Hard and Easy Angles


Over the past two years I began to use the language hard and easy to refer to experiences and interactions.

This is language from astrology. A hard angle is something like a square or opposition and indicates struggle and growth. An easy angle is a trine or a sextile and indicates something that is easy and natural.

There are many astrological traditions, Hellenistic, Vedic, Egyptian, Renaissance, to name a few. Hellenistic astrology thinks about aspects in terms of vision: the planets see one another. What is it like to look at someone directly, to look at someone with the side-eye to look at someone next to you. There are 5 traditional “Ptolemaic” aspects that describe these: the square, the conjunct, the opposition, the sextile and the trine.

There is also a measurement aspect to angles. I first read about this in Dane Rudhyar – so perhaps this is a modern analysis, but I am not sure. I can take an astrological chart, a circle, and create arbitrary divisions and draw lines between them. If I divide the chart into 36 slices of 10 degrees and then draw angels between these I will come up with a different set of angles, I can do this with 5 slices of 72, and so forth.

A number of the non-ptolemaic aspects seem to arise from this sort of division. Some people even think trines are not actually about planets seeing one another, but about dividing the wheel in to thirds (120 degree angles). (My opinion is that it is about something else – elemental relationships but lets not talk about that now) .

So this is interesting right – in one case we have how planets see one another, and in another case we have an analysis of the world holding the planets (we could also say this is an analysis of a model – so perhaps substituting the map for the geography.

Does number have meaning? Does “2” have a meaning apart from our linguistic use of “2”. If it does than the measurement method takes on more weight because the meaning of the number of division then relates to what angles arise from this division.

But why did I start this blog post in the first place?

What does it mean to see someone, what does it mean to be seen, what does it mean to be oriented in space? Our struggles and triumphs can sometimes we considered in these terms. A discussion of angles, regardless of whether or not you believe in astrology, is a language for parsing visibility and orientation.

Historically astrologers controlled, and still control, the angles people can use – but what does this really mean about society – about mobility and visibility. It means rigidity and restriction.

I say be aquarian – make your own frickin angles.



Pithy market wisdom of the week this week: “A stopped clock is right twice a day.” To which my friend Sunita says – except for Cosmic Alarm clock – it is right all the time. Here is her podcast – I was on it – and it’s fantastic.


This does relate to chapter 3 of Ani*mystic because chapter 3 is about space and time.

First let’s talk about space:

As I am reading Aya’s post from last week. Aya wrote about how we think highly of ourselves but sometimes act shit. I mean I do… and I come up with all kinds of reasons about how it really is not shit – but gold. This is a space distinction – an inside versus outside distinction.

I want to talk briefly about Gordon’s discussion on page 88 about Equivocation. “Equivocation, to equivocate… does not have ‘truth’ as its opposite, but the univocal, the one voice. This is important in modern discussions about nonphilosophy (Laurelle), my own practice/concept of nonleadership, and moving away from polar world of binaries to a world of multiplicities.

I also think this concept is foundational to areas such as data visualization and representation. These are not true/false but equivoational/univocal.

Bodies in space are in relation to one another.When I talk about an inside and an outside to myself I am talking about myself in relationship to myself. To merge the inside with the outside is a univocal experience. But is that what we want in all cases? Is univocal the same as authentic (I would argue no -but lets move on)


Now we are going to talk about time. Gordon describes time, and astronomical time, and egyptian time in particular, as a synching up. Time is NOT a demarkation or a measurement – it is a check list. This is why time is so important in astrological magic because it is about synching up with the true time.

This is where the NUMBER comes in. Number exists, not as with plato as a ratio – the relationship between two sides of a triange. This is spacial remember. Number exists as the duration of a cycle. This is the reality of number. Our numbers have meaning when they describe the duration of a cycle.

Where do protocols come from? What is truth? Does truth exist if we are talking the realm of univocal and equivocal?

These are the wrong questions – the right questions is What is the meaning of these things? And what do these things do? What habitat do they create – and what world do they make for us when we acknowledge them.

M&A week 3: Ani*mystic angels


I was reading Aya’s post from last week and I was struck by two things.

“I can play with the energetic imprint something has.”

“When we direct our full attention on a flower, a child, a project idea, a lover, an illness–we might learn quite a bit about how to proceed.”

The protocol at the end for creating ritual.

I will weave this in as I meditate on chapter 3: technology as habitat.

One of the thought-forms I enjoy thinking with is the dichotomy between technique and technology. Ritual is technique – ie how we use technology. In chapter 3, an example of technique is the protocols for calling the angels. Also it is the list of rules at the end of Aya’s post, it is also the method of directing our attention. We can call attention in general a technology.

Is the protocol the technology or the technique? Good question – it feels fluid. The skrying bowl is technology though.

But really the question in this chapter is what’s an angel, what’s a UFO, what’s loch ness? These are all related to our experience and perception of these things. In Chapter 1 Gordon talked about how machines worked to disenchant the world. Machines as habitat enchant the world. Machines become aliens when we use them for our environment.

What is a habitat and how is that different from general technology usage?

Gordon does not really talk about this in this chapter, but this is what I think about. What is the difference between the enchanting of technology and the disenchantment of technology?

If I were to take a stab at it from reading this chapter, I would say that it involves play. And then I will bring back that quote from Aya: “I can play with the energetic imprint something has.” It is about being open to the many experiences that arise from technology.

There is a quote in this chapter that I cannot find that describes how the bottom of a boat becomes encrusted with sea habitat. This is technology as habitat. The sea and its denizens play with the boat. They integrate the boat. They experience the boat in a way that integrates in their environment.

The protocol to angel contact, although portrayed as rigous in chapter 3 – has game logic! Games are play! How do you create the game? Maybe it is through these magic words, these magic circles.

Where do we come from? We are technology turned habitat. Technology becoming alien become home. The dialectic is that.

This post is a bit disjoined but chapter 3 was long with many ideas. All these disjointed thoughts are different ways to approach technology as habitat. They are facets of a diamond, they are becoming part of my habitat.

Ani.mystic 2 Enlivening (M&A Bookclub)


“Thinking as activity”

I am cherry-picking this piece from chapter 2 which I read a week ago and only vaguely remember.

As I recall this chapter is about how ritual works and where ritual comesfrom.

It tells the story of a man returning to his ancestral home and wanting to enliven it. He fasts, he meditates, he sits and watches and the land “tells” him what to do.

I was binge-listening to We can do hard things – by Glennon Doyle and Abby Abby Wambach on a plane back from London. This was followed by binge listening to Glitch Bottle – just saying. Glennon talked about removing the distance between thinking and doing. I love this.

What is thinking anyway! A distraction IMHO.

What is ritual? What is a ceremony? I have asked these questions and people have given me answers. Today it feels like a ceremony commemorates something and a ritual enacts something.

What are markers? I imagine my life as map. There are sign posts and flags. There is a key, there are directions. There are hills and glades. I put down important points on the map to remind myself and to ground myself – these are the ceremonies.

When I go and walk a portion of the map in a new way, as a different person, to elevate it, to sanctify it to merge its vibrations with my ancestors, with the moss creatures, with the neutrinos – I do a ritual.

I have a grandmother’s altar in my closet. I go there to commune with the grandmothers. I vibe with them, they vibe with me. This is a ritual. Sometimes we write python code together.

Ursula Le Guin and Machine Learning


Today I read a paper on self-attention transformers in neural networks:



Forget Norvig & Russel; read Ursula Le Guin to learn about Machine Learning.

Here’s why

#machinelearning #ursulaleguin #scifi


In Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, Foretellers tell the future. But the future they tell depends on the question that is asked.

Machine learning is all about the question you ask the model.

The question is the, why?

Traditional computational problems, mostly analytic problems, are all about the HOW.

They are about breaking something down into constituent steps and doing those steps quickly.

A self-attention #transformer parallelizes steps that used to run sequentially.

There is a small impact on quality but an enormous gain on speed.

Self-attention is a HOW innovation, not a machine learning innovation.

It optimizes the steps of an algorithm.

BUT just like we cannot separate form from content, we cannot separate solution from speed

Self-attention works well with language problems, like translation.

It does not sacrifice quality.

In self-attention applied to linguistic problems, we keep track of the position — like the position of a letter in a word.

The position is mapped to a sinusoidal curve.


(see tweet 1 for the reference)

Mapping from a position in a word to a curve is profound. I want to pause for a moment. Mapping is a symbolic gesture that allows us to extract more meaning.

We move from a lower-dimensional space to a high-dimensional space: a letter’s position to a point on a curve in space and time.

When I confront a problem or a block, I move to a higher-dimensional space.

I become aware of my current context and move into an overview of that context.

When I return to the space of the problem, my location and perspective have changed.

Owen Barfield wrote in saving the appearances not to mistake the model for reality. And Gregory Bateson, among others, wrote not to confuse the map with the geography.

But what is the geography in machine learning?

There is no geography in machine learning. We are mapping an imaginary world.

Some imaginary worlds are more useful than others.

When the foretellers in Le Guin tell the future, they also move into a higher dimensional space — an alternate reality.

The question frames the space of this alternate reality.

For true machine learning innovation, we need to look at the quality and speed of answers and the quality of the questions.

I’m doing #solidity this month, but maybe next month, I’ll do #machinelearning.

Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog