July 1, 2002

WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I was a crybaby. A really extreme one who went running home to mommy with a tear-smeared face any time a neighbor kid called me a name or told me to shut up. Once, in first grade, I cried for like a half-hour when my teacher gave me regular scissors instead of left-handed ones. My mom used to tell me that I was just really sensitive, like she was. We would cry together during dog-food commercials as we watched the 30-second time lapse move the puppy through the life cycle into old age.

Another of my most hysterical childhood crying fits was caused by watching a dog on TV, in the animated film Snoopy Come Home. For those who don't remember this 1972 classic featuring the Peanuts gang, it is downright
Please? We miss you.
brutal in its sentimentality. Imagine this: Snoopy gets a letter from his former owner (who even knew?), a little girl named Lila who is lying ill in a hospital bed and in desperate need of some puppy lovin'. Without hesitation or explanation, Snoopy packs up his bags and treks off to see the sick girl. When he finally arrives, his presence is such a joy to Lila that her health quickly improves. She begs him to come home with her to live, so Snoopy makes a difficult decision to leave his beloved Charlie Brown to help care for this (very needy?) girl. Predictably, there is a big farewell party for Snoopy. The whole gang is there. Massive tear-shedding ensues.

As the title of the film implies, homesickness is a powerful emotional theme that permeates Snoopy's story and yanks our heartstrings. No matter which owner Snoopy is with, he is yearning for a reunion with the other. Lila, his first owner, needs his nurturance in order to heal, so Snoopy immediately heeds this call of loving duty like one would with any family responsibility and is drawn to her. Meanwhile, Snoopy feels a massive outpouring of love from the whole Peanuts gang upon his departure, which pulls him back toward them. So, finally, when he learns that Lila's apartment building doesn't allow dogs (and why didn't she notice the "no dogs allowed" sign earlier?), Snoopy seems relieved that he can return home to Charlie Brown's backyard, though he will miss Lila.

Okay, so I don't like to guess people's astrological signs, but I'm going out on a limb here by positing that Snoopy is a Cancer. (Maybe he just has a Cancer moon or Cancer rising. I don't know, but in any case, he's not really a "person" so I haven't broken my no-guessing rule.) He has strong ties to home and displays deep loyalty in rushing to the side of a loved one in need. He provides emotional strength, a center, that those close to him feel is missing in his absence. Snoopy is a master of the nonverbal communication I described as a classic Cancerian trait in last week's posting. And of course, he's a moody little mofo.

The Snoopy Come Home story hits a resonant chord for me this week as Mars and Jupiter align in the sign of Cancer, upping the sentimentality factor and offering a great opportunity for emotional healing. Snoopy's saga is marked by a back-and-forth between Lila and the Peanuts gang, based on decisions he makes out of loyalty to and a caring nostalgia for each of them. Every time he leaves or comes back or leaves again, a flurry of intense feelings in released in him and those around him. Though his fluctuating actions may seem inconsistent, in fact Snoopy acts instinctively, as if he were being carried on the ocean's waves to where he was needed at any given time, in tune with the rhythms of life. In the end, Snoopy enables healing to happen on all fronts.

This week is a time to reflect back on the roots that provide the emotional foundation for what we've become. Does someone (or something) important in our past require that we tend to them? The astrological climate favors such actions that heal any rifts within ourselves, so that we can continue to tap into wells of timeless emotional strength without hindrance. Though historically problematic situations might be complex and run deep, it often takes a single simple caring gesture to break through the barrier and display your readiness to move on. You may unleash a quiet torrent of private feelings, which some people find quite uncomfortable. But remember these are just an emotional release and don't necessarily mean you are angry or sad.

Just like the tears I shed during long-distance phone commercials, Crossing Over with John Edward, that wretched movie Beaches, and of course, Snoopy Come Home: cathartic, connective, reassuring, even fun. Sometimes I get back in touch with my emotional source in the strangest or most unexpectedly trite ways. Allowing yourself to feel a full range of emotions grants greater depth to everything you do, and makes joy feel all the more enjoyable.