westward leading, still proceeding

“Evolutionary astrology” are two words a good Southern Baptist preacher’s kid should probably never have reason to write.

Up until last week, the only things I knew about stargazing were that Nancy Reagan had controversially kept a secret “White House astrologer” and that in the first century there were some wise men from the East who made their way to Nazareth in search of the king a star of wonder with royal beauty bright was signalling.

So I guess the concept is not completely irrelevant to a conservative mid-westerner’s worldview, but that doesn’t mean I knew my astrological sign or why I might want to.

I did know that the circumstances of my life at the moment are more confusing than ever and that a little context and direction would certainly be comforting.

For several weeks, I’d been carrying around the phone number of an astrologer who a friend had met at fiddle camp in Maine and who had shared some interesting and constructive details about her life. I was curious, but fearful: isn’t astrology evil or at least farcical?

I’ve made it a point not to live my life in fear, however, and I could not articulate any immoral or life-threatening situation a look at how the planets were lining up when I was born could pose. I also thought a roadtrip to rural northern Maine sounded like a pretty cool adventure.

And so, I hopped in the rental car and drove five and half hours in the post-Sandy nor’easter to the 400 acres north of Belfast where the stargazing protege of the radical economist and simple-living advocate Scott Nearing would tell me what the heavens had to say about the meaning of my life.

Amidst drifting snow, I pulled off the rural highway and up to the simple one-room building I would later learn my host had built himself from wood he cleared from this land. Whisps of smoke rose from the chimney. A older man with long white hair and heavy boots came to the door to greet me.

We sat on mismatched furniture, with patchwork upholstery and questionable construction. There were candles and feathers and charts and a massage table.

He handed me my “chart” — a very complicated and mathematical depiction of where the planets were when I was born and where they’ve been traveling — and said we had lots to talk about. Apparently, “some charts are Fords and some are Ferraris.”

He told me things I knew about myself – perhaps that I had inadvertently told him in our brief phone conversation or that he had found on this blog – but that I had not taken very seriously: I am creative and need to share my creative output with others.

He told me things that I had not thought to be true about myself, but that perhaps I should reconsider: marriage and children are very important to me?

Most constructively he said I was entering my “Saturn return,” a period during which an extended adolescence draws to a close and during which I will make choices that will direct the next thirty years of my life.

It’s a transitional period, nevertheless, and not a singular event.

“When you find a path, don’t take it. That belongs to someone else. You have to make your own.”

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