Falling Apart. (by design? right on time?)


In January, I got married to Ricky, my partner of nearly thirteen years. It was a low-key affair… a civil ceremony down at San Francisco City Hall, an exquisitely majestic building.

We are moving to Portland, Oregon. We already found a place to live, in an uncannily smooth and pleasurable process (many thanks to Venus retrograde, which I have natally and which always brings me good things). Now it's a simple matter of packing ourselves up and heading north, where our next chapter awaits.

I am very grateful for both Ricky's steadfast loving companionship and the privilege of being able to just pick myself up and create a new life in a new town. So please don't judge me as unappreciative for my blessings when I confess my emotions are freaking out because everything is falling apart. Really, it is. To make it from here to there will require me to let go of so much, I don't know what will be left of my familiar being once I arrive (as if I'll be able to peg a single distinct moment as my 'arrival')—or how I'll feel about it all.

That's why I'm trying to keep a close focus on each progressive step, one day or week at a time… with the modest goal of just doing something different (for my life has been in dire need of a radical-change injection for a while now), putting one foot in front of the next along this unfamiliar path, staying in motion. Longer-term outcomes are incontrovertibly unclear. Undue attachment to one, therefore, is a weight too pointlessly heavy to carry with me. Not even the most prophetic astrologers really know exactly what the future will bring.

Of course, having astrology as an interpretive reference-point does help me gain insight on my current falling-apart. In fact, it also helped me prepare for it… as well, at least, as anyone can prepare for a direct impact from Uranus, our busting-out, chaos-rousing liberator planet. (For further perspective, I wrote about Uranus's triumphant role on the collective stage shortly after the US election late last year.) I've known for a while now that this year brings my Uranus opposition, a life-cycle transit that happens to everyone in their early 40s… and which is often associated with the stereotypical 'mid-life crisis' because it pressures us to make some bold, brave, and/or revolutionary move that's discontinuous with what we'd been doing up until that point.

Using astrology constructively allows us to choose a Uranus-inspired departure at the right time, rather than clinging desperately to how our life has always been and, in denial of our need for change, tempting Uranus to knock everything over, no matter our resistance. The energy must be expressed one way or another. Even when we mindfully channel Uranian pressure into self-selected risks and rebellions, we still face the element of chance (albeit hopefully with less built-up strain inside us ready to explode). Uranus is always a wild-card.

My Uranus opposition is on track to prove even more dramatic than the typical one, alas, for a couple significant astrological reasons. First, in the current astro-scape, Uranus is caught in an opposition with Jupiter (a major influence through much of '17) … which means that, at the same time transiting Uranus is opposing my natal Uranus, transiting Jupiter will also be conjoining my natal Uranus. As an archetypal agent of expansion and multiplication, Jupiter's position atop my Uranus while opposite the transiting one makes the whole thing bigger: stronger Uranian pressure, greater magnitude of change, more of life falling apart. Second, I have a natal Moon-Uranus square, so transiting Uranus and Jupiter are both currently squaring my Moon from each side, too. Without exaggerating, this compound set of transiting aspects is in the early stages of totally shaking up my entire emotional makeup. By the astrological clock, I must now learn an emotionally disorienting lesson on how to let go of a lot of my attachments to familiar faces and places and habits-of-being, in order to continue the vital unfolding of my most-actualized self. Anything less will only exacerbate any feelings of being stuck, stunted, or inauthentic. Can't stay here; must keep moving.

Though getting married is understandably seen more as an act of 'coming together' than 'falling apart', the circumstances which led Ricky and I to finally tie the knot are, unfortunately, inextricably linked to an underlying uncertainty. We got married the week before the inauguration, because we wanted to legalize our relationship while we were still sure we could. The ascent of Donald Trump (with natal Sun conjunct Uranus and Moon opposed Uranus, a textbook Uranian trickster) to the presidency left many LGBT folks (as well as many women, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, people-of-color, and the poor) unsure of where our rights would stand, and the number of anti-LGBT advisors and cabinet-members he's thus far brought on is not reassuring. That he's best buds with Vladimir Putin, leader of a country where gay men are currently being rounded up, beaten, tortured, and killed, is a further chilling reality to digest. As two gay men, we are exceptionally privileged to enjoy this right to marry—and we did so under the shadow of its existential fragility, and of unimaginable dangers to us still rampant in this world.

Similarly, I imagine the move to Portland 'should' (ahem) feel more celebratory than it does (although, at certain moments, I have torrents of excitement pouring out my eyeballs). I love where we'll be living, both neighborhood and dwelling, and am eager to enjoy the pleasures of exploring a new hometown. But as I've been quipping in reference to my upcoming move, it's been a long slow process of prying my cold dead hands off their grip on San Francisco. I grew up just an hour away, moved into the city for the first time in '94, and have lived in my same flat for the past 17 years (the longest I've called anywhere home). Most everyone I regularly socialize with has been my friend for at least a decade. I've known so many of this town's local characters, as well as its tasty eats, speedy shortcuts, secret parking-spaces, and special spots, including the most exquisite vistas and down-and-dirty dives. Or at least I did. My knowledge has grown outdated; my attitude about it, crusty. I am out of sync with SF these days.

I will spend the weeks ahead poring through my drawers and closets, my copious files of no-longer-needed papers, my attic large enough that it houses anything I mindlessly dumped up there when I wasn't sure whether I'd want it later (as well as the dumpings of a few attic-less friends), the back reaches of the garage full with reminders of my now-deceased neighbor… whittling these concrete records and token trinkets from my history down to a fraction of their former mass, pausing along the way, for who-knows-how-long, to reminisce and pine and grieve. Ricky and I decided to leave behind a lot of our furnishings, thrift-store remnants from youthful homes-gone-by, beloved comfort-items now worn to death by daily love. Even what I'll sit on to eat or watch TV, what I'll lie upon for sleep each night, will be unfamiliar.

The next steps in my career trajectory feel just as foreign, as I move away from the Bay Area client base I've built over this last decade-and-a-half and my gorgeously magical Oakland shop The Sacred Well. Of course, I've always had clients all over the globe and am well acquainted with consulting over long distances (thank you, internet). Plus, there's now another location of The Sacred Well in Portland for me to infuse with my in-person energy. But my biggest pivot—and one of my main goals in this self-reinvention—will be to carve time away from both my astrological and retail businesses, to pursue my dream of writing books. Even as I mention this, that menacing expanse of unstructured days and the taunting tell-tale throb of my cursor on a blank screen fill my mind with dread. At least Portland will be a quieter place to write, with fewer distractions…

… especially since I won't really have many friends once I get there. Not the ones who've known me through all the incarnations, those with whom I can drop all performances and pretenses and proprieties and utterly be that silly saucy moody messy self I rarely let the uninitiated get a good gander at. My longtime friendships are the wisest investment I've ever made. And here's where I start to really fall apart. The tearful conversations about imminent farewells have already begun, and the anticipation of even more emotionally intense moments and heartbreaking see-you-laters is nearly too much to bear. I'd almost rather slip out the back door of the party without saying goodbye, in hopes of escaping much notice—I am a Moon-Uranus square type—but I know I'd be in big trouble with several pals.

Oh, yeah: I just found out a few days ago that my dog JoJo has cancer. We haven't even been to the specialist yet, to receive the fuller prognosis… though my gut tells me not to be too optimistic. He's growing increasingly tired by the day, while my heart breaks a little more at each slowing turn. This is not an untimely descent, but a logical turning of the wheel-of-life—he's at a ripe old age for a dog his size, and I'm neither surprised nor caught completely off guard by the news. In fact, I wrote about the 'beginning' of this 'end' six months back, at the time drawing a prescient parallel between JoJo's aging and my withering relationship with San Francisco. These 'ends' are both now coming to pass, as I knew they would. My wish to introduce a new puppy into our life while JoJo's still robust enough to help us train it, sadly, looks like it won't be fulfilled.

I'm falling apart, folks. What will be left of me? On the level of pure feeling, I wonder whether anything will be spared. In more reasonable moments, I can step back and, again, reiterate my gratitude for Ricky and our new home in Portland, my thriving businesses, my dear friends, blessings too numerous to list, a truly fantastic life. But feelings are anything but reasonable. In the midst of so much destabilizing change all at once, I've been cracked wide open… riddled with fear and hope and grief and possibility, and pretty often teary-eyed. Also, I am okay, I think. Isn't this just how life goes?