Friday, July 3, 2009

Rhys Chatham's Astrological Advice for Musicians: July

Aries - The Ram - March 20 to April 20

In any musical undertaking, there is a period of wild romance with an initial idea, direction, or style. After the energy of that love affair with a new sound starts to wear off, however, we generally begin a new period, one in which we develop the idea. While this can be dark and dirty work, it nevertheless has its discrete pleasures.

Ideas that you have had or projects that you have started over the past few months normally will have reached the development stage by now. This is not to say that you will not come up with a new idea or two this month, but rather that, at present, you are likely to be more focused on challenges or situations that will serve to test the validity of the projects, compositions, or songs that you have already initiated.

At the start of the month, you will probably feel a bit lazy about meeting these challenges. After all, initiating a project is much more fun than the sometimes boring and tedious process of seeing one through to its completion. Happily, you will have more energy and inspiration to put your nose to the grindstone toward the middle of the month: you will be able to make those necessary adjustments, get down to the nitty gritty of editing, and go back to the drawing board on those components that were not really working. At first, it will probably be difficult—a bit like being lost in a vast mountain forest. Fortunately, favorable aspects to Mercury give you the clarity of mind to heroically thrash your way out of the thickets, brush into the light, and ascend the mountain path to attain your goal!

Taurus - The Bull - April 21 to May 21

July has the potential of being a fruitful month, creatively speaking. All kinds of new ideas will flow freely, and your mind will be quite active. All too often, having cool ideas is one thing, but being able to reify them—to put them together in a way that is effective within the context of the song or composition that you are working on—is quite another. Happily, a favorable aspect to Saturn gives you the ability to ground these ideas to Earth, so to speak, and you will be able to find all kinds of practical applications for them. For those working collaboratively or within a group, you will be able to make a dynamic contribution, particularly during the opening weeks of the month when your energy will be high and your communication fluid.

For those born between 11-18 May, you will be experiencing an aspect to Neptune, Jupiter, and the planetoid Chiron, which, at present, occupy almost precisely the same longitudinal position in the sky. All of us feel a bit lost sometimes, wondering which direction to take next in our music or in our contribution to the work with our band. If you have been experiencing a crisis or difficulty of some kind recently, or if things simply have been a bit confusing, do not worry! This is a completely normal cycle that everyone goes through from time to time. Keep at it: you have all the tools you need this month to find your way. The key is to make the effort and not give up. The lessons that you learn now from applying yourself will last you for a long time to come. Find that new direction: you can do it!

Gemini - The Twins - May 22 to June 22

Creatively speaking, the going might be a bit tough at the start of the month, but as the saying goes: when the going gets tough, the tough get going! If you feel at all bored with what you are doing, or if the various projects you are working on have become somewhat stale; if you have been yearning for a change in direction or simply have been wanting to let a bit fresh air into the creative process, it is imperative to go for it at the start of the month.

It might be a bit discouraging, and the solutions to your quest will probably be elusive at first, but the important thing is to keep plugging away. If you apply yourself, consistently place yourself at your desk, and keep your appointment with the muse—even if it means staring at a blank page for the session or creating work that, in retrospect, seems sub par—your discipline will pay off! Do not give up! The music goddess will ultimately bless your efforts if you present yourself each day at her altar. Even if the solution does not present itself immediately, you can take comfort in knowing that, for each day that you work on the problem, you will supply your unconscious mind with the input and impressions it will use to resolve the problem while you move forward with new ideas. Favorable aspects to Mercury, Venus, and Mars suggest that everything will come together toward the month's end, so best to start working now.

Cancer - The Crab - June 23 to July 22

You have had your birthday recently or will have it soon, which usually marks a period of beginnings. This is the time to review what you have accomplished this past year and start thinking about new things to do for the year to come. Normally, ideas for new projects or directions already will have been forming in your mind over the past two months or so; favorable aspects to Saturn suggest that July can be a month where you find it easier to whip those ideas into shape! With a bit of effort, you will be able to give them some structure.

Now is the time when you can truly get that new project up and running. Doing so will probably be easier if you start work at the beginning of the month, however, rather than putting it off. Aspects to a conjunct Mars and Venus give you the necessary initial energy that is required to get things moving. This energy has a tendency to fizzle out toward the end of the month, so you really owe it to yourself to get started now.

For those born between 13-20 July, a favorable aspect to Uranus suggests that this is an excellent time to engage in new activities of all kinds or to explore new directions in your work. For those of you who are single or are otherwise on the lookout for a new relationship, it is not out of the question that a love interest with an unusual person could occur at the start of the month. If it does, go for it! Besides being fun, doing so will very likely lead to useful self-discovery.

Leo - The Lion - July 23rd to August 22

The energies that are present this month favor two types of activities for Leo; the one that will manifest itself in your life depends on where you are in the development of your projects. In the next few weeks or so, a new cycle will start around the time of your birthday. Now, then, would be a good time to wrap up any outstanding projects, songs, or compositions and to tie up any loose ends in your life in preparation for the start of a new period of creativity.

On the other hand, if there are projects that you have started in the last month or so and you find the going somewhat tough at the moment, do not worry! Given present energies, this would be normal. You might find that you need to change course to some extent, but if you keep at it, you will eventually find your way. Although we start out with a plan of some sort in most creative endeavors, no matter how carefully we may have mapped things out, there usually comes a point when we find that we must throw out the map and simply follow our nose! Ignoring one's nose in situations like these is something a musician does at his or her peril!

This is all to say that, creatively speaking, July might get off to a bumpy start, but if you can be flexible about changing your outlook and apply yourself diligently, things will clear up by the month’s end.

Virgo - The Virgin - August 23rd to September 22

It's summertime! Energies for Virgo in July favor getting out and socializing, networking, and making new friends. You will be mentally alert. Your energy for most of the month will be high, and your work with colleagues will probably go smoothly because you will be feeling better than usual about yourself.

Now is a good time to review and evaluate the projects you have been working on this year to determine how they can be brought to a conclusion of some kind, perhaps examining their potential for future development in a way that you have not thought of before. Starting new short-term projects is also not out of the question, particularly if it represents a new direction for you or otherwise brings a breath of fresh air into your work.

Since Saturn is presently in Virgo, some of you might be feeling a bit restricted creatively. If this is the case, do not be overly concerned: the condition will pass. If you are feeling blocked, focus on resolving the problem areas of projects you have already begun rather than try to start something completely new. You know a lot more now than you did when you started them, and the purpose of this transit is to bring things to their culmination.

Libra - The Scales - September 23 to October 22

In any creative process, there is something like a curve of progression: it begins as a wild romance with an idea or sound, whose energy then carries us through a period of development with the idea, which finally reaches its baroque period—or even a period of decadence! At this last stage of the cycle, it is usually a good idea to begin looking for a new direction or sound.

During July, many Librans will be in the development phase of the cycle, a period when situations and events may come up that serve to challenge your usual notions of how to go about things, musical and otherwise. The purpose of these challenges is not to mindlessly make your life more difficult but rather to keep things fresh and to prevent ossification in your work. On the level of music, you may find that, in your approach to projects and/or colleagues, you need to change course or make an adjustment of some kind.

Should such situations arise this July, the key would be to face any challenge head on rather than attempt to avoid it. While this can be a bit stressful, you will be provided with the energy needed to confront and overcome any obstacles that you may encounter. Present influences are challenging you to act rather than simply endure seemingly negative situations. With a bit of effort and consistent application, a resolution will normally occur by the month's end. The solution, once found, should work quite effectively.

Scorpio - The Scorpion - October 23 to November 22

Astrological energies are flowing smoothly for Scorpio this month. If the going has been somewhat rough in getting that new cycle of songs or those other projects off the ground, July is when everything somehow clicks together. You will be more disciplined than usual, finding yourself ready to roll up your sleeves and put your nose to the grindstone. You should definitely take advantage of this energy while it lasts!

If you have been feeling restless lately or have been looking for a new direction, now is a good time to go for it: you will be open to new ideas and experiences this month. If you are starting a new project, or have recently begun one, be sure to dive into it at the start of the month: aspects to Mars and Venus give you a thrust of creative energy to jumpstart things and get the ball rolling. In fact, this same aspect tends to stimulate the libido, and it may very well be that an unusual and attractive person will come into your life during the first half of July. If one does, by all means profit from it in whatever way you find appropriate to your situation and station in life!

A long-term aspect with Pluto, which is a slow-moving planet, offers an extended period of subtle energies at work that can help you make creative changes in your life. You may have opportunities to take on more power or responsibilities, or assume more authority in some way, but this is a subtle influence, and it could pass you by without anything significant happening unless you make a conscious effort to grab the chance. This is a good time to establish relationships with authority figures such as managers, record companies, or booking agents, for they may provide opportunities that you can use during this transit.

Sagittarius - The Centaur - November 23 to December 22

For most of you born under the sign of the Centaur, July is a month during which you want to continue developing the projects, ideas, or songs that you have already gotten off the ground. Alternatively, while working on other things, it could be a time when ideas are gestating in the back of your mind in preparation for later fruition. Starting completely new projects might be rough going, especially at the start of the month, because your energy will have a tendency to be on-again/off-again. Even if your projects get off to a rocky start, however, just keep at it and do not get discouraged. Consistent effort will pay off by the end of the month when aspects to Mars and Venus give you lots of energy, ideas, and the will to get stuff done!

For those of you working with a group or in other collaborative forms, if tensions have been building up in the band, the beginning of the month would be a good time to start airing them. You will certainly want to, but be careful not to lose your temper: your emotions might very well be volatile during this period! Any problems that have been festering can normally be successfully resolved by the month's end, when Mercury goes into a favorable aspect with your Sun sign.

Capricorn - The Goat - December 23 to January 21

You are six months from your last birthday, and this is normally a point in the year when the projects you have started over the past months will come to a culmination or turning point of some sort. If certain aspects of projects or situations have not worked out well, now would be an excellent time to let them go and change course slightly, focusing instead on those areas of your work that seem profitable.

You might experience a certain amount of opposition to your ideas or projects during this period, particularly where your ambition conflicts with that of others. Be particularly careful about unnecessarily stepping on your manager or record company's toes: conflicts with them will create headaches you do not want, and they are likely to occur this month if caution is not exercised. If you are in a group, tensions in the band might come to a head. Should this occur, try to resolve any issues at the start of the month when favorable aspects to the inner planets allow you to argue your case persuasively.

If you should feel the urge to start off on a completely new project, by all means do so. You will have the stamina and discipline this month, which will aid you whether you use it to see a project through to its finish or to veer off the beaten path to explore completely new territory.

Aquarius - The Water Carrier - January 22 to February 20

July will in most cases be a month where you can get a lot of work accomplished. Be careful at the start of the month to avoid disputes with the band or managers: these are likely to happen because you will not feel like backing down on anything. In fact, try to avoid letting off any steam until the middle of the month, when favorable aspects to Venus will enable you to better express yourself. You will be able to present your views more diplomatically by then.

Toward the final third of July, many of you will continue to feel energetic, and your self-confidence will be up. You will be able to work successfully from a calm position, and your work will be much more effective and competent than usual. This is a favorable period for starting projects of all kinds, although it is much more likely that you will simply continue to work on those you have already initiated. Any decisive action that needs to be taken with your band or within the context of your career is likely to work out well at this time.

For those of you born between January 30 – February 7, aspects to Saturn may bring a period where the waters are a bit rough. It is usually a time of critical development; you will probably find that certain components of your situation will challenge you greatly, and you may feel discouraged because your vitality will be low. This period of your life is directly linked to a time that began about seven years ago. The long-term projects that you began then are encountering their first major crisis now. This period can be especially trying since, for the most part, the projects or situations have been going well up to now. If you are experiencing this, do not worry: this period will not last forever! The solution is to hang in there and attempt to be objective. This is a time of trials that will reveal what is working in your life and what is not. Once things become clearer, the trick will be to shed what you do not need and keep the things that are worth saving, enabling a leaner and meaner approach in the future.

Pisces - The Fish - February 21 to March 19

July promises to be a great month for most of you: you will be feeling better about yourself as you find yourself more at one with the world. In fact, this period would be a good time to take a vacation, if appropriate. Otherwise, projects that you have already started should be off the ground by now, and you will be able to make significant progress on them this month. If you intend to start something completely new – a band, a song, a direction – be sure to do so straight away: do not put it off because aspects to Mars, the energy planet, favor starting projects right now, but this energy dissipates a bit toward the month’s end.

Generally, things should flow quite smoothly in July, so much so that you may be tempted to think that things will always go this easily. Do not fall into that trap, for it is, of course, wishful thinking. The current period is relatively less stressful, so be sure to take this opportunity to calmly and objectively review your career direction with an eye on redefining long-term goals. Polish up those ideas, songs, or compositions so that they can withstand the challenges that will surely come later over the course of the year.

One-to-one and group interactions of all kinds are favored at the start of the month. If you have any important meetings with managers or record company executives, try to schedule them ASAP because you will be at your best through mid-July. After this point, you will probably find yourself somewhat impatient with other people's viewpoints. Avoid having it out with the band or your agent during this period. You will be much more capable of dealing with it at July's start.

Rhys Chatham is a composer from New York who has lived in Paris since 1988.

Art Work: Florian Quistrebert