Hu design

Nedjelja 15 Ševval 1441

I have begun reading a book by the workshop presenter I mentioned in the last post. This is something I had purchased for myself in late 2018 with money from a gift card that my brother had sent me for my birthday. It had sat on my bookshelf since, perhaps waiting for a context for me to begin reading it.

I also went back to an astrology reading that I had had with this same presenter, back in 2004. This was the first reading I had: perhaps for that reason I preserved the envelope with the chart printouts and the cassette tape it had been recorded on. I found what is perhaps the last remaining cassette player in the house and listened to the tape the other day. This was a time when I had had a dificult summer with the friend who had introduced me to the Amma organization. At his insistence we were in a state of separation, which I found quite painful because I had waited for months for him to come back from India so that we could resume the friendship we had begun the previous summer, only to have him start acting out soon after his return because (supposedly) he was facing his problems with alcohol seriously for the first time. (I think, frankly, that acting out was a cyclic pattern for him, and it was just my turn to be a target of it.)

As I listened to the tape, I realized that I liked who I was then. Although I was clearly still somewhat naive about Amma and her organization (which the astrologer, as an adoptive Californian, did not discourage), I was both emotionally engaged and articulate about my situation. I had, by that time, become active in the local Amma satsang and I was also considering entering therapy for the first time since graduate school. (Astrologically, the time when I was in therapy during graduate school occurred just after my first Saturn return. This time was about a year before the Saturn opposition following that and the work that I did with several therapists and astrologers during that period lasted through the Saturn opposition and extended beyond it.) Among the predictions that were offered during the astrology reading (about which I was somewhat puzzled or skeptical at the time) were that I might be traveling within the next year and that there might be change or opportunity having to do with relationships. As it turned out, I had a paper accepted at a conference in Greece and traveled there the following May. Upon my return I began spending time with someone from the Amma satsang who, for a couple of years, was a close friend. (Uranus had entered my 7th house at that time. Uranus can represent someone who is different, free-spirited, off-beat and who is young or otherwise socially inappropriate as a choice for a partner, but who may be someone with whom one might have an unconventional relationship or an unusual friendship.) Another thing about which the astrologer was fairly clear was that my friendship with the person who introduced me to Amma coincided with Neptune square my natal Neptune, which typically signifies a mirage of some sort. It seems that the astrologer (who is also a professional counselor) was encouraging me to consider that, once the glamor had faded from my friendship with that person, it would be best for me to try to let the situation go.

This was a period of unusual social and emotional involvement for me. Since then I have returned to a more stable and sober approach to life, including a renewed focus on my relationship. (Another change that occurred in the area of relationship, slighly less than 2 years after that reading, was that my partner and I had a civil union ceremony. Although I had not explored relationships with other people during the preceding period, this seemed to indicate that a period of emotional distraction would be coming to an end.) It makes sense that, after the period of the Saturn opposition, in which my usual ways of doing things were being challenged, there would be a period of restoration of normalcy, of focus on technique and professional competence, and of "boring" things like financial planning, etc.

As I think back on it now I can also see a clear trajectory away from the Amma organization following my mother's death in late 2007. By then my friendship with the young man from the Amma satsang had become a source of pain and disappointment, although it still had a few nice moments here and there before he reolcated to California. The satsang, and the Amma organization, turned out not to be a place in which my grief over my mother's death (and the lost opportunities for healing my relationship with her that that entailed) could be held or processed adequately. In addition to the therapy I had been doing, I began Rosen method bodywork. I also traveled with my father to Slovakia in 2009, which helped me connect to aspects of my mother's heritage in a new way. In 2010 I visited the columbarium where her ashes are stored for the first (and only time) since her funeral. Coinciding with that, after a period of trying to center my spiritual practice and my interest in astrology within an Indian context, I returned to Islamic spiritual practices and began to learn about traditional Western astrology. This period signaled a sense of renewal and relief after having striven to stabilize my experience in a context which, ultimately, may not have been the right one for me. While I continued to participate in satsang and to attend Amma retreats at this time--and by this time my partner had begun participating in the Amma retreats as well--the motivating force behind that seemed to be fading. After hesitating for a bit in my commitments, in early 2013--soon after my 50th birthday--I ceased all participation in activities related to Amma. Later that year a major exposé on Amma was published and that confirmed that my curiosity about what it would be like to be closer to the inner circle around Amma was at an end. It was around this time that the interest in Slavic languages that had been reawakened following my trip to Slovakia combined with my renewed interest in Islam and I began to turn my attention toward the Bosnian language and culture.

As I may have mentioned in the previous entry, at the recent workshop the astrologer mentioned that transiting Uranus was opposing my natal Sun. Since then I have looked into that and have noted that transiting Uranus has been aspecting my natal North Node/Mars-Sun/Neptune-South Node/Saturn T-square, beginning May 2019. This process will continue through April 2022. Meanwhile, in connection with my second Saturn return, transiting Saturn will be aspecting this T-square from February 2021 to January 2022 before moving on to aspect other planets as well. I have been thinking that I may want to contact this astrologer to try to walk through the implications of these transits as well as any other significant timing factors that may coincide with them.


  • Current Music
    The Winterhouse - Following the Path
Hu design

Subota 7 Ševval 1441

Last Saturday I participated in an online workshop on dreams and astrology. Participants were encouraged to bring a dream (recent or from the past) along with their natal chart.

The dream I chose was the one I had in May 2003 that appeared to presage my meeting the former friend who introduced me to his guru.

Although it was not required (or even recommended), I wrote out the dream and emailed it to the workshop presenter in advance of the workshop, partly in order to remind myself of some of the dream's details (since it had happened so long ago).

Here is the report of the dream as I sent it to the workshop presenter:

"Brief background: In the early-to-mid 90s, when I was a graduate student, I had some involvement with two Sufi orders in New York as well as with the Ramakrishna Center there. A big influence at the time was the work of Lex Hixon (Shaykh Nur), who expressed the harmony among religions by being a practitioner in several traditions. I then moved to another part of the country in 1996 and eventually became established in a Sufi order there. By the time I had the dream that is reported below, I had relocated back to my home state in 2002 and was looking for ways to connect with mystical spiritual organizations in the area. It may also be significant that, a few weeks after I relocated, my mother (who lived a couple of states away at that time) was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer. She underwent treatments for several years before ultimately succumbing to the cancer in late 2007.

The dream (as recorded at the time in a handwritten journal, slightly edited for clarity):

May 11, 2003,  6:47 a.m.

This morning I had a dream that I was in a large, somewhat old house returning a book that I had borrowed from the swami who lived there. [I had, in fact, borrowed books from the library at the Ramakrishna Center in New York in the 1990s.] I placed the book on a shelf that was attached to the swami’s desk. I then looked for a blank piece of paper on which to write a note thanking the swami for letting me borrow the book. I searched and searched, but every piece of paper on the desk had already been written on. I didn’t want to confuse the swami by writing a note on something that already had writing on it.

I then looked into the next room and a man approached me from there. I told him that I was looking for a piece of paper on which to write a note to the swami. He went to a cabinet to get me a post-it note, but then informed me that the swami had left to go to India. The man seemed disappointed and seemed not to approve of what had evidently been a hasty decision. I said, “I suppose it would be easier for him to receive attention there,” but the man tried to adjust my perspective by responding, “He feels he could be of more service to people there.” The swami’s departure seemed to have something to do with some diseases in India.

As I went to leave the house, I took what appeared to be a wrong turn. I hesitated before leaving through a pair of doors at the back of the house because it seemed to lead out to an enclosed garden. I spoke to some people in the house and ended up exiting from a different door, accompanied by a young woman and a man. As we walked down the street, the woman made a comment that “the Romans” might be offended by the use of silver on a piece of jewelry she was wearing. I informed her that, while I had been raised Roman Catholic, I no longer practiced it, and in any case I don’t pay much attention to regional cultural prejudices. I then commented that I am surprised that my parents hadn’t freaked out more that I am practicing Islam. I then showed her the silver-plated Sufi medallion that I often wear (usually concealed beneath my shirt).

The follow-up: The evening of the next day, my partner went to a meeting at his Catholic church and met a young spiritual seeker there who had been to India several times. My partner got his email address because he knew that I was interested in meeting other spiritual seekers in the area. When I met this person I underwent something of a spontaneous initiation that unfolded for several days. After speaking with him further I arranged to attend a retreat with his guru’s organization and began an involvement with that organization that lasted for nearly 10 years. Soon after that retreat, my friend left for an extended stay in India and I regretted that I had been able to spend so little time with him before he left. I wish I could say that we had remained friends and that I had remained involved in the organization, but life is rarely so simple. I gradually came to realize that my friend had a difficult family background and was deeply troubled. I tried to find other friends in the organization to fill the role of companion spiritual seeker (a role that seemed to be really important to me at the time), but each time there were problems. Eventually I distanced myself from the organization and resumed my former spiritual practices. During the period in which I was gradually separating from the organization, a number of scandals about the guru and the organization began to circulate online. I separated from the organization completely in early 2013. Later that year a powerful exposé was published by the guru’s former personal assistant.

I have calculated the transits for the approximate time of my dream and have noted a surprising number of transiting conjunctions and oppositions to natal planets. I also noticed that transiting Neptune was square to its natal position to within 8 minutes."

The discussion of this dream and of its associated astrology was brief, as every participant was granted about 20 minutes each. Nonetheless, I gained a deeper appreciation of the astrological perspectives of the members of the local astrology organization that sponsored the workshop and I was able to experience how the presenter applies therapeutic interventions to his work. While I received some validation for the extraordinary astrological configurations of the time of the dream (suggesting that this was a special moment in my life) and for the evidently precognitive elements of the dream, the discussion had the effect of returning the dream to me, whereas I had tended to remain caught up in the aftermath of the dream and of what it supposedly meant about the spiritual and social opportunities that I expected myself to be able to receive unproblematically as a result. For one thing, perhaps the problems and the separations that occurred were precisely what I was "supposed" to be taking from this situation. On the other hand, there were dynamics within the dream that pointed both back to my prehistory prior to the dream and to my growing skepticism following the peak experiences that occurred after the dream.

In terms of present astrological configurations, the presenter pointed out that transiting Uranus was opposing my natal Sun. That aspect became exact two days ago and will become exact twice more over the next year. This aspect suggests that this is a good time to question who I see myself as being i the present and how I might be open to growth and change, even if some of that is unpredictable or unexpected in the months to come.


Hu design

Četvrtak 21 Ramazan 1441

Just a quick insight before it starts to recede from conscious awareness:

My relationship to music seems to be more lunar than solar. (I just received a notification that this is the hour of the Moon on the day of Jupiter.) It is more about contemplation and withdrawal than about social engagement. Performance, especially solo performance, is a public act, but the substance it represents is largely private.

The composers and topics that I have wished to pursue, if I remain true to myself--Tavener, Pärt, Rudhyar, Yuasa, Takemitsu--are introspective rather than good candidates to compete for ironic attention in a postmodern academic marketplace. This often leaves me feeling helpless in the face of compulsions to trend-surf or to declare some kind of (dubious) social relevance (which seems more like narcissistic display than anything else).

Recalling how I got started on some of the projects--which worked better for me at my previous university than they have where I am now--I recall that, in my burnout early on in my first full-time academic job, I listened to Peter Serkin's album of Takemitsu's piano music over and over again with the shades drawn. Eventually I began to perform the Rain Tree Sketch pieces and was invited by a composer colleague to participate in the university's new music series. Another composer colleague suggested that I learn some piano music by Yuasa, with whom he had studied. This led to more performances, a couple of conference papers, and my first recording project.

There was an organic quality to the way in which I was working there. I have been unsuccessful in continuing in that vein at my current university. My time here has been a failure and I feel extremely vulnerable in this environment. Social distancing has actually become an opportunity for healing from some of the hurt of my current work environment because I have finally had enough time in a safe space (my home) to see more clearly some of the things that have been going on.


Hu design

Ponedjeljak 25 Džumade-l-ula 1441

Planet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Moon

Prophet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Adam

Planetary day and hour (Western): day of the Moon, hour of Saturn

The Sun is in 29 Capricorn (in my 5th house): A secret meeting of men responsible for executive decisions in world affairs. (Symbol for 30 Capricorn from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 8Sag44 (in my 3rd house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 20, The Water, letter Sīn, The Life-Giver (Al-Muḥyī)

Lunar phase: Last Quarter - Re-orientation (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

About an hour after akšam (magrib), the Moon entered Sagittarius (in my 3rd house). In about 35 minutes, the Sun will enter Aquarius (in my 5th house).

I am continuing my reading of Erin Sullivan's Saturn in Transit and I have scheduled a consultation with her.

I am currently in the fifth chapter, The Transit of Saturn to the Planets. The Saturn-Sun Conjunction (pp. 272-73) occurred for the first time for me when I was in the first semester of my senior year in college. That same semester, Saturn entered my 3rd house. (Using Regiomontanus houses, it entered on Nov 16 1983; using Placidus, it entered on Dec 4 1983, stationed retrograde then passed back into the 2nd house on May 29 1984, stationed direct then returned to the 3rd house on Aug 26 1984.) At the beginning of the semester, I made an appointment with a counselor at the university health services. I had begun dating men during the second semester of my sophomore year and was still closeted from my family. In addition to that pressure, I was also feeling pressure to define career goals for after graduation. It seemed that it was time to make use of the one-semester free counseling service that a number of my friends had made use of previously. The therapist I worked with was a psychiatrist (probably at some stage of training or post-doc work at the medical school) who was very handsome and quite stoic and impassible: definitely not the most nurturing type of counselor, but that's what I had available at the time.

That semester I opted to stay on campus during the Thanksgiving break in order to catch up on schoolwork. I probably also wanted to increase distance from my family, given that I was in counseling for the first time and also that I wished to continue dating (or trying to date). It may have been the Friday after Thanksgiving (I'm not sure, but most likely within that week) that I met T, who became my first boyfriend who was not another college student. He was a med student, studying psychiatry(!). I met him at the neighborhood bar/disco that was a short walk from campus. Although we only dated until the New Year, he introduced me to other graduate-student friends of his and helped to expand my horizons within the gay community. Later on, as I was making a transition from living at home to living on my own, he and his roommates offered me the opportunity to stay at their apartment whenever one of them was away (which was fairly often during the summer between graduation and my first full-time job).

This clearly was a period of major transformation for me. By the time Saturn entered the 4th house for the first time, I had met and moved in with my current partner (who, in recent years, trained to become a licensed professional counselor and is now practicing that profession).

One of the things that Sullivan mentions in the section on the Saturn-Sun conjunction is that it falls between the sextile before and the sextile after. Looking at the timing of those aspects, I see that transiting Saturn was sextile the Sun between Oct 1978 and Jun 1979 and then from Jan to Oct 1989. The first period was critical in my development because it is a period during which I participated in a French exchange program and was successful in piano competitions. By the end of the second series of sextiles, I had entered graduate school.


  • Current Music
    Igneous Flame - Sari
Hu design

Subota 2 Džumade-l-ula 1441

Planet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Saturn

Prophet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Abraham

Planetary day and hour (Western): day of Saturn, hour of Venus

The Sun is in 6 Capricorn (in my 4th house): A veiled prophet speaks, seized by the power of a god. (Symbol for 7 Capricorn from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 5Aqu16 (in my 5th house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 23, The Vegetables, letter Thā, The Nourisher (Ar-Razzāq)

Lunar phase: New Moon - Emergence (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

About 3 hours ago, the Moon transited my natal South Node (in my 5th house. About 10 minutes ago, the Moon transited my natal Saturn (in my 5th house).

It is interesting to me that, though I have been away from writing on LJ for several months, the theme of my last post was "I hate my job." That has been a strong theme recently as well. Lurking within my need to put that idea "out there" is a fear that doing so may result in a termination of employment that may come sooner than would be convenient for me financially. While my salary is the lowest for a faculty member of my rank and years of service in my department (and therefore likely to be near the bottom in those categories university-wide), it is still a steady income and, by taking a conservative and self-sacrificial approach to how I manage my finances, I have been able to keep debt manageable and to make decent progress on my planning for retirement. Having that disrupted suddenly would be an unwelcome challenge.

Although I feel overworked and underappreciated, that is nothing new in my position. Recently I came across some handwritten journal entries from a time when I was first thinking about applying for positions in the region of the country where I now live as a Plan B to the Plan A of applying for tenure at my prior position. I found a journal entry about a dream I had about a job interview after which I was offered a new position--this dream occurred about 4 months before I had what turned out to be a successful job interview. I also found a journal entry written during the first few weeks of my new position. The themes of working harder than I even had before, of feeling that I had to strive to strengthen my background in order to meet the demands of the new position adequately, of finding the atmosphere isolating and alienating, were all in play during that time. They are still in play today. That just seems to be nature of this position for me. 17 years later, it is exhausting and ungratifying.

I have also recently begun reading Erin Sullivan's Saturn in Transit. This, together with my recently rediscovered journal entries, has helped me to put some aspects of my life into a larger perspective. Rather than focusing so much on the disappointing fallout of my involvement in the Amma organization and the failure of the friendships associated with that, it is getting easier to see those experiences as episodes within a larger narrative. One thing I noticed about my handwritten journal was that it included references to Tarot and to planetary transits. Seeing that reminded me that my interests in such things were more integrated into my life when I was in my prior position and that I have been unsuccessful in trying to integrate them into my new position. Instead, it seems that I go through periods of overwork in which my personal interests are obliterated followed by periods in which I indulge in my personal interests at the expense of my professional life. One of the reasons why the beginning of my friendship with X may have seemed so "fated" was that it allowed me a chance to indulge in conversation about esoteric and spiritual issues which had been effectively suppressed since my leaving my prior position. Previously I had a colleague with whom I could speak freely about such things and another colleague with whom I explored things like going to see Ma Jaya, etc. I also had a Sufi community (several, actually) and queer Muslim friends, etc. I have come to learn that these resources are available perhaps only in certain urban environments and are not available in all contexts. Reading in Sullivan about times in one's life when bonding through projection is necessary versus times when these bonds are challenged has helped me to understand that I was particularly prone to feel a need for that kind of bonding when my mother's life was threatened and when it came to its end but, although that was clearly an important time of transition for me, such bonds are probably not meant to be sustainable (at least not in a healthy way) for the long term. Therefore the failure of my friendships associated with the Amma organization (and, indeed, the failure of my ability to remain actively involved in any mystical spiritual organization) may have been almost as inevitable as the need for those experiences was in the first place.

I think I'm going to stop here for now.


  • Current Music
    Křenek - Piano Concerto no. 1, op. 18
Hu design

Ponedjeljak 21 Ševval 1440

Planet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Moon

Prophet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Adam

Planetary day and hour (Western): day of the Sun, hour of Mars

The Sun is in 2 Cancer (in my 10th house): A man bundled in fur leads a shaggy deer. (Symbol for 3 Cancer from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 17Pis35 (in my 7th house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 28, The Hierarchization of the Degrees of Existence, not their Manifestation, letter Wāw, The One Who Elevates by Degrees (Rafī‘-ud-Darjāt)

Lunar phase: Disseminating - Demonstration (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

About an hour ago, the Moon entered my 7th house.

To pick up on a theme from the last time I wrote, I realized this weekend that, not only is it "over" for me with respect to my place of employment, but it has been over for about the last 12 years. I have completed a few projects, I have been invited to present and to have a few articles published, etc., but fundamentally, the sense of drive and "enthusiasm" that led up to my promotion and being awarded tenure effectively dissipated soon thereafter.

One of the ideas that has occurred to me recently is that I have increasingly sensed an ancestral burden with respect to higher education and its associated professional life, as if this is a destination toward which my ancestry had been leading me. Perhaps the idea of advancing oneself through education is not much more than a 1960s American myth. In any event, this thought led me to wonder if my drive to achieve academically had been fuelled in part by the idea that it would represent a goal toward which my mother had striven but which she had not achieved because of obstacles in her family of origin. Once she passed, it seemed as if that particular impetus had lost some of its power.

If 2007 was, in fact, the year that the academic dream died for me, it would at least have represented a good run, from the time of my admission to college (a project which had been underway, in a sense, from about 30 years earlier) to achieving the rank of associate professor with tenure. Even with respect to graduate school and my area of academic specialization, it would have been about a 20-year run from the time of my first round of graduate school applications to my having been granted tenure.

People's interests and needs change over time. I can see how themes that were related to the composers whose music I have studied have remained interesting to me, even if the daily/weekly/yearly grind of academic life has worn down my enthusiasm for striving to find space for the kinds of musical projects that are genuinely of interest to me.

I think that this has been difficult to admit to myself, and therefore difficult to put into words until now. Part of the conflict may stem from the notion that being a tenured associate professor is a position of privilege (or at least is commonly perceived to be such). Admitting that I'm not really that into feels in some ways like an admission of a lack of authenticity. On the other hand, admitting the way I feel about my situation may in fact signal a deeper sense of authenticity. Overall, this has felt like one of those moments in therapy in which one settles into a realization that one has known for some time but had been resisting because of a number of vaguely sensed inner conflicts. Verbalizing it seems to bring with it an acknowledgement of exhaustion from the effort of having resisted the insight for as long as one has done, but also holds open the dimly sensed possibility of the emergence of new ways of framing one's situation while moving forward from where one is now.


  • Current Music
    raison d'etre - Reflecting in Shadows
Hu design

Nedjelja 13 Ševval 1440

Planet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Sun

Prophet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Idris (Enoch)

Planetary day and hour (Western): day of the Sun, hour of Saturn

The Sun is in 25 Gemini (in my 10th house): Frost-covered trees against winter skies. (Symbol for 26 Gemini from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 21Sag08 (in my 4th house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 21, The Earth, letter Ṣād, The Death-Giver (Al-Mumīt)

Lunar phase: Gibbous  - Overcoming (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

This morning, the Moon entered my 4th house. About an hour after that, Mercury entered my 11th house. About an hour ago, the Moon  transited my natal Moon (in my 4th house). About an hour after sabah (fedžr), the Moon will enter its Full Moon phase.

The other day it occurred to me to review the last time that Jupiter had transited my natal Moon. I had one such transit in February and another at the beginning of June. There will be a third and final one this year in mid-October. Prior to that, however, Jupiter transited my natal Moon in early November 2007. That was just a few days after my mother entered home hospice.

In retrospect, that turned out to be a pivotal year for me. Earlier that year I had been promoted to associate professor and was awarded tenure. One of the first things I did for myself was to enroll in a correspondence course in astrology. It turned out that that course was too advanced for where I was at that time, and I did not complete it. A few years later, that astrologer died. Another thing that happened that year was that I gave the last musical performance that my mother was able to attend.

There were a number of ways that year, and the beginning of the next, spelled the beginning of the end of my time in the Amma organization. My second close friend in that organization had gone to India at the end of 2006. After he came back, our friendship seemed weakened, although I tried to maintain it nonetheless.

I recall also that the people in satsang seemed to know the right things to say during my mother's illness, but after she passed away, I felt alone and out of place with my grief. Perhaps that's a normal phase of the grief process, but I remember that it led me to feel that the time I had been investing in satsang and in friendships with Amma devotees was starting to seem like a poor investment.

Added to that were anti-Muslim prejudices in the satsang that came to the surface during the Israeli assault on Gaza in late 2007 and early 2008. I recall seeking out alternative perspectives. I began exploring Peter Wilberg's work at around that time, and I became aware of Rabbi Michael Lerner's work then as well.

Effectively, I was beginning to turn leftward, and I was also beginning to move out of a reflexively self-critical space every time I experienced a conflict of perspective with someone and into a more other-critical, self-protective space. Essentially, my mother had passed and I was beginning to give myself more permission to continue the process of growing up. This included moving--in my self-awareness--beyond the model of the nuclear family as I had known it up until that point in my life, as well as weakening my emotional attachments to surrogate family environments in which I would be able to partcipate whole-heartedly only by suppressing any thoughts or awareness that appeared to run counter to the ideologies that seemed to sustain the people within those surrogate family environments.

Although I felt pained and conflicted at the time, now I can see that this was a necessary process of growth for me.

During this time I drew closer to the work of David Sylvian, who had also been an Amma devotee for a number of years. His involvement extended to offering his home at one point to function as a New England ashram. That did not take place, and he ended up divorcing his wife, who was also a devotee. The satsang leader had only negative things to say about him, but as I became more acquainted with his work, I acknowledged its importance in helping to pave a way for me out of the "cult."

Okay, I think those are enough musings for now.


  • Current Music
    Aidan Baker - Thread / Bare
Hu design

Petak/Džuma 11 Ševval 1440

Planet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Venus

Prophet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Joseph

Planetary day and hour (Western): day of Venus, hour of Jupiter

The Sun is in 23 Gemini (in my 10th house): Children skating over a frozen village pond. (Symbol for 24 Gemini from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 24Sco47 (in my 3rd house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 19, The Air, letter Zāy, The Living (Al-Ḥayy)

Lunar phase: Gibbous  - Overcoming (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

About 20 minutes before jacija, the Moon will transit my natal Venus (in my 3rd house). About 10 minutes before izlazak sunca, the Moon will enter Sagittarius (in my 3rd house).

This is my first entry since Ramazan. Yesterday I met with a friend that I hadn't seen in several years. This is someone I had met 16 years ago. On that occasion, we met at a metaphysical bookstore before attending a Sufi zikr. Prior to that, we had corresponded in a Yahoo group that I had co-founded with someone else.

There are a lot of things that we discussed over tea and lunch, so I will just pick up on a couple of themes here. One that stuck out for me was how badly behaved some people are who are drawn to mystical and alternative spiritual pursuits. While at times I had been shocked at how some people in alternative spiritual organizations seemed to be plagued by envy of people who had more "normal," stable lives than themselves. In retrospect, these seems to be the norma rather than the exception. My denial about what seemed to be motivating some of these people seems to have kept me in friendships with them longer that was probably healthy. Of course, the prospects for meeting such people have all but dried up in recent years, so it's not a real concern of mine any more.

One of the people we discussed had been a local Sufi circle leader whose group had evidently turned pathological and then had dissolved. I was curious about him and did a little bit of online research. I noted that he had become involved with a publishing company that features writings within the genre of acid-head "wisdom." I also found some YouTube videos that featured, along with a voice-over describing a mixed bag of traditions from which he claimed to be teaching (including UFOlogy and conspiracy theories). YouTube then queued up the following video by a young Bosnian qari and singer. After the weirdness of the previous video, this pulled me immediately into a vivid heart space. I am grateful to have come to a place in which it is possible to feel a distinct change in the quality of my consciousness without needing for the sitmulus to advertise itself as something mysterious, special, or occult.

Today I went to džuma. The muezzin was a high school student. He is the best one there among his age group. Today was one of those days when I was affected by the ezan to the point of being nearly in tears.

Again, if it's possible to be pulled into a "heart" space in an open, grounded environment (rather than in a closed, somewhat self-absorbed one), why not?



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    Ibrahim Bilčević - Otac
Hu design

Nedjelja 16 Ša'ban 1440

Planet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Sun

Prophet of the (Islamic) day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Idris (Enoch)

Planetary day and hour: day of Saturn, hour of Moon

The Sun is in 0 Taurus (in my 8th house): A clear mountain stream. (Symbol for 1 Taurus from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 20Sco44 (in my 3rd house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 18, Sphere of the Ether and the Meteors, Center of Fire, letter Tā, The Seizer (Al-Qābiḍ)

Lunar phase: Full Moon - Fulfillment (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

About 15 minutes after sabah, the Moon will transit my natal Venus (in my 3rd house). About a minute before noon, the Moon will enter Sagittarius (in my 3rd house).

The following is an edited version of something I wrote elsewhere. It seems to signal a potentially new phase of synthesis of my esoteric studies/exploration, reaching back to materials I first encountered several years ago:

"About 30 years ago I read what was probably the first edition of Meditations on the Tarot. Two years ago I discovered the most recent edition of Meditations (the first edition having left my library at some point) and have been saving it for a time when I hope to engage in some contemplative reading. Recently it occurred to me that I might try to read it during Ramadan , which is a time that I try to set aside from the compulsive busy-ness typically associated with my profession.

On the evening of March 30, just before going to bed, I remember browsing lightly through the new edition of Meditations. That night I had a dream in which three (possibly four) of the Major Arcana appeared in the context of a conversation I was having with a married couple who are Sufi friends. The cards that I remember were Alchemy (Temperance), The Magician (with elements of The Fool seeming to appear on the card as well), and The World. The dream had a rather fluid, initiatory vibe to it. (“Alchemy,” of course, is the way in which Haindl referred to Temperance and, according to Rachel Pollock, this reference traces its way back to Crowley, but of course the Crowley deck uses the term “Art” instead.)

The next morning I saw a post on a Tarot spread attributed to Joséphin Péladan written by Tony Louis, an acquaintance who is a well-known author on astrology and Tarot:

This, in turn, reminded me of the Symbolism exhibition I had attended at the Guggenheim in the summer of 2017, which featured the same portrait of Péladan that Tony featured at the beginning of his blog post.

I was not convinced that the cards I had seen in my dream were intended to be a reading as such, but I was curious about possible references in the Tarot literature to the combination of those cards in particular.

The following week, while seeking out further references to Valentin Tomberg (anonymous author of the French original of Meditations) and Robert Powell (its translator into English) online, that I was reminded of a website dedicated to the study of the book. As I listened to an audio interview with Robert Powell on the website, I was struck by the reports of apparitions, etc. of Tomberg that some people have reported. I was also struck by Powell's notion of Meditations as a “living” book, possibly possessing initiatory power. When Powell described his follow-up volume, The Wandering Fool, and I examined its table of contents online, I saw that the section on Tomberg’s notes on the Major Arcana in that book ranged from Temperance to the World, with The Fool appearing immediately prior to The World. Then, later on in the interview, when Powell mentioned the references to Johannine and Petrine Christianity in the first chapter of Meditations (the chapter on the Magician), it seemed as if the series of references in my dream had come to completion."



Hu design

Četvrtak 25 Džumade-l-ula 1440

Planet of the day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Jupiter

Prophet of the day (according to Ibn 'Arabi): Moses

The Sun is in 11 Aquarius (in my 5th house): On a vast staircase stand people of different types, graduated upward. (Symbol for 12 Aquarius from Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala)

The Moon is at 23Sag48 (in my 4th house). Lunar mansion (according to Ibn 'Arabi): 21, The Earth, letter Ṣād, The Death-Giver (Al-Mumīt)

Lunar phase: Last Quarter - Re-Orientation (phase names and keywords from Dane Rudhyar, The Lunation Cycle)

At about an hour after midnight, the Moon transited my natal Moon (in my 4th house). At about an hour after noon, the Moon will enter its Balsamic phase, whose keyword is Release.

I am experiencing a degree of fatigue that I find challenging, but today is the first day in some time that I hope to open up a window of time to continue writing the article I am working on. My goal has been to complete a draft by Feb 1 so that I have time to edit it in conformity with the style sheet. Over the weekend I received a style sheet for another article that is due at the end of March. I haven't yet looked at that style sheet.

I have been working slowly through the first lesson of Kelly Surtees's introductory astrology course.


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    Troum & All Sides - Shutun