Celestial Wisdom: An Interview With Z Budapest and DIana Paxson
Article ID: 13950
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: September 26th. 2010
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As I awoke on the morning of my 39th birthday, the thought I had inside my head was, "Play today." I knew it was not me speaking but a directive from the Goddess. I, however, had things to do. I had plans for my day and had no intention of not carrying them out. I was busy, you see. There was work at the studio to be done and more information for a new article to be found, so I got up and began my day.
I took my usual morning bus across town to the art center where my studio is located only to arrive and find I’d left my keys locked in the house. Because it was a day the center itself was closed, there was no hope of waiting around for it to open and asking for my spare studio key. Realizing that I not only wouldn’t be able to get into my studio, but that I also wouldn’t be able to get back into the house until my boyfriend could get away from work, I decided to have breakfast at a nearby diner and then go to a bookstore near my home and do some research for an article I was working on.
Once at the bookstore, I was amazed to discover I had absolutely no writing paper with me at all, an extremely rare occurrence. Once I’d handled that situation by purchasing a cheap composition book at a nearby Dollar Store, I sat down to do some work-- and my pen ran out of ink. You’d think I’d gotten the message by then, but instead I went out to buy a new pen, and fifteen minutes later, I was interrupted by my boyfriend’s arrival-- to take me out for a birthday dinner. All I could do was laugh and mumble: Goddess-1, Krishanna- 0.
I was scheduled to do an e-mail interview for KJS with Z Budapest and Diana Paxson regarding their new book, Celestial Wisdom for Every Year of Your Life, about which I was very excited. I’d been able to work with Z on a number of occasions with the magazine and having read nearly all of Diana Paxson’s work, I was looking forward to having their undivided attention for a few minutes and reading their replies. And as it happens, when we returned home that evening, what should be waiting for me in the mailbox?
As I opened Celestial Wisdom to the year Thirty–Nine and read, I was greeted with this passage:
This year may be too busy for storytelling, but you can make time for it on your birthday. Invite friends with whom you can truly relax and load a table with yummy finger-food. Lounge on cushions in a circle and to each woman pass a goblet or a horn of something delicious. As the horn comes to each woman in the circle, she has to tell a story, preferably something with humor. It can be about herself or about you, or about both of you. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you during the last decade? Laughter is healing medicine.
Translation as it applies to my life: Play today, tell a story and laugh. Happy birthday to me. Thanks, Z and Diana, for a wonderfully rich and different book.
KJS: Celestial Wisdom is unlike any astrology book currently on bookstore shelves now. What prompted you to write it and how did you decide to collaborate?
ZB: Most astrology books are written without a sense of history. People just want their love/money/career questions quickly looked at. Those are the books for the small picture. I’ve been interested for many, many years in the generational destiny. This generation’s destiny is like the famous Zeitgeist, in German translated as "the Spirit of our times." That is determined by the transpersonal planets.
DLP: When I was helping Z edit Summoning the Fates, I was struck by how apropos the changes described for the first Saturn Return were to my life. I agreed with Z that it would be interesting to explore the effects of Saturn and the other planets further, following the life cycle all the way. We have had such different experiences in our lives, although we have ended up in a similar place, that it seemed to us that between us we could cover quite a lot of ground, and we both had large communities to draw on for insights and information. Z ended up providing most of the philosophy, and I did a lot of the birthday party ideas and general practical advice.
KJS: How did you research and determine the general attributes associated for each decade and year in women’s lives, and what makes them universally applicable to us all?
ZB: Transpersonal planets influence the way history flows, favors or disfavors movements of human desires. For example, we are now in the Plutonian Sagittarius, which can often mean wars coated by lofty righteous justifications. What I am waiting for is the medical breakthrough, which is also expected in Sagittarius. So far we only got the arrow, the pomp and circumstances, the rituals, the excuse to say we are liberators, it’s all the oil. Stupid. The oil is like Pluto, hidden, powerful, wealth. It is universal because it’s the big picture in which our choices take place. They are the big building; we do the windows.
DLP: We worked with astrologer Margaret Cole for the big picture and drew on the astrology books listed in the bibliography for additional insights. At Z’s Goddess 3000 conferences, women work together in Destiny Groups based on age. It is fascinating to hear women compare notes on their life experiences and turn that into a presentation for the ritual. Beyond that, we analyzed the responses of the people who wrote to us about their experiences, and related that to our own memories of different ages.
KJS: How can Celestial Wisdom assist or encourage women transitioning through major life events and passages?
ZB: It has been missing; women didn’t find anything to tell them about destiny changes. These events are not personality bound, they occur like the weather. To everybody. Now instead of freaking out, women will say, Oh yeah, I am on the Hinge between destinies, better hunker down, have fun, nothing can be moved forward for a while. Or they say, I am not crazy, it’s the second Saturn return. It’s supposed to be hard, and it will pass.
DLP: As Z says-- it really helps to know you are not alone. We also wanted to show people that there are joys as well as difficulties to be found at every age, and to encourage them to celebrate. There are some other books that look at life passages, but I don’t know of any others which address the spiritual dimension in quite the same way, or which offer rituals to honor the transitions we make with each decade of our lives.
KJS: What makes the aging process so important and what is its meaning to us as women?
ZB: We have been valued solely for either our fertility or for giving males erections. Now the world will meet Crone Power. Millions of women coming to aging and consciousness, all at once, will know how to use their power and when. Womanbeings are humanity.
DLP: Crones are not what they used to be. For the first time in history, women can expect to reach their senior years with reasonable health as well as wisdom. Whether we do so depends to a great extent on the choices we start making in our 40s and 50s. I’ve become acutely conscious of the importance of taking care of our bodies through diet and exercise. It’s not a question of pursuing eternal youth, but of providing the foundation for becoming an active Wisewoman.
KJS: How was aging regarded prior to modern times, how does popular culture do a disservice to aging, and what do you believe can be done about it, if anything?
ZB: Male-dominated culture will use any excuse to devalue women. Women are everything. Women created all the civilians and soldiers and all the economy. We decide who will live and who will die. We spend the money. Upset women, you depress the economy. That’s what’s happening now. Women don’t like this war. It makes us insecure; we won’t jumpstart the economy until we see a chance for this oil/power/ bush dynasty to be changed. I would like women to gain a lot of hope and wisdom from this book. Listen to the voices of each other on the circle of rebirth. Blesséd be.
DLP: I was interested to learn that 65 was originally set as the retirement age because the German chancellor Bismarck, who was setting up a pension plan, was told that most people would be dead by then. Obviously this is no longer so. It’s up to us to decide how to spend this second adulthood. Having just finished my Second Saturn Return, I am really curious about what’s going to happen in the next twenty or thirty years. I was delighted to have an excuse to talk to older people and to try to get a preview of what to expect. Organizations such as the AARP are doing a lot to educate seniors and promote positive images. The more older people continue to pursue new goals, the more the popular image will change. Eleanor Roosevelt is a shining example of an older woman who kept finding new and important work to do.
KJS: Is there anything special, any particular wisdom or message you would like to impart to a woman of any age either reading or interested in reading Celestial Wisdom?
ZB: The most important thing about life is that it does have a blueprint. We are all wired to dance the dance of life on the circle of rebirth. Ignoring it, despising our own age is silly. We still have to take our twists and turns on cue. If we are deeply tuned into the rest of the universe, we can intuit our own mission. Freaking is always an option, but only creativity gets us through sadness and bad times. Life is essentially a miracle, the blue planet is an accident, and living on Her as women is a mission. Enjoy the short dance; leave with gratitude.
DLP: The future holds many fascinating opportunities, but you will never again experience this unique conjunction of personal and world destinies. Each year has its own opportunities; so don’t waste energy wishing you were older, or younger. Celebrate the age you are.
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