I decided to abstain from alcohol and tobacco from the first week of May 2019 until the same time this year. It's been an extra productive period, as I've further undertaken disciplines I care much about. I received my vinyasa yoga teacher training certification 200ryt. I've deepened my studies and astrological reading styles. I was more available to others in all manner of human relationships. And least importantly I saved major loot, but that's nothing new. Being dry for a year was. My pool game also improved markedly. ☿
So at the year mark, I drank and smoked for several days as I'd planned. I wanted to experience what it'd feel like after a year, and to do it on my terms rather than waiting to rise to an occasion, although I saw the merit in that as well. I had a number of enjoyable evenings, and a few days I just loathed. And so I backed out as quickly as I know how to, and it's been about a week since I partook of either.
This writing shouldn't beckon a pat on the back or yay for hopping on/off the bandwagon depending on your persuasion, so leave those sentiments elsewhere. During 'quarantine,' I've seen a lot of people on social media discuss the polarity playground of using this time to indulge in or abstain from this or that. It's okay to be not just one or the other; unfold from binary. Hopefully my words will come across as more nuanced than virtuous pandering for congratulations about a relatively commonplace achievement. I've kept a stocked bar in my home for a while, and enjoy going out to shoot pool as much as I like to shoot at a couple friends' homes. Compared with most, my willpower is not very swayed by my environment. My situation is more of an onslaught, like 'once you start’... I go pretty hard at whatever I do, including self-dissolution — be it surrender to art, or to substance — as a pleasant counterpoint to my enjoyment of control.
The facets that speak so vividly of Venus' retrograde in Gemini square to Neptune in Pisces, have to do with Venus' domain over social harmony and Neptune's over drink and dissolution — as well as the placements of these transiting planets across my natal chart. Being a Scorpio Rising, Sagittarius rules my 2nd house wherein stands my Mars, ruler of my Ascendant. The opposite sign of Gemini naturally flies across the way from the 2nd, ruling my 8th house, wherein I have no birth planets. While the 2nd house has to do with values and resources within your immediate area, the 8th house has a sex/death/investigation/inheritance evocation, tied together by a sense of 'otherness' or merging with 'not your' resources. Neptune's long journey through Pisces traverses my 5th, the 5th house being associated with creativity, children and the less carnal aspects of sexual and creative expression.
On the second afternoon I decided to indulge a drink once more, I joined a neighbor of mine with whom I had not yet bonded. In fact, I'd previously encountered a couple moments of friction with him regarding 'noise complaints', shall we say. He is a May Gemini, who offered me some of the whiskey he was drinking. I'd already been enjoying some beer, and I resisted his offer at first as liquor can be a trigger for me. He was not pushy, and yet I saw how he wanted to share the ritual. And so I eventually I asked. Heavy, heavy pours. We ended up talking astrology for hours, a subject he knew little about. The seemingly backwards motion of Venus, her retrograde, the reconsideration of a decision for sake of social grace is evidenced here. That same day I helped a friend of mine, another Gemini, who'd made an impulse buy. I took a somewhat rare electric guitar off of his hands, one with a deep, oceanic blue body paint and electric flecks, all neptunian and mercurial shocked. This too represents a 'changed mind' (Gemini) surrounding an object of beauty or art (Venus), in this case a guitar bearing such a body.
I backed out because I wanted to avoid pickling myself. Alcohol preserves things; thus the venerated, unchanging dive bar, its enduring decor, the same tables and felt and people and problems being processed perhaps? — or perfectly preserved in an air of mild disdain. It's not that I identify with such a setting any more than others I spend time in, I simply depict it because the correlations there are worth considering. Drinking spirits — or spirit holsters?
People tell me I have a number of faces blended, wear a handful of hats. My roads to mastery are a bit cadent, and I cycle through the settings of the day as deftly as I know how, listening, speaking, making myself available to those who need me in the capacities I maintain. Sometimes I feel spread thin, but I often work best as a grazer. Yet my immersion always shows lovely results when I stay well enough on point. It's like both at once.
I've always been hyper-productive in my own ways, hard work and hard play. I found that, despite my enjoyment of drinking and smoking, since early 2016 in particular they'd started to affect me quite adversely. This subsided somewhat later that year, but really resurged in 2018 as I dealt with some pretty brutal transits in the midst of my usual exalted good fortune.
I never had a hangover in my life, even a headache before — I know, lucky — until the first day of 2016, and that was around when alcohol started to make me feel manic more and more often, make me feel unlike myself. For a few years prior, I would often go half a lunar cycle on, half dry, or full on, full dry. I had a few major visionary openings in my life before I ever began drinking at age 20. I always appreciated the psychically porous nature unique to a variety of alcohol, the way it can steep you in a moment differently. I like the way drinking affects writing, among other things. It's always been quite psychedelic for me, auric still, even when the throes of that which is brewed, fermented, distilled start to wisp the air like unchanging feelings, stoppered processes and stale smoke.
I was born with the Sun conjunct Uranus and Neptune. Saturn trailed just a few degrees further. It's curious having the most fundamental lights of one's psyche bound up with the transpersonal. I identify so strongly with the physical and with my immediate environment, but with vision both outer and inner. And the suchness of my inner vision always seeks to bring embodiment and form to that which seems distant, even abstract to others. The whirring of the planets, these mitigations of sunlight — it's all around us, not 'out there' but right here carving the lines in your face and hands, the arcs of valence all around you in dance.
Sometimes I come to identify so strongly with whatever psychic state I'm in and all its sensory trappings, it's grounded yet not, earthbound but totally wrapped up all neptunian. While I was drinking my inhuman threshold amounts last week and a bit before that, I cleaned up my already good diet, set down certain herbs. And I've come out the other side feeling better than I did the whole year before that sober. There are other forces at play, but these past couple days, in some ways I feel better than I have in years. The fluid drains from my back quicker, my blood has more fire still, all the colors brighter and brighter once again.