Favourite Excerpts from books I've read over the years...
with small astrological profiles of the authors
For consciousness rejuvenates everything, giving the quality of beginning to the most everyday actions.
Elevators do away with the heroism of stair climbing so that there is no longer any virtue in living up near the sky.
All values must remain vulnerable, and those that do not are dead.
It is striking that the most favourable field for receiving the consciousness of freedom is none other than reverie.
The reveries of two solitary souls prepare the sweetness of loving. A realist of passion will see nothing there but evanescent formulas. But just the same it is no less true that great passions are prepared by great reveries. The reality of love is mutilated when it is detached from all its unrealness.
It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.
If a poet looks through a microscope or a telescope, he always sees the same thing.
Sun & Venus in Cancer. Moon in Virgo. Mercury & Saturn conjunct in Gemini. North Node in Libra. Nice Venus sextile Neptune trine Uranus sextile Venus. June 27, 1884
from Bachelard's book,
my horizon-edged cup
the closed up house
There is no lost feast
upstream from myself
To some extent, I have only lived to have something to outlive. By confiding these futile remembrances to paper, I am conscious of accomplishing the most important act of my life. I was predestined to Memory.
O. V. de Milosz
Solitude, my mother, tell me my life again.
O. V. de Milosz
As I stood in contemplation of the garden of the wonders of space, I had the feeling that I was looking into the ultimate depths, the most secret regions of my own being; and I smiled, because it had never occurred to me that I could be so pure, so great, so fair! My heart burst into singing with the song of grace of the universe. All these constellations are yours, they exist, in you; outside your love they have no reality! How terrible the world seems to those who do not know themselves! When you felt so alone and abandoned in the presence of the sea, imagine what solitude the waters must have felt in the night, or the nights own solitude in a universe without end!
O. V. de Milosz
are you never alone with me
more I approach you, the more you sink
I found myself before a man who summarized and clarified singularly, in a single look of his blue eyes, the idea I had of maturity, invaded and somehow renewed by the freshness of a childhood which had not stopped growing within him without his knowing it.
No one sees me changing. But who sees me? I am my own hiding place.
I am the space where I am.
Faith musn't ever be more than an hour old.
As Ulrich had settled on his view of life around his twenty-sixth year, it no longer seemed quite genuine in his thirty-second.
In their youth, life lay ahead of them like an inexhaustable morning, full of possibilities and emptiness on all sides, but already by noon something is suddenly there that may claim to be their own life yet whose appearing is as surpring, all in all, as if a person had suddenly materialized with whom one had been corresponding for some twenty years without meeting and whom one had imagined quite differently.
Can you imagine that man will still have a soul, for instance, once he has learned to understand it and control it biologically and psychologically? Yet this is precisely the condition we are aiming for! That's the trouble. Knowledge is a mode of conduct, a passion. At bottom, an impermissable mode of conduct: like dipsomania, sex mania, homicidal mania, the compulsion to know forms its own character that is off-balance.
He felt as though what he had just learned from the paper was what he had been thinking all along - which shows that news from the Stock Exchange has quite the same effect as the higher forms of literature.
Ulrich acted on the absurd contrary idea that life had to adjust itself to suit his mind.
The most peculiar of all the peculiarities of the word "soul", however, is that young people cannot pronounce it without laughing. Even Diotima and Arnheim were shy of using it without a modifier, for it is still possible to speak of having a great, noble, craven, daring, or debased soul, but to come right out with "my soul" is something one simply cannot bring oneself to do. It is distinctinly an older person's word, and this can only be understood by assuming that in the course of life people become more and more aware of something for which they urgently need a name they cannot find until they finally resort, reluctantly, to the name they had originally despised.
In youth it manifests itself as a distinct feeling of insecurity about whether everything one does is really the right thing, after all; in old age as a sense of wonder how little one has done of all one had really meant to do. In between, one takes comfort in the thought that one is a hell of a good, capable fellow, even if every little thing can't be justified; or that the world is not the way it ought to be either, so that one's failures come to represent a fair enough compromise.
Presumably, young people (whose life span is still short) are more disposed to be amazed at what they have already felt than older people, who have become accustomed to the changeability of life's passions and circumstances.
Perhaps one might say: truth is the unequivocal result of an attitude to life which we by no means feel unequivocally to be the true attitude!
Sun conjunct Mars in Scorpio opposite Neptune/Chiron in Taurus & sextile Uranus in Virgo. Moon in Capricorn conjunct North Node in Sagittarius. Mercury & Venus conjunct in Sagittarius. November 6, 1880
It is not a matter
of explaining and solving, but of experiencing and describing.
If the world were clear, art would not exist.
Sun in Scorpio trine Mars/Neptune in Cancer and sextile Jupiter in Capricorn. Moon in Aquarius. Mercury in Sagittarius. Venus in Libra. November 7, 1913.
To make plans and project designs brings with it many good sensations; and whoever had the strength to be nothing but a forger of plans his whole life long would be a very happy man: but he would occasionally have to take a rest from this activity by carrying out a plan - and then comes the vexation and the sobering up.
What matters is not eternal life but eternal vivacity.
...I was no longer in a sufficiently calm or disinterested state of mind to receive any really profound impression of beauty.
...In speaking of my inclinations as no longer liable to change, and of what was destined to make my life happy, he aroused in me two very painful suspicions. The first was that (at a time when, every day, I regarded myself as standingn upon the threshold of a life which was still intact and would not enter upon its course until the following morning) my existence had already begun, and that, furthermore, what was yet to follow would not differ to any extent from what had gone before. The second suspicion, which was really no more than a variant of the first, was that I was not situated somewhere outside Time, but was subject to its laws, just like those characters in novels who, for that reason, used to plunge me into such gloom when I read of their lives, down at Combray, in the fastness of my hooded wicker chair. In theory one is aware that the earth revolves, but in practice one does not perceive it, the ground upon which one treads seems not to move, and one can rest assured. So it is with Time in one's life.
If a little day-dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.
All conjunct in Cancer: Jupiter, Mercury, Sun, Uranus - all squaring Neptune in Aries and Mars in Libra. (T-Square) Grand Trine between Moon in Taurus, Venus in Virgo & Saturn in Capricorn. July 10, 1871
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake...It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look...To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
Should not every apartment in which man dwells be lofty enough to create some obscurity overhead, where flickering shadows may play at evening about the rafters?
Sun in Cancer trine Pluto in Pisces. Moon & Mercury conjunct in Cancer. Venus in Gemini opposite Jupiter & Uranus conjunct in Sagittarius. (there's the rebel!) Mars in Taurus. July 12, 1817
The philosopher of the future will be an experimenter, Nietzche said; free to go off in various directions that could, conceivably, come into conflict.
But what is a conviction? It is a thought that has come to a stop, that has congealed, and the "man of conviction" is a man restricted; experimental thought seeks not to persuade but to inspires; to inspire another thought, to set thought moving; that is why a novelist must systematically desystematize his thought, kick at the barricade that he himself has erected around his ideas.
The more the fight for human rights gains in popularity, the more it loses any concrete content, becoming a kind of universal stance of everyone toward everything, a kind of energy that turns all human desires into rights.
Sun conjunct Uranus in Aries - squaring Mars/Pluto in Cancer & Saturn/Moon in Capricorn. Mercury in Pisces trine Pluto. Grand trine between: Venus/Chiron/Jupiter/North Node all in Taurus & Moon/Saturn in Capricorn & Neptune in late-degree Leo. April 1, 1929
Life. What a gift it is! What an opportunity! And what a responsibility! We have life; so, with love, with a sense of humour and with courage, let us dare to 'live'.
My grandmother, Jean Campbell Howie
Natalie Barney, 1910
D. H. Lawrence
Myself and my person
now this has not happened
If I had the remaking of man, he wouldn't have any conscience. It is one of the most disagreeable things connected with a person;...I only stand to this: I have noticed my conscience for many years, and I know it is more trouble and bother to me than anything else I started with. I suppose that in the beginning I prized it, because we prize anything that is ours; and yet how foolish it was to think so. If we look at it another way, we see how absurd it is: if I had an anvil in me would I prize it? Of course not. And yet when you come to think, there is no real difference between a conscience and an anvil - I mean for comfort. I have noticed it a thousand times. And you could dissolve an anvil with acids, when you couldn't stand it any longer; but there isn't any way that you can work off a conscience - at least so it will stay worked off; not that I know of, anyway.
Sun conjunct Mars & Venus in Sagittarius - all trining Moon/Pluto in Aries. Mercury in Scorpio trining Jupiter in Cancer. North Node in Taurus. Neptune sextile Sun & square Saturn. Uranus sextile Venus & square Mercury & trine Saturn. November 30, 1835