Rebirth

A birth chart captures the exact placement of the stars and planets at the moment of your birth. Astrologers view this information through the metaphorical lenses of each house and zodiac sign to interpret your personality, key challenges and life path. Astrology of this kind is a much more nuanced version than the watered-down daily horoscope.

My knowledge of this ancient art is limited, yet the layers of metaphors are appealing. I see it as another means toward understanding myself, not a way to see the future. It forces introspection because there is no right answer, only interpretation.

I had a birth chart prepared by a trusted teacher several years ago in January 2011, just as my marriage began to unravel. Recently, I came across a set of haiku I wrote about the experience — a summary of the interpretation — my life story in a few lines.

I look forward to clarity and conviction. Love without losing myself.

Came into this world
Above me, planets circle
Auspicious timing

Pain everywhere
Humid earth, suffocating
Unbearable…stop!

Turn outward, away
Fires build, flare up, die down
Must tend to this now

Lost and cannot see
Mirage appears; is it true?
Grasping, it is gone

Climbing, reach apex
Cool mountain air fills my soul
Fog lifts, vision clear

Cupping hands like bowl
Reach deep, gather clear water
My own baptism

Photo courtesy of photographer Heather Hanson

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Reconnaissance

Nuance, tic and mannerism
I watch in taut concentration
Scope the setting
Profile my target

Tone, delivery and context
I look out through your eyes
Hear the words I speak
Choose my angle

Stop, pause or go
I contemplate my chances
Calculate my window
Wait for the signal

Life or death
I brave annihilation each time
Hold my breath in fear
Speak my mind

Photo courtesy of photographer Heather Hanson

Sight Restored

Brief poetic thoughts in haiku on moving grief out of my way so I can see the future without the bias of past hurts.

Eyes slowly adjust
Dimly, a world forms ahead
See what you could have

Light floods my vision
Shield my blinded eyes so bright
Basking in wonder

I grieve the time lost
Comprehending what I’ve missed
Will darkness return?

When I blink my eyes
The world does not disappear
I can see my way

Rising Above Anxiety

I have a lot of free-floating anxiety these days, most likely because I think I’ve successfully transcended some significant emotional crutches. Yet after relying on them so long, I feel a void; I don’t know what to do with the mental space it created.

When the anxiety takes over and I can’t identify the cause (or there are many causes weaved together), I noticed that I rely on a particular visualization – an out of body experience. I began doing this almost unconsciously a long time ago, but recently started to pay closer attention when I realized it helped release the restriction in my chest and slow the swirling thoughts.

To bring it to life a bit more, I tried to capture the feeling in words. The more vivid the sensation feels, the faster I can calm myself.

Flash of life and death,
Pins and needles climb my scalp.
Expectant silence.

Limbs braid, spin skyward.
My heart dissolves in
a radiant burst of light.

Compelled to let go.
Body cast off like snake-skin;
No lungs enclosing my breath.

Stretching, expanding
I fade; the final notes still
reverberating.

Photo courtesy of photographer Heather Hanson

Haiku 2011

In 2011, I began writing a haiku poem each month to intersect my present emotional state with the seasonal changes of the year. Due to the emotional turmoil at the end of the year, this trailed off. Despite this, it was a useful exercise.

I’ve read some truly beautiful haiku that manage to capture both a feeling and a moment in time perfectly. Mine always seem too obvious or too abstract, too cheesy or too forced. Ah well, I’ll keep writing and sharpen my skills…Even if they aren’t beautiful, they help me express a feeling by identifying a metaphor.

January
No turning back now
You cannot un-realize truth
New year, fresh snow – go

February
Cover of darkness
Icy layers form a shield
Impenetrable?

March
Warmth tentatively
grazes my face, Winds scatter
cool air, uncertain.

April
water unceasing
wash it away, can’t keep up
No one to hate, love

May
Senses overwhelmed
Vernal cacophony – stop!
Pause for this moment

June
Sliver moon soon gone
Clouds obscure, spinning darkness
But you know the way

July
Should I dance or cry?
Warm rain drops while sun looks on
Bittersweet summer

August
Deep below the ground
something old and forgotten
is stirring inside

Sun

This simple talisman,
made of gold-colored metal and
its curving periphery shaped to
resemble the sun’s licking flames, had
lines delicately engraved to form the
familiar face of this day-star, worshipped instinctively
for the essence of protection it radiates.

Bringing to life
the symbolism latent within its physical form, it was
charged with energy from the fire element
by lighting candles of shining hues,
scattering rosemary and guiding the swirling incense that
carried the request for protection to the sky.

Derived from the solar father,
its power was a reflection of his warm shielding embrace
which imbued the surface of the talisman with the strength of
Saint Michael the Archangel
god of light and protection to ancient peoples,
guardian angel and
a leader of celestial armies,
standing triumphant above satan and his fallen angels,
images of darkness.

This simple talisman,
now manifest with its namesake’s power,
was given with the intent
to protect
that which is most beloved and most vulnerable.
Its physical presence not only meant to shield its receiver
from heavy sadnesses and troubles,
but to provide a tangible reminder of the giver,
whose love burnt too brightly to be near.