Starlight on Bernie Sanders

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Not the aches and pains of advancing age, nor even a recent heart disruption, can stop Virgo Bernie Sanders on his quest to become the next American President.

With both his Moon and Mars in assertive Aries, old uncle Bernie pounds his fist and stomps his feet, insisting that everyone’s hunger is equally hungry, deserving to feast on imported rhetoric.

Only Mercury and Venus in Libra hold him back, both making a warrior indecisive, debating what he covets most — the luxurious house on the lake or his portrait on the wall of a government office.

Saturn in Taurus dresses him down in well-worn, disheveled shrugs, making him skimp as he saves.

Jupiter in Gemini keeps him jetting here and there, grabbing the mic at public events, lecturing crowds on social equity, ethics and justice, and everything for free.

When old Lao Tzu was Bernie’s advanced age, he left his desk, packed up his bag, and wandered off toward the mountain – never to be seen again, but heard across millennia.

Sound like Bernie to you?  Leave a comment and let me know.


 

St Greta of Thunberg

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Bells rang across precocious pews this month when environmental-icon Greta Thunberg turned 17.

With her Sun, Moon and Mercury all in earthy Capricorn, it’s no astrological surprise that combating a climate catastrophe burns in her heart and mind.

Saturn rules Capricorn, the CEO of the zodiac.  Greta’s Saturn, her CEO, is in chatty Gemini — so she leads with crisp intelligence and talks, talks, talks.

Jupiter reveals how we travel through life, the persona we present to the world.  Greta’s generous Jupiter in Leo makes her the center of attention, the star of the global-warming debate.

And both Venus and Mars in Scorpio explain her extreme intensity, her direct and demanding passion, her stinging rebukes, her blazing blue eyes.

Some goats like Greta make it to the mountaintop early in their lives – only to discover a lack of horns to defend their hill.

Sound like Greta to you?  Leave a comment and let me know.


 

On the Cusp of 2020

Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself. — Unknown


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Born at the birth of the 1960s, I’ve always viewed a decade change as my own personal milestone.

I remember the end of 1969, pedaling my bike down a tree-lined Van Nuys street.  At the end of 1979, I drove my VW Thing down the Ventura Freeway, twilight closing in on me.

The night the 80s ended, I was up in Tahoe, alone with the flu.  And the night we rang in the new millennium, I stood up for a friend at his surprise L.A. wedding.

Tonight, as neighbors fire gunshots into the San Francisco fog, I’ll remember the start of 2020 as spending the night at home with my son — making some dinner; laughing at some videos; staying up till midnight, talking.

Such a blessing to put in my pocket as bullets rain down from the sky.


 

A Tale of Two Zens

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Many many years ago, a Zen temple high in the mountains was renown for imparting wisdom. After its founding father passed away, the temple was left in the capable hands of two brother monks – a bald monk and a monk with long flowing hair.

When pilgrims came to the temple seeking wisdom, they were naturally drawn to the monk with the long flowing hair.  This made the bald monk very very sad, for he could not grow his hair, and he envied his brother’s appeal.

One morning, the bald monk gave a talk on the importance of detachment, the importance of not attaching to negative thoughts and worldly things.  To prove their own detachment, the bald monk instructed all the pilgrims to completely shave their heads, to demonstrate that they were not attached to their hair.

One by one, the pilgrims shaved their heads to earn the bald monk’s approval, to prove they were not attached to their hair.  Eventually, all the pilgrims were equally bald.

The monk with the long flowing hair, however, did not shave his head – not because he was attached to his hair, which grew naturally from the top of his head, same as his arms grew from his shoulders, same as his  legs grew from his hips – but to prove his detachment from detaching his hair.

Eventually, the bald monk, with the support of all the newly bald pilgrims, banned the monk with the long flowing hair from meditating in the temple.  And so the monk with long flowing hair eventually moved on — leaving the temple, leaving the mountains, leaving attachment behind.

The Learning Process

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As pointed out in Treescape, a finished product does not appear all at once like a bolt of lightening, though it may appear that way to an audience.

Creative endeavors follow the learning process.  Things start out rough and unfamiliar, awkward and even ugly; and that’s an essential step.  A week-old embryo does not at all resemble the eventual baby at birth.

Even a simple sketch develops in stages — tentative pencil lines first, followed by cautious inking, then wild water color.

At the beginning, we already know what we want to learn or create.  By the end, however, we often discover a surprise awaits us — often different than what we expected, if not much better than what we had imagined.

Here are ten sketches of a simple street scene.  In the early attempts, I’m trying to learn the placement of all the major lines and shapes.  In the middle stage, shading and details are discovered.  In the final versions, color is revealed.

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We rise to great heights by a winding staircase of small steps. — Francis Bacon


 

Lotsa Portrait Practice

Despite computer meltdowns in mid-April, some of which weren’t corrected till late-May, I kept myself detached and distracted from all the drama by drawing and painting quick small portraits…

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Sometimes, computer meltdowns will yield surprising results — provided we let go of the drama and discover what’s there to be found.