Career and Astrology

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Hello Readers,

A temporary break from political topics, as I’ve been working on a new blog/website¬†and would like to ask you the following question:

What are your biggest frustrations with work?

I’m conducting research about astrology and how it can help people achieve their professional goals. I’m looking to get at least 100 responses. The survey takes less than 3 minutes to complete.

I’m happy to share the results once I’ve collected the numbers needed.

A free mini astrology reading is included as a gift :)

Click on this TypeForm link or the image below to begin the survey. Thank you!

Instagram Astrology

Poem by Babaji, Himalayan Saint

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I came across this poem in an astrology book by James Braha (fantastic writings — check out his books online!).

I have many favorite lines from this poem. Two of my favorite lines can be inferred from this accompanying image.

angel_and_devil

[© Anna Ignatieva РDemon and Angel, 2005]

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A Poem by Babaji, A Himalayan Saint

Love and serve all mankind. Assist everyone.
Be cheerful, be courteous.
Be a dynamo of irrepressible happiness.
See God and good in every face.
There is no saint without a past.
There is no sinner without a future.
Praise every soul.
If you cannot praise someone, let them pass out of your life.
Be original, be inventive.
Dare, dare, and then dare more.
Do not imitate. Stand on your own ground.
Do not lean on the borrowed staff of others.
Think your own thoughts. Be yourself.
All perfection and all virtues of the Deity are hidden inside you — reveal them.
The savior also is already within you – reveal Him.
Let his grace emancipate you. Let your life be that of a rose.
Through silence it speaks in the language of fragrance.

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Astrology 101

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astrology-chart

Astrology Chart image from LifeMusicFun.com

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It was mid-2006 when I discovered my Moon sign.

I was born in September, under the Sun sign of Virgo. While I did (and do) identify with several traits associated with this sign, I couldn’t help but feel that I identified with many of the other Zodiac signs too when I read about them. Signs like Pisces and Scorpio, for instance.

I was intrigued when I found out my Moon sign was in Pisces. That was the beginning of my enthusiastic interest in the subject of astrology (beyond the Sun sign).

Our Sun sign represents what our ego/personality aspires to be. Our Moon sign represents our emotional nature. This made perfect sense to me — Virgo and Pisces are opposite signs too. That was the first thing which explained to me why I felt like a nutcase most of the time throughout my teenage years (I’d always be seeking a “balance amidst extremities”). Additionally, I found out that my Venus (love sign) was in Scorpio, which adds an extra layer of depth/intensity to my experiences.

I’ve found astrology to be exceptionally helpful in terms of understanding myself and “organizing” my own personality. While it’s best not to reach the extent where you allow astrology to control you (right down to what you’re going to think/say/do EVERY single minute of the day), it can be a big help in helping enhance self-knowledge, which will also tend to have a positive influence on the other human relationships in your life.

I’ve listed a few websites below where a beginner can get more information on basic astrology.

For greater accuracy, you will need your exact birth time (hour, minute, birth location).

1. Lunarium | Moon Sign Calculator (it all starts from here!)

2. Cafe Astrology (free birth chart and lots of information)

3. Astrodienst (excellent website)

I’ve also included a quick run-down on what each planet in our chart represents (referenced from Cafe Astrology).

Sun: Represents our ego, personality, basic identity.

Moon: Represents our deepest personal needs, basic habits and reactions, and our unconscious.

Mercury: Represents how we think and how we communicate.

Venus: Represents our love style, and pleasure/what makes us happy.

Mars: Represents energy, drive, action, desire, self-assertion.

Jupiter: Represents luck, opportunity, expansiveness. Optimism and spiritual growth come under its rule.

Saturn: Represents restriction, limitations, responsibilities, commitments, and tough lessons to be learned (lessons which make/help us grow).

Uranus: Represents originality, individuality, technology, innovation, discovery.

Neptune: Represents inspiration, dreams, imagination, illusion, and confusion.

Pluto: Represents subconscious forces, ruling all that is “below the surface.”

Knowing your planetary placements (other than your Sun sign) is a great way to start off with basic extended astrology. That’s how it worked for me at least :)

In my own astrological chart, I have a Virgo Sun, Pisces Moon, Libra Mercury, Scorpio Venus, and Capricorn Mars. You can have a rough idea as to how these would make me quite different from a typical strongly Virgo type.

In a future post, I’ll write about how houses and aspects come into the picture re: reading an astrological chart.

That’ll help you understand what phrases like “Venus conjunct Pluto in Scorpio 8th House” mean (that is one of my “very intense” placements).

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By: Jess C Scott
www.jessINK.com

Originally posted at:
www.broodsugar.com/astrology

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Real Writers

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technology

Image from NexusPlexus | Masterfile

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* This post might be a bit disjointed, though perhaps it’ll make sense in terms of “chaotic order.”

One of the reasons I like the cyberpunk genre is the blend of introspection and self-reflection it encourages (it makes us question where we’re headed; it makes us ponder on the interaction/interplay between humanity and technology; so on and so forth).

Dragonsinn.net has been up for almost 13 years, and I’ve been meaning to write a dragon-themed series for some time. I’ve “taken my time” with it because I have high expectations for it [the original version of Dragonsinn was one of the first small dragon websites on the net, first uploaded in 1999 ;)].

Online social media in 1999 wasn’t like what it is now in 2012 (which probably means the scene will be very different once another decade has passed).

I enjoy the social aspects of social media, though I personally would prefer to see more profound or witty status updates and posts. I suppose I may be a little bit of a hypocrite since I don’t post “profound or witty updates” 100% of the time. But I do know that my personal preference is for something with mental/emotional/spiritual depth and variety.

Thinking about the early social media scene makes me think about the independent writing/publishing scene in 2009-2010. Both weren’t over-commercialized or saturated at that point in time yet (though I get that these two factors are “subjective” to an extent).

I’ve never doubted a single word (not even a comma) of George Orwell’s writing. Perhaps the introduction to Orwell’s Why I Write says it best:

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. . .When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. . .It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.

— George Orwell: Why I Write (Introduction)

I often see the same themes on the blogs and social media platforms of indie authors (exception = poets).

Yes, it’s fun to sail high on the Amazon bestseller ranks and rake in the dough.

Yes, it’s tempting (and comforting?) to convince oneself that quality writing doesn’t matter because the public only cares about entertainment, not technical standards.

Yes, it boosts the ego and “things happen” when someone in the industry contacts you because they can see the commercial value in your book/product and want to make a profit from it.

Yes, publishing is a business and traditional publishers have to do whatever they can to make a profit.

Yes, many people enjoy writing and if they can succeed at self-publishing and gaining an audience for their work, more power to them.

Yes, writing well and being praised doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pay the bills with your writing.

Yes, money is good.

But I like to keep in mind the authors who “write to have a good time” (Ms. Meyer of the Twilight series), versus the authors who write because they’re fuelled by a passion and purpose (like George Orwell).

I know that “you are what you consume,” which is why I’m selective with what I choose to ingest both physically (food) as well as mentally/emotionally (information, entertainment, infotainment, etc).

Writing is a means of communication — I like to produce stories that could be branded as “meaningful” entertainment (versus “mindless” entertainment).

I’m happy carving a niche out for myself, since the mainstream media seems to be infinitely more interested in hype than substance.

And I do know — and am very happy to have met — several indie authors who also have a purpose behind their interest in writing. These people, to me, are the real writers.

For me, at the end of the day, both money/materialism and spirituality are “real” things I have to face and deal with.

But I won’t sacrifice either one for the other (both are important).

I hope to see more people in the indie writing/publishing scene who have a real message to share, and who’d like to make a difference somehow. A lot of people still consider the traditional lottery-ticket bigshot agent-book-movie deal to be the pinnacle of (literary, or general) success. There’s nothing wrong with that (unless you dislike extreme commercialism and/or commodification).

But I like “resisting” systems and ideologies that aren’t interested in making a difference at all. Empires have every reason to maintain the status quo. Obedient sheeple are guaranteed to keep the empires in existence via buying/consuming what they’re told by the media empires is “good” for them.

That, itself, is what I enjoy resisting.

Because when we’re sheeple, who are we as individuals? Where is our sense of self-identity, and dreams, and thoughts, and motivations? Or are all those things defined by an external system that wishes to mold and control us simply for the sake of profits? Surely there is more to human life than being part of a sheeple audience?

Astrologically-wise, maybe it’s because I have an Aries North Node in the First House (psychological ground-breakers Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both had the Aries North Node). I instinctively resist and put up a fight (in my own way) against anything that threatens my sense of individuality, autonomy and “sense of self.”

Going back to the beginning of this blog post, “corporate control” is a cyberpunk trope I’ve always been drawn to as well. I don’t think cyberpunk is a genre anymore — it’s become an actual reality (perhaps more quickly than science fiction writers actually anticipated).

That is reason enough for me to have some kind of purpose to what I write.

That purpose, in and of itself, is more important than whether I decide to label/categorize certain projects of mine as “cyberpunk,” or whether I consider myself a “real writer.”

And I hope the small but spirited/very motivated group of real “resistors” out there will always be dedicated to their cause.

I’ve this instinctive knowledge that once you stop fighting, you become both in and of the system/The Matrix/whatever you want to call it (the thing that deletes your freedom of thought/speech/action, your identity).

I know that when you stop fighting, you are, essentially, forever under the influence of the hegemonizing “one world, one people, one wallet” mindset of megacorporations everywhere.

As a writer/artist/non-conformist, that really scares me — even if society doesn’t give a damn about where it’s headed.

P.S. I enjoyed the following 3 articles on social media:

1) The Decline of Facebook | Jim Lastinger

2) The unsocial network you can never leave | Martin Utreras Carrera

3) Social Media Smart But People Stupid | Margie Clayman

Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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* This post is part of a short series:

7 Nov 2010: Christian Fiction, Background (Part I)
25 Nov 2011: Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)
21 Dec 2011: Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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moral_compass

Picture from www.MoralCompass.com

Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (PART III)

From the website, Moral Compass:

A useful way to think about your “moral compass” is to think of it like an ordinary compass with true North representing Integrity, South — Forgiveness, East — Compassion, and West — Responsibility.

These four universal principles are honored in some form by people of all races and religions, regardless of gender.

I’ve been doing some personal research on Christianity (and have come across interesting Catholic priests’ blogs) as of late. I have an interest in spiritual practices on the whole, something that involves the search for meaning and purpose, that involves themes which engage us with the wider world.

I guess the personal research will help fine-tune the rough outline for my first “Christian Fiction” project (which I’ll start working on next year). I’m aiming for an “edgy inspirational fiction” vibe (that’s not too radical).

Certain things I’ll keep in mind (from reading this page on Inspirational Fiction):

(1) lack of profanity and portrayal of explicit sex,

(2) project to be “based on Christian values,” rather than be seen as for “Christians only,”

(3) emphasize morals, values and life lessons,

(4) character’s relationship to God
(in a broad and literal way > narrow and didactic way).

I guess the “edge” will come from the characters dealing with their sexual thoughts, desires, and actions/choices in a realistic and authentic way — my sex drive and sexual nature are things I’ve never been completely able to kill and/or repress (so as an adult, I tend to approach the subject of sex without a Catholic guilt complex).

While I rebel against total sexual control, I can appreciate the Christian ideal of sex only within a monogamous marriage (something that, I think, still has a level of appeal to people of all religions).

And while I like having liberty in my way of life (I’ve Uranus in the 9th House — and here’s a good page on Astrology + Christianity), I’ve always sought to favor compassion over passion (or “alongside” passion, at the very least). I don’t support violence. I don’t support superficiality. In the case of extreme religious bigots (who do not accurately represent the “moderate others” within their religious community), it is hypocritical to preach about “love and compassion,” while actively condoning/participating in acts of violence and hatred towards those with other beliefs.

That being said, I’ve come to realize that the other extreme is just as bad (where “anything goes,” due to an absence of the subject of God/spirituality/some kind of moral compass). This allows for free reign of hedonism where acts such as excessive fornication/adultery/consumerism aren’t allowed to just run rampant, but are encouraged and promoted over values that are grounded in some kind of moral sense.

From an article on Buddhism and Sex:

A puritanical Church tradition (one extreme) has now been vigorously challenged by a secular spirit of permissiveness (the other extreme). For many people it is not at all easy to find the middle way between these two extremes.

After several years, I have come to realize it’s not education/religion/politics that is the problem. It is the corruption within all of these massive and powerful institutions that is the problem. Ordinary people are exploited as a result of misplacing their trust in corrupted leaders whose real gods are (usually some combination of) fame, power and money.

Not all leaders are corrupted, but those who are wreak a whole lot of damage. I like it best when creative work can somehow help/benefit others (fiction is a good avenue for individuals that could be categorized as scandalous moralists). It would certainly be a good cause to inspire others to map out a sane course in their own lives, between the two extremes of rigid puritanism and total permissiveness (paraphrased from Buddhism and Sex).

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“Christian Fiction” Posts:

7 Nov 2010: Christian Fiction, Background (Part I)
25 Nov 2011: Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)
21 Dec 2011: Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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