Listening Inside to What I Want


I'm not exactly sure what I want to write to you today, but I want it to be about me.

This admission is actually a great place to start, believe it or not… since I want this to be one of those 'more personal' essays and to address a relevant astrological topic. That opener neatly aligns my personal reflections with the ongoing Mars retrograde in Leo. (Yes: Still retrograde, still in Leo.)

In my latest internal meditations, I've startled myself with the discovery that I know far less about what I want than I've always thought I did. This is not necessarily a complaint with the particulars of my current circumstances. After all, as a professional astrologer, writer and metaphysical-shop owner, I'm one of the lucky souls who's working jobs I actually enjoy (though 'work' is still work, no matter how desirable the position). Plus I'm in a good relationship, in a comfortable home with a cuddly pet-companion, and have many dear friends. So where does the yearning come from? Is it an inescapable human condition, never to be sated except through Buddhist-style non-attachment practices?

When deconstructing the concept of personal 'want', I have trouble discerning between (1) some purist notion of desire that bubbles forth instinctively from the heart, which lacks the need for supportive rationale because it is indivisibly, unambiguously true that this is what I want, and (2) the culturally- and familially-informed acceptance I may (not fully consciously) crave, a filter through which I perceive my 'wants', framing their pursuit as an exercise in meeting external expectations so that I may be seen in a certain desirable light by those I seek to please.

I am willing to concede my attention to this second shade-of-meaning could indeed be a reflection of my natal 7th-house Moon in Capricorn, which seeks emotional satisfaction through living up to ambitious expectations in one-on-one relationship. Yet, this desire to impress is surely not a peculiarity uniquely my own. So many of us wish to live up to a certain image in others' eyes; then there are those who expend as much reactionary effort to purposely rebel against such living-up. Both are sides of the same coin. For me, at a deep psychological core of truth, I really just want 'to be a good kid'—a desire identical to what the four-year-old me held.

Only thing is, now I'm an adult… and 'being a good kid' is a futile chase, since there is no looming parental figure I must obey in order to reap a treat. I must search out an alternative measure for identifying my truer wants, those that make the self-parent inside me happy. And unfortunately for all the folks like me who love any reassurance that we're 'doing it right', no firm guidelines exist for assessing whether we've successfully found what we want. Our emotional state is really the only thermometer, though its messages arrive in cryptic form and they change fairly often… a clue to the fact that what we want also changes over time. Moving targets, alas, are even harder to nail.

The Mars-retrograde-in-Leo lesson is all about the contemplative quest to identify, then procure, that which we as individuals want, from the inside out—apart and aside from all the outward trappings of recognition and reward we've been conditioned to aim for. This is an incredibly tricky and turbulent task for many of us… especially when heeding the inner call toward a personal goal is apt to clash with what our peers' 'reasonable arguments' might purport, to bring direct conflict with certain people we won't please, and to make us look like we're more interested in ourselves than in the common good. Mars's recent oppositions to the Sun and Venus (and soon to be Mercury) in Aquarius only exacerbate these divergences.

We most often resist acknowledging our wants out of fear we'll disappoint or alienate those we care for or wish to impress. But that denial leaves us falling short of living our fullest desired potential, so that the version of 'me' we share with those very people is merely partial… a.k.a. I secure your 'love' by revealing only the 'me' I think you'll love. Combine enough of those 'me's, and we're a collective mass of acquiescent strivers, unclear about why we're striving because we can't articulate our own inner lusts without reference to outer standards.

In the midst of my Mars-retrograde-flavored ruminations, I've spent the past week at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, on my annual buying trip for The Sacred Well. I'm prepping to drive my rented SUV full of rocks home from Arizona, after many full days of scouring the countless venues for beautiful specimens at good prices. As a shop owner, I've always got my eye out for those impeccable deals that will yield an excellent profit-margin for my business. Without enough margin, there is no business. At the same time, as a self-described mystic (for lack of a better term), I'm looking for very special mineral companions… crystals and stones with a certain elusive, indefinable energy that sparks a metaphysical fire within.

Identifying the margin is easy enough. Give me paper and a pen (a calculator works even better), and I can tell you whether this flat of cerrucites, aragonites or azurites will yield enough money to make it worth our while. The 'energetic' element, however, is not so simple—at least not insofar as explaining it to someone else is concerned. Yet, I know a rock I want when I see it. It calls to me in a language of immediacy, through color and density and feel, by sensory and 'extrasensory' vibration. As I now think about it, the act of rock-hunting is one exemplary avenue for refining the practice of listening, from the inside out, to what I want. Sometimes, you've even got to go against the perfect profit-margin model to procure the right rocks… for personally right reasons I can't fully elucidate.