Mundane keywords: social misfits, cultural diversity, minority groups, multilingual, multiple ethnic and cultural identities, one who has difficulty assimilating, foreign languages or specialized languages/codes, China and the Chinese people, cultural ambassador, segregation.
Social and psychological keywords: being singled out for what one says or how one acts, determined to express oneself at the risk of being ostracized, being in and out of mainstream, juggling multiple cultural identities yet never quite at ease in one’s own skin, being a foreigner in one’s own country, the “you and me against the world” mind set, lost in translation, standing out from the crowd, speaking to an exclusive crowd, doubts and suspicion, xenophobia, elitist and inferiority complexes.
The 17-18 degree of Gemini locates in the Libra decanate and sits across the Sagittarius and Capricorn dwads. It describes a mental and communication process (Gemini) concerning personal relations (Libra) in a foreign (Sagittarius) society (Capricorn). The number 8 (1+7=8) and 7 (7th degree of the decanate) denotes the struggle (7) for power and wisdom (8).
We have two Chinese men speaking Chinese in western crowd. Being out of their native environment, they rely on each other for companionship and understanding. We don’t know if this is a chance meeting or a partnership, all we know is that they speak the same foreign language and they are naturally drawn to each other in such a setting. There might be a sense of comradery, a sort of “you and me against the world” mindset. Understandably, from the westerners’ point of view, the language barrier naturally arouses curiosity, mistrust and suspicion.
On the surface, this degree signifies one who is determined to drive home the point in a foreign, even hostile environment. For those living with this degree in their charts, to assimilate or not to assimilate is the question. Acutely aware of the shifting sands in a multicultural society, they hold on to their cultural traditions, abide with the mainstream as needed, and at the same time is mindful of the stark contrast between themselves and the norm. Nevertheless, they are compelled to speak out and are fully aware of the risks.
Martin Goldsmith went one step further and has the degree as “In a crowded Midwestern diner, two Chinese-Americans watch a television newscast, then argue about it in Chinese”. Here, against the all-American Midwest dinner backdrop, the social convention is conservative, commonsensical, and has a respectful distaste for outre behaviors. When the two Chinese-Americans watched the news and argue about it in Chinese, undoubtedly they would draw attention to themselves for their appearance and their foreign tongue, yet, their argued on. There is not only disagreement between the two, there is also glaring difference between the pair and their environment, with no compromise in sight. This degree points to conflict in the interpersonal relationships and one’s relation with the society as a whole.
The depiction of “two Chinese men” is interesting. If we were only to depict foreigners, there would be so many different nationality to choose from, why Chinese? Chinese culture is the longest consecutive major culture in the world. It is formidable in its depth and breadth; it is mysterious and exotic to outsiders yet its heritage directly influences roughly one quarter of the world population. The Chinese language is difficult for westerners for the enormous number of characters that are composites of meanings, pronunciations, and images. The Classical Chinese is often incomprehensible even to native speakers. Therefore, we can reasonably assume the symbol’s emphasis on cultural barrier to a colossal body of esoteric knowledge, at least to the western minds.
Incidentally, number 7 not only resonates with specialized knowledge and non-conformist tendencies, it also points to the path of mysticism. From a higher perspective, Dane Rudyar mentioned being “in” the world but not “of” the world. Ultimately, this symbols asks us to detach ourselves from what’s familiar and taken for granted, seek out the exotic, the esoteric, and a new approach that reconcile the contrasting polarities. Do we abide by the convention or risk the dirty looks? Do we eat at the same diner, or leave the comfort zone? Do we dare to suspend our ingrained prejudice and walk in others’ shoes? More than just choosing sides, we overcome the limitation of duality, and build a unified perspective –we become both the “two Chinese men” and the “western crowd,” at home with the world.
Some famous people and events that shares this degree are:
- Barbara Bush (Sun): American First Lady and matriarch of the Bush political dynasty. After touring Houston Astrodome, one of the relief center in the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she shared her observation of the refugees who have lost their homes and possessions, and were cramped into the crowded facility:
“Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, “We’re going to move to Houston.” What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them”.
- Jason Alexander (Moon): American actor famously known for his portrayal of George Costanza, a neurotic man suffering from low self-esteem and habitual lying, among many other personality flaws. He goes to great length to start and maintain romantic relationships but always falls short.
- Jim Carrey (Moon): Canadian American actor and comedian. Famous for his maniacal brand of comedy, Carrey suffered from depression for significant period of his life and overcame it through spirituality.
- Donald Trump (Uranus): American business man and presidential candidate. His has strong appeal to so called “angry (white) republicans,” and routinely offends various ethnic minorities during his presidential campaign. He is seen as xenophobic.
- December 5, 1955 (South Node): Trial of Rosa Parks and the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks was arrested for refusing to yield her seat in the colored section to white riders when the white section had filled up. The boycott was the first large-scale civil right protest in U.S. history. It was successful in removing the seating segregation on Montgomery buses.
- June 3, 1946 (Uranus): The United States Supreme Court ruled in Morgan v. Virginia that a Virginia law requiring segregation of white and African-American bus passengers was illegal for interstate travel.
“Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off.” New York Times. N.p., 5 Sept. 2005. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/07/us/nationalspecial/barbara-bush-calls-evacuees-better-off.html?_r=0]
Astro Databank: [http://www.astro.com/astro-databank]
Wikipedia: Montgomery Bus Boycott [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Hand_Laundry_Alliance#cite_note-9]
Wikipedia: Irene Morgan [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irene_Morgan]
“Montgomery Bus Boycott.” History.com. A+E Networks, 2010. Web. [http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott]
Leung, Rebecca. “Carrey: ‘Life Is Too Beautiful'” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 8 Nov. 2004. Web. 13 Dec. 2015. [http://www.cbsnews.com/news/carrey-life-is-too-beautiful/]
Goldsmith, Martin. The Zodiac by Degrees: 360 New Symbols. Boston, MA: Weiser, 2004.
Rudhyar, Dane. An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and Its 360 Symbolic Phases. New York: Random House, 1973.
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