Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tell Me Where It Hurts

(Today's entry is more of a philosophical digression than an astrology lecture. How shocking... a philosophical digression from a Sagittarius astrologer! Tomorrow on AMAZING YET TRUE: A Capricorn accountant itemizes invoices!)


A young man leaves his little village in Russia to attend University. He comes back the following summer on vacation and speaks to his Rabbi.

"Rabbi," the student says, "I've lost faith in God."

"And why is that?" the Rabbi asks.

The student explained. "I learned in University that all things are the way they are because that is how I perceive them. Everything exists to me only because I have a vague and inaccurate image of it in my mind. And, really... if I can't even believe in you or your desk or the soil in my yard... how can I possibly believe in something as abstract as God?"

"So," the Rabbi says, "you can't even really know that, say, your own nose exists?"

"Exactly!" the student answered. "Not even my own nose."

The Rabbi pauses thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. After a moment, the Rabbi turns to the student and punches him. Hard. In the nose.

The Rabbi then leans over the student, crumpled on the ground, holding his bloody nose and moaning.

"So, my boy," the Rabbi says, "what hurts?"


I've been thinking about Paula Abdul a lot today -- specifically, about the pain she says she is in because of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS). It is, in some ways, much like fibromyalgia... a little-understood syndrome that causes pain for barely-understood reasons, which happens more to women than to men, and is often dismissed as being "all in the head" of the sufferer.

I still stand by what I said yesterday: a tough Saturn-Neptune aspect brings with it a risk of alcoholism or drug addiction, whether one starts on that path because of physical pain or for other reasons. But the more I poured over Paula's birth chart, the further I seem to get from what I was looking for.

I can see vertigo, diabetes, insomnia, infertility, arthritis, gout and acne in a birth chart... but damned if I can see any pain. There are no planetary rulers for "pain." And before any of you start waving Chiron at me, I have a stack of charts here from people in pain with no Chiron involvement at all.

I think this is really the central issue that any doctor, counselor, or astrologer faces. We are fighting ghosts -- intangible things that can barely be defined and are impossible to capture and identify... and yet are very real. And an astrologer deals with pain all the time -- more often than not, emotional pain... but pain nonetheless. I can help find the cause. I can help suggest a treatment. I can get results. But when you get right down to it, I can't kill the beast with a single blow any better than you or anyone else can.

But I try. That's what I'm here for... and not just because that's what my birth chart says.

After all, as I once told my astrology class: "If a nurse was in the room making a sandwich while you were being born, and finished it the moment you came out... you and that sandwich would have the same birth chart. But, hopefully, different futures."

One of you will experience a lot of pain over the course of your existence. The other one will just get eaten.

(Thank you, Anonymous, for prompting this line of thought in your comment on yesterday's blog entry)


Emma said...

So tell us Master.

What´s it gonna be. Be eaten by the lions? or acknowledge pain and become a tiger...

Matthew The Astrologer said...

That's one thing pain can be good for: bringing the Zen master out of us all. :)

Emma said...

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky”


Matthew The Astrologer said...

"Write me a scrip for some more Vicodin."

-Dr. Gregory House. ;)

angelineelise said...

AMAZING YET TRUE: A Capricorn accountant itemizes invoices!

This sounds like something a Capricorn would delegate to a Virgo, then go off to have a 3 martini lunch with the head of an opposing firm, who wants to court her for her awesome people management skills.

Christine said...

I too suffer from RSD/CRPS. EVERYDAY is a fight. Some days are an easier fight than others.

If you would like to do more reading on Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, aka, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, please visit:

Both sites are VERY extensive in their knowledge of this horrible condition. There is no cure, only attempts at keeping the patient comfortable. I went from healthy and normal to bedridden in 9 months, that was 12/06 to 8/07. I, with my pain management doctors help, was implanted with a spinal cord stimulator which sends an electrical pulse down to my affected limb 24/7. I feel blessed to have wonderful doctors who are willing to help me become comfortable. I am not cured and suffer from pain every day, however, I am not completely bedridden anymore. The best way to explain this, in my opinion, is that my nerves turned on after an accident and never turned back off.

The only thing I wish Paula Abdul would do is talk more about this condition. With her name being in most households, her voice could help teach and inform many people who are unaware of this horrible condition.

Always pain free hugs,

Matthew The Astrologer said...

I had a dig through before I wrote this.

It reminds me of fibromyalgia in that, a long time ago, I was an insurance adjuster. And at that time we were taught that fibromyalgia was a more-or-less imaginary disease that women would use to try to get free insurance money.

Now you know why I couldn't stand being an adjuster.

Keep yelling 'til they hear you, Christine.

J.C. said...

Well... this only confirms to me that one doesn´t have to base everything that happens in his life on the stars and planets. There IS a Superior power.

That is why we have free will. And I will quote you now:

"-Finally: no matter what, remember that you have free will. If God didn't want you to have that, he would have skipped making people and gone straight to creating a world populated with wind-up toys."

But he didn´t. He created us instead. Sometimes stronger, sometimes fragile. But anyway humans. Full of flaws, but also full of virtues.

Yes, Sir, there is a God who is above everything. And as much as we don´t want to accept it, he has a plan for our lives. And it´s not just a "plan" it´s an " all inclusive" plan. Perhaps we feel frustrated because we don´t get what we want now. I have struggled all my life with this, in all aspects of my life, but then I discover that it was not the right time,or just not the right thing, cause I had to learn something first. And then the things or the events even people come back to my life, when I am ready and prepared. And then I thank Him for showing me what I had to learn. As painful as it can be, I am just growing up, trying to be a better person. I have to remind myself and my partner every day, that we came here to be happy, that we have to see the bad things that happen to us as opportunities for growth. We´re sloooowly getting there.

As you said, pain is not written on the stars. We ALL suffer, we ALL have pain. What we do with it and what we do with our demons, is one of the main points of life. Be aware also that it´s easier to let our demons and negative thoughts take control of our mind and life rather than us, taking control.

No matter what the sign or chart. Once in a while, we should be able yo leave aside the "meaning" of the planets, and focus on "us". In our inner self, without paying that much attention to the transits or conjuncts etc. It has happened to me that when in doubdt or desperation, all I obtain from the charts is to be more confused and desperate, and after all, the only thing we have to be sure of is that "nothing" is 100% sure.

You are a very wise guy, so I am not telling you any news. I am glad to see that the nose hurts. Keep it up!!!

Matthew The Astrologer said...

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Matthew The Astrologer said...

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Angela said...

It's weird: I can look back and see how my negative thoughts/reactions to things that happened to me, created a whole new world of pain. BUT, as I relax and think about how silly I was, "and it's a wonderful world, really, aren't people just so great??" the same things happen. It's like it kicks off another cycle, and I can't help but take it personally.

I have Chiron conjunct the Sun, in the 6th (and Mercury and Ceres), opposing Uranus. I used to get physically ill on a regular basis, and then for years I dealt with exhaustion (until I tried coconut oil, and a few other things). The emotional pain has almost always been harder for me to deal with, except for cramps. Extreme cramps now leave me feeling stabby, so people just need to stay away until I feel better.