Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leo and Me

One of the gifts Graham received for his recent birthday was a gift certificate to a book store. The two of us whiled away some time perusing all the titles before one of the books Graham (and I, heh!) chose was  Georgia Nicol's book You and Your Future, a book on astrology.

Both of us watch Georgia on Global News on Sundays and have enjoyed her sense of humour and her accuracy. But I had no idea she would teach me something as profound as the Rising sign.

The Rising Sign is based on the time of day you were born, as opposed to the Sun Sign which is based on the day of the year you were born. Most of us know our Sun Sign...be it Pisces, or Cancer, or Taurus, etc.

Georgia writes that the Rising Sign is my persona. It is how I project myself outwardly to the World, with my appearance and my personality. She tells me it's the style I use to get what I want, now and in the future. It indicates to me how I will make things happen in my life.

Now, I have always been happy with my Sun Sign of Pisces. It seemed to cover most of the peccadilloes in my personality. It sat right with me.

Georgia says my Rising Sign shows how I survived in my family.  Upon looking back, had I only had Pisces in my sign, I would have been swallowed whole in my family group, instead of only some parts of me.

Keeping Georgia's warning in mind about her Table of signs as being too simplistic (she suggests using an astrologer or Googling the Rising Sign Calculator in order to find your accurate Rising Sign), I found my Rising Sign to be....Leo!!

Ouch. Leo was my mother's Sun Sign. It was not until a year or two before she died that I grew closer to my mother, that I began to understand her. I wonder what my mother's Rising Sign was; there is no way to find that particular nugget now. Leo has never been a favourite sign of mine, keeping my mother's persona in mind.

And in looking up family members' Rising Signs, I find Brianna, my granddaughter, and Graydon, my grandson, have Leo Rising,  Graydon and his Dad both have Aries in their makeup (one as a Rising Sign and one as a Sun Sign), that Graham has Pisces Rising, and Heidi, my daughter, is a Pisces with Libra Rising. The twins are Pisces with Aries rising.

How very strange to find how intertwined we all are, in the eyes of Astrology!

I find the section on Leo with trepidation. I know quite a few people whose Sun Sign is Leo; I've liked and even loved them. I wondered what the negatives were in regard to Leo...had my mother been stuck in that contrary area?

And sure enough, the pessimistic words flew off the page on the negative qualities of the Leo archetype. Arrogance, pride, extravagance, ostentatious, egocentric, patronizing, opinionated, didactic, and uncompromising...all of these fit my mother well.

And then I think...do all these words fit me, as well?

But according to Georgia's book, Leo's are also generous, principled, honourable, warm-hearted, forthright, energetic, brave and intelligent. Certainly my mother's friends thought so of her.

Georgia presents three broad qualities of the sign of Leo. She states the sign of Leo is creative, generates warmth, radiance and generosity, is a leader with a need for recognition.

AAAargh!!! The last part...the need for recognition...that part does not sit well with my Piscean sensibilities. But oh! did my mother ever require recognition! There were never enough compliments to make my mother happy, and I cringed each time she sought them.

Suddenly, in a strangely obscure way, I understand why I secretly love compliments, yet spurn them when they arrive as unimportant (Piscean)...and why my granddaughter, a Sagittarius with Leo rising, loves recognition, accepts compliments with grace and loves to create happy situations.

My mother loved to create situations, as well. However, many of hers were not as happy as I might have liked...

As I think about all this, I realize I have much to thank my mother for. My mother had many tough times, many crises in her life. She chose to become embittered; her choice led to my being strongly averse to living my life in that way. I watched her as a child and later a teen, at home, and I made a very strong, conscious choice to use optimism and hope, instead. I made the choice to work my Leo aspect in the most positive manner I could, even though I didn't realize how important Leo rising in my sign was, at the time.

Leo is the sign of the Sun. Leo is the Lion. I learn, by reading Georgia's book, that Leo can be timid, but will rarely show it. How true that is...I will face down any situation with a roar, yet tremble inside the whole time I do it.

Georgia went a little further for me, after I'd written to tell her how much I'd enjoyed her book. She actually drew out my Natal Chart and sent it to me, along with the other signs I need to read. She also told me I had the stronger Leo aspect, while my mother was the 'authority' in my life...and Georgia says...Of course you would clash!

Of course! I wish I'd known this years ago!

Georgia also advised me to read all twelve signs with reference on How to Be Happier  Chapters. Within the first few paragraphs on the Piscean chapter, I find familiar waters. I find, more than any other sign, Pisces people have the strongest ability of all the Astrological signs to manifest their core beliefs. Whatever Pisces thinks about their World becomes reality. 

For example, were I to wear rose-coloured glasses, as I try to do, most of the time, the World becomes a wonderful, magical place. Yet, were I to believe the opposite, I could become my own worst enemy...because the World, or at least my World, will become whatever my negative thought patterns conjure up.

No kidding.

A happier Leo, on the other hand, should forego their
pride and arrogance...so much a part of this sign. I hope my Sun sign of Pisces will help me achieve the positive parts of pride and arrogance. Georgia, in her book, explains the difference.

I've heard Georgia say many times, on television, that astrology is all about math. Looking at my chart, I believe it...it looks like some mathematical test I failed at some point in my school years...

Astrology is great fun for me...I check where the stars and planets are every morning on the Cosmic Calendar. I have the added bonus now of having two signs to help me make sense of my day.

Even in times of angry disputes with my mother, a Leo, somewhere inside, no matter how ridiculous her assumptions, I knew where and how she had arrived at her conclusion. Somewhere inside myself, I understood her.

Georgia's book was really cheap at the price, if it means I move that much further along the completely convoluted journey of life.

I'm so glad I was with Graham, when he went shopping for his birthday gift...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Strange Times

Jack Layton and his granddaughter
I asked my Muse this morning to help me write something...anything. I seem to have no...oomph...for writing these days, and it seems the Muse doesn't either, since she hasn't stimulated me for some time.

I believe it is the events the World is experiencing at the moment. One cannot turn on the news without some catastrophe just waiting to pounce, just waiting to destroy any peace I may have gathered through the night.

I could list them. But it would just exacerbate the whole thing, magnifying them in my mind.

The one thing I will mention, however, is how Jack Layton's death from cancer, at the age of 61, affected me.  He was the leader of the Opposition in the House of Parliament, a New Democrat.

Jack Layton, with his granddaughter Beatrice, and his wife, Olivia Chow
How odd that a man I have never met, a politician of and for the people, could have me in a state of mourning, along with, seemingly, the rest of Canada, no matter their political bent.

I was in a state of shock the morning I heard about his death. I had known he was ill, of course. I saw him making his last announcement, when he said he would be back in September. As ill as he looked, I believed him. I thought he would be back in Parliament, holding all the rest accountable, as he had done for his whole life.

To me, he was like a Terrier or a Bulldog, worrying and tearing at the Conservatives without restraint. With a four year term of a majority Conservative government, I felt so much better in knowing Jack Layton was the leader of the Opposition. I felt, if anyone could, he was the one who would hold the Conservatives to account.

Flags fly at half-mast
The strange thing is I am not terribly political. When I vote, I usually vote for the person and not specifically the Party he or she is leading. But Jack was and always will be a man for the people. For him, it was forever about the people and their well-being in Canada. And I understand that...it is how I hope I would be were I in politics.

I felt he had our backs. And when he died, I felt bereft. Who could possibly take his place?

I was astonished when I cried, really cried, for him, for his wife and family and grandchild, and for Canada. And I was truly amazed at the wave of emotion that overcame the Country. I'm not sure I remember this ever happening before.

He wrote a letter to Canadians the day before he died. In his very personal letter, he urged all of us to remember not to let others say we can't do a thing our minds are set upon. He addressed his Party, his caucus, other people suffering with cancer, the youth of Canada, Quebecers who believed in him enough to vote in huge numbers to give him the opposition Leader's seat. And he addressed his fellow Canadians.

At the end of his letter, one that must have been so difficult to write, he wrote..."My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we'll change the World." 

I wonder if I could have had the fortitude to write something so eloquent if I faced death. This man remembered the people of Canada, knowing well his time was at an end. This was the kind of man he was...and the words above were words he truly lived by, in all accounts.

As the World enters strange times, where nothing seems certain, where Earthquakes, Tornadoes, terrible accidents and civil unrest seem almost the norm...I will take Jack Layton's words and enter them deeply within my soul, never to be forgotten or misplaced.

Let us, indeed, be loving, hopeful and optimistic. Let us not give fear the upper hand. Fear is a destroyer...love and hope fill the heart, giving more strength I believe we will all require in the coming months and years ahead.

Jack, I will miss you and your smiling face. I will miss your witty, sometimes even snide, comments. I will miss the love you projected to us all, even though I never knew you personally. It does not seem to matter, to my complete and  utter astonishment.

We are living through strange times. I do not blame myself for not wanting to write about despair and fear. As odd as it seems, Jack Layton's death opened the hearts of people as nothing else might have done.

And perhaps, this is the point. This heart-opening, this outpouring of love, the collective astonishment that this could be so for a politician's untimely death...this taught us all to be more open, more heart-centred.

Imagine the possibilities...

This morning, I had a conversation with my Muse, the wondrous lady who sits on my right shoulder as I write.

And she did not let me down.

Rest in the greatest of peace, Jack, your time on Earth has ended too soon. 

It is time, now, to take up the cudgels, the loving truncheons, on your behalf.

And I will.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Road Less Travelled

Duffy Lake Route to the Coast...long and curvy!
One of the many old Log Cabins one finds anywhere in the Cariboo...
Did I say long and very curvy?
We took a different route to the Coast this time. The Duffy Lake Road would be treacherous in the Winter, in my opinion...there are many curves and cliffs along the way...but it is well worth taking in the Summer. So many wondrous views!

My daughter and her family were in the middle of renovating their home...the kitchen and two bathrooms were being ripped out and  re-done...and so when we arrived it was to controlled chaos.

At the Water park, it was difficult to capture Graydon in a still moment...
Graham and I have renovated many times before; therefore we completely understand the process.

But I managed..
After a restful sleep, we left the construction workers to their jobs and visited the Roger Creek Water Park...it was a truly lovely, warm day, which I really appreciated, it being quite chilly and wet in the Cariboo up to that point...

Brianna at the grand old age of three...
I watched Brianna, my granddaughter, go a little further along the path to adulthood and maturity when she was picked up from home by one of her friends who drove. No longer is there any need to beg rides to the Lake from her parents...although she doesn't as yet have her own driver's license, many of her friends have theirs.


It brought back memories of when my daughters found freedom from requesting a ride from parents. It was bittersweet...on the one hand, I was grateful and on the other...well, on the other, this was the beginning of their own independence, further away from me, so many years ago.

He's so active! Pictures turn out fuzzy.
Brianna is well on her way. She's in Grade 12 this coming year; she is maturing in leaps and bounds...way too fast for this grandmother!

What happened to my little girl?

And Graydon, too...He and I have discussions, now. No longer does he take everything someone says as complete and utter truth. He questions everything. He tells me the folks around him don't always like to be bothered by his questions, which centre around the "why?" category. So I countered his nonsense Why's with Why not? Given that scenario, he loved to pass on his knowledge by answering the question himself...

Maple Trees in the Park entwined for eternity...they look like they are dancing a wonderfully slow waltz...
The Park was crowded. There were children everywhere. I noticed there were young parents there whom I knew many years ago when they were youngsters themselves. Wasn't that only yesterday?

At a younger age, when my daughters were small, I never noticed the shrieks and shouts of children. Those sounds were part of my World. I'm much older now; I find myself sneaking away at times to seek some peace.
A favourite spot, in the centre of the two Trees, for hide and seek!

I remembered Roger Creek Park. It was a favourite venue for weddings and photos for special occasions. It was a park I went to when I needed the comfort the large Maple Trees give the human population.

And so I wandered away with my camera for awhile, renewing old acquaintances, still there after all these years.

Still Waters capturing reflected Trees and Sky.
The River was low and still. I remember it as being rushing and busy. But it is Summer and the River is called Roger Creek. And my memory is not what it once was. I think, too, my memories can get confused with other Rivers, other Creeks... all melding together in my mind.

Serene and peaceful Ponds...lovely, lovely Water!
But it was exactly what I needed, regardless of the Creek's stillness. I sat and stared at the Water for a long time, letting my tired body receive satiation from Mother Nature and allowing my mind surcease from problems.

When I felt the urge to go back to the playground, I felt refreshed, as is always the case when Mother Earth and I connect.

Back to the laughter of children!

The rest of our vacation passed in double quick time, as it always does. We travelled back on Hwy. 1 through the Fraser Canyon...the Duffy Lake Road made me a little dizzy with its twists and turns. It is a great alternative route, though, on the way to the Island, as it is a good hour shorter than Hwy. 1.

At least in the Summer, this road, which is less utilized than the other, more up-to-date routes, will be one we'll choose more often.

It is good to shake up complacency, sometimes, by taking a road less travelled...