A ten pound, six ounce boy delivered by Dr. Elizabeth Reed, 2:54 AM in Presbyterian Hospital, Newark, New Jersey on the last summer day at the midpoint of the 20th century (Thursday 20 September 1951) to Giuseppe Pietro and Louisa Concetta, I received my personal name from my father’s parents, Alfia and Angelo, and my destinal identity from the anarchic Uncertainty Principle that cast its aleatory and mythopoeic determination across my birth sky:
Rising Sign (10Leo59) locates on my horizon Neptune’s north node (that point on the ecliptic, the apparent path in the firmament of the Sun, where the planet Neptune annually appears to ascend into the northern sky), symbolic of the secret will, the ambiguous effect of rhetoric and vision, and the authentic strength to carry truth with lies. This obvious blessing for a writer physically imprinted me with the simile of the horse, Neptune’s creature, as you can see for yourself in this portrait of me by my brother, Ronald, at a time when the fiercely internal effort to create the Tetrad had blurred my human contours:
This simile of the horse trines (120 ) retrograde Jupiter (10Aries 51), introspective Lord of Heaven, alone in the western sky, high in the ninth house, where knowledge is solace. Here is the memory, fragile as a moth wing, of a past life among the shramanas (ascetics) in mystery groves north of India. Those specificities don’t matter now, they were so long ago, those wanderings through a fecund landscape etched in the blood; at that time, I was seeking, by charity among warm rains, old stone pools and giant banyans, serenity in the suffering world – yet, as frail a shadow in the blood as that memory is, I could not otherwise find the true words now to love what I live if I had not fulfilled my vow of silence then.
Sun (26Virgo30) illuminates the second house and the value of consciousness as a transparent object. Sentences (whose only virtue is value, the worth of their meaning) – sentences begin here, somewhere inside this clear luminosity, somewhere in this house of value ... where I’ve been rummaging around since I was five. All those many years thinking stories were enough, struggling with sentences, fitting together signifiers, hoping to make meaning...
Moon (24Taurus25) in the tenth house of career reflects all that meaning I tried to make with those sentences. I should have a career that’s over the Moon! Alas, the sign occupied by the Moon is intercepted, without access to a cusp, a doorway out of the house and into the world. The Bull of Heaven that killed Enkidu, the best friend of the majestic hero in the world’s first written story, has no way out. It tramples the Moon under hoof. And the Moon’s Mansion, without any earthly business, has become a netherworld in heaven, a lunatic asylum for all the meaningful things I thought were stories but were just me talking to myself.
I might have known, with Neptune (18Libra26) in my third house of written communication precisely 144 from that locked up moon. 144 is 2/5th of a circle, the preeminent aspect of irrational love. All that mystic love for the unattainable underestimated practical things. What did I expect, writing uncanny stories (Neptune in the third) about the smokiest ranges of my soul (intercepted Moon) and addressing them to the whole world?
Well, Pluto (20Leo38) conjunct Mars (20Leo52) in the first house of self provided tremendous courage for such dada ambitions: Ares in Hell. Who better to endure a thirty year pilgrimage across the baked floor of the dead?
Venus (2Virgo33), paramour of Mars, moves retrograde across the cusp of the second house, the treasure house, wanting to bring everything precious to her lover in hell. Good luck. Even her beauty cannot inspire enough strength to fight phantoms.
Nearby, Mercury (9Virgo23), hermetic trickster, goads her on and sometimes even convinces me she is my immortal soul and something like starlight, with the stamina to endure unfathomed darkness.
But Saturn (4Libra21), scythe-bearer, knows nothing is immortal, not even the gods, let alone the stories from inside the mother of myself. In his low voice, old Cronos, terrible crow promises without joy or sorrow, “Time will tell,” knowing full well this far along there are more ghosts than time for me.
In the radiant waste of dreams, the Father of All the Gods, Uranus (13Cancer35) watches silently from beyond the Twelfth Gate that guards the infinite. He hears my spirit singing.