the cycles of life

I’ve got the flu. It’s had me out of commission for the past 6 days, but I am much better.

A view to lift the convalescing spirit

And today, Leap Day, is a perfect one for feeling better, since it is a gorgeous early-spring day. I’ve just taken a photo out my office window; that’s our patio out back, stuck with sunshine. I have not seen it thus for some time now. But this is my little corner of the world.

I’ve been lucky: my flu has not been severe enough to prevent me from reading, so I have been able to carry on with that (second?) most precious of activities. Last night I finished reading The Lunation Cycle, an astrology text by Dane Rudhyar (with a supplementary section written by his fourth wife, Leyla Rael Rudhyar).

One of the things it’s got me thinking about is the phenomenon of so-called secondary progressions: this is a technique of forecasting that looks at your life, treating each day after your birth as the equivalent of a year of life. The Moon, the swiftest of the planets, is the most important factor here, completing a full revolution every 29 to 30 days and thus illuminating a portion of one’s life extending 29 to 30 years. If you find the moment of the New Moon after your birth, then you have the beginning of a natural cycle of life—a true starting point for a 30-year cycle of development that will go through the archetypal phases of a cycle, as represented by the Moon with its changing phases.

I was born in 1959 under a Full Moon. The first progressed New Moon in my life happened in 1973 when I was 14. The seeds of my future were planted then. One thing that happened near that time, in 1972, was reading the novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which introduced me to literature as a higher art form. It wouldn’t be too strong or too poetic to say that it planted a seed. But, maybe even more than that, I got into film-making at around that time as well. Here too, the earliest experiments were probably in 1972, with my friend Brad and his 8mm Eumig home-movie camera. And it is quite possible that my progressed New Moon actually happened in 1972 rather than in 1973, which was the date I arrived at only by rough reckoning. Indeed, thinking about it, 1972 feels much more like a pivotal, “seed” year in my life.

Taking that as my New Moon year, then the following progressed Full Moon happened in 1988, which was the year that Warren Easton and I got our first television script produced: “What’s Wrong with Neil?”, a half-hour comedy for CBC’s Family Pictures anthology series. That fits very well with the symbolism of the Full Moon: a time of the full flowering of the seed planted at the New Moon. The boy playing with his friend’s family’s home-movie camera had turned into a professional in the TV industry.

And what about the next New Moon in my life? That would arrive in 2002. And what was happening then? Well, that was the year I went away to Gampo Abbey to study the Buddhist teachings. It was at the same time that I became committed to The Age of Pisces as my next major project. A ruptured Achilles tendon sent me home 6 months ahead of schedule—but eager to dive in on this new, vast project.

It was also close to that time—late 2003—that my friend Harvey Burt died, and my mother took on the project of transcribing the letters he had exchanged with his then lover, later wife, Dorothy. This project has now also become central to my writing enterprise.

The Rudhyars take care to emphasize that astrological progressions are not to be interpreted in the same way as so-called transits—the current movement of planets over sensitive points in one’s chart. Progressions are not so much about events as about the significance of events.  It’s more about the inward process of coming to understand one’s life and its purpose. One and the same event might mean very different things at different times.

Now I’m again in a “waning” period, progressed-Moon-wise. It’s a time of harvesting meaning from the cycle(s) thus far. As to that, I can only say I’ll do my best.

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