Rediscovering Perspectives

It can be challenging to embrace the opposite viewpoint on an issue, but there are opportunities in the process.

Not long ago I attended a Houston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of Georgia O’Keeffe‘s photography. I recall learning how meticulously O’Keefe would explore the different perspectives of one scene in her photographs to see how each change in her approach communicated the subject. I was reminded of this because for the past two years I had stepped back from the anthroposophical perspective to go more deeply into classical western astrology. I felt this was a necessary step to become more fluent in Astrology and to feel a more confident base of knowledge.

View of Starhouse in Boulder

But this week I attempted to stretch myself in changing perspectives by attending a week-long study in Boulder of sidereal astrology led by Brian Gray, Robert Sciappecase, and David Tressemer. After several years of working with western I began to miss the heart-connection and spirit-based meaning and interpretation that came from anthroposophically-aligned approaches. This has been a return to my Waldorf roots but now applied to astrology.

Their approach translates the four fold, anthroposophical view of the human being into astrological terms on a birth chart. It has been fascinating, like turning from an east facing window to a west facing window and embracing the same landscape but through a different lens.

I have some new ideas to play with. Probably the most significant has been to more deeply investigate the NADIR of the chart. Understanding this often ignored angle of the chart, the earth point, puts us in better relationship to the ground of our being. Planets and signs located at the fourth house support our sense of security, our base from which we can venture on out into the world and accomplish our mission.

As an aside, I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of the materials and the attention to detail and thoroughness of the course as it is designed. A few participants have struggled with the more basic vocabulary which had I not already studied a fair amount through Western Astrology would likely have also caused me struggle. In that regard I feel I have been able to help a few classmates by sharing my understanding and I have been grateful for the solid foundation my studies in Western Astrology provided me.

But perhaps the most wonderful part has been the human touches: ample opportunity for movement, opportunity for breaks, ample opportunity for artistic rendition, and discussion which aid in the digestion of the material. The attention to these things facilitates the learning immensely and create a caring and supportive environment.

Book Review: Thrive

Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World by Valerie Hannon

Several years ago I subscribed to a newsletter put out by Education Re-Imagined, a non-profit organization that connects people and programs that work on the frontiers of educational innovation. It was through reading one of their recent newsletter issues I learned of this book, Thrive. Its co-authors are Valerie Hannon and Amelia Peterson.

Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World

Hannon is co-founder of the Innovation Unit of Global Leader Partnership and Peterson, has a PhD in Education from Harvard University.

Thrive gives a research-based overview of existing evidence and case studies of innovative school programs world-wide with a framework of suggestions to realign educational goals towards creating conditions that promote “thriving.” First, the authors set about defining what they mean by “thriving.” They give four levels of thriving:

A. Global
B. Societal
C. Interpersonal
D. Intrapersonal

Then they identify four key questions:

1. How can all learners best prepare for economies with technology-driven opportunities and development?
2. What tasks can humans perform better than machines and conversely, what tasks can machines perform better than humans?
3. What knowledge and skills do humans need to shape and direct computing power?
4. How can people best be prepared to learn and relearn skills to do human work, rather than be second class robots?


There is a central theme throughout the book of generating a more sustainable relationship with the Earth and its resources in the future. The authors identify both economic globalization and migration as key issues effecting the future.

They prioritize a different relationship between humans and our environment as a key desired outcome. The authors make the claim that education’s purpose is not to merely position kids for wealth acquisition in the job marketplace.

Hannon provides ample school examples already creating conditions for thriving with descriptions of their programs. She discusses an Ecosystems Approach that addresses:

A. Equipping learners for a disrupted jobs/work landscape (published post-Covid)
B. Educating for building respectful relationships in diverse, technologized societies
C. Creating local sustainability endeavors that address problems in local communities
D. Providing real-life application of knowledge, addressing “learner agency”

I liked hearing about how innovative schools in others locations are already adressing and accomplishing these tasks. I would have liked to have seen more data about learner outcomes attached to this overview of innovation. More could be done to follow up on these outcomes. How well did students of these types of programs do on measured learning standards, and perhaps for the more established programs, how did the graduates measure in terms of life happiness, mental health, employability, and the broader goals of interpersonal and intrapersonal thriving as they became adults? Where results were available, it would have been nice to hear more of it although the lack of data is not the necessarily the fault of the author.

The book does accomplish the goal of helping the audience become aware of what is currently being done in schools across a broad range of issues to address global problems we face. Teachers interested in innovation and change will be interested in this book.



View all my reviews

2022 and “Responsible freedom,” polarization, Technocracy, digital currency, and revolutions

Freedom stretches only as far as the limits of our consciousness.” – Carl Jung

For those who might be interested in understanding the longer astrological cycles we are in, and the historical overview as it relates to the astrological transits, Daljeet Peterson has created a great video which explains the trends.

Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus is a prominent theme throughout 2022. I love Peterson’s breakdown by square aspects and the corresponding historical correlations for the past 45 years. He gives some good descriptors to explain the themes of the Uranian-revolutionary and structured-Saturnian qualities of our current times.

solastalgia

In 2005, a new term was coined to describe “an emerging form of depression or distress caused by environmental change, such as from climate change, natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, and/or other negative or upsetting alterations to one’s surroundings or home.” The term is SOLASTALGIA.

As a resident Houstonian for almost 40 years of my life, I have certainly witnessed the deforestation of its outlying areas and the continual urbanization and over development for commercial, industrial and residential interests. Even new residents have expressed to me in their distress and depression at witnessing the clear cutting of lots for development in their neighborhoods. I can recall my own distress at witnessing the removal of old growth trees along a road I traveled everyday that was being widened and how the changes taking place made me feel as I observed the landscape around me.

“We have room for all these cars,” I was thinking, “but no room for the beauty of nature to exist.”

I would ask myself, “Where are the deer and other animals going to live that were once living in this little patch of trees?” I know it might seem eco-wimpy to the business-minded, but I honestly felt true sadness and a sense of loss, anger, and hopelessness at this thought of displaced wildlife. Where there once was a huge patch for thick forest, there stood a massive shopping center with dozens of stores, restaurants, and other businesses that I never asked for.

Houstonians are now quite familiar with distress of solastalgia, which for some may feel like weather-induced PTSD. We have naturally dealt with hurricanes and flooding many times, but the severity has increased to such a degree that for several years in a row right before Hurricane Harvey, people experienced their houses flooding every year for multiple years.

I realized while teaching first graders in 2019, that whenever a storm started to brew outside, many of my students were unusually fearful. I attributed this to experiencing these successive years of catastrophic flooding.

Lately, I have been more intentionally spending time in the outdoors, working in my garden, talking walks to observe the sunrise or sunset, and making sure I get exposure to sunlight, fresh air, and bare earth. It has been a form of therapy.

As a teacher I worry about the young people I work with and this trend of solastalgia. In big cities such as Houston, kids do not have much access to forests or other prairieland unless their parents take them to one, which involves getting into a car and driving there. Even kids in the suburbs will be hard pressed in our environment to find anything remotely “wild” enough to consider it “natural.” I am sure there are millions of children the world over that have a similar experience. I have seen children in recent years who are terrified by a bug flying past their face on the recess field at school, or those that are terrified of a few ants on the ground. We have become this disconnected from nature.

The gigantic Loblolly Pine Forests that surrounded Houston by may become so rare that children will only be able to enjoy them in photos on their devices. I have half a mind to start organizing trips to nature areas in the form of an afterschool club to allow more kids the opportunity to go to a forest before we run out of them completely.

Truly, if we want to protect nature, we need to understand it. And if we want to understand it, we need to spend time in it for starters. For parents, this means getting our kids off their devices and doing healthier pastimes that get them outdoors.

How will we transform our relationship to the earth? Where can you connect this concept of your relationship to the earth and its climate in your life? Our current 12-14 year olds are the forerunners of the Pluto in Capricorn generation. I wonder how the current generation of 12-14 year olds will work with this despair, this growing mental illness, and how they will transform it. Pluto is the transformational planet and Capricorn is CARDINAL EARTH. For those studying astrology, consider which planets represent our connection to the earth itself? Which signs best describe this connection? Earth signs? (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) With Pluto representing TRANSFORMATION, life, death and rebirth at a deep level, we can imagine that this Pluto in Capricorn generation will do some heavy lifting in terms of transforming our connection to the earth. How will we support them in building a strong connection to nature? We won’t get to a healthy environment by continuing what we have done so far. It is time for new thinking about this issue and how children spend time indoors versus outdoors.

Some have connected SOLASTALGIA to the idea of WETIKO. Read more about it here. Share your comments, please! Have you experienced distress about the environment?

spring equinox 2022

This year’s Spring Equinox will be Sunday, March 20, 2022 at 10:33 am. Neptune, Jupiter, Mercury and the Sun will all be in the sign of Pisces. The Piscean energy is a compassionate energy, shining a light on our sense of oneness with divine and our oneness with everyone and every thing.

Meanwhile, at the time of Equinox, we will have Gemini at zero degrees on the ascendant and Venus conjunct the midheaven at 13 Aquarius with Mars only three degrees away, conjunct at 10 Aquarius. Flanking both sides of the Mars/Venus conjunction are Pluto and Saturn. Pluto is at 28 Capricorn and Saturn at 20 Aquarius is a little closer to Venus. Several quintile aspects are giving opportunities for the creative.

Many people may be feeling a bit more connected to an image of the brotherhood of humanity, or a deeper sense of oneness, especially during this global conflict with Russian forces attacking the Ukraine. We might be viewing the struggles and hardships of this global situation as we watch it unfold in the media and sensing our humanity with more depth of compassion. We may all be feeling the need for action or want to help.

In the chart of the equinox, Mercury and Jupiter are conjunct at 17/18 Pisces. The Sabian symbols for both degrees have to do with communication and dissemination of information from someone learned and spiritual, like an evangelical or spiritual teacher, and/or teaching and learning from a spiritual “master.”

The world’s spiritual leaders have taken a stance on the current crisis. Pope Francis condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine two days ago. There is also the element of the “media circus” in the Sabian Symbol for these degrees. The Dali Lama is quoted as saying, “Our world has become so interdependent that violent conflict between two countries inevitably impacts the rest of the world. War is out-dated – non-violence is the only way. We need to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity by considering other human beings as brothers and sisters. This is how we will build a more peaceful world.” See the Dali Lama’s message here.

As the title of a Wayne Dyer book states, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.” Avoid the media circus and be part of a spiritual solution. By setting aside some extra time for prayer, reflection and meditation, it may be possible to get more grounded, receive comfort, and needed inspiration during this Sunday’s equinox. Mars will be at 10 Aquarius, the Sabian Symbol for which is, “During a silent hour, a person receives a new inspiration which may change their life.” The only immediate action many of us may be able to take in the face of this situation is a spiritual one, but nonetheless, it may be the most effective. This Sunday, light a candle for peace, for the world, for Ukraine, and for yourself.

What is the Equinox?