Monday, March 14, 2022

Cusp

A Spring Equinox Poem


Poem ©2022 by Joyce Mason





I am a bud lingering

in my grave of soil,

past and future lives merged,

barely moving at a snail’s pace,

becoming.


Winter, a weighted blanket

of frozen motion clings

and ducks the sun

that melts into tomorrow.

 

The season of suspended animation was so long;

past memories have been wiped

and renewal is a broken hope …

 

… and yet

like clockwork

the wheel turns,

sprouts push out of their earthen crypt

and another spring reaches its tipping point,

bursting into being

bringing us with it.

Reincarnation.


~~~

Photo Credit: ©  Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

Friday, December 31, 2021

In-Between

 


The Last Day of the Year.  See Postscript.

Poem © 2021 by Joyce Mason

 

The most uncomfortable place I have ever lived

is in-between.

It’s that vast, noiseless wasteland that forces us

to sit in the waiting room of our next life,

confronted by nothing but silence.

 

There’s no clue

of what it’s all about,

just a bleak gray-and-white landscape,

the fuzzy, gritty old TV static after all the shows

have signed off for the night.

I can almost see the test pattern.

 

Yet I know this tremendously boring

and unstimulating gray zone is the laboratory

of new life.

It’s a beaker, an incubator, a womb.

It is the unseen vessel of Everything That Comes Next.

 

It is depressing at face value.

It’s just purgatory,

dues we have to pay

before all sunshine and color break loose

and we are off to chase another rainbow.

 

It’s why suicide and even lesser forms of giving up

are so questionable.

You might miss something.

 

 

~~~

Photo Credit: ©  Dreamstime.com

Postscript: Today is one of the many “endbeginnings” we all experience. For most of us, the in-between is a very uncomfortable place. We live there more than ever with the changes a pandemic and our collective reaction to it has leaked into every-day living. We hardly know how today is going to work out, so it’s hard to picture tomorrow. I have been reading up on the psychological effects of Covid, and they are significant. Paraphrasing one article I read, no one is equipped to cope with such an extended period of stress. Quite literally much of the world is suffering from PTSD due to the upset to all our routines, commerce and relationships—just to name a few affected aspects of life.

While this is not a rosy picture, when we can understand these in-between places for what they are, knowing they are part of a larger process will hopefully carry you to the next place that feels safe and secure. If my poem touches even one person and helps them put this strange place in perspective, I will have ended the year on an up-note. Writing it sure helped me.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

Uncomfortable Beauty

 A  Winter Solstice Poem


Poem © 2021 by Joyce Mason




We dread Winter Solstice.

It cuts Day to the chase.

It delivers us long-suffering nights.

It steals Warmth

and leaves behind Darkness,

bleak feelings that remind us intuitively

of Death.

 

Winter comfort demands feats of acrobatic energy:

piling clothes, blankets and firewood,

clapping or blowing on our hands,

jumping up and down

just to keep our blood running.

Winter is one of the closest things to dying

we will experience until we do.

(We say frozen stiff for a reason.)

The Lucky will know many winters.

 

To find the beauty in struggling with the elements

And any force bigger than ourselves,

we first have to admit;

Comfort is overrated.

Comfort is an oasis, a place we must visit

as long and often as possible to be healthy and happy.

But to live there—to move in permanently—

is more than decadent.

It is decay.

 

Winter’s perishable beauty reminds us:

constant renewal is Beauty’s core.

You cannot have rebirth without death

or warmth without cold.

Contrast gives these things meaning.

 

Everything beautiful thing is transient.

Each unique snowflake melts

before we can barely take in its geometric perfection.

Together flakes form blankets,

soft white coating on landscapes

that hold your breath.

Winter takes simple substances like water,

freezes it, and turns it into diamonds.

 

The same winter cold that drives us inside and inward,

defines uncomfortable beauty.

From this cold we seek the warmth of Love.

When our breath is frosted air

we are close to the cutting edge of Life

where beauty lives,

we want to tell each other how we feel

to say “I love you”

one last time,

or perhaps even for the first,

before it’s too late.

 

~~~


Photo Credit: Wallpaper Pro

 

 


 


Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Other Side of the Reset Button

What’s Up with The Radical Virgo, the Person and Blog


Everything: My Dream Catcher



Where Did I Go? 

It has been two years since I posted my last major update, Completion. I have been largely absent on The Radical Virgo except for quarterly Solstice and Equinox poems. This year, so far, I haven’t even managed to do all of those …

but for a good and still very surprising reason to me which I will soon reveal. What a story, even for an old storyteller like me. My absence has been for many good reasons. It has taken time for me to deal with the death of my husband (June 2019) as well as the exhaustion of caring for him, soon followed by eye surgery and slower than usual healing curve (December 2019 – March 2020). No sooner was I starting to get out of confinement to go places and do things when Covid hit. I was grounded again.


What Next?

For those of you with a good dollop of Virgo and/or other Earth signs in your chart (I’m Triple Earth), I’m sure you know that the figurative version of being grounded is one of our best qualities, a characteristic others often admire.


Grounding is what keeps life real and keeps us out of our heads where we often get into trouble if we hang out there too long, what-iffing, ruminating and painting scary scenarios in the empty space of not having answers.


While I was quarantined without much else to do, I contemplated my next leg of life. Even with all that energy freed and after many long weeks of racking my brain, I got nothing. Bupkis. I am visionary, yet I just couldn’t see it. My inability to glimpse or even sense my future made me wonder if I had one. Was I done and leaving planet soon? Joining Tim for another mystical reunion?

If You Need Information, Go to the Library. 

In July 2020, a magical guided meditation finally gave me a cosmic hint about what was next. I had almost grasped the answer before but could not quite believe it was a realistic possibility. After my husband passed, it was a natural impulse to want to travel home more often to the Midwest—to spend time with my extended family, something I had been unable to do for years as Tim’s caregiver.  During these trips, I started fantasizing about becoming bi-municipal and having a condo in Chicagoland as well as my home in Rocklin. Surely I could not consider living in Illinois full-time with the deep friendships and much better weather I had in California, especially not after living there 48 years. I also had arthritis and aging to consider in my climate choices. Besides, how could I leave the home Tim and I bought and shared together in a stand of ancient oaks, my tree house of nature and nurture?

At the time I was doing live meditations online with Andrew Johnson, a Scottish teacher I first encountered through my meditation app, Insight Timer. He has a wonderful one called the Library Meditation. (I recommend it and him highly.) Very condensed and oversimplified version: You enter the library, put your stuff down, grab a book and bring it to your spot. You sit down and look at the title. Mine read The Cusp of Everything. It blew me away. I didn’t even open the imaginary book to see if there was any other message. Clearly I was close. I almost had it.

The Answer

Within days my considerable intuition delivered. “Move back to Chicago,” she said. I told her she was nuts. “Are you sure?” Like Tevye having conversations with God in Fiddler on the Roof, we kibitzed and I oy-ed. I called my niece Dawn (closest relative to the daughter I never had) and told her I was seriously considering it. Within less than 24 hours, I was 100% sure that it was what I had to do. It was what I wanted to do. It was right and holy. And yes, I’d freeze my ass off in winter, but that’s why they make long underwear. If Covid taught me anything, it’s that I don’t even have to leave the house when conditions are not friendly to my health and well-being. Deliveries and human connection are all at my fingertips right at home. Since I am retired from a “real” job, I don’t have to go out unless it’s urgent. I can be a bear and hibernate all winter, something we all need and rarely do. And it’s a great time to read and write. Modern caves are even equipped with central heat.

The move made sense for so many pragmatic reasons, but those who know me on these pages and/or in person should not be surprised; it was the pull of my Cosmic Tractor Beam that motivated me most of all. I was being dragged with irresistible force to the place and the answer to “what’s next.” I just had to follow, to practice non-resistance. Whenever I aligned with the Beam in the past, everything ended well. This would be no different even if my Virgo self-doubt confronted me nearly every day during the process.

Beam Me Up, Scotty

It’s pretty hilarious that my Beam was activated by a genuine Scotsman in Andrew Johnson. It  took nearly a year to get from idea to manifestation of my move. (Covid limited air travel, and I had major work to do on my house in California to make it sale-ready.) I  finally realized that the reason I could not picture my future after Tim passed is that I had limited my scope to Sacramento. I could not see it because my future wasn’t there. I am aging. I am a widow. My immediate family is gone. I need to be near my large extended family of nieces, nephews and dozens of cousins. My family of friends in Sacramento is a dream come true, and because of them, I will always have two homes, especially after 4+ decades and three careers operating out of California’s capital (civil servant in State recycling programs, astrologer and writer). I just switched which home is primary. The one that was made for me in my birth chart in the beginning and likely until the end.

Many people thought I was brave to make such a major move in my 70s, but the really brave move was when I was 26 during the ‘70s. I moved to Sacramento where I didn’t know a soul and just followed a strong hunch. I did not yet understand my Cosmic Tractor Beam pulling me to parts unknown, but oddly, I trusted this unseen and unidentified force. Making my California dream come true was not an easy transition. I was living and working for 4 years in Green Bay, Wisconsin before I moved and the culture shock was major. There were many life skills in my twenties that I had not yet acquired and would be forced to scrape up in a hurry to survive. But I have Uranus on the IC when my chart is relocated to Sacramento. "The Big Tomato" is where I found my spiritual family and the place I could experiment with the alternative ideas that fascinated and fed me, including astrology. Most of my immediate family followed me there within a few years. As I became more and more New Age-ish, my sister said I “went California.” I’m a Virgo; I had to correct her. “No, I just went to a place where I could be me.”

How It All Turned Out   

I will skip over most of the details except for a few. I could not have sold my house in California at a better time on Mother’s Day 2021. The market was high and I got a great price which allowed me to make the expensive, cross-country move and to replace the many things I could not realistically take with me. After nearly a year of looking, I found a beautiful home in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, 7 minutes from my niece Dawn’s in an award-winning community. My vet nixed tranquilizing and flying my little black cat Kira cross-country. (I would have shipped my car.) The altitude can affect the uptake of the drug and is dangerous, potentially even fatal. (And believe me, Kira would have screamed so much; flying without sedation was not an option.) So we went on a family road trip. Dawn’s daughter, my grandniece Ashley, did the driving while Ashley’s daughter Ana and I took turns keeping Kira out of mischief, mainly out of the driver's way. To my great surprise, I found out that my little fur girl loves the open road. It’s just stop-and-start driving that she hates, thus the yodeling all the way to the vet. She did her mom proud.

The Here and Wow.

Rebirthday: 22-Sept-21


While no one place holds everything for us as individuals, I could not have imagined the joy I have experienced moving back home. “Place of Birth” is no longer a simple a piece astrological data on which my chart is built. Being in my birthplace returns me to my natural horoscope where my most angular and theoretically influential planet is Mars in Cancer on the IC (trine Jupiter in Scorpio). I used to see t-shirts that said, “You can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the girl. Little did I know how much I embodied that idea. Or the t-shirt I actually own, “I’m just a Chicago girl living in a California world.” Until I was back in Chi-Town experiencing my favorite season of autumn, I never realized that this thing called birthplace is visceral for me. Here I had my first feelings of climate on baby skin, environment and “home,” long before I had the language to describe it. Chicago is in me. It is me. It is an environmental and magnetic geographic force that pulls my molecules and energy together in a certain way, at a certain frequency. There is much to explore for future articles on the influence of birthplace, whether you live in yours or not.

But at the most personal level, everything I ever wanted is here. My eyes frequently well up over how happy I am. All my dreams have come true in this place—of a big family, a beautiful home, fun, culture and lots of people who love me and love to hang out with me and make the time to do it. The big family didn’t exactly happen in the timing and way I had in mind, but there are advantages. I didn’t have to raise my grandnieces or nephews or send them to college. I still get to enjoy them to the hilt and vice-versa. Auntie Mame has already moved over. There is nothing like hearing my 7-year-old Aquarian great grandniece spontaneously yell from the backseat of the car, “I love you!” When I found my birth mom in 1988, she took to calling me Miti Manifesto. Miti (Me Tee) was her nickname for me, short for my birth name Maria Teresa. Birth mom Helen marveled at how I manifested things, including her after a 38-year separation by adoption.

Combining my Manifesto persona with one of my others, the Queen of Synchronicity, I materialized a piece of artwork that paints a picture of why it’s good to surrender to your Cosmic Tractor Beam. (See opening photo.) It is a gorgeous dream catcher batik in teals and soft blues and warm browns. It is the emblem of how I did as I was told and the Beam caught everything for me in the web of the dream catcher and brought me here to them. (So that's what my intuition meant by The Cusp of Everything!) The dream catcher hangs in my living room in the most prominent position in my home. It will be a constant reminder of why it’s good to get out of your own way and stay open to the universe’s other ideas for you. They may even be your own ideas with a slight twist that's even better than you imagined.

              

Astrology’s Place and Future Directions

Enough about me! (Sun in the 5th.) What does this new and deep re-rooting mean for my blog, my writing and the things that might entertain and inspire you? I’m not yet totally certain. The Beam has yet to clarify. But I know I am getting close. Throughout all my ordeals of recent years, astrology has not been as prominent as usual in my life. At least not in the way it used to be of analyzing every event and development by planetary positions in the sky. Astrology is much more integrated for me now, a kind of touchstone and inner knowing that no longer drives my perceptions of life but is simply a part of them. There is culture shock here, too. I’m not in California anymore, where even the most skeptical person knows enough metaphysical lingo and ideas and has the manners not to eye roll. My relatives are quick learners, though. They now speak of Mercury Retrograde in hushed tones and the younger ones are very meta-curious.

I expect the Radical Virgo blog to morph even more into its “astrology-plus” direction with more theme posts and possibly even spin-off blogs or writings on larger topic areas. My first big writing project is a book. It's a memoir, My Life in the Lost and Found: The Power of Reconnection. I am 5 chapters in and plan to work on it this winter while the weather is rude. There may be other installments in the Micki Michaels  novels, my humorous mystery series, but later rather than sooner.

Although I wrote a book called The Crystal Ball, I don’t have one. Just a Cosmic Tractor Beam that's sometimes full of surprises. Stay tuned for the next ones.

 ~~~

Photo Credit: Rebirthday, Joanne Robinson. 



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Invitation

A Spring Equinox Poem

© 2021 by Joyce Mason

 

Photo via Pinterest


Every spring’s

An invitation to a new beginning

Even if you’re not up for it.

 

Winter cold and darkness slows us.

Slogging through quicksand snow,

Real or symbolic,

The heavy feeling of no end in sight,

That you’re going to “just die,”

A prayer to St. Roseanne Roseannadanna

Especially during our long Covid winters of forced confinement.

These months of hard scrabble introspection

beg us to reevaluate and escape to extroversion.

Too much of a good thing,

As winter insights roast on an open fire,

They are a slowdown,

A breath to review our merry-go-round

To see if we really want to jump back on.

 

 

Look at the sparkle in a loved one’s eyes,

That magical light that makes them who they are,

Firing on all cylinders.

 

Think your best possible thoughts for the future.

Look at your own spark in the mirror.

Look at the Aries Rambunctiousness in the curve

Of your eyebrows

Pushing you forward to explore Mars.

Imagine little green buds on your limbs

Like Brother and Sister Trees.

 

Don’t try. Just be.

Pause and let spring come to you

Packing hope and do-overs,

The only carousel worth riding.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Longest Winter

 

 









Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

 

We avoided winter like the plague

until a plague gave us a winter so long;

there was no escaping it.

 

We cannot dodge, deny or wish away

the All-Year Winter of 2020.

We cannot avoid the present.

 

The effects that go from zero to death,

the bodies in makeshift morgues,

the devastating symptoms that linger for some.

We can no longer in good conscience escape orders to stay home,

to bask in enough quiet to hear ourselves think,

or to mask whatever smiles we have left.

We live in a prison of care for ourselves and others

with no promise of release short of

a one-year sentence.

Some of us are in solitary.

 

But do we really want a jail break?

To turn down the present,

the gift of an adventure in inner space?

This year, so winter-like, casts its shadow

over the other seasons magnifying all of winter’s qualities,

quadrupled in time to prepare us for what’s next

as our whole world falls apart for reconstruction.

 

Winter prepares us for the energy burst we need

to go from dormant seed to wildflowers

from death and dying to resurrection.

We overlook this season’s benefits for our manic need

to keep moving, duck the least bit of discomfort,

to look away from the ice and snow artwork or

turn a deaf ear to the sanctity of silence.

 

It is time to revel in winter as the Dark before the Light,

the Silent Night of the Soul,

the archetypal step before we save ourselves

and truly create Peace on Earth.

 

In this year of the longest winter,

Jupiter and Saturn conjoin to form a Star of Bethlehem.

History repeats.

Prepare your soul ground.

Your masks, quarantine and centering at home and hearth

are cleansing you, making way for a new epidemic of love.


~~~

Photo Credit:  © Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

A Taste of Autumn 2020


Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

 



Choking on the smoke of environmental backlash,

I smell autumn beyond the notes of ash and human misery.

A nascent fall breeze sneaks into late summer to say hello.

 

My toes curl at the prospect of clean air blowing dried leaves

in eye-candy colors.

My heart skips a beat as childhood adages ride the wind.

“All good things come to an end.”

All bad things, too.

 

We sit on Libra’s Scales of Balance savoring a tiny appetizer of tomorrow.

Autumn, the Season of Fruition lets go everywhere in Technicolor and Panavision as we must for new winters, springs and summers to recur; their lessons from both beauty and tragedy to revive and rebuild us once more for another thrilling ride on the Roller Coaster known as the Wheel of Life.

 

~~~

Photo Credits:  Autumn Wheel © Kaedeenari | Dreamstime.com; Libra Scales © Tatianakost | Dreamstime.com.