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Violence on our Doorsteps

Are we finally getting tired of “being safe nowhere?” The epidemic of violence in society and what we can do about it.

When violent events such as those in Uvalde happen, it would seem obvious to expect that many children and adults will be more anxious about attending school this fall.  Add to this, in our local community, the impact of the tragic events of the Collins family murders at the hands of an escaped convict. The Tomball community and Tomball ISD students and teachers have been directly impacted by these tragedies. Allowing for the expression of grief within the community will be very important in the coming days and weeks ahead and in the coming school year.  We need to promote the reverence of life and the solemnity of this moment of loss.

So many types of brutality and violence exist today, from road rage to random shootings, and it exists in so many places: shopping venues, schools, workplaces, entertainment venues, really anywhere. Are we finally going to have the political will to take a tiny step towards what other western societies had the will to fully achieve in the 90’s?  Are we finally getting tired of “being safe nowhere?” Even before the days of Columbine we could witness the spreading epidemic of mass shooting incidents. Gun ownership did not help the Collins family.  There is a prevalent degradation of reverence for all forms of life.   When added to other factors such as the degradation of the environment, the economic hardship of the current times, homelessness, and the prevalence of technology taking over the human quality of all of our interactions in society, then the bleak picture of where we currently stand becomes clear.  Add uninhibited, easy access to powerful guns by children, enabled by the exaggeration and aggrandizement of second amendment rights, and you have conditions we currently experience.   Columbine, sadly, was only the beginning.  We have simply rinsed and repeated for decades and added social media to the mix.

School shootings from a teacher’s perspective

As a teacher executing active shooter drills throughout this time period, I have had to answer the questions from students that naturally come, such as, “What if the shooter comes from this entrance over there, what should we do?”  I have had to imagine these nightmare scenarios, trying to assuage the fears of students (and myself!) and assure them of adults’ resolve to do everything we can to protect them. But deep down, each of them recognizes how vulnerable we are.  We are sitting targets, whether teachers start packing guns or not.  This is truly the gravity of the matter. It makes me want to shout from the mountaintop, “Do something, America!” I could not agree more with the comment made by Lexi Rubio’s parents, victims of the Uvalde shooting, that right now, guns are more important than children in America.  Deplorable, but true. We have failed an entire generation of children by perpetuating a lack of reverence for life.  Guns don’t make us safer.

As a teacher, I now have to regularly plan my own tactical, defensive responses to potential attacks: 

What are the weak points of security in my classroom?
How will we respond to get our students to safety?
Where are the safest areas to go in the event of an active shooter and we can’t escape?
What will I or can I do if we have to stay in place?
Lastly, if it comes down to it, how will I attempt to protect my life and the lives of my students if a shooter enters my classroom? I call this plan, “my last ditch effort.”

Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate needing to plan my defensive tactics when I became a teacher in 1995. The only words I can think of are “gut-wrenching.”

While I personally don’t carry a gun, many in my family do, and they do not want to see a complete ban on weapons.  Living in Texas, I do respect the prevalent desire to protect gun rights.  But, these horrific acts will continue as long we continue to do nothing about the lack of reverence for life.  Putting guns in classrooms will open the door for guns to fall into the hands of students who are struggling with mental health. If we lived in a healthy society, then things would be different.  In that case, we could all own as many guns as we wanted and nobody would ever get murdered because everyone would act responsibly. In that imaginary world, we would all “be safe,” but that is not the current state of the world.  Guns don’t make us safer, friends.  Making it harder for the deranged to get access to guns will make it *a little* safer.

Gun Laws and MEntal Health

Sensible limits through gun laws could help in the immediate, short-term.  Gun laws have been effective at reducing these kinds of incidents in other countries.  This to me, feels like a mental health crisis of the highest magnitude, one that governmental gun regulations will immediately “help,” but not solve.  This is a deeper issue of societal mental health.

Along those lines, the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is true. For that reason, more intensive mental health measures are needed.  We need both.  But perhaps like many, I struggle to understand what motivates someone to commit such deeds.  This is a very important line of questioning because we have an individual and a societal responsibility to identify people with mental illness who pose potential threats to themselves or others.   For us to do our part, gun buyers should have to present three or more verifiable character references in order to process their purchase, or perhaps requiring waiting periods and/or proof of evaluation by mental health professionals for those under the age of 21, or restrict the purchase of guns to 21 and older altogether.

But, I repeat, gun laws alone do not solve this problem.  We need better mental health treatment.  Early and regular mental health check-ups provided for free as part of preventative health care are desperately needed.  Health insurance plans have long been too skimpy in providing for mental wellness.  Disorders can be uncovered and treated much earlier and especially at critical points in child development: at ages 6-7, ages 12-13, and the crucial age=17.  This would enable a much more proactive approach, allowing greater mental health support for a developing child and for the family as a whole, while something can still be done about it, when the person is young.   Additional regular mental health screenings during the mid-life crisis age of 41-43 would also be helpful for many parents, as the early 40’s is also the age of many parents when their children hit those rocky teen years of 15-17.   Through studying the profiles of previous mass shooters, identifying the common points, and then screening and achieving early identification of mental health disorders, we can work towards reducing crime and other societal impacts of poor mental health.

Realizing that schools are often the targets of these incidents should also tell us something, namely that society must address the reality that schools are not always the ideal places of actual learning and nurturance that they were intended to be.  Often schools are the backdrop for where seeds of violence are planted: child bullying, and in some cases, the worst forms of psychological and physical abuse are perpetrated and perpetuated, whether by other students or adults, tacitly or directly. This makes schools natural targets for such attacks motivated by revenge.  Awareness of bullying, who gets it, who gives it, and why, increased throughout the early 2000’s and anti-bullying campaigns were a good start, but it has not been nearly enough to combat the problem in schools.   

Schools as the epicenter of violence

From the ages of 7 to age 14, students absolutely need three things that most children are not currently getting:

1. Sufficient daily access to nature and the outdoors with an adequate amount of physical activity to offset the overuse of electronics,

2. a deep bond with at least one positive authority figure outside of the home that they respect (a teacher a coach, or other adult mentor), again – to offset the overuse of electronic media influence, and

3. regular exposure to images of goodness, beauty, and truth – again to offset the detrimental influences of a morally degraded society. Those alone would greatly help the current mental health crisis.  Everything about academics would also improve if we focused on these three game-changers and stopped acting as if test scores were the most important.

In future posts I might take each of these three issues point by point to examine more closely why they are so crucial to child health. But these stand out as the most potent. We could also explore and evaluate the effectiveness of previous anti-bullying campaigns and determine why these have failed to address the mental health crisis in schools.

There is perhaps a fourth need that could be better addressed as students mature into middle and high school, and that is providing a relevant purpose for being at school. Most adolescents who struggle, do so because they lack a sense that school adds any meaning, value or purpose for them.  Jumping through hoop after hoop merely to pass a test year after year is not enough of a reason to come to school, especially if you face daily bullying. If there is no sense of purpose and you experience physical or emotional bullying as well, then it’s easy to take your own life or easily take someone else’s.   

Families and schools need to re-establish the reverence for life as a core societal value regardless of distinct religious beliefs or faiths.  All of these issues are addressed through the following principles: 

reverence for life as a shared value

  1. Humans consist of mind, body and spirit, and to educate well, all three must be addressed. (Children are not robots.)
  2. Humans develop in distinct seven-year periods that have distinct needs. (Stop treating kindergarteners like college applicants.)
  3. Relationships matter for all phases of development, but between age 7-14, the teacher as the primary  AUTHORITY FIGURE for the children in the community/society needs to return. (Communities need to have the backs of teachers, as we have now moved forward to join police officers and other first responders who risk our own lives on the FRONT LINE.)
  4. Teacher autonomy to meet the needs of students, more voice in government and leadership.
  5. Emphasis on the long-term moral development of the student rather than immediate academic knowledge to pass tests, or surface, skill learning. (Stop killing education with overemphasis on test results. We are raising human beings, not making widgets.)
  6. Emphasis on cultivation of social health within the classroom, not just a smattering of anti-bullying campaigns thrown around that come and go with the local politics.)
  7. Teachers that intentionally engage in and are supported by activities that support their own mental, physical, and spiritual health to enable us to do this important, societal work with our most vulnerable population – our children.

[For more about these seven principles, take a look at Alliance for Public Waldorf Schools/Waldorf Education.]

how this relates to astrology

Lastly, I see the potential for well-informed astrology to offer helpful insights into an individual’s psychology.  Astrology is the ultimate study of patterns.  I am not talking about the kind of soda pop astrology most people are familiar with here.  I am referring to serious research with the aid of big data. Astrological and statistical analysis could help identify people with greater potential for mental health disorders, thereby helping to prevent murders and suicides through earlier identification and earlier treatment.   One team of researchers at Astrology-Zoadiac-Signs.com found that the water signs were the most deadly serial killers of all the zodiac signs, according to their research of 500 serial killers.  In another example of astrological research, one British astrologer, who compared Eric Harris’ chart to that of the Dunblane shooter found that both mass shooters had Mars and Saturn in a similar, stressful condition. Harris was one of the Columbine shooters.  Read his piece here.

If we were to conduct greater statistical analysis of all known mass shooters on file, would we find more specific markers for mental illness that would enable better identification? How would mass shooters differ from serial killers?   There are so many more potential astrological and other psychological and health indicators that could be discovered: early learning disabilities, prevalence of existence of other health conditions, existence of suicidal tendencies, but so much more research is needed in general.

ways we can move forward

Sensible laws, improved mental health screenings for young people, and required character references for any person seeking to own guns, improved methods for identifying those with mental health disorders in general, and improving mental health in schools and bullying will help. These types of endeavors could bring together people from a wide variety of fields and disciplines. When we come together to intensively address the problem of epidemic violence and do more to support mental health in our society as a top priority from multiple disciplines, it can be assured that more ways to identify and treat mental health disorders will be found, resulting in restored reverence of human life and greater wellness throughout society.

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More blog posts from eagle eye

Cosmic Navigator

Cosmic Navigator: Design Your Destiny With Astrology and Kabbalah by Gahl Eden Sasson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was the funnest, cheapest therapy I have had in a long time. I did not find Cosmic Navigator, it found me, and I am glad it did. The bulk of the book is the 12 chapters dedicated to a twelve-week process of giving one week to each of the twelve signs by embodying and acting out that sign.

At first this idea seemed very daunting. Twelve weeks! Acting?! I threw up a lot of resistance initially. I could not imagine staying in character for a whole week while attending to my job and other daily responsibilities. I am not an “actress” type. But that was just my initial doubt and resistance. Once I put away the idea of having to do it perfectly, and just began the journey, I found my own way and settled into what activities I could manage to do each week authentically without really feeling like “acting.”

Despite my initial doubts, I completed the twelve-week process of embodying each of the twelve signs of the zodiac. As weeks progressed I found myself fully engaged and looking forward to what each sign would reveal. I found the synchronicities totally fascinating. You just can’t make this stuff up! For example, on the week that I was in the sign of Sagittarius I took a motorcycle trip with my husband. (Sagittarius is associated with long distance travel and bit of risk-taking adventuring.) There is no way I could have planned that event to coincide when I started the book, it just happened to be on the same week. Additionally, we attended a star party while on the trip and for the first time I witnessed the constellation of Sagittarius which not normally visible where I live. In the week of Capricorn I had my annual performance review at work. (Capricorn is associated with Career/status and responsibility.) There were many more such synchronistic events that occurred for each sign that I experienced throughout this process. It was full of surprises and a lot of fun!

I highly recommend this book and Sasson’s process to anyone who is already at least a little familiar with their chart and astrology, but who also wants a deeper foray into the nuances of what it means to have a certain sign in a certain house. Like anything, you get out what you put in.

For each week/sign Sasson gives a menu of possible assignments, recommended activities you can do to help you connect to that sign, recommended movies, colors to wear, and more so that you can embody the sign and steep yourself in the archetype for that week. What I found is that you don’t have to do it all, just do what you want to and what you can. What resulted for me in doing this were some new revelations about what makes me tick and how to best honor and care for myself.

I have recommended this book to my astrology-fluent friends and they are also enjoying it immensely and reporting to me some of their synchronicity with it. I imagine keeping this book accessible to return to whenever I may need to reconnect with the archetypes of a particular sign, especially in regards to the lists of recommended activities or “homework.” These were particularly unique and helpful compilations to gain access points to self-awareness in that house.

This is a little like “where your attention goes, your energy flows,” it is invaluable in the sense that if you find you need to spend more time on a problematic area, you could just circle back to that list of activities and spend more time doing the exercises suggested to help you work through the issues related to that house/sign.

I highly recommend this book as a self-led workshop into understanding the your internal dynamics, and the dynamics of your chart.









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Venus Cycle

For some helpful information on the Venus Cycle, I recommend Nine of Wands.Com’s article on the Venus Cycle. This would apply to you if you have Venus conjunct anything in your natal chart, or if Venus figures prominently in your most critical aspects.

https://www.nineofwands.com/blog/venus-cycle-calculator

VENUS STAR POINT AND JOHN ADAMS AS LIBRA EXEMPLAR

Today’s, Oct. 22, 2022 Venus Cazimi in Libra is a powerful time for relationships. (Astroseek has a wonderful image for the Venus cycle. )

to find the Venus Star Point in your natal chart, look at the conjunction between the Sun and Venus that occurred before your birthday. Then, apply it to your chart (the aspects it makes to other planets and the house it falls in) to understand what your heart desires and yearns for.

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2022/10/11159065/venus-star-point-in-libra-2022-meaning

I was born 8-9 days before a new Venus cazimi, so I had to go back quite a ways, almost the full length of the Venus cycle to get to the previous Venus conjunction. The Sabian Symbol was for 9 Leo at that point

This Symbol shows the relief, joy and motivation that can come from going through cold and difficult times, even dark struggles, and waking up to things being “sunnier”, warmer and full of promise. This is a time when the “air” (the newly awakened mind) is crisp and the “ground” (the refreshed and renewed body) readies itself for a new round of activity. The rewards may be transitory, so enjoy the good times and salute the more difficult periods as times of testing and learning. The nights may seem very long but there is always the reward of dawn as the sun rises again on a brand new day.
Refreshment after ‘the long night of the soul’. Dawn meditations bringing inspiration. Awakening energies signaling new beginnings. Changing emotions. Counseling.

Not letting go of difficult situations. Persisting with problems that have been solved. Feeling that the worst is going to happen all the time. Depression

https://sabiansymbols.com/symbols/

My first thought was, “Well, this explains my fascination with getting up before sunrise and watching the light emerge.” (At first I looked to the inferior conjunction and then remembered that Venus has both an inferior and superior conjunction, so be careful that you are using the right conjunction if you are only using an ephemeris.) The inferior conjunction point had to do with “charming court life,” wealth and the finer things in life. This is not something that normally impresses me. I much prefer a simple life with ample reserve for the necessities, but I am not in favor of excess, which becomes its own prison.

Rails A Cafe at the Depot in Kerrville, Texas

This month I am facilitating a little study group with a Libra theme for friends who attended the New Astrology Emerging workshop in Boulder, CO at the StarHouse this past summer. There are about ten of us that have started meeting online once a month to keep our connection to this work growing.

In preparing for this study group, I am looking at the life of John Adams, our second President of the United States and one of the founding fathers of our country, who was a strong Libra born in October. (sidereal zodiac) Some sources say Oct 19, others Oct 30, 1735.

Not only did Adams have an incredible legal mind, he was masterful in keeping diplomatic relations with his wife, who kept him from sinking himself in public’s eye through her counsel and advice to him. John and Abigail had such an admirable, intellectual relationship for those times. He was not really cut out for the politics of the Presidency in the end, by many historians’ accounts, but he was instrumental in crafting the peace treaties that ended the revolutionary wars. Adams clearly respected his wife. His life was totally intertwined with the beginning of the revolution and he helped bring about its end. Interestingly, he was one of the only founding fathers of our country who never owned slaves. The transits to his natal chart during major historical events that occurred during his time in leadership are quite powerful and obvious.

Abigail Adams is a female figurehead every American should know about because I truly think that without her, Adams would not have risen to achieve the things that he did. This shows the power of Libra and relationships, whether marriage or diplomatic relations between countries and how a relationship can have a lasting impact on the whole world.

As astrologers discuss the Pluto return of the U.S., we can reap much inspiration from the biographies of these incredible people who lived through even more tumultuous times and achieved great things, people who truly had to endure difficult times, but who created new beginnings for generations of others that followed. Couldn’t we all use a little inspiration as we head into elections and the eclipses? Now go watch Hamilton or the series on John Adams’ life, or read their biographies and quitcherbitchin’about the state of the world!

Reading Joy

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, originally published in 2009, Donalyn Miller explains her philosophy of teaching, and how she creates a rich reading environment in her classroom with structures, practices and support for independent reading with her students. I appreciated her long-term view of the importance of developing students as readers for life, not just for a test. I respect that the author has endured the test-happy environment in the great state of Texas as a Language Arts teacher.

Miller shows an obvious interest in her students through her support of their interest-based reading. She challenges students to read 40 books in a school year. There is precious little talk of this kind from most pedagogues. It seems everywhere in education the dominant mindset is that students have to prove everything through skill-based activities and multiple choice tests and that we have to hold their hand and spoon-feed everything. Sadly, this is the lowest common denominator and has not improved society’s literacy at all. It’s as if, “If it ain’t on the test then it doesn’t exist.” Getting kids to love reading in this environment is rather like trying to get someone to savor the flavors, scents, and sights of a gourmet meal while the chef is quizzing them about their daily calorie intake.

I recognize that if I am to embrace this kind of approach, then my first step is to contend with my own life as a reader and step it up a few notches. I love non-fiction, and am a self-professed nerd when it comes to reading. I have my own “Miller Mountain” at home of books I want to read. I also like to write, blog and write songs. I primarily “read to learn,” read/write poetry, love philosophy, ancient mythology and stories that connect to the great mysteries of life. But mostly, I love to read non-fiction.


I love books like The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and Malcolm Gladwell’s other books. I love Shannon Lee’s biography of her father, Bruce Lee, titled, Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee. It was a blend of philosophy, life wisdom, and biographical accounts.

I do want to connect my students with books they love too though, and in order to do that I need to be reading more of those books myself. I have to admit, she shamed me into reading more. My goal this year already was to read 25 books, which I think I will make this goal. But I set that goal before I read her book. To be a better language arts teacher, Donalyn convinced me I need to read more of the books my students will want to read, which I tend to avoid doing during my free time because it feels like “work.” So yesterday I pulled 4-5 titles from my classroom bookshelves that I want to read and who knows, I may make 40 books yet by December. I have convinced myself that it isn’t really “work” if I choose titles I am interested in. I hope I can convince my students of the same.



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Uranus and Mars conjunct North Node

I just ran across the work of Jessica Davidson while I was looking for good descriptions for Part of Fortune.  She has a wealth of great writing on her site at https://jessicadavidson.co.uk/.

I appreciate her insights and explanations on the current Uranus transit, which I am re-posting from her blog.

Jessica Davidson

Chaos is the theme for 2022 and it’s about to get even crazier as Uranus closes in on the north node over the coming weeks. They’ve been within orb since late April and Mars joins the party in July so we can expect a lot more volatility and churn. The disruption has been ongoing for a while but it builds in intensity into July and early August and then bubbles under for the rest of the year.

The conjunction between Uranus and the north node will become exact at 18° Taurus on 31 July and the Mars conjunction becomes exact on 1 August. These events may happen on the same day in your time zone. Mars will be conjunct Uranus and the north node by degree from 22 July to 15 August, while Uranus stays within a few degrees of the north node for the rest of the…

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