The Face We Show The World – Our Rising Sign

“It’s so nice of you… admirable…” a girl said to me in the bus in Iowa.

“What?” I asked puzzled.

“You go back to India after every semester to attend to your family, and then you come back each semester to study,” the girl said.

I laughed and said, “No! Nothing like that. I’m not even married. So no question of attending to any family.”

“Oh. We thought it curious that you go back to India after every semester, and thought that might be the reason,” the girl, a fellow university student, replied.

I, in my late 30s then, was doing Masters in Computer Science at The University of Iowa. Most fellow students, of all streams, were much younger to me in their 20s. I returned to India after every semester for health reasons. Instead other students used their vacation time to do internships and see USA. Naturally some concluded that I go back to attend to a family.

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This is the fifth article of the series on Astrology. Here I share with you, the importance of the “Rising Sign”. What is the Rising Sign, how finding my Rising Sign helped me, and how you may find yours and use it to your benefit.

The Sun Sign, the Moon Sign, and the Rising Sign give the basic sketch of our birth chart, our personality makeup, and our role here in this world. It is the most basic info to find out about yourself in astrological terms.

Finding my Rising Sign revealed how the world may be viewing me, the face I show to the world, the manner in which I want to be viewed by the world. As we live in society relating to others, finding our place here, this is a key aspect of our personality and present life here. The mirror shows us our physical face. It’s fantastic that Astrology can show us the internal, psychological face of our present avataar, giving us a chance to own it that much more explicitly. It enables us to put our best face forward in the world while being in alignment with how we experience our self internally.

As the Earth rotates on its axis forming a day, it seems as if the 12 zodiac signs go around the Earth in one day (much like it seems that the Sun is going around the Earth, rising and setting every day). Which was the zodiac rising on the eastern horizon when you were born? That is your Rising Sign. It’s also called the Ascendant. In Indian Astrology, it’s probably called the Lagna.

MY RISING SIGN AND MY STORY

When I found the importance of the Rising Sign (and Moon Sign, which I’ve written about here), I asked my mother my time of birth. “8pm,” she said. Using an online chart calculation tool I found that my Rising Sign is Cancer.

Family, and the nurturing mother, is extremely important to Cancer. With the Rising Sign being an indicator of the psychological face we show the world, that conversation came to my mind where a fellow student thought I go back to India repeatedly to attend to family.

I took it as a piece of information – my Rising Sign is Cancer. That’s it. That information didn’t add any value. It provided no guidance on how to navigate life any better because it did not resonate with me internally.

My parent’s and brother’s family is extremely valuable to me. I truly wish them all well, but I feel a certain aloofness towards everyone. On the other hand, by virtue of the One I feel wedded to, I consider the world and universe to be my family. However I’ve learnt that its best to leave everyone and everything to its own designs. No point holding onto this “my family” emotion. Also, in many ways I learnt early on, that I have to seek inner strength and support elsewhere, not from my mother. Hence Cancer did not resonate with how I experienced myself internally.

Nevertheless, this body and this conceptual entity “Vani Murarka” lives with her parents and brothers. In fact really my parents, specially my mother has spent tremendous effort towards my physical well being – right from the medical emergency as a newborn child, to the years of my puberty, to how she air lifted me from Manipal when I became unwell. So I thought, OK, Cancer is my Rising Sign. But it didn’t help me any way.

Then this story took a turn.

Last year (2020) Dad was clearing out papers. He gave me my janm kundali (birth chart as per Indian Astrology) papers that he had with him. I looked at the main data mentioned therein – date and time of birth. The time of birth was 9:38pm, instead of the ballpark 8pm Ma had told me earlier. I recalculated my birth chart using an online calculation tool. This time the results were that my Rising Sign is Leo – the zodiac following Cancer. In those 98 minutes between 8pm and 9:38pm the Earth had turned further and Leo was now peeking 2o above the horizon.

WHAT DO I CHOOSE?

8pm or 9:38pm, and whatever the date of birth – this is all just data given to me. What do I rely on? What do I choose? What do I consider the truth? The only way to figure that out is self-awareness. The benchmark for truth is only our internal experience. I had to choose between Cancer and Leo — or dump astrology partially or wholly as one of my the sources of guidance.

I chose Leo. I consider Leo to be my Rising Sign. Self-respect is extremely important to Leo. So it is for me. I have made some drastic choices in life based only on self-respect.

For example, 1 year into my career as software developer I said No to a job only because the company put a several-pages-long, shitty, demeaning agreement in front of me, instead of the crisp one-page matter-of-fact bond that was the norm in the industry then. The agreement was filled with language that made one feel like a slave and lousy about oneself. Dad, being a lawyer, gave me the legal advice, “This agreement will not stand in court. It is so one-sided. Hence, if you want to take the job you can take it, and leave anytime you want to.” However, signing on an agreement like that would mean I’m agreeing to the subtext. I did not sign. As a result, suddenly out of the industry and a field that I was enjoying so much, I experienced my first episode of depression. However, I never doubted my decision.

GUIDANCE FOR LEO

The point of guidance for Leo is to choose between pride and love. This is an extremely important guiding light for me. Every sign offers a seeming paradox and to unravel that paradox is a fantastic way to delve into the beauty and mystery of life. It is important that we be our self and also learn what a zodiac sign is trying to teach us. So Leo asks that we do not demean our self. How do we honor ourself and honor the other? I feel that is one of the fundamental things Leo teaches. We have to choose self-love, self-worth, but not pride. Leo asks us to value ourself, shine, and claim our place in the world.

I fought a long slow battle and now live independently in my own (rented) apartment near my parents and brothers. The driving force: self-respect. In the last lap of this battle, opposition, snide remarks, and the eagerness of some people to have me go left me feeling very homeless. One person was a point of guidance then – Dhruv. Dhruv is the child from the pauranic Hindu tale who was denied a place in his father’s lap by his step mother. Then, that small boy Dhruv, at the tender age of 5, went on a single-minded quest for self-respect, for his rightful place in the universe.

How is Leo meant to earn respect (most of all in its own eyes)?. Creativity and performance is the principle role of Leo in this world. Its job is to express. Chani Nicholas in You Were Born For This says, “Leo knows that any performance is, at its core, a spiritual act. The actor gets up on stage and allows the human condition, in all its glory and its goriness, to come forth in service of the whole. We need a true reflection of our pain, beauty, and burdens. It’s healing to witness someone else go through what we ourselves deal with. This is Leo’s gift.”

The creative capacity however can easily be embroiled in ego. Think attention-hungry film stars and poets. This happens to the vulnerable Leo. They seek attention. I have been secretly guilty of it too. But there is a very nice Ted Talk titled How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative. The answer is, go within — for self-respect and to express our creative self, as for  most everything in life. And yes, of all things, honor our inner voice – even if that means being in seeming opposition to external authority temporarily. Our inner voice is the Sun to follow.

YOUR RISING SIGN

Your Sun Sign points to your soul purpose, your Moon Sign, your mental-emotional inclinations, your Rising Sign, points to how you externally connect with the world – the psychological face you show to the world. Of all the data points in your birth chart, the Rising Sign is the most sensitive to time.

If you can find your time of birth, see what comes up as your Rising Sign using this (or any other) chart calculation tool . Read up about that sign and its element (fire/earth/air/water). Check for inner resonance to see if you can use what you read as guidance. Reading about the potential pitfalls of a sign can really help in that regard.

Knowing your Rising Sign (aka Ascendant) also enables you to tap into another aspect of Astrology called “Houses”. That brings your configuration picture into greater tangible focus.

DON’T KNOW YOUR TIME OF BIRTH?

If you don’t know your time of birth, it’s OK. You can still use the power of Astrology. You can’t find your Rising Sign without the time of birth. However, the placements of the Sun, Moon, Mars, slow moving planets like Saturn, Jupiter, and all other planets can still be of tremedous guidance. They have been for me. You can calculate ballpark charts for 00:00 am, 12 noon, and 11:59 pm of your date of birth. Based on these you will know the position of the Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and other planets.

CLOSING

It’s much better to rely on your own interpretation of your chart than an astrologer’s interpretation. An astrologer’s interpretation will be colored by his-her own mindset. You Were Born For This by Chani Nicholas is a very good book to start learning how to read an astrological chart. You can do it yourself.

Astrology is a powerful tool to understand your personality. Note the time of birth of your child. If he-she-they is so inclined, empower him-her-they to use this tool to look within. We are not limited by the dictats of astrology and our personality. However, it helps to understand our personality and consciously use it to our advantage — for our sake and for the sake of the role we have to play in this world. Our personality is like the car we are presently driving. It makes sense to read up on the attributes of the make and model. It makes sense to learn some of the DIY servicing of the specific make and model of the car we drive.

Revealing Our Emotional Needs — Our Moon Sign

Returning from school she was filled with elation. She had discovered a precious gem at school that day. She burst into the kitchen and said excitedly to her mother, “Do you know why that tomato is red? It’s because it’s absorbing all wavelengths from visible light except red.”

I was that school girl, and yes that was my precious gem of discovery at school that day. Mom did not say anything in response.

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This is the fourth article of the series on Astrology. Here I share the importance of the Moon Sign. How finding my Moon Sign helped me and, how you may find yours and use it to your benefit.

We have heard of the Sun Sign. You probably know what yours is, and I am assuming that you’ve read about your Sun Sign – skeptically or interestedly. However to derive value from Astrology, your Sun Sign is not information enough. As with any data analysis, knowing just one data point is not enough.

The Zodiac signs are a circle of constellations around the Earth, as we look up at the sky (without city lights and smog). They are further away than the Sun. As the Earth rotates on its axis and around the Sun, this circle of constellations seems to go around the Earth. As seen from the Earth, against the  background of these constellations, the Sun and planets were in sky at the time and location of a birth. Different constellations behind different planets. That is our birth chart —  a snapshot of the sky as seen at the time and place of our birth. That determines our Sun Sign, Moon Sign, Rising Sign and position of other planets in our chart.

The Zodiac behind the Sun at the time of birth is the Sun Sign. It points us to our soul purpose in our present avataar, our life’s purpose. But how do we fulfill that life purpose? All other pieces of information on the birth chart are pointers to how we may fulfill that life purpose. Together they form a composite picture. Thus they bring further clarity to our life purpose too.

THE MOON SIGN AND MY STORY

The Zodiac behind the Moon at the time of birth is the Moon Sign. The Moon Sign points to our emotional needs. It shows our emotional makeup.

Whether our emotional needs were met or unmet in childhood and adolescence, as adults we have to attend to it ourself. Consciously. Purposefully. As we meet our needs we are automagically on the path to fulfilling our life purpose.

When I found the importance of the Moon Sign, I asked my mother my time of birth. Using an online chart calculation tool I found that my Moon Sign is Sagittarius. I also found that Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Neptune are also in Sagittarius in my birth chart. Talk about overload. I have no option but to honor this configuration of my chart, for my own sake.

The keyphrase of Sagittarius is: “My need to explore and expand the horizons of my mind and world”. (ref. https://amzn.to/2LDDvCD)

That childhood memory, the joy of learning the reason why the tomato and any object looks the color it looks, is an epitome of my Sagittarian mind. My canvas of exploration is the Universe and what is behind the Universe. So I am interested in Physics, Art, Computer Science, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience, Poetry, the languages, Astrology, how beautiful an insect or octopus is, and whatever else that may catch my fancy. Yet I am interested in none of these. I am interested in the underlying commonality between these. Even at times of being acutely unwell, while being sad and depleted, part of my brain is busy being fascinated at what is happening internally – watching what is happening, as one would watch a phenomena, and thereby understand the system better. Not only understand my system, but the system of all humans, individually and collectively, and the system of the Universe as a whole. When I have to bother about stuff like food and clothes, it makes me extremely impatient.

As I read more about Sagittarius, the influence of the Moon and other planets, it has been in consonance with how I experience myself. The first readings were a revelation, relief and tremendous validation.

Why was it a tremendous validation? Because it verbalized the basis for what I was struggling to convey to my parents since years: You are trying to keep this body safe, what about the spirit??? A squelched spirit is so damaging to the Sagittarian personality. When I was in my late teens and 20s, driven by their need to keep me safe, my parents forbade me from moving forward.

Finally at age 30 I moved out to Bangalore. My 30s and early 40s were spent doing what I, from my perspective, should’ve done in my 20s. In an IT company I delved into technically fascinating problems and architected solutions. I went to USA for higher studies and looked at areas of Computer Science that I had no exposure to earlier. In Iowa I did Masters in Computer Science. Then at age 41 I enrolled into the PhD in Computer Science program in North Carolina.

Research had beckoned me from an early age. When girls are getting attracted by boys in college and worrying about clothes, my highlights were this book and this letter.  So finally I got an entry into the organized research world.

Then something started turning within. I felt beckoned to something far far larger than the tiny research topic my PhD advisor and I were working on. I had reached the mecca of the computer world – in Seattle I stood in front of Amazon headquarters and I walked past the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation building. I had arrived! And I wanted to chuck it all! What was happening to me???

That’s when I found my Moon Sign.

It seemed as though I had broken the clutches of my parents, but I still needed guidance. I still needed to understand what my inner being wanted. That was 2013. The year when I first saw my birth chart. It is 2020 now. After 7 years, this year it feels I’m finally being able to honor all aspects of my personality. It takes time to look within, process our internal world, while we continue making choices and life unfolds externally.

In that, understanding our emotional needs is key, understanding how our emotional makeup can contribute to our life purpose – for we are largely emotional beings. Finding our Moon Sign can be a huge revelation, relief, and validation.

And I’ve found that every setting in our birth chart, including all challenges, can be converted into an advantage. They’re all in a perfect placement for fulfilling our life purpose.

POINTERS TO PITFALLS

Astrology also gives pointers to pitfalls — ways in which we might tend to express our personality unskillfully, as indicated by the signs and planets. It provides guidance to how that same personality trait and influence can be made skillful. The same weakness can be converted into strength. This is extremely helpful. And most of us trip and fall with our emotions don’t we?

Often when we turn to Astrology for guidance, we are probably struggling anyway. As the unskillful execution is verbalized, that also provides revelation. It generates clarity and guidance. So for example a weak and vulnerable expression of the Sagittarius Moon sign is  feeling “scattered”
(ref. https://amzn.to/2LDDvCD)

I have often felt that way, and felt extremely dissatisfied with myself. I’ve pondered exasperatedly — what am I doing?? Sagittarius is depicted half horse, half man, galloping around, shooting arrows. If the Sagittarian mind is not aligned internally, you can see, arrows will go off haphazardly. With internal alignment, even if the arrows go off in all directions, now the well controlled circle of arrows will be pretty skillful and beautiful.

Another unskillful trait of Sagittarius I’ve been guilty of: condescending.

But Sagittarius is essentially geared to be wise, understanding, sage-like philosophical. Open minded and  optimistic. So that’s what I’ll shoot for.

KNOWING YOUR MOON SIGN

At this link ( https://chart.chaninicholas.com/ ), enter your date of birth, time of birth, place of birth,. It is Chani Nicholas’s website. The lady who wrote “You Were Born For This”. I have no tie-up or association with her. I used this link, hence sharing it with you. You will get a full chart, with your Moon Sign and lots of other info.

You can study it all, gradually, over time. Right now focus on reading about your Moon Sign.

Read up your Moon Sign in the 12 Mysteries of Love ( PDF link). Search for “Moon in ______ (your Moon Sign)” on the internet and read some of the links that come up. Try to tune into the element of the Sign – fire/earth/air/water. Ask yourself what it feels like to be that element. Tune into the personality of the animal associated with your Moon Sign. If you wish, acquire You Were Born For This and read from there. It’s a very good and helpful starter book.

DON’T KNOW YOUR TIME OF BIRTH?

If you don’t know your time of birth, there is still a way out.

You can calculate charts for 2 times: start of your date of birth 00:01 am, and end of your date of birth 11:59 pm. The moon completes the zodiac cycle in about a month, changing signs every two and a half days or so. If your moon sign in the chart of both times turn out to be the same, cool. You know your Moon Sign now.

If the Moon Sign is different in the two charts, then you will have to study both signs and use your self-awareness a wee bit more to see which matches more truthfully with how you experience yourself, or whether there are shades of both in case you are at the border of two signs.

Something like that happened with me in knowing my Rising Sign. I had to choose from two. But what is the Rising Sign, what is its importance, how did I resolve the uncertainty of two pieces of information — dekheinge agle post mein hum log.

CLOSING

Our power is in our hearts – the seat of our emotions. We have to unleash the beauty of our heart and emotions, for our self, for the world.

If you want to know and understand your Moon sign and face any issues, you can comment below or send me message.

For me, its all plain fascinating. At a particular time, from a particular place, several planets were seen huddled together with the Moon. At that time a baby girl was born. And somehow the Moon, the planets and that constellation in the background seem to reflect the mental inclinations of this sweet, not-so-little-anymore, soon-to-be-wise, wonky woman. 😊

PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN THE SERIES

1: It Works
2: The 12 Mysteries of Love
3: Clues, Self-Awareness, Love

Clues, Self-Awareness, Love

Love – that which we all seek. Even if we’ve convinced ourself that love is namby pamby weakness, we all seek love. We all want to be acknowledged, we all want to belong, we all want to contribute, and we all want to be our true selves. All of this is love. The ever-present quiet hunger for this inside is love – knocking at our psyche ever softly.

Love is present in our every interaction, with every body and every thing. Even if that interaction is occuring in anger, hate, the ugliest of fights. Fear screams helplessly in those interactions, but love is present — silently. Most importantly, love is present in our interaction with ourself.

If love is present everywhere, every moment, in every interaction – how come we sense a big huge absence of love, rather than it’s presence? Thing is, love is also a skill. Love is a way of seeing. If we are unable to sense that ever-present love, it means we are not seeing skillfully.

So how do we see skillfully? The most important tool to use for that is awareness. Especially, self-awareness.

The second important tool is two fold: courage and kindness. The courage to see and acknowledge what is unpleasant, with kindness – especially within ourself. The courage to be with that unpleasant feeling – with awareness. The same goes for what is pleasant within us. The courage and kindness to acknowledge what is pleasant within us, make it our own as an asset – despite the simultaneous presence of unpleasant feelings.

The third important tool are all the little helpers we might get from the external world. All the help that we get from the external world are tiny clues. They are crucial. Yet, they are little. The exalted avataar, the mighty guru, the book that was a life-changing guide, the friend who believes in us, the innocent face of a child holding out a flower at our most vulnerable moment, the grimace of dissapproval from the one whose approval matters so much to us – all of that and everything in-between are crucial helpers — but little in comparison to the importance of awareness and self-awareness.

This is the third article in the series on astrology – how it helped me to understand my personality and present role in the world better, and how you might use it too to understand yourself better. However, just like all other tools from the external world, this too is only a tiny helper, a set of clues. To use it well, we have to be aware of our inner voice, and accept or reject the clues in these articles as per the guidance of our inner voice. In every moment of conflict we have to keep the guidance of our inner voice as the final authority. We have to learn to differentiate between the quiet steadyness of our inner voice, and the stubborn childish impulse to be right or cloy for external support.

To really connect with the power of astrology, knowing your Sun Sign is not enough. Our Sun Sign is a clue to our basic identity and life’s purpose in this present avataar, but it might not give sufficient clues as to how we may fulfill that purpose. Our basic identity does not exist in isolation. It exists in this world, it interacts with others, and via those interactions, it fulfills its life purpose. The positions of other planets at the time of birth gives clues to the assets and challenges we have on our path to fulfilling our purpose.

Yet, most of us only know our date of birth (and place of birth) and have not bothered drawing up a chart for ourself.

That is the way it was for me for several years. I got interested in astrology at an early age. I tried studying it from a teacher. That was a failed attempt. He was interested in Sanskrit texts. He didn’t really want to share this science with me. I too got caught up in other activities of life. Once in a while I read horoscopes for my Sun Sign at astrologyzone.com. They didn’t really help personally, but I learnt bits and pieces about the subject. For example, I learned the positive way of processing the impact of Saturn, the impact of eclipses and how to process them positively, the perceptory impact of retrograde planets. More rarely, I revisited The 12 Mysteries of Love by Linda Goodman and re-read it in patches – simply because it was good to read. It reaffirmed my faith in an inherent wisdom in the grand scheme of things.

Then, one day, somewhere around the age of 41, I sensed an important but subtle something turning within. Once again I felt the need for guidance to figure out what was happening to me. I turned to The 12 Mysteries of Love, looking for clues. My Sun Sign is Scorpio. A lot of what I read, resonated with me. Yet, one thing in the text was surely not me — the desire for revenge. I felt there was more to me than just being Scorpio. That is when I found out the importance of the Moon Sign and the Ascendant. I asked my mother for my time of birth, and found out my Moon Sign and Ascendant using some online tool (determining the position of planets in the sky as per a particular time and place is just arithmetic with correct data, hence computers can do it easily). The revealing power of astrology opened up for me one step further. A long-felt conflict seemed reflected in what I found.

We are interested in love, harmony, fulfillment — not zodiac signs and planets. Astrology provides a good compact framework of the psyche, on its search for love. Before we go into the first real gateway of astrology — of calculating our birth chart (with or without the time of birth), and discussing what it tells us — look at these two summaries below. I have removed the names of the zodiac signs, so that you may focus on the framework of the psyche on its search for love. The first is from Astrology for Yourself by Douglas Bloch and Demetra George. The second is from The 12 Mysteries of Love by Linda Goodman. Both very different from each other, hence more powerful together.

Each line conveys so much. Worthy of reflection. For example, the principle and power of Discrimination: when applied in a hurry results in criticism, of ourself or others. When we let it percolate within, not in a hurry to arrive at conclusions, it brings clarity.

What are we to take away from these summaries? Nothing in particular. Just go through it with attention, and let it seep in. That is an important and alternate way to receive – to just let things seep in without actively trying to learn, do, acquire. It hones our intuitive thinking – crucial for using astrology skillfully. It hones our ability to be more self-aware.

In the next post we will go beyond the Sun Sign, beyond our identity, towards our mind and how we are seen by others in our world. To prepare for that, try to find out your time of birth.

Previous articles in this series
1: It Works
2: The 12 Mysteries of Love

The 12 Mysteries of Love

This is the story of a birthing. A story of Self-actualization. Coming into our own. And what does coming into our own mean? Accepting our own glory. Experiencing that we are lovable, as we are. Independent of the world and interdependent with the world. An acceptance and experiencing that fills us with an easy fulfillment.

I read this “story”, called “The 12 Mysteries of Love”, when I was a child (teenager). It is in the introductory pages of Linda Goodman’s book Love Signs. The main book seemed kind-of chick-lit to me, but that is because of where my interests lie. But these pages, The 12 Mysteries of Love, and the table preceding it, convinced me right at that early age that there is deep wisdom in astrology. A conviction that I have turned to again and again through life, and each time the wisdom has revealed itself further to me, like a flower opening up.

While coming into our own means accepting our own glory, this write-up, The 12 Mysteries of Love, is not about our personal stories. It is the story of how a birthing takes place, how evolution takes place. Day-and-night, day-and-night, contraction-expansion, contraction-expansion, again and again, like a woman in labor, culminating in the knowing that “Love is All” and that I Am that Love. Here the “I” is not our limited identity definitions. It is like the universe itself is coming into the knowing. As Eckhart Tolle says, consciousness becoming conscious of itself. It is the knowing – aham brahmaasmee.

Linda Goodman presents The 12 Mysteries of Love as the evolution of the soul. We can consider this as the inner psychology of a human soul, a culture, a country, or the universe itself. That is the beauty of astrology – it acknowledges the relevance of the individual while going towards the universal. It is the same picture reflected again and again in different-sized mirrors.

Each of the 12 zodiac signs Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer etc. are mapped alternatively to day and night, day and night, or masculine feminine masculine feminine – i.e. outward looking, inward looking, outward looking, inward looking, and so on. Personality-wise we can look at day as extrovert, night as introvert. So Aries is a day sign, Taurus a night sign, Gemini a day sign, Cancer a night sign and so on. And evolution is depicted as an alternating journey between day and night. The signs are also mapped in order, to the elements fire, earth, air, water. What does it feel like to be fire, earth, air or water? It helps tremendously just to feel this within ourself, on the path to knowing ourself better. But I am jumping ahead.

Right now I invite you to read The 12 Mysteries of Love. It is exquisite. At the end of reading the whole thing one feels a soaring, expansive gratitude – like one feels at the end of a good book, or an exquisite music recital. Yet it will leave one wanting for more. 😊

Since this is not your personal story, try not to read this as “I am evolved till here”, or “I am evolved more or less than this person in my life”, as per your Sun Sign. That is not what this is saying. Evolution occurs in concentric circles and on a circle there isn’t a starting point or an ending point. No point on a circle is lesser-than or greater-than any other point. However, there may be parts that resonate with you, maybe your Sun Sign, maybe some other signs. Notice that with a child-like curiosity.

Also, pay special attention to the tabular summary in the beginning – 24 clues to 12 mysteries. Come again to it after you’ve read the whole thing. That summary deserves an article of its own. So until next time, ciao! And now I present to you – The 12 Mysteries of Love.

It Works

“We might go to war with Pakistan,” my brother said at home one day.

It was October 2016.

My brother, an expert in analysing and forecasting market data (currency and other financial values), could see that the Rupee will weaken. Not just slightly, but a lot. He was sure of it. He told his customers that the Rupee will weaken.

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The traditional way of analyzing market movements is called Fundamental Analysis. Another way of analyzing market movements, and estimating future value of stocks and currencies, is relatively newer (though now quite old too). It is called Technical Analysis.

Fundamental Analysis considers how a company is behaving (Is it making profits? Is there demand for that service? What is the situation in the country and the world? etc.). Technical Analysis does not bother about the company, the world or the market. It simply plots historical data on graphs and then “reads” the chart in certain ways to estimate the future movement of the data. To those who do not know anything about the field, it may well seem like looking into a crystal ball. But data moves in certain patterns. Technical Analysis reads those patterns.

My brother has been in the business of offering market forecasting services to companies, for years — using Technical Analysis. For years he has had to educate his clients and prospectives of what his team does, what is Technical Analysis. They rarely understand. Nevertheless they purchase his forecasting service. After all, his forecasts have a track record of 72% reliability.

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India had performed “surgical strikes” on Pakistan a little while back, but it did not go to war with Pakistan. But the Rupee did weaken. Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization on 9 November 2016. It threw the country into a tizzy. Did the Rupee weaken because Modi announced demonetization? I don’t know. However, the point is that the Rupee did weaken, like my brother’s reading of the data charts had said so.

“We don’t know how, but it works. That is the thing about Technical Analysis,” experts in the field of Financial Technical Analysis say.

That is what Homeopathic doctors also say, and astrologers also say, “We don’t know how, but it works.”

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Astrology has helped me tremendously, to understand myself better. Thus, I am able to honor myself, and “be myself” better.

I have never gone to any astrologer with queries like, “When will I get married? Is this guy compatible with me? When will I get a job? Where should I apply?” and stuff like that. I have always made sure that my choices and decisions be my own. However, I have turned to astrology to try and understand myself, i.e. understand my personality.

For example, recently a friend said, “What do people want? Either money or fame.”

I wondered, “What do I want? I know it is neither money, nor fame, but what do I want?” This question has puzzled me for years, and recently astrology helped me put a few more pieces in place. Its been like a long-term jigsaw puzzle, spanning over years – astrology and me – or rather, just me 😊 .

The crisis that we are collectively facing generates so many uncertainties in all our lives. We are all trying to live it and process it as best as we can. But crisis times are birthing times. Something new will emerge from this crisis, this is for sure. In that, if we are able to understand ourself better, we will be able to tune into that-new-whatever better. Then, that-new-whatever (and the-current-whatever) will seem beautiful to us. We ourselves will be more beautiful to ourself.

I find this field so fascinating that I might write more about my journey with astrology, how I have used it, and how you might too. However, if you want to get started right away (and that would be great, because you are important to you, not my articles) the book “You Were Born For This” by Chani Nicholas is an excellent place to go to. The book gives a link which generates your chart for you, based on the date, time, and location of your birth. That part is simply arithmetic with astronomical data. Then it teaches you to read your chart yourself in a very easy non-technical-as-far-as-possible manner. Apart from being easy to understand, the writing style is a pleasure too.

People approach astrology with a defeatist and fearful attitude. That is so sad and ineffective. None of the planets or anything in the universe is out to get you. You are not doomed, and need not pacify any Shani mahaaraaj by doing this that or the other thing. However we are an integral part of the universe and things seem to be like a fractal – the same thing reflected over and over again. One doesn’t have to use astrology. One can live a perfectly fulfilling and successful life, both worldly and spiritually, without astrology. However, it is a tool available to us, to understand our personality, and it works.

The Power of Sound and Harmony

Before COVID struck, it was the last in-person meet of Saahityikee. Saahityikee is a women-only literature group in Kolkata. In that meeting, members were, in turn, coming to the dias and reading out what they’d written.

Then a lady came, and she sang. I distinctly felt the air in the room change. The air became cleaner. This is not merely an mental-emotional impact I am talking about. The air physically became cleaner. I know because I have experienced that kind of transformation before.

Way back when I was living in Charlotte USA, a friend had come to my apartment. The apartment was somewhat musty. Vacuuming the carpets was overdue. When he experienced the somewhat-unclean mustiness of the apartment, he visited again with an oxygen machine. He plugged the machine into the wall electricity socket. As it ran, it pumped sucked in air, transformed it, and pumped oxygen back out into the air. The air in the apartment became cleaner. That is the way the air became cleaner when that lady sang at Sahityikee.

That is the most potent, beautiful impact of sound I have experienced till now. That is the power harmony has. It can clean air.

A REPLACEMENT FOR THE SWIMMING POOL

Talk about first world problems in third world countries. A significant “loss” for me during this COVID time was that I was unable to go swimming.

Swimming is important to me. I feel “at home” in the water. It is direct experiential evidence to me that we evolved from the oceans. When I swim more, I can feel my muscles heat up. However being in water, I can feel it simultaneously cool too. This enables me to move more. Also, just floating in water is like floating in a pool of love. Just being. Essentially it is a way of cooling inflammation. Physical, emotional, mental, social inflammation.

When I am faced with challenges, I become very silent. It is a way of preserving energy, and letting the internal process do its thing. This is not a chosen strategy. This is how I have been manufactured. However, being too intensely “locked” in silence is unhealthy. Then my inner intelligence pushes me to break that silence, while still being tuned into the internal thing. Normally that breaking naturally happens in the form of art (drawing, painting). This year, it broke in the form of singing – but not quite so naturally. I was ridden with doubt initially.

I am not a singer, i.e. I do not naturally break into song. In fact part of my intense internal processing via silence includes not even listening to music. Sometimes for years at a stretch. Again, not a deliberate choice. It’s the way it happens. This year, the inner impulse told me to seek out a singing teacher – and the same intelligence that created the inner impulse arranged for online classes with a very understanding teacher in Durgapur (what is distance to the internet?). I realize that it is the intelligence-from-beyond’s gift to me to cool inflammation. A replacement of the swimming pool. It is also a way to connecting with the less-material more-formless, which is an exquisite experience.

This is a new journey I have embarked upon – connecting to the formless via singing. I hope I will write to you more about it, because its all too fascinating. Not just singing, but all the innumerable different ways of experiencing the dance of energy. Right now, food and tummy are getting impatient to meet each other, so this is it for now. Ciao!

AI / ML for Peace, Beauty and Joy?

I like technology. I like doing something with technology. AI and ML (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning) seem to have pushed aside just about everything else in the technology world. I tried many a times to immerse my fingers in some AI / ML project. Each time I came away wondering. One reason is the headache of messing with elaborate technical stuff. The other reason is a philosophical conundrum which stands before me every time I start doing something with AI / ML.

AI / ML learns from past data points. It learns from the attributes fed into the black box. It teaches itself to emulate the past learning samples given to it. And the objective is categorization (racism as a child rightly said 🙂 ). This is the way conventional human psychology works too. However, despite the tendency of human psychology to work in this manner, an intelligence from beyond does manage to penetrate the human psyche at times. That intelligence from beyond gives the message of integration and oneness. It tells us that all attributes are too superficial.

How can I use AI / ML to honor integration, oneness, and the message that ultimately all attributes are too superficial? I want to design a project and objective that honors that, while engaging myself in the childlike activity of doing something with the hot thing of today’s world (AI / ML). The other issue is data. This integration and oneness would emerge if one threw enough data, and enough disparate data at it, and the objective not be categorization but integration. But if the “correct answer” is always only the one same answer then do we need any AI / ML in the first place?

Maybe I should create a project where the objective is not categorization but peace, beauty, joy. A system where whatever data point you throw at it, the learned system shows the user how that data point = peace, beauty, joy.

There’s A Creature on My Bookshelf

I came out of my bedroom and discovered there is a new clock on the book shelf. As I sat across it on the sofa, looking at it with no particular concentration or focus, happy and content with my morning time with myself, I realized — that is not an object, it is a creature. With its second hand moving around, (and its minutes and hours too, which was not visibly moving, but I know it moves), suddenly it looked like a small pet to me. The seconds hand like a wagging tail, the slow-moving minutes and hours hands sleeping like a python, and the clock itself like a small bunny rabbit or something. And I sensed the intelligence, that gave it form and birth. The intelligence by which it is an integral part of the universe.

It’s all alive. Everything around us. Individually and collectively. A single breathing combined organism, of which we too are a integral part.

They Came Flying From Far Away

It’s because of this doll-like thingy that she is holding and listening intently to — that’s why I chose this jigsaw puzzle that I’m doing these days.

No, it’s not about romanticizing depression. It’s about that tiny voice of light and guidance that comes and speaks to you from out of nowhere, within the deepest darkness.

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“They came flying from far away, now I’m under their spell
I love hearing the stories that they tell
They’ve seen places beyond my land and they’ve found new horizons
They speak strangely but I understand

As all good friends we talk all night, and we fly wing to wing
I have questions and they know everything”

(from the ABBA song “Eagle”, which is so very much my song)

They: Angels
(Angels are the thoughts of God ~ Marianne Williamson)

They: Who tell you, “You are valuable and beautiful irrespective of how things may seem to be.”

They: Who tell you, “You are lovable because you exist” (Louise Hay)

This is a huge sentence. Imbibe the depth and matter-of-fact truth of what it says. Read it slowly —

You are lovable because you exist.

You do not have to become a particular way to become lovable. You already are lovable. Irrespective of your thoughts, actions, and state.

You exist. That alone makes you lovable. Because every tiny iota of this universe is lovable and worth going into raptures over.

They: Who tell you, “I don’t get depressed about depression. Depression is a biological response, and the body’s mechanism for processing stress” (Vinod Tewary). They say, “you are pure”, when you unburden yourself about your problems and feelings about yourself. There by they free you, without minimizing or negating what you are experiencing.

And little by little, that tiny voice of light and guidance becomes a part of you. It always was in the first place. That is why what it said resonated with you, you listened to it intently and made the message your own.

And soon you are not scared to look at the darkness and barnacles of the remaining picture. You sit beside the morning window, and fresh morning air, and put the pieces together by sun light. The sun of our solar system, and the sun of our being.

The larger picture becomes more and more beautiful. You take breaks from putting the pieces together, simply to look at it in rapture.

When the picture is done, you spread your black wings
(as in the superb psychological movie The Black Swan), and acknowledge your darkness as a beautiful part of yourself.

Then, with the power of your mind, and the sun that shines on it, you soar
“Like an eagle that rides on the breeze”