Gourmet Cooking Doesn’t Use Cookbooks, It Creates Them
In the midst of a break this past week, one of the members of my site–I’ll call her Mignon to allow you to move more easily into the flow of this conversation–stopped to chat with me about a few things. The timing of our dialogue seemed to be synchronistic since I was watching a particular movie–again. Again, as in the fifth time. When a particular movie grabs me like this, it’s usually because I’m trying to find answers to unasked questions: “Why this one? What keeps pulling me back?”
As it happened, immediately following the first one, a second movie that has also drawn me in was about to come on. Of course, I asked Mignon whether she’s ever seen one or both.
The Giver (2009), I said, has Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift in it, believe it or not; but it’s not a musical. It’s just “incredibly perfect for anyone with a deep soul who wants to feel and take nothing for granted.” Now, looking back, I can tell you I think The Giver appeals to the freedom of my Moon at the same time it connects to every bit of that side of myself as it gives birth to new insights about myself, the astrological chart, my interactions with others, even my interactions with the chart. While I read the chart with the educational understandings I’ve developed through the years, I’ve often described the symbiotic relationship we–the chart and I– have as “the chart talks to me.”
“Just like music is something else we can’t see with your eyes. Something … it’s deep inside you…”
On the surface, as I moved into my astrological studies way back, I had decided I had to learn this field to avoid getting ripped off (again) by someone who claimed to know what s/he was doing but still had far to go. And then there was the other level, the one compelling me to learn–and to keep learning as much as I could. It was at this level I discovered one can learn much not only from the books and the glance at Venus in this house and Mars in that; but also from Life and all it encompasses. Here–on what almost seems like the fringes of astrology, if that–we can learn so much more about astrology in ways we never considered before.
The movie finished. I quietly noted my sorrow at its being over far too soon because I was still racing down the hill with Jonah, the young man with the bundled baby in his arms, as the sled sped faster and faster over the snow toward the cabin awaiting their arrival. I listened to every note of every song until the last credit had ended and then turned to the other channel where another movie that has captivated me even more was just beginning. Talk about a Saturday night with two of your favorite movies airing (and no commercials!) back to back!
And this was happening in the midst of my equally enchanting conversation I was having with Mignon. Can it get any better than that???
“The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) begins with young Hassan Kadam racing through the streets of Mumbai with his mother who tries to catch up to a merchant with fresh catch from the boats that just docked where the Indian Ocean meets the first steps to Mumbai’s shore. A quick walk up the stairs, and you’re already in the hustle and bustle of mainstream life in the streets of the city. I don’t need to see this. I know it. I saw it and felt Life all around me in this city once called Bombay.
They stop at the market where a man observes Hassan smelling a sea urchin. The young boy seems entranced as he notes the fragrance and allows the scent to waft up to his nose, alerting every sense the child possesses. The wise businessman watches a while and then tells everyone, “Enough!” He acknowledges Hassan and says the fresh catch will go to the boy (and his mother, of course).
In the kitchen with his mother, Hassan continues to observe with intense delight. She adds the spices to the pot and says, “You cook to make ghosts.”
Consider that: “You cook to make ghosts.”
Consider the depth of what she’s saying here. The fragrance, the tastes, the colors should sing to you and create the perfection you know as surely as an accomplished musician or group of musicians create music, as surely as a seamstress, weaver or knitter or crocheter creates the perfect piece of clothing, cloth, new sweater or some other item for the body or the home. You know as surely as you do when you feast your eyes on the strokes the brush in the hands of a Van Gogh or Monet–or on a simple masterpiece created by the gods, like they have the sea urchin.
Indian culture meets French. It had my attention; but then for Indian culture alone, I was hooked. Add the cooking, and it was icing on the cake topped with flowers in the form of French and Desi accents, the music, the scenery. I was eating out of the hands of Spielberg and Winfrey, two of the film’s producers. The story line weaves through the drama, sorrows, and comedy of two restaurateurs and their restaurants–one French, owned by Helen Mirren–across the road from the Indian restaurant owned by the father (Om Puri) of Hassan Kadam, the character played by Manish Dayal.
Okay, so how does all of this relate to the subject at hand–astrology–where you usually find my writing? This is easier than you might expect: (Don’t worry, I’m getting to it! Actually, I’m already talking about astrology. You just haven’t realized it yet. 😉 )
“I highly recommend this,” I told Mignon who is neither French, Indian or any other culture I’ve mentioned here. “It reminds us of the unique ways we can interpret a chart and consider its meaning in how we move through analysis and interpretation and then bring it to life. Well that did it! I sat there for a moment, soaking in my realization that I’d just answered the biggest of my unasked questions.
Her reply filled in some of the missing pieces as if this entire conversation had to happen at that moment for exactly these reasons. “Funny… I’ve been looking for movies about astrology and mysticism. They seem like ordinary movies, but I have a belief that everything we do can be used to understand better how we approach astrology,” she said. “The last one I’ve watched was Agora. Not exactly astrology, but close.”
“Agora…meeting place… a Greek word,” I noted.
“And I rewatched The Gift,” she said.
“The Gift, not The Giver? How wonderful! I’ve seen The Giver about five times now…and The Hundred-Foot Journey about three,” I said. “There are some others I’ve seen lately. I ordinarily don’t get this channel but the cable company gave me a gift of a year! lol I don’t know why!”
As most conversations do when you’re having a casual one, we bounced back and forth in chit chat form.
“Agora is about Hypathia. With Rachel Weisz. When the library of Alexandria was burnt.”
I noted again about the word being Greek for meeting place.
“Yes, the meeting place! Where people got together to study and discuss about astronomy…” she said.
Parts of the movie were filmed in India, I know. I recognized some sites in fact! Other parts were filmed in France. While I’ve never been to France, the countryside there seems so lush and lovely, even well-kept as compared to Brazil’s which is thicker and seems natural in its command of the landscape. That comparison made me quite certain the scenes had been shot in France even before I confirmed it in the closing credits.
Okay, now let’s go back to a line I told you earlier: “You cook to make ghosts.”
You won’t hear those words in this clip. In fact, you won’t hear them speaking at all. Concentrate on the clip itself, Hassan (Manish Dayal) and Helen Mirren as they prepare the omelet. Pay attention to how the spices are added… The methodical process without measure as much as it is by feel, by a sense of what Mirren’s character would say “je ne sais quoi,” “I don’t know” as she follows Hassan’s instruction here since his hands are incapable of cracking the eggs and adding the spices by a collection of the fingers in the spice pots.
Watch closely. This is astrology at work in the video, the melange of ingredients coming together to make the perfected omelet to a new level of perfection even Mirren’s character couldn’t have imagined before she had begun to see the beauty in stepping out of an intercultural mental barrier against a family whose cuisine she considered inferior to her Michelin starred restaurant.
Now consider the astrological chart when you’re looking at it and trying to fit all of the pieces together.
Imagine how the pieces fit, not by Sun here and Moon there; not by Pluto in the 7th or the 9th or whatever, rather as it relates to other things like the natural zodiac’s relevance to the house in which Pluto and the other planets as well as the luminaries are placed. Consider whether your understandings of Pluto fit in with what you’re seeing in the chart you’re reading. Where are the intensities in this person if you’re reading a person’s chart?
Sixth house? Are we talking about the effort to control the person’s work environment–or health issues? Are there co-workers who have been trying to manipulate the person? Here’s where you can start fitting pieces together. See what’s going on with the other planets in hard aspect to Pluto or whatever is in that sixth house. This is the recipe–the whole chart. You can’t simply look at the coriander or turmeric or red chilli and think it won’t work. Fit it into the entire recipe–the chart. Consider the combinations to see whether it’s working.
Permit yourself the liberty of finding the three points of agreement in the chart. If you’re on the right track, they will be.
And consider the meaning of these outer planets as you’re thinking how they will fit and work in the entire recipe. You know you need all of the ingredients you’re putting into the recipe. Leave out one, and you may miss something important. But consider each planet on its own and what it really means before you just plunge in with the aspects.
If you have Uranus transiting the second house, what can that mean to you? We look at the second house for value systems, and all too often, you’ll hear or read someone automatically concluding that the person doesn’t stand a chance at earning a decent income if the native has one of the outer planets placed here. But don’t be so quick to utter that deadly thud of a doomed-to-fail proclamation.
Chances are if it’s natally in that second house, it is much more likely to be a valuable tool for the person to be tapping toward the career. Perhaps it’s through creative arts. Perhaps Uranus is in Cancer in the 2nd house: That could be someone who is harboring a dream of starting a restaurant in a way no one else has ever considered before. Neptune? How about a perfume manufacturer or creator–or a romance novelist if the rest of the chart is showing those tendencies? Saturn in the 2nd might just make someone who can work wonders in the world of finance if the placements are there.
Can you do this with just looking at one body in the 2nd or in which sign the Midheaven is placed? It’s highly unlikely–but you won’t know until you start testing the entire recipe and seeing where you come out with your results.
If you haven’t tried to look at the chart in this way before, do it on paper. Test it. Play with it with charts you’ve thought you’ve known from the past–even your own. See how the ingredients are coming together. As Hassan does, let the fragrance hit you so you can savor every bit before moving on to the next ingredient. Fully appreciate what you’re experiencing in this process and truly begin to know the ingredients you have going into this recipe. By doing so, you’re going to come out much farther ahead with what’s truly your creative analysis.
Hassan taught me this secret of cooking years before the movie came out. But then I cook food in the same way. Give it a try, will you? And please let me know how it works for you!