Nature presents a study in contrasts between what is seen and unseen, what is heard and unheard.
The field I walk in daily is strewn with holes made by gophers. Their survival depends on staying underground, unseen. Flowers, by contrast, depend on being seen so that animals and humans will touch them, pick them, and spread their seeds. Babies of many species are cute, and by their cuteness, they ensure that they are cared for by adults. Their survival depends on being seen, and heard. These displays of nature are everywhere as are the invisible microbes upon which life depends.
I contemplate this now in a social vein.
I shop at the same stores every week, and there I see the same clerks and say hello, and while we see each other on one level, we also do not see each other in deeper ways. Nor do we want to. We wear our invisibility in chosen and socially acceptable ways to protect ourselves and each other from too much – too much energy, too much talk, too much of a burden to take on from one another.
Seen and unseen, we go about the world in various ways that announce some of our needs and our availability for engagement, and that hide other needs and our feelings about ourselves.
I am contemplating this now as I am forging new ways of being with myself and with others.
I have written a lot on this blog about the tsunami that ripped through my social life in the midst of cancer treatment and its aftermath. I cringe at the thought that my stories may appear to be about myself as a victim. There are weird and crazy things that people do, and yet I’m no victim. My stories have been about my search for new ways of relating.
Astrology figures into this in that it gives me metaphors for understanding my past and where I want to go now.
Over the millennia in which humans have interpreted the correlations between celestial formations and human traits and doings, aspects have been key. Aspects are the angular relationships formed by planetary forces in the sky. Planets in aspect to each other are in each other’s line of sight. Certain forces can “see” each other, whether that is as friend, ally or foe. They communicate. Similarly, certain people can see each other and others cannot. Maybe the seeing is on the level of a love affair, or maybe it’s a duel. We see some others and we do not see some others.
What I lament most about the past are the times when I have not been seen, or not seen accurately. And what I rejoice in now with new acquaintances I am meeting are the ways in which I am able to see them, and they see me. We need skills and tools to see accurately, just as many of us need to wear spectacles in order to see beyond our nose.
The willingness to be seen figures into this as well. When shopping at the grocery store, I am often in hat and sunglasses. I’m not available to be seen. I’m just there doing a mundane task. I’m like the gopher who pokes her head out of her hole, as necessary, to do some house-keeping.
The habit of not letting oneself be seen, no doubt, starts in childhood. I was not seen at all accurately by my biological family. From about age four, I was told, day in and day out, that I was not good. A test in third grade showed I had a high I.Q. My parents claimed this was their doing, which I did not believe. But other than being told I was smart, my parents made it their business to preach about how existentially bad I was. No one can escape unscathed from a thorough propaganda campaign waged on an innocent heart. As my life unfolded, a few important people told me that, no, I was very good, but the struggle has been to know that to be true for myself.
This is where the patterns of seeing/not seeing or being seen/not being seen come in.
Every single one of the friends who turned out not to be was someone who, for their own complicated reasons, could not see me. Maybe they were interested only in my politics or my wit or maybe we thought we could entertain each other by sharing tales of woe. In each case, I felt profound dissatisfaction at each parting, knowing deep down that I had not been seen. Yet this was such a well-worn pattern that it seemed normal. Until it did not.
Astrology now draws me for many reasons. One reason is that I find in this milieu an observation — or maybe it’s just a hope and an expectation — that here is a group of people a bit more adept at seeing.
I am not at all naïve enough to think that astrology makes someone smart or wise or kind. What finally caused me to throw my hands in the air and start studying astrology on my own was repeated visits with local astrologers who did not see me accurately. I became so tired of leaving consultations feeling unseen and unheard that I hit the books myself.
This past year, the most amazing thing that has happened is that I have reached out to new acquaintances, astute astrologers in far-flung places, who seem to be in my line of sight.
In each case, I have felt seen and understood. DF was the first of these new acquaintances I contacted. I felt an instant connection and started taking classes with him. Then I met TJ through his radio broadcast. He did an on-air reading of my chart, not a simplistic newspaper-style horoscope but a precise, evolutionary view. TJ was so immediately accurate that I knew I was being seen, and that I had met an ally. I have since been taking his classes, too. Then there was GC, LS, and AA, same experience. AE, an astrologer young enough to be my son, has become a teacher I am looking forward to spending years studying with.
Last week, I emailed an astrologer in the Midwest to thank him for an informative webinar he had offered on the subject of aspects, the sacred geometry of how forces see or don’t see each other.* CO responded that he’d read my most recent blog post, resonated with it, and thus has begun a meeting of the minds over the internet.
What’s interesting is how all this has come about. It’s possible that because I am no longer attracted to spending time with people who don’t see me that I am becoming available for those who do.
The other side of this is that as I am changing and raising my standards for what is a friend, I aspire to become much better at seeing and hearing them as well.
*See his blog at studentofastrology.com