According to the best scientific data . . . the average and mean temperatures of Hell have risen 3.8 degrees since 1955. (Thus) occupants of Hell who in 1955 were standing night and day in boiling pitch up to their knees report that, owing to the expansion of pitch at higher temperatures, they now must endure the torment all the way up to mid-thigh, or even higher, during Hell’s warmer seasons. –Ian Frazier, The Temperature of Hell: A Colloquim from ‘The New Yorker’
Hell has been on my mind a lot lately, and not just because my computer crashed early Thursday morning and I spent the entire day trying to resurrect it. I was not successful, and it now sits, discarded, an emotional eyesore (“How could you?!”) on a side table. I went right out and got a new, sleek, smooth computer that actually seems to want to do what I tell it to–the only problem came when my new wunderkind was unable to run my Solar Fire–so now I’m in astrology limbo, armed with my trusty ephemeris, table of houses, pencil and paper, and whatever wits I have left after my epic battle to salvage my work–believe me, it’s a very small basket they all sit in.
I’m taking a few days off, then, from the world of push-button calculations (at least until the new program arrives next week) but I’m not exactly plunging in old school to working charts out by hand. Instead I thought I’d tell you about something that’s been going on for a while now, but which I only just connected the dots on. Let me preface my story by saying that I currently have transiting Pluto square my natal Mercury in the 8th, sextile natal Neptune, also in the 8th, and trine natal Pluto in the 7th.
It started when I first noticed I was having dreams that didn’t make any sense. At least, they didn’t make any sense to me; they typically involved a feeling that I wasn’t ‘there’ at all. (And here’s where I should say, I’m no aello, who interprets dreams so effectively here http://dreamorpheus.wordpress.com/ In fact, I was on the verge of submitting at least one of the dreams to her when something clicked for me.) In many of the dreams I was an observer, but just as often I was a character in the dream, a person with a full history of which I was aware, who didn’t look or think or act like me, but whose life I was plunged into at what appeared to be a moment of stress (and the difference was distinct–I was vaguely aware, as David Byrne says, that ‘this is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife,’ while being extremely clear on ‘my’ past, and all the ‘whys’ of the present that would normally be fuzzy conceptions in dreamland at best) .
And this stress is what happened to be the key to understanding the entire sequence of dreams, because I realized that, though the situations were stressful for the individuals, they weren’t necessarily anything I thought was terribly difficult, threatening, or upsetting. For instance, in one dream I was a young woman living in Boston with my boyfriend, and the problem was a neighbor, a big tall man wearing basketball shorts, a headband on his ‘fro-ish hair, tall knee socks and a tank top (very ‘I think I’m an athlete’ a la 1977, the year it happened to be) who came almost daily to our apartment door while walking his brindle great dane; he would bang and bang on the door, demanding that my boyfriend come out to the park (a large open area behind the apartments)–apparently the boyfriend had made some objections to the man about his dog, as no animals were allowed in the building or the park area. This was causing an escalating stressful situation, as the couple was beginning to feel targeted, under siege in their own home by a man they believed was unbalanced. It was, in a word, their own special hell.
That’s what finally clicked for me: I realized that in each dream, I was seeing, and sometimes experiencing, a stress, a hell, very particular to the person in question. One more example will suffice, one where I was an observer, and this is the interesting thing with all the dreams: where the individual was known to me, whether personally or from the world stage, they were dead–and I had to wonder if I was indeed privy to their own unique version of hell, their lot in the afterlife.
In one of the observer dreams, I was at a small Midwestern US high school at the half time of a basketball game (and here I have to wonder, do I have some special association between the game of basketball and hell? Something to ponder!) There was a kind of popularity contest being voted on during this break–two girls stood in the middle of the court, and I knew that one of them, though she looked completely different, was actually Princess Diana (and I’m writing about how they stood “in the middle of the court” and think I was seeing her situation symbolically, translating ‘court’ to my non-royal way of thinking).
The outcome of the vote was announced, and Princess Di was not the winner; she began to sob. There was some comment that she was up against a ‘local’ girl, and that’s why the other had won–but she was inconsolable, crying that she was sure she was more popular than anyone else, that she should’ve received the crown. Though only All That Is can say for sure whether this is a true glimpse into the late Lady’s Soul, it’s not an improbable version of hell for her, given the events of her life.
I don’t claim to know why I’ve had this series of dreams, but will assume it’s to help me develop empathy, to show me how very specific and particular hell is for each and every one of us–and how, whether we admit it or not, hell is definitely a circumstance springing from our own choices, from the demands of the ego, where hell is decidedly of our own making.
Thanks very much to all who commented on the Solar Eclipse article–I appreciate that each of you took the time to read and comment, and I apologize, I was unable to come to the site and answer in any timely way. It was a period of non-stop work for me (note to Self: any connection to explosion of computer? Naw!) –fun but exhausting–and now I have something of an enforced break until the new program arrives. Obviously, I won’t be posting a detailed Weekly Forecast, but I do have a few remarks on what to look for: Mercury/ Jupiter opposition for a few days at the end of the month=oh we want to talk! The pull to tell all we know, to learn, to expand the Self’s image (Leo), will be strong. Mars through Gemini assists, and with the Moon waxing this week the unconscious may push to expand its influence, as well. Expect the effects to run the gamut, from braggardly to scholarly, and for the ego to be (often sneakily) a more prominent motivating factor than usual–that means step back and ask yourself, In whose best interest is it that I believe (or swallow whole) what I’m hearing? That will make things clear.
And whatever you do, have a great week!