17-18 Degree Gemini: Two Chinese Men Talking Chinese In A Western Crowd (and Donald Trump’s Xenophobia)

Mundane keywords: social misfits, cultural diversity, minority groups, multilingual, multiple ethnic and cultural identities, one who has difficulty assimilating, foreign languages or specialized languages/codes, China and the Chinese people, cultural ambassador, segregation.

Social and psychological keywords: being singled out for what one says or how one acts, determined to express oneself at the risk of being ostracized, being in and out of mainstream, juggling multiple cultural identities yet never quite at ease in one’s own skin, being a foreigner in one’s own country, the “you and me against the world” mind set, lost in translation, standing out from the crowd, speaking to an exclusive crowd, doubts and suspicion, xenophobia, elitist and inferiority complexes.

The 17-18 degree of Gemini locates in the Libra decanate and sits across the Sagittarius and Capricorn dwads. It describes a mental and communication process (Gemini) concerning personal relations (Libra) in a foreign (Sagittarius) society (Capricorn). The number 8 (1+7=8) and 7 (7th degree of the decanate) denotes the struggle (7) for power and wisdom (8).

We have two Chinese men speaking Chinese in western crowd. Being out of their native environment, they rely on each other for companionship and understanding. We don’t know if this is a chance meeting or a partnership, all we know is that they speak the same foreign language and they are naturally drawn to each other in such a setting. There might be a sense of comradery, a sort of “you and me against the world” mindset. Understandably, from the westerners’ point of view, the language barrier naturally arouses curiosity, mistrust and suspicion.

On the surface, this degree signifies one who is determined to drive home the point in a foreign, even hostile environment. For those living with this degree in their charts, to assimilate or not to assimilate is the question. Acutely aware of the shifting sands in a multicultural society, they hold on to their cultural traditions, abide with the mainstream as needed, and at the same time is mindful of the stark contrast between themselves and the norm. Nevertheless, they are compelled to speak out and are fully aware of the risks.

Martin Goldsmith went one step further and has the degree as “In a crowded Midwestern diner, two Chinese-Americans watch a television newscast, then argue about it in Chinese”. Here, against the all-American Midwest dinner backdrop, the social convention is conservative, commonsensical, and has a respectful distaste for outre behaviors. When the two Chinese-Americans watched the news and argue about it in Chinese, undoubtedly they would draw attention to themselves for their appearance and their foreign tongue, yet, their argued on. There is not only disagreement between the two, there is also glaring difference between the pair and their environment, with no compromise in sight. This degree points to conflict in the interpersonal relationships and one’s relation with the society as a whole.

The depiction of “two Chinese men” is interesting. If we were only to depict foreigners, there would be so many different nationality to choose from, why Chinese? Chinese culture is the longest consecutive major culture in the world. It is formidable in its depth and breadth; it is mysterious and exotic to outsiders yet its heritage directly influences roughly one quarter of the world population. The Chinese language is difficult for westerners for the enormous number of characters that are composites of meanings, pronunciations, and images. The Classical Chinese is often incomprehensible even to native speakers. Therefore, we can reasonably assume the symbol’s emphasis on cultural barrier to a colossal body of esoteric knowledge, at least to the western minds.

Incidentally, number 7 not only resonates with specialized knowledge and non-conformist tendencies, it also points to the path of mysticism. From a higher perspective, Dane Rudyar mentioned being “in” the world but not “of” the world. Ultimately, this symbols asks us to detach ourselves from what’s familiar and taken for granted, seek out the exotic, the esoteric, and a new approach that reconcile the contrasting polarities. Do we abide by the convention or risk the dirty looks? Do we eat at the same diner, or leave the comfort zone? Do we dare to suspend our ingrained prejudice and walk in others’ shoes? More than just choosing sides, we overcome the limitation of duality, and build a unified perspective –we become both the “two Chinese men” and the “western crowd,” at home with the world.

Some famous people and events that shares this degree are:

  • Barbara Bush (Sun): American First Lady and matriarch of the Bush political dynasty. After touring Houston Astrodome, one of the relief center in the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she shared her observation of the refugees who have lost their homes and possessions, and were cramped into the crowded facility:

“Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, “We’re going to move to Houston.” What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them”.

  • Jason Alexander (Moon): American actor famously known for his portrayal of George Costanza, a neurotic man suffering from low self-esteem and habitual lying, among many other personality flaws. He goes to great length to start and maintain romantic relationships but always falls short.
  • Jim Carrey (Moon): Canadian American actor and comedian. Famous for his maniacal brand of comedy, Carrey suffered from depression for significant period of his life and overcame it through spirituality.
  • Donald Trump (Uranus): American business man and presidential candidate. His has strong appeal to so called “angry (white) republicans,” and routinely offends various ethnic minorities during his presidential campaign. He is seen as xenophobic.
  • December 5, 1955 (South Node): Trial of Rosa Parks and the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks was arrested for refusing to yield her seat in the colored section to white riders when the white section had filled up. The boycott was the first large-scale civil right protest in U.S. history. It was successful in removing the seating segregation on Montgomery buses.
  • June 3, 1946 (Uranus): The United States Supreme Court ruled in Morgan v. Virginia that a Virginia law requiring segregation of white and African-American bus passengers was illegal for interstate travel.

Sources:

“Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off.” New York Times. N.p., 5 Sept. 2005. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/07/us/nationalspecial/barbara-bush-calls-evacuees-better-off.html?_r=0]

Astro Databank: [http://www.astro.com/astro-databank]

Wikipedia: Montgomery Bus Boycott [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Hand_Laundry_Alliance#cite_note-9]

Wikipedia: Irene Morgan [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irene_Morgan]

“Montgomery Bus Boycott.” History.com. A+E Networks, 2010. Web. [http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott]

Leung, Rebecca. “Carrey: ‘Life Is Too Beautiful'” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 8 Nov. 2004. Web. 13 Dec. 2015. [http://www.cbsnews.com/news/carrey-life-is-too-beautiful/]

Goldsmith, Martin. The Zodiac by Degrees: 360 New Symbols. Boston, MA: Weiser, 2004.

Rudhyar, Dane. An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases. New York: Random House, 1973.]


Copyright (c)2015 Eunica Lux. All Rights Reserved.


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21-22 Degree Sagittarius: A Chinese Laundry (and Donald Trump’s Moon)

San Francisco Chinese laundry, 1881. Public Domain.

Mundane keywords: immigrants, racial issues, labor, self-employment, East Asia and its people, washing and laundering (literal and metaphorical), stereotyping and character assassination, foreigners and aliens, society-imposed limitations.

Social and psychological keywords: racism, stereotyping, xenophobia, alienation, finding a niche in difficult social and economic environment, overworked and underpaid, carve out a niche for survival, inability or unwilling to assimilate, profound understanding of large-scale misdeeds and the cause to right such wrongs.

The California Gold Rush of 1848–1855 commenced the first significant wave of Chinese immigration to the U.S. The predominately young male population were first welcomed for their hard work in the mines and large labor projects. However, as the gold deposits dwindled and labor market tightened, anti-Chinese sentiment grew.

Degrading stereotyping and fictitious accounts brought on by competing prospectors and laborers, mostly European and American, were deliberately spread by union bosses and politicians, which exacerbated the racial hatred. Consequently, anti-Chinese legislation kept Chinese immigrants out of desirable careers. Many turned to the laundry business as it was often the only job to be found. At one time, in San Francisco, about 89% of the laundry workers were of Chinese descent.

Hand laundry was grueling work. A typical 10-16 work day consists of manual labor over kettles of boiling water and hot stoves. From Wikipedia:

“Laundry work was especially wearisome, because it meant the soaking, scrubbing, and ironing of clothing solely by hand; moreover, prompt and high quality service was necessary to keep customers satisfied. Workers in laundries and groceries received the going wage of twenty-five dollars per month, and despite long hours the work-week was seven days. For the majority of the Chinese, then, the daily routine was almost solely working, eating, and sleeping. There were a few other occupations available to Chinese”.

As the non-Chinese vying for the same business interests, Chinese laundries were the targets of harassment by local governments:

“In 1880, 95 percent of San Francisco’s 320 laundries operated in wooden buildings. The city passed an ordinance requiring owners of laundries in wooden buildings to obtain a permit. Two-thirds of the laundries were owned by Chinese people, but none of them was granted a permit. Only one non-Chinese owner was denied.”

–Chinese Laundries by Alice Myers

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed. It aimed to keep Chinese from entering the U.S., and excluded Chinese nationals in the U.S. from seeking citizenship, making them permanent aliens.

During the Great Depression, the job of launderer became increasingly attractive and again Chinese were targets of hostility from white labor unions. In 1933 the New York City Board of Aldermen passed a law to limited ownership of laundries to U.S. citizens while the Federal law suspended naturalization of Chinese immigrants.

The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance successfully repelled the anti-Chinese legislation and preserved the livelihood of thousands of Chinese laundry workers. The labor organization continued to advocate for the civil rights of Chinese in North America.

Around the turn of the 20th century, one in four male Chinese immigrants in the United States worked in a laundry. The stereotype of Chinese Laundry persisted well into present days:

Here is a Jawbone commercial taking place in a Chinese Laundry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW3TQpz64rA

An satirical report from the Onion: “Chinese Laundry Owner Blasted For Reinforcing Negative Ethnic Stereotypes”

http://www.theonion.com/article/chinese-laundry-owner-blasted-for-reinforcing-nega-1563

21 to 22 degree Sagittarius locates in the Leo decadent (10-degree divisions within a sign) and the Leo duad (2.5 degree sections within a sign). It is the 21st degree of Sagittarius and 1st degree of the decadent, therefore carries the energy of numbers 3, 7, (3×7=21), and 1.

People and matters contacting this degree identify themselves passionately with –or against – an individual, a ethnic or social minority group that’s underprivileged or prosecuted. The social climate that supports such discrimination and injustice is often prejudiced, hypocritical, unreasonable, and going against the universal value of fairness and equality.

Due to Leo’s influence, there is also a strong dramatic element associated with these unjust events. Spreading of falsehood, or some sort of a “creative” effort, is often involved.

On the opposite side of same coin, this symbol speaks of the bitterly oppressed and those who take on the thankless job of cleaning up the aftermath of epic misdeeds. At its higher expression, this degree allows profound understanding of the deep rooted injustice and societal wrongs, and take courageous action to counter such atrocities.

Some famous people with 21-22 Sagittarius degree in their chart are:

  • Donald Trump (moon), whose hard-line and controversial stance of deportation of illegal immigrants marks the flagship issue of his presidential campaign.
  • Richard Gere (moon) , known for his dedication for fair treatment of the Tibetan people and preservation of their culture. He was also a pioneer in the fight against stigma and discrimination against AIDS and its patients.
  • Amanda Knox (moon), an American student accused of murdering her roommate while studying in Italy. She was subjected to unprecedented negative publicity before her trail in Italy. Fictitious accounts of her live were invented by local authors for monetary gain. The CBS special report of her ordeal was titled “American Girl, Italian Nightmare”.
  • Harry Hay (moon), “the father of gay liberation.” He stood against assimilationism by the mainstream gay right campaigns.
  • King George VI (Sun): Living under the shadow of his elder brother Edward, King George reluctantly ascended the throne after his elder brother abdicated in order to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. King George VI oversaw the crisis of abdication, the hardship and eventual triumph of World War II, and the rapid decline of the British Empire.

Sources:
Norton, Henry Kittredge: The Chinese [http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist6/chinhate.html]
Jung, John: History [blog post] [https://chineselaundry.wordpress.com/history/]
Myers, Alice: Chinese Laundries [http://immigrationtounitedstates.org/426-chinese-laundries.html]
[Unattributed]: Chinese Launder [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChineseLaunderer]
Wikipedia: Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Hand_Laundry_Alliance#cite_note-9]
Astro Databank: [http://www.astro.com/astro-databank]


Copyright (c)2015 Eunica Lux. All Rights Reserved.


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How to Handle (Extra) Difficult Pluto Transits

Pluto, regardless of its planetary status, is one of, if not the most powerful object in astrology. Pluto transits ask of us to let go of our ego, abandon outdated belief and behavior, or suffer crushing loss. Difficulties handling such demand often bring on personal crises that are emotional, powerful, and life-changing. However, if we endure and learn from its lessons, Pluto’s reward is also tremendous.

There are many good resources, on the web or in volumes, that cover Pluto’s energy and its transits. However, few have dealt with compounded “hard” transits in which Pluto simultaneously forms opposition (180 degree), square (90 degree) or conjunction (0 degree) to multiple points in the birth chart. These transit are extra difficult and is the topic of this article.

When mired in Pluto overload, life could seem like one long and painful series of crises. Without some guidance or framework, the hardship could dim the light of the brightest as time drags on. The good news is, as endless as these transits might seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Better yet, as long as we persevere and are open to change, there is a wealth of new resources for us to discover and draw from that would make our life better, deeper and richer.

PLEASE NOTE: The following are NOT predictions for your upcoming Pluto transit. Most Pluto transits are mediated by other factors in your chart and are non-threatening. The following pointers are for those who are in the middle of simultaneous or a long series of Pluto transits and are experiencing a lot of pain. If you wonder whether you are in one, don’t worry –you are not.

For those of you still reading, let’s take a deep breath and dive right in:

1. STAY ALIVE. Let’s cut to the chase: sometimes Pluto transits bring out our self-destructive tendencies; sometimes they relentlessly drive us over the limit and then push some more. This is often triggered by loss of cherished personal relations, ideas, or possessions (see below: “BE KIND TO YOURSELF”). If you feel suicidal, please seek help. You are not alone; many of us have been through this and become better for it.

That being said, chances are, you are yearning for change, not death. Most likely, if your life could change for the better, you wouldn’t want it to end. Pluto transits guarantee tremendous change. All you have to do is to live through it, –you do not have to physically kill yourself for that change to happen.

When we go through tough Pluto transits, we shed part of ourselves that is outdated and unproductive for our growth, some call this process “egocide,” the death of our ego. Ego, a psychological construct, mainly consisted of compromised thought and behavioral patterns, is a convenient tool that bridges our infinite and variegated inner experience and outer world that contently coerced us to conform and internalize socially approved behaviors.

Ego works to keeps us from being honest with ourselves. It glosses over our reality and and lubricates our societal interactions. As we age, most of us forgo the constant, bothersome dissonance of such chasm and adopt the ego as a shaky front to ourselves and others. The trouble is, ego works to sedate our consciousness, it does not promote personal growth or truth. When a trying Pluto transit occurs, the gap between our true self and what the ego desires is again brought into sharp focus. Only by separating ourselves from our egos and leave them hang out to dry can we survive and thrive through these challenging times.

Sure, checking out of life is still an option. However, when we give up living, the process of transformation and growth stops, and people who believe in reincarnation tell us that we will have to come back and start all over, –sounds like a huge waste of time, doesn’t it? So, dig deep, gather your resources and stay alive, period. There is a whole new world on the other side of this tunnel. You are gaining points just by going through these transits and not giving up.

2. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. During Pluto transits, there are likely be events that involved some type of failure or loss. It could be the end of a life-long pursue, it could be the loss of something that makes you who we are, or someone who is very dear to you. Whatever the event, the circumstances are most likely beyond your control. Blaming yourselves for the failure, desperately trying to cling to something that no longer works or someone you can’t bring back is not helpful. Please know that what is truly yours can never be taken away from you. What is truly yours will return, transformed and improved, but you have to allow the process to happen. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and be your best friend.

Others probably will not understand the grief you are experiencing. They might not be able to comprehend how the event would warrant such pain (“it’s only ___” –fill in the blank.) Be gentle and patient with yourself, own your pain, allow yourself to hurt, experience it fully, you will get through.

3. Have therapeutic outlets. Creative expressions are especially therapeutic during this period. Journaling, art and projects can keep you engaged, safely externalize the negative emotions you are experiencing and stay sane. Whatever method you choose is fine: paint, write, dance, sing, knit, remodel, –anything to mark the process and progress. If you get to see a good therapist, please do.

4. Stay busy, and have a routine that involves tending to the people, animals, or things you love. You can only dwell in negative emotions for so long without being morbid or obsessed. So get out of the house, keep your personal business in order, give love and spend time with those you care about. Keep a routine, take on some responsibility so you are committed even when you don’t feel like it. Get yourself occupied by something outside of yourself so you have opportunities to get refreshed and recharged.

5. Plutonian rituals: sort, discard, recycle, and transform. Be an active participant of the Pluto transit if you can. Sort through your stuff, throw out (donate, resale) what you no longer need or want as a part of your life. Your personal possessions have stories, emotions and meanings attached to them. By letting go, you are actively making decisions to release the non-authentic, outdated, and unproductive aspects of you. Although emotionally difficult, most of the times the choices are pretty simple and clear. If not, you could always come back later. This is a process, not an one-time event.

Another option for active participation: you could drastically change your appearance, your living space, or sever dysfunctional relationships. Again, in order to activate the Plutonian energy, it would involve some kind of loss, reduction or consolidation that results in dramatic transformation.

6. Learn to let go. Many astrologers mentioned that Pluto transits involves power struggle and control dramas. Whether you are the one desperately trying to control outcomes and restore order in your life, or you feel like some people have you tightly under their thumbs, the best thing to do under the Pluto transit, as improbable and wrong it might sound, is to let go.

Let go of the control –control fails. Let go of the power struggle –the sense of personal power is an illusion. While not giving in and being a willing victim to abusive situations, stop engaging in the battles of will and the control dramas. Be aware and stay away if possible. If you are the controlling one, you would eventually lose by winning; if you are the one being controlled, playing the same game would only make you exactly the opposite side of the same coin –you would be stuck in the vicious circle.

Think long term and engage on a different level. Pluto transit asks us to dig deeper and soar higher, which brings us to the next two points:

7. Find your center. As the transit goes on, you will start to notice that beneath all the turmoil, deep down, there is a part of you remains unshaken, undisturbed. You will found your core, your luminescent center –and it will be a day for quiet celebration. Here lies your foundation, the knowing of who you truly are and what you are made of. It will grow and become the new source of your strength. By cultivating and staying connected to this source, the helplessness and desperation of these tough transits will gradually subside.

8. Metaphysical tools: affirmation, prayers and visualization really help during these difficult times. In order for these to work, one has to be persistent and have conviction. Be careful what you ask for and be ready to receive –whether you are asking for yourself or others. Be grateful and give thanks when you receive. Do not ask for others what you wouldn’t ask for yourself. You will be surprised how powerful your thoughts are when you focus and believe.

As long as you make it through these tough transits and are willing to adopt and grow, life will change for the better. You will find a new source of strength, a new sense of self that no one can diminish or take away from you. Some things lost during Pluto transits return in disguise, reincarnated –you will recognize them and cherish them more than ever (see The Gift of Pluto). The rest, you will realize down the road that, as difficult as it were at the time, that’s the way it had to be, to get you from one stage to the next. Some day, these scars will be reminders of what you went through, and the evidence that you do have the strength and perseverance to weather the storm.

What doesn’t get killed during Pluto transits, gets stronger.


Copyright (c)2015 Eunica Lux. All Rights Reserved.


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The Gift of Pluto

Greta - Focused Shepherd

Greta – Focused Shepherd by Clara S., CC BY 2.0

1.

Scarlet was born on the day Alice and Joe visited the famous San Diego dog beach. Although both being hopeless dog lovers, the newlyweds had decided not to take on the responsibility of dog parenting. However, that didn’t stop them from wholeheartedly enjoying watching the dogs play and swim, and cheering for a young pup that appeared to fight the current for the very first time. Deep down, they both longed for a dog of their own. Alice loves rugged Sheepdogs; Joe loves sweet and soulful Bloodhounds.

Two months later, Joe and Alice stepped into a pet store in the mall. While Alice was looking at the bunnies; a bloodhound puppy caught Joe’s eyes. Joe picked her up and she gave him the most innocent puppy kiss. Scarlet, as she would be named, stole his heart right on the spot, and the no-dog rule was thrown out of the window. With Joe’s arm underneath and her big puppy feet dangling, the wrinkled bundle of cuteness went home with her mom and dad.

Scarlet was the pride and joy of her parents. She grew into such a stunning creature that she literally stopped traffic. In the touristy town they lived, random pedestrians would stop dead on the sidewalk, screaming like crazy fans, pointing at the dog. Passengers in the vehicles at the light would drop their jaws, ignoring the light turning green, mesmerizing over how she sat with Joe so proudly like a precocious little girl going for a ride with her dad. There were people asking to back Scarlet in the show rings, complete strangers following her for miles just to share some steaks. She was legendary for her beauty and self-aware presence.

The time spend to exercise Scarlet and respond to the cunning false-alarms to go outside, particularly in the middle of the night, gradually ate into Joe and Alice’s work schedule and REM sleeps. It would be so nice if they have a house with a big backyard, they thought; that way, Scarlet could stay outside all the time. With love in their hearts, and too much HGTV-watching on Alice’s part, the couple bought into the dream of home ownership in the midst of the real estate boom.

In a few years, they bought the fixer-upper on three acres at the peak of the housing rush, and lovingly named it Scarlet Park. All was good for the proud new homeowners. They rescued another two bloodhounds, Mae Bear, and Danny, and call their humble homestead “The Bloodhound Haven.”

2.

Alice sat in her home recording studio; warily listening to the last take of her new track. The professional earphone grew heavier by the hour and had gotten quite painful to wear.

She had just recently closed up her book store. It had become unprofitable and slowly turned into a hobby, and now an unworthy effort. Since then, she had doubled down on her music, holding on to it as her last youthful aspiration before her insides grow old, dry up and crack into pieces.

Dark desperation rolled over her like a bulldozer mercilessly flatten her ego and dreams. She knew that without any miraculous market success, this could be the last song she will ever record. She’s all burnt out.

She is not the give-up kind, really. She is goal-oriented, stubborn to a fault, and had pull off some feats that surprised even herself. Having studying music all her life and trying to break into commercial music since high school, nowadays the attempt to fit herself in between market demand and anywhere near authenticity had twisted her and left her empty like a twisted, dying bonsai tree.

These days, she found herself waking up in the middle of the night for no reason, reaching for her old astrology printouts. She never went through with the study and couldn’t tell Jupiter from Mars, nevertheless, the thick old folder was calling her name. She finally got her first real astrology book and learned to read the transits: Pluto had just transited opposition her Mercury and was 1 degree away from her IC, the fourth house cusp, and opposition her Venus on her MC.

Alice looked up the descriptions for those transit and found them non-threatening. So maybe there will be some home remodeling, or some nasty neighbor treading on the property line, no biggie, she thought.

She didn’t know yet that Mercury rules commerce, books; it is also the ruler of her Stellium, a cluster of planets that makes the focus of her life. She also was ignorant to the fact that Venus is closely related to her artistic efforts and income; it is also her chart ruler. The MC-IC axis represents the polarity between one’s worldly reputation and innermost feelings; between career and home life. On top of all that, Pluto is about to form a 90 degree angel with its birth position. Pluto rules one’s most basic survival instinct, not only as a living organism, but as a conscious complex of behavior patterns and personalities. Pluto’s action is to destruct and transform. A quarter Pluto return signals upheaval at the deepest level of one’s existence.

3.

Scarlet was unsettled. She couldn’t seem to find a spot to lie down comfortably. As the day went on, it was clear that something was seriously wrong: she looked distressed and wouldn’t eat anything. Her breathing labored, her eyes fearful, distant and resigned all at the same time. She paced back and forth painfully throughout the house, and finally settled down outside on the grass late at night.

Alice brought Scarlet a blanket and lied down next to her, but Scarlet moved away and wouldn’t get petted. In tears, Alice fell asleep not knowing what the morning would bring. The next morning, Joe found Scarlet in the bushes, pale and covered in spiderweb, he rushed her to the vet but nothing could be done. As Pluto crossed Alice’s IC, the symbol for home, they lost Scarlet.

4.

It’s just a dog, people say. In the following month, there was not a dry eye between Alice and Joe. It made no sense how losing a dog could be so painful, it made them almost feel guilty. They had both lost their dearest loved ones, but this was so much worse. For Alice, it was like having her heart ripped out, put through a meat grinder over and over while it’s still attached, then pound it with a hammer. It was like losing her first born. Life was never the same.

She limped through the days and took care of business the best she could. With the real estate in free fall, they withheld all the home improvement projects. When it rained, there weren’t enough pots to catch the streams coming down from the kitchen ceiling. Gradually, the mortgage ate up larger and larger portions of their impaired income. It became a no-brainer that they immediately stop the bleeding, and that means default, bankruptcy and relocation.

5.

Mae Bear and Danny had become wonderful playmates. They sensed Scarlet missing, looked confused for a few days, and went back being dogs. Danny loved running circles around Mae. She would try to bat him with her paw –unsuccessfully, then gave up and rolled on her back, grinning. She turned into a lighthearted and playful goofball, and truly looked content in her old age. She was often seen bathing in the golden afternoon sun, quietly enjoying her sunset years: spirit restored, heart unbroken, trust regained, loved.

Before long, she started having trouble seeing and rapidly became severely arthritic. Very soon she would cry out in pain just from standing up and walk; she then stopped getting out of bed and stopped eating. Danny grew very anxious, panicked and wouldn’t leave Mae alone. He wanted to play with her so badly that he had to get shut out of the room so Mae could have a few bites.

Mae let Alice know that she was ready to go. Alice and Joe ended her pain five months after losing Scarlet.

6.

Danny stopped eating. He wouldn’t get out of bed. He slept all day and became severely depressed since Mae’s passing. Ever since he arrived, he tried to be the alpha dog: trying to get on the bed with Mom, Dad and Scarlet, always vying for attention. Now finally the only dog, he had lost the interest to interact and respond to affection.

Joe and Alice were seriously concerned. They did not intent to lose another dog; they had to get Danny another playmate quick. After some research, they decided to check the local shelter first, so Joe went on the search.

“It’s so depressing here. There is this little black dog; he the only one looking healthy and alive. He looks like a mutt. Is that OK?”

“As long as it’s a dog. I love dogs. Any dog.”

In came Pluto, a crazy, energetic little black dog with unknown breeding. As soon as he got out of the truck, Danny jumped out of bed, cried out in pure happiness and excitement, wrestled and tumbled with the little pup. Pluto audaciously gnawed on his toes, pulled his long ears, grabbed the loose skin of his neck, whined, growled, kissed, barked, –it was all fun and game for the both of them. They hit it right off and played for hours on end. Joe and Alice looked at each other in sheer amazement and relief; they knew the dogs would be alright –it was a match made in heaven.

7.

Joe and Alice left behind most of their possessions and moved across the country to a small farm house by the northern border. Disgrace of bankruptcy aside, the pare-down existence was a relief for them both. Alice was still nursing the grief of losing the dogs. She would break out in tears at any moment just talking about the two girls. Taking care of the new pup had been great help in getting over the loss.

True to his namesake, Pluto was very Plutonian, in the best sense of the word. He was small, black with a rusty red tint, over-the-top, destructive, demanding and overbearing, –mostly in adorable ways. He dug up the yard, brought everything that’s loose on the floor to the backyard and proceeded to destroy every one of them. He demanded attention every minute of the day from Alice, Joe, or Danny, or he would raise hell (with more collateral damage) until he got his way. He could not be left alone for one minute. Alice nicknamed him “Glue”.

When Glue started to lose his puppy teeth, Alice counted back the months and found that he was born around the day they lost Scarlet, –in fact, very likely the same day. It is often said in astrology that Pluto represents life and death as well as regeneration, and that people with strong Pluto in their charts often are born soon after a death in the family. In her own house, wrapped in a hyperactive bundle of fur, Alice’s got her own walking, barking astrology symbol.

Glue chose to bond with Alice, he loved her with all his intensity and attached himself like her shadow. He forced her to keep the house tidy; he got her to play tug, toss balls and Frisbee no matter it was rain, wind, snow or ice outside. He made her laugh, kissed away her tears and distracted her from self-absorptive wound licking. He was her observant and wacky therapist; he was the glue that held her together.

The mixture of deep affection and immense sadness turned into a bubbling brew of creativity; Alice started writing. In no time her verses were used on pet memorials, and a new business was born, one that brought welcomed relief to the family’s crippling finance. Repeatedly writing about pet-loss in anyway she could finally let the pressure out of her compounded trauma and gave room for her spirit to heal and renew.

As he grew, Glue matured into a well-behaved, exceedingly bright, affectionate, and joyful family member. He also started to look and behave like a shepherd.

Alice had always wanted a shepherd. Bloodhounds are gentle and loving; they steal countless hearts with one soulful gaze. However, once they get on a trail, they become obsessed and oblivious to their environment. It is often said that a loose bloodhound is a dead bloodhound; having a shepherd would greatly reduce the chance of that happening. As the distinctive apron pattern on Pluto’s chest grew, and he started body-slamming and ankle-biting Danny, it dawn on Alice and Joe that they had rescued a shepherd.

A shepherd with bloodhound’s eyes. When he was at rest in between his antics, Glue’s eyes were wise beyond his years, –soft, deep, sparkling and strangely, out of place. “He’s got Scarlet’s eyes!” One day Alice exclaimed. Joe had to agree, reluctantly, that he also saw Scarlet’s eyes in Glue. Pluto had brought Scarlet back in disguise, once a daddy’s girl, this time, mamma’s boy.

Alice would love to believe that Scarlet loved them so much that she came back for another round. She imagined that when she hugged and petted Glue, her love reverberated across space and time and reached Scarlet and Mae. Glue was like the multidimensional being falling out of the worm hole that dragged Scarlet’s spirit along for the encore. In a way, it was like Scarlet never died, her light only dimmed a notch. Joe and Alice loved Glue for the radical pup he was; yet when they looked into his eyes, they saw Scarlet looking back through the shepherd’s costume. The universe commemorated their love and this little black dog was the living proof.

He was the best thing ever happened to Alice. The tears she occasionally sheds carry only light weigh now. Witnessing the gift of Pluto has given her a profound sense of connectedness to the infinite and very personal universe, also called God along with many other names. The universe cares about the little boy and girl longing for a dog of their own, a bloodhound name Scarlet trying to find her way back to her mom and dad, a grieving dog mom with her whole world shattered, a little black dog wanting a home, a business needing revival, a bloodhound named Danny waiting for a reason to get out of bed, and a man who denies himself the grief and remembrance of the love of his life, who now realizes that his love didn’t abandon him –she came back.


Copyright (c)2015 Eunica Lux. All Rights Reserved.


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