Taurus New Moon, May 4, 2019 (14 degrees) 3:45 pm PDT

Wendy Cicchetti

The Taurus New Moon emphasizes abilities to construct and to enjoy what we build. This Moon phase points to new projects, working with a clean slate, or getting a grip on a renewed plan, using fresh eyes. New resources may be on offer, making a job tenable that once was seen as impossible.

The Taurus Moon and Sun are sextile outer planet Neptune in Pisces, its natural zodiac sign. This is a planet associated with sea mythology, and in a watersign, it conjures up images of everything connected with oceans. Earthy and receptive Taurus links to vessels and buildings associated with seafaring as well as water. It is possible that some of us will act as someone’s lighthouse, representing a guiding beacon of safety, as they traverse a difficult passage. Or they will guide us in this way.

Alternatively, we may realize that we need something strong and sturdy to help us across a route that we recognize will get tricky. However this may manifest, we can know that we will have the resources at hand, within and without, to create and attract what we need. Since the New Moon is trine the South Node and Saturn, we may draw upon long established talents or look to authorities or older, more experienced persons to support us. This is a trine in the earth signs of Taurus and Capricorn, so we can trust that advice will be practical and that help offered will tend to be reliable.

The combination of trines and a sextile with the Sun and Moon accentuates the so-called easy aspects of planets. Some astrologers see these aspects as bringing things effortlessly to us — the path is clear and blessings abound. Others see such aspects as making things too easy, which means that we may need to be on the lookout for opportunities and realize that it is in our best interests to take practical action. Otherwise, these opportunities might just pass us by, and we will later regret this.

With things coming easily, and Neptune in Pisces involved, we can expect more inspiration and creativity, perhaps in the realms of music, poetry, or dreams. This might be the right time to experiment with playing a musical instrument, or take our existing practice a step further. Maybe the expertise of a professional tutor will help us to make a quantum leap and quickly get better at what we’re doing. Dream analysis and understanding could also become easier, especially if we take practical steps, such as setting aside a few minutes to record dreams soon after we wake up. For anyone who has been disturbed by nightmares or recurrent, unwelcome dreams, an active intervention could be potent at this time — for example, a few minutes before bedtime, breathing deeply and meditating, while asking that our dreams be changed to something more positive.

A similar idea applies to any issue around sensitivity. If we find that we’re experiencing too much exterior input — which often knocks a highly sensitive person sideways — we can use the strong, earthy energy that the Taurus Moon and Sun and the Capricorn planets provide, to put better boundaries in place. Boundaries may be physical — locking doors or windows, putting up fences, drawing lines, and so on — or psychic and spiritual, such as working with crystals and talismans or prayers and affirmations, to lay out to the universe, through our own psyche, that something needs to be kept separate. We can be sure that, at the heart of this, we just need faith to carry us through the process initially, because Venus is trine Jupiter in Sagittarius.

Faith is often said to be the opposite of doubt; it can also be an antidote to fear. Either way, doubt and fear keep us in the dark, whereas the Archer’s aim is up towards the light, making Jupiter in Sagittarius a powerful ally. Besides removing some of the messages of the negative inner critic, this Jupiter can help us with combating depression and other low energy/low mood struggles. For some, the answer will be getting into physical exercise (at whatever level) to avoid being stuck in a stagnant routine. For others, it will be about allowing space to escape, relax, and enjoy a little more Taurus down time, along with the good things in life!

This article is from the Mountain Astrologer, written by Diana Collis.

PLAN YOUR OWN NEW MOON CEREMONY. Give yourself some quiet time in meditation to see where you need to seed new ways of becoming. List these areas within your life you want to change. What areas do you want to break free from the norm and become more productive and discerning? The NEW MOON is the time to manifest the personal attributes you want to cultivate as well as the tangible things you want to bring to you. Possible phrasing: I now manifest ____ into my life. I am now _______ . Remember, think, envision and feel with as much emotion as possible, as though you already have what you want. Thoughts are things and the brain manifests exactly what you show it in the form of thoughts, visuals and emotions. The Buddha said, and I am paraphrasing, “We are the sum total of our thoughts up to today. ” If we want to be different then we must change our thoughts. “If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” CONSCIOUS CHANGE is the key.

Leah Garchik: Public Eavesdropping

May 1, 2019  (San Francisco  Chronicle)

“My plan now is to make some money off my shamanism..”
–Woman in flowing garments and Birkenstocks, waiting for bus from Delphi to Athens, overheard by Elizabeth Stumpf

April 30, 2019 (San Francisco Chronicle)

“You lie!  Fake News!” 
–Man talking to scale, overheard at gym by Mark Abramson

James Comey: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr

By James Comey (NYTimes.com)

Mr. Comey is the former F.B.I. director.

May 1, 2019

CreditCreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

People have been asking me hard questions. What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?

How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?

How could he write and say things about the report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that were apparently so misleading that they prompted written protest from the special counsel himself?

How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?

And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?

What happened to these people?

I don’t know for sure. People are complicated, so the answer is most likely complicated. But I have some idea from four months of working close to Mr. Trump and many more months of watching him shape others.

Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.

But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.

It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.

I must have agreed that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history because I didn’t challenge that. Everyone must agree that he has been treated very unfairly. The web building never stops.

From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.

Sure, you notice that Mr. Mattis never actually praises the president, always speaking instead of the honor of representing the men and women of our military. But he’s a special case, right? Former Marine general and all. No way the rest of us could get away with that. So you praise, while the world watches, and the web gets tighter.

Next comes Mr. Trump attacking institutions and values you hold dear — things you have always said must be protected and which you criticized past leaders for not supporting strongly enough. Yet you are silent. Because, after all, what are you supposed to say? He’s the president of the United States.

You feel this happening. It bothers you, at least to some extent. But his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay, to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. Along with Republican members of Congress, you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now.

You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America. You are smarter than Donald Trump, and you are playing a long game for your country, so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and gotten fired by tweet.

Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.

And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.

James Comey is the former F.B.I. director and author of “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

Jean Renoir on personal behavior

“The truly terrible thing is that everybody has their reasons.” 
― Jean Renoir

Jean Renoir (September 15, 1894 – February 12, 1979) was a French film director, screenwriter, actor, producer and author. As a film director and actor, he made more than forty films from the silent era to the end of the 1960s. His films La Grande Illusion and The Rules of the Game are often cited by critics as among the greatest films ever made. Wikipedia

Why Haters Hate: Kierkegaard Explains the Psychology of Bullying and Online Trolling in 1847

By Maria Popova (brainpickings.org)

diaryofsorenkierkegaard.jpg?w=680

Celebrated as the first true existentialist philosopher, Danish writer and thinker Søren Kierkegaard (May 5, 1813–November 11, 1855) may have only lived a short life, but it was a deep one and its impact radiated widely outward, far across the centuries and disciplines and schools of thought. He was also among the multitude of famous writers who benefited from keeping a diary and nowhere does his paradoxical blend of melancholy and idealism, of despair about the human condition and optimism about the purpose of life, shine more brilliantly than in The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard (public library) — a compendium of Kierkegaard’s frequently intense, always astoundingly thoughtful reflections on everything from happiness and melancholy to writing and literature to self-doubt and public opinion.

In an immeasurably insightful entry from 1847, 34-year-old Kierkegaard observes a pervasive pathology of our fallible humanity, explaining the same basic psychology that lurks behind contemporary phenomena like bullyingtrolling, and the general assaults of the web’s self-appointed critics, colloquially and rather appropriately known as haters.

kierkegaard_stamp.jpg?w=680

Kierkegaard writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThere is a form of envy of which I frequently have seen examples, in which an individual tries to obtain something by bullying. If, for instance, I enter a place where many are gathered, it often happens that one or another right away takes up arms against me by beginning to laugh; presumably he feels that he is being a tool of public opinion. But lo and behold, if I then make a casual remark to him, that same person becomes infinitely pliable and obliging. Essentially it shows that he regards me as something great, maybe even greater than I am: but if he can’t be admitted as a participant in my greatness, at least he will laugh at me. But as soon as he becomes a participant, as it were, he brags about my greatness.

That is what comes of living in a petty community.

It is unlikely that Kierkegaard was aware of what would become known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect — the Founding Father formulated his famous reverse-psychology trick for handling haters — and yet he goes on to relay an anecdote that embodies it perfectly. He recounts coming upon three young men outside his gate who, upon seeing him, “began to grin and altogether initiated the whole gamut of insolence.” As he approached them, Kierkegaard noticed that they were smoking cigars and turned to one of them, asking for a light. Suddenly, the men’s attitude took a dramatic U-turn — the seemingly simple exchange had provided precisely that invitation for participation in greatness:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngInstantly, all three doffed their hats and it would seem I had done them a service by asking for a light. Ergo: the same people would be happy to cry bravo for me if I merely addressed a friendly, let alone, flattering word to them; as it is, they cry pereat [he shall perish!] and are defiant… All it amounts to is play-acting. But how invaluably interesting to have one’s knowledge of human psychology enriched in this way.

Seven years later, shortly before his untimely death, he revisits the subject in a sentiment that explains with enduring insight the psychology of haters:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngShowing that they don’t care about me, or caring that I should know they don’t care about me, still denotes dependence… They show me respect precisely by showing me that they don’t respect me.

The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard may be short in both pages and lifetime covered, but it is a treasure trove of equally penetrating insights into the human experience. Complement it with Kierkegaard on our greatest source of unhappiness, then revisit Anne Lamott’s brilliant modern manifesto for handling haters.

Word-built world

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (linguistlist.org)

What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis? 
What are some criticisms of the hypothesis? 

What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis? 

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks. The strong version of the hypothesis states that all human thoughts and actions are bound by the restraints of language, and is generally less accepted than the weaker version, which says that language only somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior. Following are quotes from the two linguists who first formulated the hypothesis and for whom it is named, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf :

“Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built upon the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached… We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.” -Sapir (1958:69)

“We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds – and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way – an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one, but its terms are absolutely obligatory; we cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of data which the agreement decrees.” -Whorf (1940:213-14)

What are some criticisms of the hypothesis? 

While linguists generally agree that the weaker Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, also known as linguistic relativism, can be shown to be true to some extent, there are criticisms of the stronger form of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, also known as linguistic determinism. Among the criticisms of the strong form of the Hypothesis are:

  • One of Whorf’s central arguments in his paper on language determining thought was that the Hopi terminology for time gave the Hopi a different and unique understanding of how time worked, distinct from the typical Western conception of time. Pinker (1994) argues that Whorf had never actually met anyone from the Hopi tribe and that a later anthropologist discovered, in fact, the Hopi conception of time was not so different from the traditional Western understanding of it.
  • The problem of translatability: if each language had a completely distinct reality encoded within it, how could a work be translated from one language to another? Yet, literary works, instruction manuals and so forth are regularly translated and communication in this regard is not only possible, but happens every day.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019 (theonion.com)

Taurus | April 20 to May 20

You’ll worry about your mental health when your dog suddenly begins speaking to you in a commanding voice, but all it seems to want is food, water, and the occasional walk.

Gemini | May 21 to June 20

You’ll set off on an unnerving romantic adventure with a new partner who shares your unhealthy interests and reflects all the things you like least about yourself.

Cancer | June 21 to July 22

Soon you will reach the halfway point of your life, allowing you to look back on past triumphs as well as forward to the time when you’ll be old enough to legally buy alcohol.

Leo | July 23 to Aug. 22

They’ll say you died of a broken heart, but that’s only because no one wants to explain autoerotic asphyxiation to your poor mother.

Virgo | Aug. 23 to Sept. 22

Demanding excellence from yourself and your colleagues is not enough. Demand excellence from yourself and excellence, cash, and valuables from your colleagues.

Libra | Sept. 23 to Oct. 22

Everything will go just fine next week except for the part with the truckload of carpet tacks, which doesn’t really come when you’d think the part with the truckload of carpet tacks would.

Scorpio | Oct. 23 to Nov. 21

It’s true that just one more cookie won’t hurt, as the volcanic activity that will soon render all your earthly concerns irrelevant has been building up for months now.

Sagittarius | Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

You’ll have difficulty making yourself understood next week, and for quite a while, even though the people who found you frozen in that block of ice are extremely intelligent scientists.

Capricorn | Dec. 22 to Jan. 19

You really hate it when people say “let’s get out of here” in disaster movies, which is hypocritical given how it’s usually the first thing out of your own mouth during a disaster.

Aquarius | Jan. 20 to Feb. 18

The stars apologize for the lack of detail in last week’s horoscope about being seduced by a tall, dark stranger, but you must admit you had never seen that horse before.

Pisces | Feb. 19 to March 20

You’ll have a hard time finding inner peace, but frankly, you’re snorting so much large-animal tranquilizer the stars figure you don’t really care.

Aries | March 21 to April 19

Sometimes the exact right thing falls right out of the sky and hits you between the eyes, which will be the case next week after the bowling-ball plant upwind from you explodes.

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