Tai Chi Y3D183: Windmill Kick

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Not a whole lot of time available today.  Today’s movement is Windmill Kick:

Weight goes on the left; extend both your arms
out from your shoulders, and somewhat wider—
and thus drive away all potential harms.
Don’t fly: you’re neither a plane nor a glider
but instead rooted firmly on the earth.
All the same, kick up your right leg to touch
the left hand’s open palm. At first, wry mirth
will greet this decree —few can, without much
practice, so kick their legs. Carry right heel
across open space, so toes touch right hand;
At first, the leg resists like hardened steel,
but with time and trial, this move can stand
unmodified. Land the right leg behind,
and swing arms down-right, hips and feet aligned.

Tai Chi Y3D182: Full Spin

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Today, Procyon crosses the midheaven at about 8:41am, Eastern time. You can check the USNO page for the time of Procyon’s transit in your neighborhood.

I did 50 push-ups this morning with a fair bit of difficulty. The fact that I don’t ramp up to a given level of performance and then stay there, day after day, is a source of some annoyance to me, but there you have it.  It takes time to develop these skills.  The qi gong and druidic forms went fine.  Our tai chi movement for today is called Full Spin. It follows Step to the Seven Stars and Ride the Tigerand after it is Windmill Kick, which I’ve addressed before but not in poetry.

Tuck the left ankle behind the right knee,
and draw the arms in almost to the chest.
This will assist the movement to be free;
to turn full-circle is sort of a test
you may not pass at first. Flex your right foot,
and stand on the ball and toes; Kick out left,
make tenuous the link between your root
and the earth, and turn as your limbs all lift
Half is not enough; keep going around,
’til your toes face again where you started.
Then stamp your right heel down, and go to ground,
and follow with the left. When you’re rooted
nothing at all can shift you from your stance
but you — yet you must move, to end the dance.

Magic: Hymn to Procyon

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Image for Procyon

the image and text I wrote during the transit..

Tomorrow, 18 September at 8:41am (at least by me in central Connecticut), the fixed star Procyon is crossing the mid-heaven line in an applying conjunction with the Moon.  As I’ve been working on developing a series of poems around the fixed stars like Cetus and like Spica and the Pleiades and Alcyone, it appears to be time for another such poem, for those who intend to work with this particular star.

The nature of the star is a little unclear from the literature I’ve consulted. Some seem to think of it as an unlucky star that brings initial success followed by disaster; others appear to be of the opinion that it is a giver of health, and of favor from gods, spirits, and mortals.  Also, some say that it brings loyalty and greater connection to friends and family. Several sources suggest that it is a breaker of enchantments and witchcrafts. I could do without the sudden disaster, myself, but the rest of that sounds pretty good.

Little Dog-star with your wiggling tail,
Procyon, preserver of worldly health,
confer upon me favor without fail —
and guard me from witchcraft and acts of stealth
which seek to claim power over my heart.
For you are like Mercury and Mars,
a clever herald and yet set apart
by marigold and agate in the stars
as bearing a warrior’s countenance.
Pennyroyal and buttercup both gleam
as great gifts of your spirit’s sustenance,
reflecting love of your life-giving stream.
Procyon, by your rooster and three maids,
accept our praise; dispense your bount’ous aids.
If this winds up being part of your practice tomorrow, I’d love to know. In the meantime, the poem serves as an additional marker of the sky for me.  I’m looking forward to being able to pick out Procyon in the winter sky when it’s no longer crossing the midheaven in the early morning.
One of the things that I’ve really been enjoying about writing these poems, though, is the way in which it makes me feel like I’m a part of the universe. The poem is a link, however tenuous, between me and a distant star. The mysterious plant and mineral relationships, between agate and pennyroyal and marigold and rooster and three maids help me feel that I’m connected to my ancestors and to ancient history in a more visceral way.  It feels good to be so joined and linked up with powers and processes that extend beyond my own relatively limited viewpoint.
As is frequently the case, I’m indebted to Mr. Christopher Warnock, esq, for his work in astrology; and to the members of the Spiritus Mundi   list on Yahoo, which looks at problems and questions in traditional astrology. Without their knowledge and assistance and community, I would never know about these times of transit and movement.

Tai Chi Y3D181: Ride the Tiger

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Today marks the halfway point of my Year 3 experience.  It’s thus appropriate somehow that I’m approaching the end of this poetic catalog of movements; Today I’ll be doing Ride the Tiger. Tomorrow and in the days to come, will be Full Spin, Windmill Kick, Bend the Bow, Double Punch, Left-hand Push, and Close. Six movements out from the end.  Tuesday finish, if I don’t have another crazy day like earlier this week.

Later today I hope to have a poem or two for the fixed star Procyon, which is going to be making a transit of the midheaven in close conjunction with the Moon.  It looks like it’s about faithfulness in friendships, but there’s also a tricky bit about violence and hunting which is maybe not so good.  Have to think about that, and whether I plan to do any work with this tomorrow.

I did fifty pushups today in two sets of fifteen, and one of twenty.

And now, Ride the Tiger. I don’t really understand how this is riding anything.  The right foot bears the weight, the left foot does sort of a half-hearted sweep, and the left hand delivers a push.

Sink your weight where the right foot is planted,
and make sure your foundation is quite deep.
This move is simple, that much is granted;
but there’s a twist in this move with a steep
learning curve: kick your left foot out a bit,
and point the thumb of your open right hand
straight at your heart.  As though about to sit,
bend the right knee, but continue to stand.
Left foot kicks sideways/right; right hand pushes—
is it just a shove, or some kind of trip?
Do both together, like lightning flashes;
bad balance will cause the right foot to slip
when left foot and right arm twitch together;
be alert to shifts in stormy weather.

Tai Chi Y3D180: Seven Stars of the Dipper

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Today’s movement, which was supposed to be yesterday’s, is called Step to the Seven Stars of the Dipper. It’s an odd motion.  One pops up out of Snake Creeps Down, crosses one’s wrists in front, and steps with the right foot forward, and then balance weight left and right. I’ve never had it explained to me what it was for in combat, and I’ve never found one accidentally.  I read a quotation from, I think, the founder of Aikido or Jiujitusu a few days ago, which said, ” “Every block, every punch, every throw, was there at the beginning; they have only to be discovered, not invented” “.  I’m putting it in double-double quotation marks to show that I have the sense of it, rather than the actual quotation, since I know neither the source nor the exact wording. But I think that’s right: someone found a use for this movement, and included it in the form.  I may not know what it is, but someone does; and someday I may discover it.

When snake ceases creeping, and climbs to sky
strongly criss-cross the wrists before the face.
You may not know at all the reason why
you do this movement; its peculiar grace
is not yet unveiled. Step forward with right,
and plant that foot firm. Balance mass across
both feet as your foundation, and in might
join heaven and earth in you. For no loss
accrues to one so rooted, when you pull
your hands downward to the right, and shift back.
Find the dancing between empty and full—
deflect the hard strikes while you take in slack.
Gravity commands both you and your foe;
when he’s unsure, help him go with the flow.

Tai Chi Y3D179: A poem delayed.

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Fifty push-ups today, of which four were nose-to-the-ground… but it also took six sets to do all 50: 10, 15, 10, 5, 10 (of which 4 were nose-to-the-ground).  I’m making some progress, but whoa it’s hard.

Began the tai chi with a bit of a cold, and some signs that it might be a bad one.  Ended the qi gong forms sweating full-body, and found the internal warmth that kicked the cold to the curb. Breathing easy now and I have no apparent symptoms of the cold.

The movement today is called Step to the Seven Stars of the Dipper. It’s preceded by Snake Creeps Down, and followed by Ride the Tiger. … And here it is, almost 7pm, and it’s been a busy day, and there’s no entry written.  Better fix that.

Except… it’s gone.  Whatever “juice” I had to write this poem today got used up on other things.  We’ll try again tomorrow.

Tai Chi Y3D178: Snake Creeps Down

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Sort of a busy day today. Did push-ups, qi gong forms, tai chi. The poem for today is about Snake Creeps Down.  I’ve written about SCD before.  Time to return to the subject:

Draw the left hand inside the elbow’s crook,
and sink your weight by bending both your knees.
When standing, your moves are an open book;
Yet when you crouch, you have a chance to seize
initiative — or an ill-placed ankle.
Swing the left arm out from its sheltered place
and begin to stand — Sure, it will rankle
at first, because your knees will lack the grace
to move so easily down and then up,
but you’ll get there — practice makes you better.
The left arm swings with pinky side up,
for this makes the strike faster and fitter:
a cobra hissing from atop its stone
where it soaks up power and reigns alone.

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