By debramoolenaar

I'm an existential astrology coach (and a novelist too)

The Secret Book of John

Anger and The Secret Book of John Short fiction by Debra Moolenaar © 2010 “Tomorrow I shall have to tell them.”    Glancing down at my hands, I wince and stuff my wedding ring in my jean’s pocket.  After shuffling across the room, I practice silent arpeggios before the well-stoked fire.  A week before Christmas and even Marseilles is cold and damp as a grave.   With increased circulation comes unexpected hope.  “What shall I tell them in London, Mother?   What shall I tell them when I go home?” “The truth, child.”   Mother Superior hands me a cup of strong china…

Selling Spirituality – where on the package does it say no pain – no gain?

Without qualification we accept that a personal sense of self (an ‘I’ that does things and a ‘me’ to whom things are done) is essential for a healthy, happy every-day kind of life. Yet throughout history mystics from all religions have sought the opposite experience of ‘no-self’ to grasp the ultimate truth – a reality so vastly different from that otherwise experienced that the only way to describe it, is to describe what it is not. Today, it’s more fashionable than ever to pursue such spiritual enlightenment in any number of well-marketed ways.  Wander through the appropriate section in your…

Rousseau’s Social Contract & Why the Rich Get Richer While the Poor Get Poorer

My husband and I recently visited a charming 280-acre National Trust property nestled in the green hills of south Oxfordshire.  First built in the late Middle Ages, Greys Court comprises a substantial complex of sandstone buildings and walled courtyard gardens.  Enjoying coffee and cake in a long, low building said to have garrisoned Cromwell’s soldiers during the Civil War, we contemplated battles long since fought and won. With dozens of other tourists, we rambled  through the three-gabled Elizabethan house dreaming of what it must have been like to have grown up  in such a comfortable and privileged home . But…

The (Philosophical) Demise of Democracy

Of late, there’s been much debate about the collapse of authority in the UK.   It would appear a consensus  of sorts has finally been reached this is not a good thing.  However the hope is the new government will sort it all out for us.  I wonder. In The Republic, Plato reminds us that just as surely as Democracy evolves from Oligarchy (a system of government where the rich rule the poor), that Democracy evolves into Tyranny.  While the first transition results from an excess of wealth, the later results from an excess of freedom.  He provides some startlingly scary…

“Know Thyself” but then what?

Inscribed over the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is the ancient Greek aphorism “Know thyself”.  Certainly good advice.  But before we can follow it, we need to dig deeper into the nature of the ‘self’ that we wish to know. This is harder than you  think.  In the West there is no consensus of what is ‘self’.  Add that to the Eastern tradition that ‘self’ is a mirage and it’s little wonder we’re confused (or should be if we took time to consider it). For argument’s sake, let’s assume, that the following is necessary for ‘self”: (1)…

When is Fiction Art and Why Does it Matter?

Art commands special status and support from states, corporations, and the public at large. Art is not just a matter of profits – indeed some art is extremely unprofitable.  Art is of enduring cultural esteem and concern. Yet given its importance, surprisingly there is no accepted definition of art. Most philosophers believe that simply being entertaining is not enough. Similarly defining ‘art’ in terms of the emotions it evokes won’t do. There is nothing valuable in the arousal of emotion for it’s own sake (unless you’re willing to agree that – for example – pornography is art). Even if we…

Clegg & Cameron in Composite

Typically used for astrological assessment of romantic relationships, a composite chart gives insight into the thurst of the combined energy of two people. The highlights of the composite of Britain’s two new leaders: (1) Libra moon (naturally adaptive ability  to smooth trouble situations and reconcile conflicts of opinion), (2) Jupiter in Leo (ambitious, warm and dignified approach to exercise of power), and (3) Sun,Venus,Mercury stellium in Sagittarius ( bright, lively, and enthusiastic expansion of philosophic ideals). Further, when compared to Britain’s own natal chart*, we find that (1) diplomatic composite Libra moon within minutes of Britain’s MC (place in the…

Pluto & Politics

An astrologer for whom I have great respect, once told me that Pluto transits are like psychic diarrhoea – they don’t feel particularly good but are absolutely necessary to clean out the waste which would otherwise kill us.  Never forget that Pluto is the God of the Underworld.  In the end, Pluto always wins. Throughout 2010-2011, the UK (as a political entity*) has transiting Pluto squaring it’s midheaven (symbolising the highest and most visible point the sun reaches each day).  This signifies an enforced change of national direction and political leadership – it won’t be comfortable but it could not…

The Duchess – past and present

Researching for my new novel (Lords & Lies), my husband and I recently watched the film ‘The Duchess’ – which is based on the true life story of the Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (an ancestor of Princess Diana). In her time (1757-1806), Georgina was beautiful, glamorous, and a trendsetter in fashion and politics.  She was also a compulsive gambler, a drug addict, and an adulteress. Not only was Georgina married off at age 17 years to ‘the only man in town who didn’t love her’, but she was also forced to live under the same roof as her husband’s mistress…

Lessons to learn from Anthony Trollope

I just finished reading Anthony Trollope’s brilliant novel The Way We Live Now. Although written in 1872, Trollope’s portrayal of the ultra-greedy businessman, Melmotte, has much to show us about the way we really do in fact live right now.  As another character comments, Melmotte is ‘a sign of degeneracy’, not the cause. Not unlike bankers and (some) politicians today, Melmotte’s claim to fame was that he ‘manufactured’ money from issuing more and more (bad) debt.  In pursuing this career, he almost manages to crash the markets in the City of London. The interesting thing is that rather than being the worldly…