Monthly Archives: November 2009

Eyeball to eyeball (with tooth-sucking….)


Eyeball to eyeball - with politics!

Eyeball to eyeball - with politics!

Tooth-sucking – ie slow inhalation of air through lower teeth (or, even worse, dentures) – is a very bad sign.

Plumbers do it. Electricians do it. Computer geeks do it. Builders are especially prone to it. When accompanied by head-shaking and eyebrow knitting, it is a particularly bad sign, usually meaning you are going to pay – lots – in money, time, inconvenience and often all three.

Here I am, sitting in a stout black steel chair fronted by all sorts of high-tech equipment, a range of which has just been addressing itself in great detail to my eyes for the last half hour or so. The kind and painstaking ophthalmologist is now consulting with the tall, grey-bearded, grave consultant.They are talking ophthalmo-speak to one another. I begin to feel very tense, apprehensive. It sounds like tooth-sucking. Oh dear.

“Yes, I’m afraid you have glaucoma in your left eye. If we start treating it now, you will probably retain your sight well into old age.”

“Oh well,” I think, “at least my right eye is ok.”

As if reading my mind, the consultant goes on: “But this condition is bilateral. It is likely to affect your right eye too, eventually.” “How long is eventually?” I wonder, feeling like a small rodent trapped in a corner by a big man wielding a broom with his back to the exit door.

On to discussion of treatment options. Drops, for starters, to reduce the pressure in my left eye, at present higher than it is in the right.

[questions I forgot to ask, (i) : how does this relate to my overall blood pressure, on the low side of normal?]

One type of drop, a form of beta-blocker, will “lower your heart rate, limiting your exercise capacity….” No thanks to that one, unless I get desperate and nothing else works. Rushing about everywhere on foot is my main transport mode, and I rely on that with a little light hill-walking from time to time to keep me fit.

Option two, which I decide to try for starters, has a distinctly surreal dimension. Apparently it will turn my affected eye pink [questions I forgot to ask, (ii) : for how long? For ever?] and cause my eyelashes on the bad eye to grow longer and thicker.

“So I’ll go around looking like a cross between Dracula and an aging fashion model?”
says the grave but quietly smiling one, patiently, already realising he has a drama queen on his hands from now until his well-earned retirement.“ When we have stabilised the left eye, you can even up the eyelash balance by rubbing a little of the drops on to the right eye’s lashes.”

At this point I am visualising going around in a large brown paper bag with eyehole slits.

Shortly after my arrival at the brown bag interim solution, the session is over. Having asked various questions, I have not been my usual forensic self in eliciting answers. Being told you are slowly advancing towards blindness, sooner or later depending on treatment, does not sharpen the mental faculties.

[questions I forgot to ask, (iii): Just exactly how bad is this, NOW?]

I sit for some time with my husband, waiting for some photographs to be taken of the back of my eyeballs – partly for research purposes.  I come from a family psychological matrix where one’s default position in any crisis is the worst option, always. Guide dogs and white sticks feature prominently in our conversation – or rather, my monologue.

Then we walk home, having had three hours of NHS Scotland’s time, state of the art expertise, professionalism and kindness. All for free. It is a beautiful, mild autumn day, the streets rusty with fallen leaves. The verb “to see” and the noun “vision” have just taken on a new significance.

It would be totally dishonest to pretend that behind the I hope! lightly ironic, witty tone of this article I am not rather upset both in the short and the prospective long-term, by the implications of being diagnosed with glaucoma.

Insouciance would not be normal. But writers are not ‘normal’. All of us to a greater or lesser degree have a streak of psychopathy which makes every vicissitude of human experience – including our own – potential writing fodder. In the midst of my entirely appropriate angst is arising a tingle of anticipation: a new seam to be mined – and shared – has just been opened. Should I set up a new blog? What could I call it? “To the White Stick”, perhaps? Or – this is a bit more dignified, don’t you think? – “The Glaucoma Diaries.” I could have a sub-theme called “More bits fall off” for my popular column “Just let me get old, ok?”…….mmmm…….

Watch this space!

( ps one of my friends, when told the news, shrugged his shoulders, remarking: “Oh, well, c’est la fucking vie, innit?” I don’t think there’s an answer to that, yet….but give me time, give me time!)

850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

A plug from Jonathan Cainer, the UK’s top astrologer

Yesterday was an exciting day. I logged on to “Writing from the Twelfth House” and “Jupiter meets Uranus”, my two sites, and found that traffic had shot up. Why? Had one of the comments I’d left on another site been spectacularly interesting? Not a bit of it. Jonathan Cainer, the UK’s top astrologer, had taken my newly-published book “Jupiter meets Uranus: from erotic bathing to star gazing” to read on an overseas trip. Yesterday, he gave it a nice plug on his site, complete with a brilliant cartoon. Thanks, Jonathan and team! Here, with his permission, is Jonathan’s comment:


Monday 16th November 2009

Jupiter meets Uranus


Jupiter meets Uranus - from

Jupiter meets Uranus - from

While I was away last week, I did a lot of reading. I’ve found a fascinating book by Anne Whitaker, called ‘Jupiter Meets Uranus’. Although it’s published by the American Federation of Astrologers, Anne is actually a Scottish author who has made a special study of this powerful event that happens once every 14 years or so. It last took place in 1997 so we’re due for one next year. She thinks that, based on trends observed to date, it will bring much social change, scientific innovation and renewed optimism. I’m inclined to agree.


Astrological illustrations and Astrocat by Sally Fisher


Inspiration Foundation UK, Stand with Tibet, Freedom for Burma, Campaign to End Slavery, The Hunger Site, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Save the Rainforest, Friends of the Earth, Chicken Shed Theatre Company, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

260 words copyright Jonathan Cainer/Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Favourite Quotes: Marcus Aurelius on how to live

Belief that one’s spirit lives on in a form which as yet, despite all the theories advanced and blood shed to date, no-one has ever established as definitive – makes life and its vicissitudes much easier to bear. Unfortunately, one cannot make oneself believe in anything, whether it be the existence of God or the infallibility of Professor Dawkins, to give but two  contemporary examples. Belief either arrives, or it doesn’t. Sometimes it arrives – then goes away again. One can go through long spells playing hide-and-seek with belief. So what to do, as life rolls on in its inevitable way?

Whilst trawling through some sites the other night, I came across some guiding wisdom from that wise, Stoical and only mildly cynical ancient Roman, Marcus Aurelius.

(26 April 121 – 17 March 180)

Marcus Aurelius in bronze: The Louvre, Paris


“Ah” I thought. ” Time to post a quote. I should share this prescription with my increasing band of readers, especially those who seem to love the Favourite Quotes theme on this site.”

Read, enjoy – and comment!

” Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid. “

Marcus Aurelius

found at

Guest Slot: ‘For Chiron (and Laughing) Out Loud’ by Joyce Mason

I am delighted this month to be introducing that distinguished Radical Virgo, Joyce Mason, long experienced in-depth astrologer and fine writer. She has just completed and E-published “20 years of work with Chiron distilled into 40 pages…...‘Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer.’ It is a fine piece of work which introduces the archetype of Chiron, the Wounded Healer, in a deep, lively and accessible manner which will be of interest to practising astrologers and their clients, astrology students – and the open-minded general reader.

Joyce’s Guest piece will tell, in her usual humorous  style,  how Chiron “hooked” her, becoming a life-long preoccupation. Over to you, Joyce!

I’ll never forget my goose bumps. I was reading Barbara Hand Clow’s book, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets. Actually, I was reading it out loud to my best friend while she drove. We were returning from an astrology workshop on Chiron, where I’d just bought it. Both of us were complete novices on the asteroid, comet—whatever. Nobody was even sure what this little rock was that seemed to be orbiting in the wrong place, yet I was already in love with it! Then there was that strange myth, a story about a half-man/half-horse—a centaur who was wise, wounded, and wonderful. He turned out heroes by the dozen: Jason, Hercules, Asclepius.

That was 1988. For over 20 years, Chiron has remained my astrological passion. I discovered Chiron just as I launched my astrology career. Ever since, he’s been the compass of my star trek.  From 1992-95, I edited an international newsletter on Chiron’s “continuing discovery” called Chironicles. In 1996, I organized and facilitated a journey of 18 astrologers from four continents to the Pelion region of Greece, Chiron’s mythical homeland. The Chironic Convergence celebrated Chiron’s perihelion or pass closest to Earth in its orbit. It was a “shareshop.” Participants swapped what they’d learned to date about Chiron in a variety of ways that included ritual, chart interpretations, and informal presentations.

 Chiron and Wholeness

Chiron and Wholeness

What would turn me into such a Chironoholic?

Surely we ask this whenever we fall in love, whether it’s with a man, woman, cat, dog, or mythical creature. “What does she see in him?” we wonder, while karma and the law of dynamic attraction have their way with us. (I swear; I hear them laughing!)

Chiron was an underdog in the astrological community during the first decade or two after its 1977 discovery. Many “serious” astrologers weren’t ready to let some upstart into their orderly system of chart analysis. I have always been a sucker for the underdog (or centaur). I suspect that was part of the initial lure.

Most of all, I had a strong inkling that there was “something there.” Barbara Clow’s book ignited and inspired me. Early on, Chiron was nicknamed the Wounded Healer because of the lingering wound he incurred at a wedding feast. He was accidentally shot by a stray, poisoned arrow from the bow of his most beloved student, Hercules. Immortal, Chiron could not die; he had to soldier on. Despite his pain, Chiron continued to mentor hero after hero, bringing out the best in each of them so they could contribute their special skills to society.

I usually “get it” when “something is wrong with this picture.” The accent was on the wrong syllable. It wasn’t just about Chiron’s wound; it was about helping others become all they could be. If heroes save the day, society can only be revived when we each give our unique gifts, things we do like no one else.  Together, each bit of individuality can be woven into a warm quilt of societal wholeness.  We do the same thing with inner growth, integrating our unrelated, unique aspects until we’re fulfilled, embodied spirits. Of course, sometimes in the process, this tapestry feels more like a crazy quilt. Then there’s the pain, for which humor and making the best of things is the only antidote.

Soon, I agreed with those who saw Chiron as the missing link in chart interpretation. Chiron was the first astrologer. Modern astrologers have his same mission: to bring out the best in their clients by helping them identify their greatest gifts. Only when we become busy making our unique difference does pain fall into the background. Then we begin to heal ourselves by helping others.

Astrological Chiron confirms the wounds we have to overcome. Our wounds hold the hide-a-key to our healing.  Chironic people often serve society thanks to their pain. Example: Candy Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver. She went on to found Mothers Against Drink Drivers (MADD).  MADD’s influence has since led to a 43 percent reduction in US drunk driving deaths. Chiron in your chart will tell you about the pain you need to overcome to deliver the gifts you gained from it.  No pain, no gain—as the saying goes.

Chiron is my gift, one that never stopped giving. Recently, I wove twenty years of learning about Chiron into a primer. It’s a meaty and lushly illustrated synthesis called Chiron and Wholeness. Drop by my blog, The Radical Virgo, anytime to learn more about it and read many of my articles on Chiron and other subjects on becoming the best you.

Chiron and Wholeness gives you the essentials on Chiron. I hope it leaves you wanting more. If at least one idea in my e-book gives anyone the goose bumps, I’ll feel like I’ve come full circle.

(written by Joyce Mason for Anne Whitaker to use)

1000 words copyright Joyce Mason 2009



Joyce Mason

Joyce Mason

Joyce Mason has been an astrologer for over 20 years and a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. Her astrological specialties are Chiron, the sign of Virgo, and living on the upside of the zodiac. Her trademark is depth with humor. Learn more about Joyce, her two blogs, and her library of articles on topics from A to Zzz (astrology to dreamwork) on her Writer Joyce Mason website: