Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Am Peeled Back

I am caught in the mystery of change, how it approaches, how it recedes. I have been studying lifelong ever since that singular moment where everything changed for me and I was given life. I was intent on philosophy and psychology, so when I returned to school that’s what my major turned into and along the way I found other things that needed attention. Two of them, astrology and I Ching also became long term works. I came back to the states in 1969, and returned to school. In 1970 I started the study of both astrology and I Ching along with my college work. While overseas I had studied both philosophy and psychology on my own so I was ahead of the game in school.

Then early in 1972 my world exploded. I had to upend everything in order to stay alive and I left college behind with about 24 credits left to graduation. I took astrology and I Ching with me. In my flight, I ended up in a hotel, where I met my future wife. She was desk clerking there. Later I moved in with her, and still later we went to Oregon so she could get her Masters in Social Work. I began my career in engineering design to help fund her way through school. I also met a man, a clinical psychologist in private practice who was fascinated as I was with astrology and I Ching. He was teaching an astrology course and we quickly found out I knew as much or more than he. We decided to partner and started a group therapy setting where we would practice and teach astrology in Dane Rudhyar’s Person Centered format. We developed a way of using astrology as a tool for exploring consciousness. We began going to conferences and offering our work both to psychologists and astrologers because we were doing actual work that straddled both fields. We met several serious astrologers including Dane Rudhyar himself as we brought them to Portland and put on our own conferences.

Later, I turned all this and my work with I Ching into the rest of my college degree.

I did all this chasing change. I did all this as a way of looking at time and timing. I am a musician and music relies on time in essential ways. In poetry the way words flow also have fundamental connection to timing. I know for a fact that in order to really “get” a poem you have to read it aloud. I am not much into word art. I am too musically oriented, too time oriented.

I hardly touch astrology any more. I don’t know many people who have a degree in it however. Heh. I Ching is still in my life.

This next poem is about that weird moment of change and its departure.

I Am Peeled Back

I listen to you,
your high keening lululu
at departing fate
and within the spin
lowering sound of your loss,
within the oily scent
you found spilled nearby,
I begin to fall away,
peeled back like onions.

April 17, 2009 3:22 PM


  1. in your poem you somehow capture that split second where change takes place.
    what a beautiful thing to capture that. In me i can say this was before and that was after, but that moment...i'll watch for it.

  2. The keening lululu, the oily scent, and being peeled back like onions - great sensory imagery.

  3. It is at that moment, every moment really, that you find the crack between the worlds, the way out or in. It is the small hesitation and balance between inhale and exhale. That is precisely why breathing and following the breath is crucial in spiritual work: we are closest to the gap through which God enters the world at that point of change between the indrawing breath and its release and the reverse of that as well.

    There is a fundamental message of any vision. Where did this change come from, for there I will go again if ever I am permitted. As well, it is obvious that the passage into death is also one that involves the breath, not betweeen inhale and exhale but the other way around, between exhale and inhale. At some point there is the last pause.

    In astrology, at least the version that I favor, personhood is a matter of autonomy and autonomy is signaled with the first breath upon one's departure from the womb, where Mother breathes for me. Thus the natal moment that should be recorded for each of us is the moment of first breath, assisted by some machine if necessary.

    If you want to understand change, then follow the breath.

  4. Wow Christopher. Your mind is an amazing thing! I hated school, still hate almost every learning environment that isn't experiencial.

  5. Inhale (pause, listen) exhale (pause listen) inhale (continue until you die).

    W&W that's part of why my schooling went the way it did. I have real blocks against school. Part of it, I don't trust just anyone with my head. I read a great deal, because I don't have to buy the ideas, not even to take the test. That's one thing I don't like about school. Unless its a course I hunger for, I don't do well and test lousy, basically because I can't stand to study the material. I test really well on material I care about or tests I want to take. I am almost exclusively self taught by choosing my own way.

    There is a disadvantage to this that I rectified nearly thirty years ago but suffered from acutely. A self taught man can lack humility and may be burdened with the stuff he doesn't know he doesn't know. I was so burdened.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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