Tag Archives: astrology

Kala Sarpa: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

30 Nov

“If the Sun and Moon would doubt,” poet William Blake once wrote, “they would immediately go out.”

As for me, there were times over the past 18 months when my own vision blurred, and I doubted whether I could write a book on Kala Sarpa that would do justice to its myth. But as it is with all writing of substance, it became a sadhana, and there was no choice but to finish the work. I hope students and practicing astrologers alike can now use it to shed light on what has always been a very dark subject.

~ Alan Annand

Paperback available at Amazon only, ebooks available at all online retailers:

http://www.amazon.com/Alan-Annand/e/B0052MM0PO
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/alan-annand/id442957999
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alan-annand
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/Search?Query=Alan%20Annand
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AlanAnnand

 

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If you like it then you ought to put a ring on it.

16 Nov

Villejavat

 

 

Keith Richards & Jimmy Page: mutually in tune

25 Jun

keith & jimmy 1

What do Keith Richards and Jimmy Page have in common?

They’re both British-born and 72 years old. Both are renowned guitarists steeped in the blues, founding members of world-class rock bands. Both are songwriters and innovators – Richards in 5-string open tuning, Page in technical virtuosity. Both are avid readers – Richards of WW2 history, Page of the occult. Both have large guitar collections – 3000 for Richards, 1500 for Page. And for a time both were heroin addicts.

These two fabled rock guitarists were born in England within three weeks of each other – Richards on 18th December 1943 in Dartford, Page on 9th January 1944 in Heston. Since both were born in the early morning, Page at 4am, Richards at 6am, they both have Libra, a sign of long ascension, rising.

Note: both charts are presented with only the traditional visible planets in whole-sign houses using the sidereal zodiac.

keith & jimmy charts

Richards’ ascendant lord Venus is in his first house, Libra. Born three weeks later, Page’s Venus has moved to his second house, Scorpio.

In those three weeks the Moon, which was in Richards’ 11th house Leo, has gone three-quarters of the way around the zodiac to occupy Page’s 9th house Gemini.

Except for the Moon and Venus, every other planet is in the same sign, therefore in the same house for a whole-sign house system.

The Sun has advanced 22 degrees. Mercury went retrograde after Richards was born, so Page has it both combust and retrograde.

Otherwise, everything else in their charts is the same sign and house – Mars and Saturn both retrograde in the 8th, Jupiter retrograde in the 11th, Rahu/Ketu in the 10th/4th house axis.

Both guitarists have a mutual reception by sign between the Sun in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Leo. Since they have the same ascendant, this mutual reception creates for both a powerful link between the 3rd and 11th houses.

Among other things, a mutual reception between the 3rd and 11th can create powerful artistry including musicianship. This is because the 3rd is associated with physical prowess, manifesting as athletic skill or artistic craft, while the 11th is associated with realized talents, particularly within the context of a group effort. Here’s how I described some of this effect in my recent book, Mutual Reception:

The native has the courage to address large assemblies, and may act as a spokesperson for an association or society. He is talented in entertaining large groups of people, through speaking or performing. He takes part in a group adventure, and is a member of a musical group or performing arts troupe. He may be ambidextrous, and has a good musical ear.

Although this wasn’t written with musicians in mind (I looked for case studies after I wrote the effects of each exchange), this does apply to both Richards and Page, who share the mutual reception between 3rd and 11th house lords. Here’s how it manifested in Richards’ life:

3rd house themes are revealed through his guitar prowess, songwriting talent and love of books. Note that the 3rd/11th exchange involves the two houses that rule the right and left hands, respectively. The 11th house theme has played out in “group work”, a huge income, an iconic social profile as a rock star, ongoing dedication to fellow musicians, and a collection of guitars that numbers over 3000.

This describes Page too, except he owns fewer guitars than Richards. But what distinguishes Page is a second mutual reception in his chart, elevating him to a select group – only 3% of the public – who have two mutual receptions.

Page’s second pattern lies in the 2nd and 8th houses, where their lords Mars and Venus have effectively exchanged signs to occupy each other’s domicile.

Traditional astrology considers the sign opposite one’s domicile as a place of detriment. Yet when a planet is there, it looks directly across the chart – casting an (opposition) aspect – into the sign it rules. This is considered by all jyotishi (Vedic astrologers) and some Hellenistic astrologers as being positive, since the ruler can “see” its sign/house and thus ensure its well-being.

keith & jimmy 2

Among other things, a mutual reception between the 2nd and 8th houses facilitates the exchange of money and/or knowledge between the native and other people. Here’s what I said about this in my book, Mutual Reception:

Because the lords of money for the Self vs the Other are in mutual reception, the notion of currency or financial exchange is obvious. This could manifest positively, eg, via a banker or investment broker who manages other people’s money, or negatively, as a thief or swindler. We could also view the exchange in light of knowledge. Acquired education may be specialized, or transmitted via an oral tradition, eg, mysticism, occult, or the alternative healing arts. This could appear in the chart of a scholar, linguist, or occultist.

Although you might think that sounds more like JP Morgan or Aleister Crowley, it’s surprising how well it applies to Page. Here’s what I observed about his 2nd/8th mutual reception, with the added influence of Saturn on the exchange axis.

The negative association of a strong Saturn on this exchange axis skewed Page into dark territory – his heroin addiction, his fascination with the occult, and some unsubstantiated rumors about sex with juvenile girls. On the plus side, however, he was well-educated and soft-spoken, and created a massive transfer of wealth from rock fans into the bank accounts of Led Zeppelin. Equally positive, he later turned his own significant wealth back into several charities.

Aside from their Moon positions and the shifted Venus that creates Page’s second mutual reception, the two musicians’ charts are still strikingly similar. Most notably, malefics Mars and Saturn both occupy their 8th houses.

Anyone familiar with the current sidereal transits will note that transiting Mars and Saturn will be in Scorpio for seven months this year, from mid-February to mid-September, except for a brief retrograde foray into sidereal Libra late June and early July.

Transiting Mars and Saturn will form an exact conjunction at 15SC47 sidereal on 24th August 2016, opposite the natal Mars/Saturn pair in the 8th house Taurus of both guitarists’ charts.

It may be morbid, but it’s inevitable that the average astrologer will give at least some passing thought to the possibility of accident or death during this transit. It’s almost inevitable in the case of Richards, our generation’s walking zombie:

Long defying Top 10 lists of who’ll die next, Richards is an archetypal rock star. One journalist compared him to Lord Byron – “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” Another called him “a capering streak of living gristle who ought to be exhibited as a warning to youth of what drugs can do to you even if you’re lucky enough not to choke on your own vomit.” [Mutual Reception, p.157]

Both Richards and Page were heroin addicts. Although Richards was relatively public about his blood-cleansing holidays in Swiss clinics, Page’s treatment was more discreet. However, both fought the battle and emerged victorious. But however good the vitality and the prospects for longevity, eventually the sand runs out of one’s clock…

So what of that powerful pair of malefics in the 8th house? Are they a pair of killers? And now that they’re directly opposed by transit from their natal positions, does this intimate a crisis, the beginning of the end?

keith & jimmy transits

Although Vedic astrologers would now turn to a consideration of the major and minor planetary periods (the dasha and bhukti of jyotish) for guidance, let’s try instead to examine this strictly on the basis of transits to see what we might distinguish vis-à-vis a prognosis for either of these two 72-year-olds.

Note that the transiting conjunction of Mars and Saturn occurs at 15SC47. Mars is strong in its own sign, Saturn is ordinary.

In Richards’ chart, this transiting conjunction forms a very tight opposition (00deg28) to his natal Mars. Mars is lord of his 2nd and 7th houses. Since the 2nd rules family (among other things) and the 7th rules the spouse, one possible outcome is some problem regarding his wife Patti Hansen.

The transiting Mars/Saturn conjunction also forms a tight square (01deg11) with Richards’ natal Moon. Since the Moon rules his 10th house, this could affect his career, reputation and/or social status. But since the 10th is the 4th from the 7th, it could also spell problems for Patti’s mother.

Having seen this much, we could now hypothesize that, assuming she’s still alive, Patti Hansen’s mother suffers illness or death this summer. This would be a blow to Keith’s spouse (the 7th), his mother-in-law (the 10th), and indeed his whole family (the 2nd).

But he’s not sick or dying, because there’s no affliction to either the ascendant or the ascendant lord. His natal Venus is strong in its own sign!

In Page’s chart, the transiting Mars/Saturn conjunction also opposes his natal Mars, albeit here with a larger orb of 04deg00. Again, we could turn our attention to family (2nd lord) or spouse (7th lord) but let’s continue our analysis before jumping to conclusions.

In Page’s case, transiting Mars/Saturn also scores a direct hit (01deg48) by conjunction on his natal Venus, which rules his 1st and 8th houses. The 1st represents health and vitality (among other things), while the 8th invokes physical trauma and longevity.

Note that the transiting Mars/Saturn conjunction in Page’s chart makes close aspects to both natal Mars and Venus, the two planets involved in his mutual reception of 2nd and 8th house lords. And the malefic nature of that transiting pair is likely to have a negative effect.

Of what sort? Two possibilities come to mind.

The first is physical. Venus is Page’s ascendant lord. Natal Mars/Saturn both oppose natal Venus; now transiting Mars/Saturn both conjoin natal Venus. Natal Mars/Saturn occupy the 8th house of the (hidden) sexual organs. Venus is representative of the reproductive system. Since transiting Mars/Saturn affects both natal Mars and Venus, we could hypothesize a prostate problem. Will we ever know? Not likely.

The second possibility is financial. Page’s natal Mars and Venus, both closely aspected by the Mars/Saturn transit, are lords of the 2nd and 8th houses. Led Zeppelin is currently the subject of a lawsuit alleging their famous song Stairway to Heaven represents a copyright infringement. Dubious or not, it’s gone to court. Given the nature of the mutual reception involving the 2nd and 8th houses, eg, implying an exchange of money, this could mean Led Zeppelin is liable for damages. But since both planets are in fixed signs, and Saturn acts as a brake on such transactions, any settlement will likely be trivial.

I know it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but I like it.

keith & jimmy 3 

~~~

Alan Annand, astrologer and writer, is a graduate of the British Faculty of Astrological Studies and the American College of Vedic Astrology. His New Age Noir mystery series features astrologer Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.” His latest book Mutual Reception is a detailed reference text for one of the least-understood configurations in astrology.

 

 

Felonious Monk: Axel Crowe is an astrologer action hero

14 Apr

AA_FM_1“Axel Crowe, hero of Alan Annand’s New Age Noir mystery series, is the perfect blend of detective, astrologer, mystic and martial artist. Felonious Monk, the second of the series, engages and entertains in just the right proportions. The intricate plot involves a dead guest at a Vermont ashram, a serial killer of Asian women in New York, and a golden Buddha stolen from a Bangkok temple.

Annand weaves his story with irony, wit, information and insight, not to mention some high action scenes. Crowe is a steady, humble, highly brilliant and somewhat fearless hero. But despite his attractions, he feels no need to prove himself a James Bond, rather, he’s sexually circumspect. (Think hot, but restrained.) It’s hard not to respect the way he lives, with a spiritual practice as rigorous as his martial.”

~ Julie Simmons, Astrology Toronto

Felonious 4http://www.amazon.com/Alan-Annand/e/B0052MM0POhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/alan-annand/id442957999http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alan-annandhttp://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/Search?Query=Alan+Annandhttps://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AlanAnnand

SOMA COUNTY: New Age Noir no.3

8 Oct

NewAgeNoir3A

It’s coming. The third installment in Alan Annand’s NEW AGE NOIR series, featuring astrologer extraordinaire Axel Crowe, will be released Fall 2015.

With rave reviews from The Mountain Astrologer, Stephen Forrest, Dell Horoscope, Michael Lutin and Horoscope Guide, this series delivers literary and esoteric crime fiction unlike anything else you’ve ever read.

The 5-star reviews: https://www.pinterest.com/alanannand/scorpio-rising/

“Annand portrays an investigator using an esoteric toolkit – astrology, palmistry, numerology – in a serious and effective way that shines new light on the so-called occult arts. Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope. ” ~ an Amazon reviewer

 

Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson: Who’s the real King of the Cosmos?

3 Apr

Guest post: Chicago blogger Beth Michelle

cosmos

They started and ended in the same place: born in New York a generation apart, astronomers Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson would both go on to host a show called Cosmos. Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, aired in 1980 on PBS and broke documentary viewership records for nearly a decade; Tyson’s sequel, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, debuted in 2014 on Fox.

Their passion for knowledge and their desire to share the wonder of the universe with everyone drove both men, but their careers, personalities, and approaches are unique.

saganSagan indulged in the speculative, and he focused his career on the exploration of extraterrestrial life. He was inspired early on by the Miller-Urey experiment which sought to pinpoint the chemical origin of life on earth. After his acquaintance Stanley Miller demonstrated that amino acids, a fundamental building block of life, could have been formed by chemical reactions in Earth’s early days, Sagan became engrossed in the near-certainty of extraterrestrial life.

His seemingly outlandish ideas, from musing about possibility of life under the surface of the moon to terraforming Venus, captured the popular imagination, though they were regarded as reckless by some of his peers. Harold Urey, a part of the experiment that inspired him early on, wrote a letter to the Harvard tenure committee in 1968 expressing his concerns.

Sagan’s tendency to dream may have cost him tenure at Harvard, but he moved quickly to Cornell University, where he would consult with NASA on a life-detecting mission to Mars, and also had a hand in designing the Pioneer plaques and Voyager Golden Record, messages to any extraterrestrials those missions might encounter.

He believed that the public was more interested in and more capable of understanding science than his peers did. Just over a decade later, Cosmos appeared on PBS for the first time.

Sagan drew people to science with his sense of wonder and possibility. Tyson brings science closer to people on a cultural level, using social media to share his passion.

tysonNine-year-old Tyson’s love of the stars was ignited when he first visited the Hayden Planetarium in New York. After studying at Harvard and Columbia, he eventually went on to become director of the Planetarium. He dedicated himself to making sure inquisitive minds, like his own, would find the same enlightenment there that he had.

Tyson posts regularly to Twitter, where he (@neiltyson) has more than three million followers. He certainly engages people with interesting factoids, and he’s also at least partly responsible for one of the most popularly contentious decisions in recent astronomy: the demotion of Pluto. Most of his work focuses on stars, but his reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet was confirmed by the International Astronomical Union in 2006.

plutoNothing gets people riled up – gets them as engaged in astronomy – as the “debate” about Pluto’s planet-hood. Except perhaps for debates about the legitimacy of astrology — and both Sagan and Tyson have been outspoken about their disbelief.

Both men also served as advisors to NASA. He has served on two separate commissions, one in 2001 and the Moon, Mars, and Beyond commission of 2004, to guide the future of NASA’s research. In 2006 he was appointed to the Advisory Council to help NASA prioritize projects with its limited budget.

Another significant similarity is that both men publicly expressed their concern for the welfare of the environment. Sagan had published about the looming dangers of climate change in the early eighties, and Tyson has repeatedly spoken out in favor of a diversified energy market (which is the very sort of advocacy that has helped to improve Toledo gas prices and diversify renewable energy options throughout Texas).

Both Sagan and Tyson racked up plenty of accomplishments. Both were instrumental in bridging the gap between esoteric sciences and the popular imagination. They started their lives in the same place and achieved many similar things, though their methods, and their personalities, are quite different.

~~~~~~~~~

Beth_KellyBeth Michelle is a Chicago-based blogger with a nasty film addiction. Her primary interests include pulp cinema, fashion photography and vintage Japanese film cameras.

New Age Noir: #1 Scorpio Rising, #2 Felonious Monk

8 Feb

thumb_SRThe long-awaited sequel to Scorpio Rising, #1 in the New Age Noir series by Alan Annand, is coming soon.

In Scorpio Rising, criminal profiler Axel Crowe investigates the killing of a New York heiress, and discovers her death is linked to two other murders on the same day: a dot-com millionaire in San Francisco, and the team leader of a CIA counter-terrorist project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. A finder of wayward people and stolen possessions, the enigmatic Crowe profiles subjects in a distinctly unique manner – using astrology, palmistry and other esoteric techniques. Facts are gross, but the truth is subtle, Crowe’s guru used to say. And although the truth behind this three-way conspiracy lies buried in the past, Crowe is relentless until he uncovers it.

The reviews thus far:

Scorpio Rising does for astrology what The Da Vinci Code did for art history.” ~ Suite101 Book Reviews

Scorpio Rising by Alan Annand, the first of his New Age Noir series, is a gripping murder mystery with a Hitchcockian twist.” ~ The Mountain Astrologer

“Annand is a terrific mystery writer who weaves a convincing working knowledge of a metaphysician’s world view into each page.” ~ Steven Forrest

“Axel Crowe, the brilliant investigator of Annand’s Scorpio Rising, is Agent 007 for the New Age noir set.” ~ Astrology Toronto

“Annand has done a masterful job in creating a whole new type of hero – astrologer as detective.” ~ North American Jyotish Newsletter

“Incredible power as a poet in prose – in the style of Hammett and Hemingway – to describe places and people.” ~ Michael Lutin

“If you like detective stories featuring astrology and palmistry, this is a terrific read that will keep you flipping the pages.” ~ NCGR Newsletter

“Scorpio Rising is an engaging mystery with a momentum that sends you rushing to the end.” ~ Horoscope Guide

“A fascinating murder mystery, and a wonderful book for anyone with even a little knowledge of astrology and palmistry to enjoy!” ~ Ray Merriman

“For those with a mystical blend and more than a touch of Scorpio darkness, you’re in for a treat.” ~ Dell Horoscope

winged helmet

For more on these reviews, see Scorpio Rising on Pinterest. 

Because Mercury retrograde doesn’t always spell disaster, Scorpio Rising will be available for the whole of February and March as well, for an introductory price of only $0.99, after which the price will return to $2.99. 

The ebook is available at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, KoboSmashwords and Sony.

The second installment in the New Age Noir series will be released on April 6, 2014. Pre-orders are now available at Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

thumb_FMIn Felonious Monk, a  reporter is found dead on a Vermont ashram. Summoned by an old friend who runs the retreat, astrologer Axel Crowe barely has time to assess the situation before the police arrest his friend for murder.

Believing him innocent, Crowe suspects instead a mysterious devotee who may be ex-CIA, and the beautiful Thai woman who accompanied him to the retreat. But when Crowe follows them to New York, the woman disappears and the man threatens to make Crowe disappear.

In exchange for NYPD help, Crowe agrees to take a look at a cold case file – the Riverside Rapist – who killed eight Asian women over 12 years. The timing of the murders intrigues Crowe, who sees in it an astrological signature of the killer.

Coincidence or not, the cold case overlaps some of the stories the reporter was working on – sex trafficking, heroin smuggling and the theft of religious antiquities  – all from Southeast Asia. None of it hangs together until Crowe goes to Thailand, and then it all makes perfect, horrible, sense.

Note: You can subscribe to future posts by clicking the [+ Follow] button in the lower right corner of this page.

Until then, remember, Mercury retrograde isn’t all bad.

~~~~~

Image

I gave a talk on Uranus the other night…

15 Jun

uranus_talk

Warning: This novel contains trace amounts of astrology!

19 May

thumb_HWThe other day I was browsing through some recent Amazon reviews of my hard-boiled mystery thriller Harm’s Way. It was originally published years ago under a pseudonym at St. Martin’s Press, but I rewrote it in 2011 and self-published it under my own name, eventually offering it free in 2013 to pique interest in my other mystery/thrillers.

In one review the reader complained that Montreal wasn’t Los Angeles and I wasn’t Raymond Chandler. Although I’d suspected the latter already, I was still pleased he’d correctly identified a writer whose style I’d emulated in writing the novel.

The reader went on to grumble, however, that the novel contained too much cat, as well as too much astrology. Just to paint the big picture, my private investigator owned a cat which was savaged by a rogue Doberman in the first chapter, thus requiring the attentions of a lady vet with whom my hero subsequently became, um, intimately involved.

As for the astrology, my hero had a longstanding astrologer lady friend with whom he occasionally sought counsel. In the novel, astrology was discussed in two scenes totalling less than 1400 words; in a novel of approximately 80,000 words, that’s roughly 1.7%.

Although little more than a page and a half every hundred pages, it was obviously too much – constituting a near-toxic dose for my reader, whose belief system was apparently so challenged by those few pages that he fell into a fever of intolerance, almost shutting down his reading experience.

In all fairness, perhaps he does suffer from allergies – probably to cats, but maybe also to open-mindedness. There’s a lot of that going around. Even among some of my own friends, who know I’ve been a professional astrologer for 30 years, there’s this attitude: Practice astrology all you want with the kooks you call your clients, but when it comes to writing novels, please don’t inflict that nonsense on the rest of us.

Luckily, I’m still amused by the ignorance of people ever ready to criticize things they know nothing about. Ironically, many of astrology’s harshest critics never read any serious books on the subject, nor consulted professional astrologers. Everyone wants the easy route, and clearly it’s less effort to develop an uninformed opinion than an informed one. As Sir Isaac Newton chided a fellow scientist critical of Newton’s interest in astrology, Newton said, “Sir, I have studied the subject. You have not.”

Anyway, that review got me thinking… Do we now live in an age where the public’s attitude toward astrology is as virulent as its allergy to peanuts, shellfish and soy? Do I need a consumer label on my book covers, saying: “Warning! This novel contains trace amounts of astrology. Those of a fragile mind are cautioned to browse elsewhere less you catch a New Age virus.

thumb_SRGood thing this particular reader hadn’t discovered my New Age noir mystery thriller Scorpio Rising, whose content dedicated to astrology, palmistry and other esoteric subjects runs to 10%. If he’d read that, he might have died of anaphylactic shock, and I’d be facing a lawsuit.

~~~

Alan Annand is an astrologer (Dipl-FAS, Dipl-ACVA) based in Toronto. He is also the author of several mystery thrillers, and some of his novels feature shockingly-realistic depictions of major and minor characters who are also astrologers.

Mercury Retrogrades Anonymous

28 Jul

The scene opens on a basement room in a church. On a blackboard, someone has printed in capital letters, No smoking, drinking or fornicating in God’s house. Please use the cemetery across the street. On the opposite wall, a tired Christ sags on his cross, looking like He’s had it with this existence.

A dozen folding chairs are assembled in a circle, upon which are seated six men and six women in alternating sequence. Their clothing varies widely – a man dressed all in red, a woman covered in floral prints, another guy in plaid, a girl in black, and so on – a very motley crew.

From somewhere far above them, a church bell peals seven times. The moderator, an older man in a worn business suit, and a lapel pin that reads On a clear night, I can see Uranus, stands up and clears his throat.

Moderator:  

“Thank you all for coming. As you know, this group meets on an irregular schedule, generally for three weeks at a stretch during three periods spread throughout the year. For those of you who don’t have an ephemeris indicating Mercury’s retrograde periods, please speak to Sister Flora after the meeting and for a reasonable fee she can provide you with a copy that you can carry around with you, or keep under your pillow as a talisman against chaos.”

He nods towards the woman in the floral print dress, who smiles demurely at the group, then goes back to her crochet work, which is either a baby bonnet or one half of a D-cup bikini.

Moderator:  

“So, I have just one public announcement to make, which is that our scheduled group outing next Saturday, to see the Dadaist exhibit at the Museum of Strange Art, is cancelled due to… can you guess?”

The group (in chorus):  

“Mercury retrograde!”

Moderator (seating himself):  

“Yes, well there you have the story of our lives. So on that note, let me turn it over to our attendees this evening. Is there anyone here who would like to speak first?”

The man in red stands up. He wears a red sweater, red corduroy pants, and scuffed red shoes. He has a nasty rash on his hands, and his crimson nose looks like a motorcycle tail light.

Beelzebub:  

“Hello, my name is Beelzebub, and I believe in the cosmic power of Mercury retrograde to undo all that is good and orderly in our existence.”

The group  (in chorus):  

“Hello, Beelzebub!”

Moderator:  

“Share your pain, brother.”

Beelzebub:  

“Can I rap it?”

Moderator:  

“It’s your thing, do what you gotta do.”

Beelzebub starts to walk around the inside of the circle, snapping his fingers, clapping his hands, and stomping hard on the four-beat.

Beelzebub:  

“I was born under Mercury retrograde

And my Ma said I started off real bad.

My life has been like one big old train wreck,

It got derailed and it never went direct.

They say it’s all right, retro Mercury will pass,

But it’s not all right, it’s just a pain in the ass.”

Beelzebub sits down, amid thunderous applause.

Moderator:  

“Anyone else?”

The girl in black rises. Everything she wears is black – sweater, skirt, tights, boots, fingernail polish, lipstick, makeup and string of pearls. Even her face seems shrouded in the perpetual shadow that hangs over those who think too much about weighty subjects in basement rooms.

Moira:  

“My name is Moira, and I think that Mercury rules the thirteenth sign of the Zodiac, which is called Hermesopolis, and because the newspapers won’t acknowledge that sign in their daily horoscopes, Mercury’s curse upon the world is that every time, s/he goes retrograde, everything gets all fucked up, because that’s when Mercury has her period, and because she’s a hermaphrodite, it’s like, really a bitch.”

Moira sits down. Everyone squirms in silence, looking at the floor.

Moderator:  

“Thank you, Moira. That was very… interesting. Would anyone else like to share their thoughts about Mercury retrograde?”

Sister Flora:  

“I have a Mercury retrograde ephemeris available for sale.”

Moderator:  

“I mentioned that already.”

Sister Flora:  

“Oh, I thought that was a voice inside my head. There are two versions. One page is hand-lettered on bio-degradable hemp parchment. After the year is over you can use it as a bird cage underpad, or to wipe up kitchen spills. It’s five dollars because five is the number of Mercury. The other version has a crocheted trim in blue lamb’s wool. The real animal for Mercury is the unicorn but it’s very hard to find unicorn wool, because they only come out during Mercury retrograde periods, and moult just on the day that Mercury is stationary direct. It’s 25 dollars, which is the number of Mercury squared.”

Moderator:  

“Thank you, Sister Flora.

Sister Flora:  

“Next year, I may come out with a Bluetooth butt-plug version, which will vibrate intermittently during the entire Mercury retrograde period, reminding you to stay vigilant during those periods of Mercurial chaos. Would anyone be interested?”

Everyone raises their hands. Sister Flora does a headcount and nods her thanks.

Moderator  (clearing his throat):  

“Well, I guess that’s it for tonight. I’d like to say we’ll meet again, same time next week, but because it’s Mercury retrograde, I know you don’t want to make any commitments. Let’s just leave it up in the air, shall we?”

Rx – Rx – Rx

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