Gemini 1st Quarter Moon at 19°50′ 
—March 10

Today’s first quarter moon is what shamanic astrologer Raven Kaldera suggests is the ‘Liar’s Moon’, a moon when “we examine, painfully and honestly, ways we slant our words (or thoughts) to more effectively get what we want—and the consequences both for doing and for not doing it…” (italics mine)

This is a moon that inspires us to get to the bottom of how, in all the myriad ways, we lie to ourselves… why we take the risk. As Kaldera states, it is through the quarter moons that “we need to hit the bottom with our personal habits so that we can really appreciate getting out of the pit…”

And so is the way when skiers take the very real risk and go checking fresh snow drifts for the potential of an avalanche…

Author James R Chiles says that “most of us sort out our probabilities not with statistics but according to what we have actually experienced… psychologists call this the application of ‘heuristics’, [which are] the generalizations we accept about the working of the world, drawn from the bag of what we’ve seen personally or what we’ve heard from trusted sources like friends and relatives.”

Apparently, being human has a ton of defaults that aren’t exactly helpful to us, though many of us allow ourselves a nearly daily autopilot gear, particularly mentally…

Avalanche specialist, Ian McCammon, formulated a checklist of heuristic mistakes many skiers make—though these techniques can easily be applied anywhere in our lives, beyond holiday or sport… the checklist includes: familiarity, consistency, acceptance, the expert halo, social facilitation, and scarcity—these pinpoint what we typically trust, though, statistically, it’s what tends to get us into the most devastating trouble…

Allow me to share with you a snippet of the article—

Familiarity with a place or situation allows us to function efficiently, as we do not have to figure out from scratch what to do each time we encounter it. We simply behave as we have always done. Unfortunately, in avalanche terrain the effect of prior experience can lead us to take chances we might not take in unfamiliar territory. Curiously, familiarity with an area has the strongest effect on highly trained parties. McCammon found that groups with advanced training in terrain with which they were familiar exposed themselves to nearly twice the hazard level of less well educated groups, and about the same level of hazard as parties with no avalanche training at all.

Consistency. Politicians and corporate managers who, having made one bad decision, follow it up with a whole string of bad decisions merely because they don’t want to change their original position provide an endless supply of fodder for the likes of Bill Maher and Scott Adams. But let’s face it, we’ll all do it from time to time. When consistency with previous decisions helps us cut through distractions and stay focused on the task at hand it is a good thing. But when it blinds us to new information that suggests that ‘staying the course’ is a bad idea, it can lead us in a trouble. McCammon and others found that there was a significant increase in the level of risk taken by parties who, for one reason or another, were committed to a particular course of action. Groups larger than two, and parties with at least some formal avalanche training seem to be most susceptible.

Acceptance. The desire to be noticed and accepted has a powerful influence on human behavior. There are many possible variations on this theme, including peer group acceptance and gender acceptance. McCammon focused on gender acceptance; specifically, how the presence of women in a group affects the behavior of men. He found that mixed gender groups exposed themselves to higher risk than all male groups. The effect does not vary with the number of people in the party. However, groups with only avalanche awareness, but no formal training, expose themselves to the higher risk.

Expert Halo. Following a leader is a very human trait. It helps simplify the task of deciding how to respond to our complex world. But when our follower instinct is triggered by a person due to their personality or perceived level of experience rather than their actual qualifications, it can lead us astray. Indeed, in examining the risks taken by groups with and without a recognized leader, McCammon found that groups without a leader expose themselves to less risk than those with clear leadership. This was most pronounced in groups with minimal avalanche training: unskilled teams, with or without leadership, exposed themselves to less hazard than avalanche aware groups with a poorly trained leader. Group size also is a factor; groups of three to 10 people take bigger risks when there is a perceived leader.

Social Facilitation. Have you ever felt emboldened by the fact that you were not alone, and that you might have an audience for your exploits? Or conversely, have you ever felt like you didn’t want your relative lack of ability to show when others might be watching? If so, you have experienced what McCammon calls the Social Facilitation trap. He found that groups with at least some formal avalanche training took significantly higher levels of risk when they encountered other parties, whereas those with no training actually exposed themselves to less risk.

And Scarcity. The human tendency to value a resource more highly when it is perceived to be scarce has had a profound influence on history. Whether it be oil, gold, or that last jacket on the 80% off clearance rack, people will compete for their share before supply runs out. Not a bad strategy when you’re talking about things like food and water. But when McCammon looked at powderhound’s headed for an untracked slope, he found that parties who saw another group headed for the same place took significantly higher risks than if the slope had already been skied. Untract snow is but one form of scarcity that may affect our decisions in the backcountry. Maybe our time is scarce; if we don’t ski this weekend, we won’t have another chance until next season. Or maybe we want to be the first on a route to avoid being showered by rock or ice knocked down by another party. Whatever the motivation, a strong sense that we must seize the moment or lose a valuable opportunity can be a warning sign that it’s time to take a deep breath and ask if we do the same thing if that opportunity was secure.

As whatever reason a decision is made, or fear is confirmed, sometimes within mere fast-forwarded seconds, without much mental deciphering whatsoever—a skier must make in a striving need toward survival—we all make snap decisions without any forethought, statistical reference, or securing supports, though they may not hold as much weight in terms of our actual or direct survival… 

Still. Decisions are a big deal… as are the lies we tell ourselves to better support a decision, especially one that benefits ourselves. 

If you were to take all of those techniques and apply them to how often you use their essential rationale on a daily basis—could you begin to see a larger patterning within your reality? To see this list from an alternative perspective, this list isn’t so much a list of techniques—it’s a list of weaknesses, weaknesses that we all, as humans, share and delight within…

We’re all overconfident when in familiar environments.

As wonderful as consistency can be, it can be a really permanent way into autopilot if you’re not careful.

Why, as humans, do we need so much acceptance!?—that we’ll do literally anything for it!!?

When we think we know what we’re doing or talking about—we can be real assholes.

Much more, we enjoy showing off…

And we always have to have the best, or the last, of something—especially if there was risk involved in having or experiencing it.

But what is the ultimate risk, then?—to continue the façade… or to really delve deeply into yourself to explore more appropriate ways of being who you are? To risk the pit of a metaphorical avalanche, and to know how to get yourself out of such a disadvantaged rut?

We begin to see much of everything as the same at a certain point within the struggle… the degree through which today’s lunarly event occurs associates, unsurprisingly, with ‘sticking with the tried and true; giving people what they want; modifying and perfecting a successful method; developing technical expertise through repetition; cranking out a product to meet a deadline; getting stuck in a rut; rapid and routine analysis by which the ego processes incoming data into an internal representation of reality; and having an accurate measure of a situation…’

Mind you—all of these associations are being challenged, as it’s a first quarter moon, and thereby need to be taken into account and read however differently… for example, you’re currently struggling to stick with the tried or true, as it simply isn’t computing the same anymore; you’re currently unable to give others what they want for whatever reason—or you no longer want to; the modification and perfection of a successful method is exactly what you’re currently experimenting with, and so on.

Ultimately, you are beginning to notice that you no longer have an accurate measure of your situation.

It’s possible that you simply have too many choices—and the human brain doesn’t deal well with that, either.

Further, “although everything looks so near and so convenient, be careful of your choices—each will fill you up to some extent, but some are more nourishing or beneficial than others… some are downright bad.”

As a skier on a slope has everything s/he needs, mostly within their mind (their mind over instinct, as we’ve learned) you, too, have everything you really need within your range of availability… and, as for your risky tendencies of habit—these, too, are well within your scope of repair and renovation, if you’re interested in making the changes necessary to experience a new and improved, and better, lifestyle… now is the time to implement new alternatives and unlearn old routines, changing one thing at a time—it need not be painful.

The mind and the instinct are a lot like the angel and the devil perched upon one’s shoulders… which to feed?

The mind/devil plays tricks… but the instincts/angels aren’t always all-knowing.

It should also be unsurprising, then, to learn that both Venus and Mars represent the second decan of Gemini, depending upon which planetary system one uses… as astrologer Austin Coppock expresses, “the mind which accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction—they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

The 9 of swords in the tarot is the card today’s energies are associated with—a card which represents anxiety, worry, and fear… 

What does the mind typically do with anxiety, worry, and fear?—it creates endless and ridiculously inaccurate facts!—facts upon which our minds further perpetuate within…

This would also suggest that the daily little lies you tell yourself are actually a larger problem, one beginning to consume you. Like an avalanche. Perhaps these smaller issues have become their own larger issues, swirling you within their rabid routines, creating vicious cycles all over!—if you are supporting these negative vicious cycles, or feeding them, they will only grow and become larger, as a white lie becomes a bit bigger, and a bit bigger… until it’s quite ugly.

But should you choose to do something different and unfamiliar, like telling yourself the truth—about yourself and everything else, and become more informed toward what you learn, and be cautiously optimistic rather than over-confident toward repairing or implementing, and to hell with what they’ll think wink wink then you, my friend, may have yourself a brand new outcome response.

Getting your mind right is the real risk you must be willing to take.

The 9 of swords is a card that asks you to break a cycle that isn’t serving you, a pattern, a conditioning—to replace a negative with a positive.

Sometimes, it’s not the habits we’re trying to break or conditioning we’re trying to unlearn that’s so difficult… it’s really our own lies we continue to tell ourselves in our minds that become the hardest façade to see through—that are creating all of our troubles and problems.

What does all of this point toward?—values.

If our values are bankrupt or shallow, this shows… as they reflect emptiness for all others to see and experience.

I think that this first quarter moon, most essentially, is about upgrading our values, which begins with major revisions and renovations of inner work… one must flatten the foundations in order to build anything of depth upon it—one must test the fresh layers of snowfall for proof of instability… as an instability will eventually, inevitably, be found.

If you are able to continually move towards your own values, regardless of the problem or obstacle in front of you, simply one instability at a time—you will become stable and balanced, within.

Flexibility is also a detail here… most specifically—possessing or summoning the flexibility needed to adjust your thoughts more appropriately so that your outer reality begins to reflect back what you’re actually wanting to experience.

A skier is told to always ask themselves “why am I here?” as McCammon claims this question typically points directly to a very clear answer.

When you begin to feel the tug of your mind’s lies, when your mind begins creating all the anxieties, worries, or fears—either way, these are avalanches of deception the mind enjoys, thrives within—ask yourself: who do these thoughts serve?

Allow me to share one final practice—the practice of defusion—a term psychoanalysts use when their patients have matured enough to honestly and realistically separate and differentiate between the life instinct and the death instinct… 

I think, through this first quarter moon, that you’ll be given an opportunity to defuse: to verbally separate the useless, and potentially harmful, thoughts your mind is reeling and perpetuating, though are not nourishing in any way whatsoever—and the thoughts you’d rather meditate on, with love and actual nourishment or wisdom…

Or, maybe you’ll choose to allow the thought, but behave differently—list out all of your anxieties, worries, and fears and then do your own very personally thorough research for each entry… should you still have anything to actually worry about—you’ll know very clearly what to do in countertraction.

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.
——Thomas Huxley

☽♋︎ by 11:24pm PST; 12:24am MST 3/11; 1:24am CST 3/11; 2:24am EST 3/11

🖋️ by Jamie James ©2022; 📷 unknown

Coppock, A. “36 Faces.” Three Hands Press; ©2014.
Goldsmith, M. “The Zodiac by Degrees.” Weiser Books; ©2004.
Hill, L. “360 Degrees of Wisdom.” A Plume Book; ©2004.
Kaldera, R. “Moon Phase Astrology.” Destiny Books; ©2011.
Rudhyar, D. “An Astrological Mandala.” Vintage Books; ©1973.
summitpost.org. “Human Factors in Avalanche Incidents.” Steve Larsen; ©2006.

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