1) On Planets and Tennis Balls
2) (below) The Responsibility of Wisdom
On Planets and Tennis Balls
The tennis ball for me is a Tennis Ball. (Note the capital letters.) Not some random inanimate but a true sentient being capable of transmitting the highest spiritual teachings. A Tennis Ball is, for me, (and probably, me alone) clear and undeniable proof in the Mystery and Existence of God. I am not about to start a “Church of the Great Green Fuzzy Ball” nor am I seeking to convert anyone to my secret religion or superimpose my beliefs thinking that you, too, should start seeing inanimate objects as conscious beings(Unless, perhaps it sounds like a game you’d like to play, too). Allow me to explain.
When I was just a wee lad of 14 or so, I started to become, for lack of a better word, conscious (i.e. aware that I had lots of karma to clear and I’d better get started). I’d often contemplate existence while jogging or biking through the celebrated Minneapolis park system. Disillusioned with the contradictory behaviors exhibited by those who claimed to be religious, I did what I could to ‘connect with Spirit’ or perhaps ‘discern the meaning of life’ by consciously praying and asking questions to Source or by trying to imagine myself communicating with Nature. From time to time questions would (and continue to) arise which made me wonder if I was on the ‘right path’ or if I ‘was in alignment’ or if what I was feeling was ‘correct’. Sometimes I’d feel isolated and discouraged or frustrated and stuck. Other rarer times completely blissed out and radiant knowing I was “One with the One Light Of All Creation”.
One day, while I was deep in bicyclic meditation -dodging the occasional car and bunny-hopping curbs into and then through the woods- and feeling particularly groovy I asked Spirit a question regarding the path I was on. “Give me a sign!” I remember saying as a Tennis Ball suddenly appeared on the path. There before me laid a clear, precise, green-golden word of God on the bike path. And in a moment as sure as the smell of fresh apple pie makes your tummy growl, I knew. I knew that God had given me a sign in the form of a Tennis ball. God said, “Dude, of course you’re on the “right path”. As long as you’re movin’ there’s a path beneath you; trust!”
That was not the last Tennis Ball that found me. I began observing them appear at auspicious times. Key choices. Sacred events. Synchronistic meetings. Break-ups. Romances…. The Tennis Ball was there. In the last 24 years I have found several dozen Tennis Balls. Rivers. Lakes. Parks. Woods. Garage sales. The Tennis ball is no longer sterile. For me the Tennis Ball has melted into my personal mythology so much so that it is impossible for me not to try to discern its message every time I see one. The Tennis Ball is the Messenger of God. The Tennis Ball is a direct link to the unfolding Mystery of Creation. Why? Because I say so. And it is. And it’s that simple. I projected meaning onto something external and combined it with emotion and experience. And I’ve never looked at a Tennis Ball in the same way since.
These past years, many Balls have joined the order. The Racquetball is particularly exalted. Rare to find, it means for me a special gift or event or clue. The Golf Ball is interesting because not only do they find me, I give them as a gift back to Spirit. (They’ve been given (in unfailingly straight drives) to lake and river, spruce bog and ‘the back 40’, always with a prayer.) If I were to ever come across the gift of a random Beach ball or Soccer ball, I’m sure I will find a meaning for them, too. “Ryan, what the hell does this have to do with astrology?”…..Everything.
Now imagine you are a human alive at the end of the last ice age. You are lucky to be born as H. sapiens sapiens as opposed to H. sapiens Neanderthal. You are aware of the power of the Feminine. She gives birth and provides food for your child. Her rhythms are your clock. The moon, many times more powerful then than the sun, is your calendar. If you leave the clan, the hearth, you are in danger. Your hunting and gathering are based on her cycles and you begin to exalt her. She becomes the Goddess, the provider, the wise Grandmother, the source of life. The Moon means more than just a big shiny thing in the sky. She is the Soul of the Goddess, your Home, your Mother
Time moves on and the ice recedes and the Sun becomes brighter and hotter. You begin to notice the cycle of the Sun. It gets higher in the sky and the temperature warms up. It gets lower in the sky and it cools down. The seasons become more clearly defined and you find that it is possible to plant a seed in the ground at the time the sun climbs higher. You feel more powerful and ‘in control’ of your destiny. Now the Sun takes its place in your mythology as the source of life. You develop agriculture and husbandry. You set up solar calendars. You start to worship God as Male. It is your ability to plant the seed in the Earth which empowers you . And here is where we begin to worship the Sun.
Now that you have ego control and the ability to consciously manipulate Nature, you begin to become aware of other sky-bound objects; planets encircling the sun in predictable rhythms and their relation to you on the planet. You (whether you are in Mesopotamia, Yucatan, India, Greece, Wales, or Rome) begin to chart the movements of these celestial bodies through the heavens and develop stories, legend, and myth around them. You observe areas in the sky in which these planets circle against a certain backdrop of stars. The closest planet, Mercury, moves quickly as it revolves around the Sun and gets a title of messenger; Venus, so smooth and alluring is her light that she is obviously equated with love and pleasure and peace; Mars, hot and red, becomes the story of power and war, courage and anger.
Our need for meaning and solution became superimposed on the cosmos. We looked for God/ess and found Him and Her-right there in the Universe before our eyes. We needed mommy and observed her as Goddess and she was there. We needed daddy and observed him as God and he was there. Of course, in my own opinion, they were there all along, just like peace and happiness is there for us all along, too. Nevertheless, in our search to derive meaning out of the mystery we created mythos. And it works. We, after thousands of years of projecting our conscious beliefs onto the cosmos, find that the stories and myth are still alive… and growing. Any trained person can see, unequivocally, that the Mars in an astrological chart directly mirrors the mythology of one’s personal need to develop courage. Why? Because we have said so for thousands of years! And it’s that simple. These are our mythological roots. The tree dies if the roots are removed. There is no removing them.
Yet we continue to grow. We discover new planets and asteroids each with their own mythos and that becomes immediately part of our collective unconscious. Neptune, for example, the astrological symbol for conscious union with the divine, was discovered at the time of the American transcendental revolution in literature. Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, among others, were expounding on the possibility of immediate conscious connection with God. The year 1977, when Chiron, the wounded healer, was discovered, gave us the great myth of Star Wars, where a wounded, abandoned Luke Skywalker needed to learn the ways of the Force from a master and eventually redeem his (ultra) wounded Father and become a great Jedi Knight.
So astrology works the way conscious life works: through quantum mechanics. We feel ‘truth’ in our hearts and project it on the screen of the Universe before us. We then observe this ‘truth’ in the outer world through events, actions, feelings, relations. Our truth is then validated and if it does not become ‘fact’, it at least becomes myth or parable. And we have been doing this astrology since we as humans first questioned the meaning of existence. Plato, Da Vinci, Newton, Yeats, Jung, Galileo, Kepler , were all astrologers. A colleague of mine assisted Ronald Reagan in the timing of his events, decisions, and actions. (Electional astrology.) Popes have astrologers- but they don’t want you to know that.Get it? We have developed the astrological archetypes like we have developed government and religion and economics and psychology and society and education. They exist and function because we say they do and reality is thus reflected back to us. If we worshipped mammoth dung from our species’ birth,(because we burned it for warmth), OUR GOD WOULD BE HOLY CRAP!
Some argue that there is a magic in the energy which holds our solar system together and as we on Earth move about in this energy and geometrically relate to the energies we are bio-magnetically influenced by the opposition of where Neptune is today to the place of the moon at our birth. Maybe. Good luck proving it. Some say that God uses the language of the planets and flowers and rocks and ocean and tennis balls to tell us His/Her secrets. That I believe. But it is still just a belief. But perhaps, that is a secret of life: to simply believe. Believe you’re happy. Believe you can pray to your creator. Believe you’re rich.
While I started with just faith and belief in my personal relationship with astrology (there is, after all, no scientific instrument which can measure and validate astrology), I have read many charts and have yet to see a case where, for example, if I am looking at mars in Libra in the 4th house squaring someone’s Saturn in Capricorn in the 7th house, the mythology did not mirror one’s life experience.() There is an ‘evolutionary intention’ for everything in astrology. We created our archetypes as a way to give insight into how we can be happier and how we can live in alignment with the expression of our hearts. Perhaps it is all a pile of crap. But if that is so, I want that compost for my flowers.
The Responsibility of Wisdom
by Ryan M. Evans
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” — Proverbs 23:7
This article is dedicated to the memory of those who passed in the James Ray tragedy in Sedona, Arizona, in August 2009.
In another life, another time, and a far distant place, I was engaged to be married. “Angie” was intelligent, intuitive, radiant, sexy … I was a goner. She was a body worker and healer several years my senior, so I deeply trusted her wise words, even though a couple of times my wounds and fear obstructed my own truth. I had much to learn. I so yearned for her radiance and wisdom. And with a vulnerable heart from a previous relationship, I was grateful for a partner who modeled for me something I knew I was fast embodying.
Since my spiritual sojourns in my youth, I had been trying to actualize the wisdom, humor, and “right livelihood” of masters like Dan Millman, the Dalai Lama, and my Aikido sensei. Yet, while I often failed miserably, I gathered some magnificent experience and actually transformed a bit of it into wisdom. There was hope, I told myself. I was riding high with this gal, and I was learning about healing modalities, from natural medicines to a variety of bodywork. I had already studied astrology and flower essences for more than ten years, but I intensified my studies and even began teaching classes. Also, I was about to take a course that would actually give me letters after my name!
Then, while on a romantic vacation, Angie received a reading from an astrologer. That evening, we got into one of our passionate discussions with differing points of view. “Maybe we are enemies!” she yelled.
“Where in the hell did that come from!?” I asked.
“The astrologer said we should be enemies and was amazed that we were engaged,“ she said.
“How completely irresponsible,“ I replied. “He doesn’t know shit!”
“Yes, he does, he has many famous clients and has been doing astrology for longer than you’ve been alive.”
I carefully navigated the argument into a lovemaking session, which always seemed to bring us back together, but still, I was awake all night worrying about the implications of the astrological “fact” that was now permanently fused to Angie’s Gemini mind. The next weeks were filled with an invigorating Tony Robbins seminar, a “transformational gate” healing weekend, an official big fat rock on Angie’s finger, and much romance and intensity, as usual.
Yet, something was amiss, and the subtle clues of her detachment from me were like an occasional whiff of something foul passing on the air. But I trusted her still. I couldn’t admit the possibility that she, with all her knowledge of the healing arts, had done anything wrong, so I believed her lies when my intuition started telling me otherwise. I used my farm as collateral on a new house for her and was happy that the “enemy thing” was an illusion. Four months had passed since the reading. We were engaged. She was living in a house owned by me and was the most spiritual healer in our town — able to read generations of past lives and massage exactly the hurt spot without even asking. And she was having an affair.
The astrologer was right. Even though Angie totally infuriated me at times and my healing process occasionally caused me to retreat into my 12th house, I was (and I thought she was) totally committed to the relationship. Nevertheless, during those four months, she lied, cheated, and stole that potential enmity into existence. And on the day I walked in on her and her lover, it instantly became clear that the astrologer had been right.
But my question is on the quantum level: If the astrologer had not stated, “You should be enemies,” would we now be enemies? What would have happened if he had stated the aspect he saw in a way that acknowledged free will, such as: “You two share incredible power and, like plutonium, can either power a city or destroy it. What you do with it is up to you.”? Could this have given her a bit more personal empowerment to say something to me like: “There’s this new patient, and I know he’s a friend of yours, but I’ve found we have this connection, and I want to explore it, and I know this is really scary for the both of us, considering our history and connection, and I want to honor that and each other by being honest, and I hope you understand that I need this freedom, and I know this really hurts.”? Hardest thing to do as an emotional being, I know, but just what if she had been given something other than “you should be enemies”? Regardless of our breakup, would we still be amicable, at least?
What if we, as astrologers, could use our language in ways that empower the choice of the individual? When we see a symbol historically considered malefic, or in detriment, or weak, or poorly aspected, what if we choose the highest possible outcome of that potential reality and speak of it thusly? As astrologers, aren’t we all aware of the immense responsibility that we have as symbol readers? Are we all prepared to do the necessary inner work to face our own demons, so that we don’t have to share them with our clients?
In the four years since these events transpired, I have gone through a “disproving” stage with astrology (which did not last), plunged into the abyss of facing the demons (where I now sit, tentacle around my neck, talon in the back, but sword in hand), and have been very careful to see my sacred job as an astrologer as being “one who holds the lantern.” Regardless of my own interior battles, I must steady my hand and my heart so that those seeking light may gather a bit of fire for their own lamp. My hope is that you will, too.
© 2010 Ryan M. Evans – all rights reserved
Ryan M. Evans, astrologer, organic flower farmer, and flower essence teacher, plays guitar and does vocals for the undiscovered AstroBand, “Grand Master Stevie F and the Evolutionary Revolutionaries,” which made its debut in Calistoga, California, in September 2010. Contact Ryan at email@example.com for readings or advice on how to raise teenagers.