing, like I’m guided in some way, like the moon activates my twelfth and heightens my intuition to help me out, to help me create some magic and make a client happy.
Mona Lisa, after Leonardo, by Yin Xin, 2008
I do not like to call attention to my person, not where people know me. Whenever I have worn something, like a piece of jewellery that has called too much attention, I have put it away in my twelfth house. I wish I could wear some of the beautiful things I own without being asked questions about them; I’d like to wear them in silence and keep their significance private. I don’t buy things lightly; every piece I own commemorates a significant moment in my life, a significant person, a significant book; too personal for me to talk about. It’s really best for me to keep them hidden in Leo; Leo’s in my twelfth house.
Whenever I go away on a trip, I walk into my twelfth house and take out my hidden treasures. I can finally wear them when I go abroad, where no one knows me and will ask me questions about them, where I can enjoy them in peace. I shine like Leo shines when I’m abroad.
Leo’s the sign of all that brings us happiness, and Leo’s behind me, in my twelfth house. I’m happiest doing work behind the scenes, hidden in some way, anonymously or remotely. I prefer to shine without having to step onstage; my confidence disappears when I’m onstage.
Where Leo is, we labour to become kings. Leo’s in my twelfth house of secrets; secret fantasies, secret affairs, secrets of the spiritual world. The sun rules Leo and where the sun is in the birth chart tells us the nature of our labours.
Virgo is my sun sign; I’m naturally drawn to secrets of the spiritual world and I write about them.
I’m a Virgo ascendant; my sun is in my fifth house of hobbies and creative fun, and I organize galas with different themes.
I’m a lunar Virgo; my sun is in my seventh house of contracts and I’m an escort.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
Virgo’s a pretty busy sign, a sign of research and investigation, and I have Virgo in the twelfth house of sleep. That’s not a good place to have a busy sign. On top of that, Mercury, ruler of Virgo, is there, along with his brother Mars, which pretty much spells sleepless nights for me.
Nowadays, I turn the TV on and exercise at night to feed my Mercury and Mars. Those two planets are many things depending on the time of day, and at night, they can be troublemakers. When I was younger, and before I had all this exercise equipment, I’d go out at night and steal a car; I’d drive it around for a couple of hours, drop it off somewhere, and head back home.
That’s funny; I have the same combination: Virgo in the twelfth with Mercury and Mars. I’m a cop, and I prefer night shifts; I’m more alert at night than I am during the day. The twelfth house is a ‘night’ house, the house where you retreat to rest; but mine is lit up with the intelligence of Virgo, the cleverness of Mercury, and the drive and stamina of Mars. I’m the one who caught you stealing a car, and I fundraised for you to get all that exercise equipment; keep you out of trouble.
Gee whiz; I happen to have the same combination: Mercury and Mars in Virgo in my twelfth house. I couldn’t sleep at night, so I went and got a job as a security guard at the main library, the one open 24 hours. I remember you. I caught you once peeling the magnetic strip off a book; you said you couldn’t sleep and needed a book to read. I walked you to the front desk and got you a library card; told you to take the book out like everyone else. Glad to see you turned out well.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
The woman I thought was my best friend was really my secret enemy; she had an affair with my husband. My astrologer is now using me as an example of how a twelfth and seventh house connection can play out. Libra, ruled by Venus, is in my twelfth house of secret enemies, and Taurus, also ruled by Venus, is in my seventh house of marriage. My secret enemy was an enemy of my marriage.
My twelfth and seventh house connection plays out differently for me. I’d say that I fulfill my husband’s secret desires when we travel.
When we’re at home and in the seventh house, I’m his beloved wife.
Beloved by Yin Xin, contemporary
When we travel and enter the twelfth house, I become Rouge.
Rouge by Yin Xin, contemporary
I did not know how powerful a planet could be until my wish came true and he asked me to marry him. Venus rules Libra in my twelfth house of secrets and I loved a man in secret; I loved him in Libra, a sign that does not like to rock the boat. But Venus also rules Taurus in my seventh house of marriage, and I prayed to Venus in Taurus for my secret man to bring me out of the shadows of the twelfth, just like the minotaur had come out of the shadows of the labyrinth.
It was a big deal because we’re first cousins and many in our family did not approve. But once we were headed for Taurus, we had the strength to face the criticism, and here we are now, happily married.
Portrait of Elena by George Mayer, 2019
Aries is in my fifth house of romance and fun, and Aries is a youthful, spontaneous and competitive sign. It’s ruled by Mars, and Mars is many things; he’s energetic and courageous, but he can also be rowdy and reckless. I was born with Mars in Aries, so my fifth house is pretty lit up. It’s the house I’d end up in every evening after work; I’d meet up with the guys to play hockey, and then head to a pub or the casino. We were a pretty boisterous group. One evening, I got carried away and bet all the money I had in a game of cards, and I lost everything.
When I realized the enormity of what I’d done, my ego began to dissolve, and Mars carried me to my twelfth house. He lay me in bed and said he was sorry he hadn’t stopped me, but he ruled my fifth house and my twelfth, and he naturally drew both houses together; any excess in the fifth would land me in the twelfth because of him.
Scorpio’s in my twelfth house of ego dissolution, and Scorpio is co ruled by Mars and Pluto. Scorpio is the sign of emotional strength and it attracts experiences that are intense and transformative. Pluto is the planet of transformation, and Mars, well, Mars stirs the pot when you’re ready for a twelfth house experience.
I was in bed when Scorpio leaned down and asked me how was I feeling; was I ready to mend my ways and be more moderate in my fifth house activities. Then Pluto leaned down and asked me if I could feel a transformation happening. Mars was already sitting beside me and he wanted to know if I’d ever fall into an ‘all or nothing’ trap again.
I quit gambling after that and focused on replenishing my coffers.
I have the moon in my fifth house and the moon waters down the energy of Aries, so I don’t have your problem with excess. In fact, I’d say I’m pretty conservative in my creative pursuits. I practise my music and I love going to the movies in my free time.
But it’s a different matter when I travel and step into my twelfth house. You’re right about Scorpio being intense. When I travel, I seem to attract the most intensely romantic men and end up having transformative sexual experiences that completely dissolve my ego, but in a good way, in a refreshing way. Foreign men are something else.
Top Hat by YIn Xin, contemporary
I have Saturn in my fifth house and Saturn doesn’t let me have any fun. He makes me study instead, prepare myself for when I go travelling around the world.
Travelling is what I live for. Leaving the world I know behind and entering Scorpio in my twelfth house is magical. I don’t just travel to take a look around; I travel to step into other people’s shoes and walk around in them. I got that line from Harper Lee; I believe her book To Kill a Mockingbird is Sagittarian through and through. I travel to experience life the way other people do; I travel to be someone else.
Shadow. Makeup. Portrait by George Mayer, 2019
I’m a Capricorn, and when I need some time alone, I enter Sagittarius in my twelfth house. Sagittarius is the sign of higher knowledge, of understanding the world better, and when I’m there, I relax reading books, watching interviews and documentaries. People who have been influential and who have shaped the world interest me; great thinkers, leaders, economists.
Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, and Jupiter is also the traditional ruler of Pisces in my third house. Jupiter bridges my third house with my twelfth. The third house rules our daily communication with the people around us; our siblings, our neighbours, the people we interact with when we run errands. I weigh what I learn in my twelfth house against the reality of the people in my third. If the ideas of the twelfth are too lofty, unrealistic and impractical to be applied in the real world, I discard them. I try not to fall into the trap of utopias.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
When I need a break, I step into my twelfth house and go on a trip. I never take a tour of any kind. I can’t stand having guides directing me where to go and telling me what I’m seeing. I’d much rather discover things on my own, with a guide book, and with the help of the local people, third house people. That’s really why I travel, to meet people and to hear their views about their country; that’s how I get a better understanding of the world.
I take it one step further; maybe because I have 3 planets in Sagittarius; Neptune, planet of spirituality, inspiration and illusions; Mercury, the communicator and mischief maker; and Jupiter himself, making me go a bit overboard, but protecting me from criticism. What I do is I dress up like the locals so I don’t stand out as a tourist. I find that if I dress like everyone else, I understand the culture better; get a better feel for it. It’s like wearing a costume when you’re on stage; it sets the tone for the role you’re about to play.
Art Inspiration by Yin Xin, 2019
Aquarians are ruled by Saturn most of the time; most of the time we’re dutiful and responsible. But when we’re love-struck, Uranus takes over and we go a little mad. It happened to me when she walked into my office. She wanted me to help her become a citizen of this country, take care of all the legalities. I told her what the process would be like, how long it could take, and what the approximate cost would be, and she looked defeated. She said she needed to think it over, but before she walked out the door, before I lost her, I asked her to marry me.
I never had any trouble resting before I married her. My marriage seems to have woken Saturn, ruler of Aquarius and the ruler of Capricorn in my twelfth house. Capricorn alone lets you rest; it’s the sign that wants to see you succeed in life. Capricorn in your twelfth sweetens your sleep with dreams of abundance, so that when you wake up, you’re fresh and ready to go before anyone else.
Not anymore. Now a days, I bring work into my twelfth, whether it’s at home or when I travel. Saturn reminds me that I have too many bills to pay. My wife’s expensive.
Girl with a pearl earring, after Vermeer, by YIn Xin, 2016
When I retreat into my twelfth house, I never want to come out, never. My fantasy world is a thousand times better than real life. My two ruling planets, and one more are all in my twelfth house; there’s Saturn, planet of structure; Uranus, planet of the unexpected, and Neptune, the planet of fantasies himself. I lie in bed and make up these wonderful romantic stories; I’m locked up in a castle by my stepmother and stepsisters, taking care of their duties and responsibilities; I labour and toil but I never lose hope; I sing and I pray and out of the blue, my fairy godmother appears; she turns a pumpkin into a carriage and me into an enchanting lady, and she sends me off to the ball at the castle; the prince falls in love with me; he looks for me after the ball; he finds me; he marries me; etc.
I’m a monk, a quirky one. I entertain the other monks in the monastery with stories of my visions; Uranus sends me the most spectacular visions of angels and saints and other magical beings. But when it’s time for prayer and meditation, I take my Uranian nature off, and I step into the more austere sign of Capricorn in my twelfth house.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
There are 4 triangles in our birth chart, and each one connects 3 houses of the same element. One of these triangles is the triangle of our life path; it connects the second house of self worth, the sixth house of work, and the tenth house of vocation. My life path triangle connects the 3 fire houses: Aries in my second house keeps me tuned in to my survival instincts; Leo in my sixth house wants to see me labour and become a leader; and Sagittarius in my tenth house asks that I be kind and generous and expansive.
I started my career as a firefighter 19 years ago, and I am now a fire service instructor. I have the confidence to teach a large group of people; I’m the boss of the classroom; and I’m sharing all the knowledge and experience I have with my students.
Sometimes a student will ask a question that I don’t have an answer to right away. This actually happened a couple of days ago. When I got home, I sat at my desk to figure it out, but I just couldn’t think. Time for a break, I thought to myself, and I stepped into my twelfth house and turned the TV on. I dozed off watching some show, when I suddenly heard someone call my name. I woke up startled and heard the fellow on the TV screen give me the answer I was looking for. He actually pointed at me and said, rope rescue.
That’s Aquarius in the twelfth house for you; there are these sudden god moments.
The Chinese Madonna by Yin Xin, 2017
Funny that you mention rope because I’m a window cleaner.
If the twelfth house is about retreating from the world, then I would say that my work is a retreat from the world. I’m up high, away from everyone, hanging from a rope. You could even say that I’m doing window cleaning meditation. I’ve heard of walking meditation, so why not window cleaning meditation? Because, honestly, the whole experience puts me in a meditative state. Sometimes I fall into trance, which is pretty dangerous when you’re so high up; but each time that happens, something strange flies by and wakes me up. The last time it was a flamingo.
I couldn’t solve the case, and as much as I didn’t want to walk away from the investigation, I walked away. Maybe someone else would shed light where I couldn’t.
I went home and took out my telescope. That’s what I do when I enter Aquarius in my twelfth house; I stargaze. I looked at the sky and held my breath; were those UFOs? I called a friend who told me they were satellites, 60 of them. I laughed and said that maybe they’d help transmit messages from the gods to us here on earth, like Mercury. The moment I spoke those words, I had a flash of insight; I knew how to solve the case.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2017
Pisces gives us partial information and then expects us to intuit the rest. Leave it to me to complete it.
There are 4 triangles in our birth chart, and each one connects 3 houses of the same element. There is the triangle of self discovery that connects the first house of self, the fifth house of what brings us joy, and the ninth house of ideals and aspirations. The triangle of our life path connects the second, the sixth and the tenth houses. There is the triangle of relationships that connects the third house of daily interactions, the seventh house of one on one relationships, and the eleventh house of the social groups we belong to. The triangle of growth connects the fourth house of home and upbringing, the eighth house of transformation, and the twelfth house of integration. We end every day in the twelfth house; this is where we rest and integrate all that we’ve lived; it’s where we connect with source.
Pisces is in my twelfth house and it is the sign that opens the door to the invisible world. It cools me down at the end of a fiery day. I’m not always active and energetic, but my triangle of self discovery is in the fire houses. My first is in Aries, my fifth is in Leo and my ninth is in Sagittarius. I have a passion for self, for life and for humanity, and I’m burnt out at the end of the day. Fire is an extreme element; it doesn’t matter whether you have a little or a lot, it always burns, and it consumes you. So when I lay my head to rest in Pisces, I let the spirit world soothe me.
La Source, after Ingres, by Yin Xin, 2002
I’m a doctor and I have encountered situations where x-rays and lab results don’t explain why a person is sick; I’ll order more tests but nothing will show me the source of the symptoms. I wouldn’t write what I’m about to say in a medical journal, but in those situations, answers have come to me in dreams. I’ll step into my twelfth house of rest, and I’ll have all these bizarre dreams, and when I wake up in the morning, I’ll know what the problem is on an intuitive level. I won’t be able to explain how I arrived at my conclusion in a logical and professional way, but I’ll be right.
You could say that integrating your experiences in a spiritual sign like Pisces helps you understand people and situations on an intuitive level.
A very thin veil separates us from the invisible world of spirits and angelic beings. All you really have to do is tune in. That’s what I do when I’m facing a dilemma; I tune into Pisces in my twelfth house. I relax and let my mind wander, and the answer I need comes to me; it’s given to me.
I’m sure that Aries is not the only sign experiencing the invisible world. Neptune has been transiting Pisces since 2011, and Neptune rules Pisces and is inviting everyone to master the sign. Neptune will be in Pisces until 2026, and it will then enter Aries and be there for 14 years. Aries, the sign that gives us courage to take a leap of faith, will become one of the most intuitive signs.
Mars Did you hear that? My people will be getting a double dose of intuition during uncle Nep’s transit.
Mercury That’s good. They won’t get caught so easily.
Light. Shadows. Portrait by George Mayer, 2019