Nature and Disease

I am the supreme being of the universe that is my body, and there are times when even I can do nothing but watch and wait.

Dis-ease.  It happens.  These past few days I have been plagued with respiratory allergies the likes of which I have not experienced in years.  The whole of Sunday night was spent sweating, shivering, and generally trying not to choke on my own amassing snot.  Since then, I've been suffering nasal and/or lung congestion to varying degrees, along with feverishness and mental fog.  Naps and neti have been aiding me along, though asana and pranayama seem to help more than anything.  In fact, since the congestion has snuffed out any sense of taste or smell, my typically voracious appetite has been dormant, so I am feeling especially open and light-bodied in practice.

Raised in a conservative Baptist home, I was discouraged from learning anything about astrology and so never developed an interest.  It is a vast subject and one I know relatively little about.  However, over the course of the past year I've simply been noticing things.  Watching the skies.  Communing with the moon.  Seeing and feeling an arc that I had been both blind and numb to before.  Venus, in particular, entranced me with its passage and seemed to bring an enchantment into my life during its peak of visibility over the Austin sky.

Just now, I am learning a bit more about when the planet Mercury goes into retrograde, as it just so happens to be at present.  For those of you like myself with limited astrology knowledge, CafeAstrology.com describes Mercury retrograde thusly:
"Three, and sometimes four, times a year, the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards in the sky for a period of approximately 3 weeks. "Appears" is the key word here, because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backwards in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don't even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets. Mercury turns retrograde more frequently than any other planet. It can never be more than 28 degrees from the Sun, and whenever it reaches its furthest distance from the Sun, it changes direction (Mercury Retrograde)."
There's nothing evil or new-agey about that. Pure science. However, there are a variety of supposed effects felt by us here on Earth. The planet Mercury is thought to be linked to the forces of communication, so those of us most affected by the transit of the planet -- depending on one's own sign and the time of year -- may experience complications, delays, financial troubles, and other minor catastrophe.

I don't know if I believe any of this, but so far since the planet has gone retrograde my car has been towed, forcing me to cancel a class and costing me a couple hundred bucks to pick it up, brutal allergies have taken over my body, resulting in even more much-needed work missed, and my dogs, after weeks of peace and good behavior, have been fighting with each other and charging at other dogs.  A student pointed out that the dogs might be on edge because I've been unwell.  I hope she's right.

As an aside, to you youngish professionals who hear so many great things about Austin and want to move here and live in a shiny new condo with the rest of the hipsters and yuppies, consider this: the allergies in central Texas are like nothing you've ever seen. They will take you down.  In 2009, I fell ill with what folks around here call the "cedar fever." I was sick for three solid months.  I thought I was dying.  I spent half of those three months bent over a wastebasket coughing and heaving as though I'd contracted tuberculosis.  I coughed so hard that I pulled muscles in my abdomen and upper back.   I coughed so hard that I got acid reflux.  I coughed so hard that I couldn't hold my bladder.  The ONLY things that made any difference were neti and yoga.

Cedar fever is caused by the release of juniper pollen which is present in abundance in late winter/early spring, but pollen is not the only vicious airborne allergy we have. There are more.  Mother nature staggers them throughout the year, so think twice before moving here for the progressive scene.


  1. I'm just dipping my toes in the astrologic pool as well, and have enjoyed Tim Miller's blogs which go pretty deep but, as you'd expect, also are written with a solid grounding to the regular life of a householder...http://timmiller.typepad.com/blog/2012/07/tuesday-july-17th.html

    1. Yes, Tim Miller's blog is very good. It may have had an influence on my softening to the concepts of astrology.