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A Dream Dreamt in a Floridian World is a Piscean Sea Oddity

Lauren Mitchell, “Amelia Island”

Lauren Mitchell, “Amelia Island”

I’ve just returned from a trip to central Florida and can’t shake that specific-vague Florida-feel, damp and bleary and Neptunian. I’ll explain. Florida, as both state and state of mind, is humid and swampy and spacious and the culmination of everything terrible and beautiful about America and the Pisces archetype. Pisces (the sign of our sun right now) is ruled by Neptune, god of the sea. The sea is where life began and the sea is now where we throw things to forget about them (see Plastic Oceans). But the things we shove into the Piscean realm will no doubt come back to haunt us (and in this lifetime) and we can’t (though we try and try and try) fuck with Neptune.  

Florida is like Pisces is like Neptune because it’s blue, slushy, big (17x the mass of Earth), and spiritual. Though we can’t see her with our eyes, Neptune is sexy and slow, taking a cool 165 years to travel around the sun. So, she is known as a transpersonal planet, associated with generations, not individuals.

Lauren Mitchell, “Rockledge, FL”

Lauren Mitchell, “Rockledge, FL”

Consider the ruler of the sea and her wild reign. Humans can’t go to the depths of the sea, as we can’t go (or haven’t yet, save for a flyby in the 80s) to Neptune. The closer you get to the bottom of the sea, the harder it is to tell the sea from the galaxy, to tell anything from anything, in fact. Pisces is all that is outer, a boundary-blurring edge-dweller, a collector of atmospheric weathers and dusts. Florida, in residency at the very bottom of the country with its swamps and lizards and an auric heat wherein I felt so Neptune-dreamy that I wandered around strip mall parking lots, deliriously grateful for direct sunlight and then drowsy and confused and then unable to stay asleep for more than a few hours each night and while sleeping, dreamt of bright text messages and creeping water. As above, so below. As on the iPhone screen, so on the brain.

I went to Florida last spring and stumbled into an art gallery where Lauren Mitchell’s photographs hung. The show, entitled “Space Coast”, transfixed me. I took photographs of the photographs and studied my screen on the way home, attempting to determine what was so hypnotic about these images. But Pisces can’t be discerned, it must be felt. Mitchell reveals the spaciousness of the space coast while acknowledging its incapacity for capture. A child standing in the cool aftermath of a rocket launch surrounded by sad parking lot, a woman on a crowded beach looking directly at the sun, a hot pink motel (the word VACANCY makes my stomach drop). These images are set against shocks of bright blue sky and the vast flatness of the sunshine state. Vacancy. Vacancy. Vacancy. And what is spirituality without the quest for vacancy? Empty yourself and let the universe fill you. Or, empty yourself and let Florida fill you. On the outer rings of spirituality, we find religion and on the outer rings of religion, we find fanaticism. An afflicted Pisces dissolves into delusion and zeal, addiction and, well, vacancy. But a full vacancy. The vacancy of our galaxy or the bottom of the sea.  

I am thinking now of “Records” an essay from Sarah Gerard’s book, Sunshine State, which has stayed with me as Lauren Mitchell’s photographs stay, with the potential and despair implicit and blaring in vacancies. “Records” is filled with drugs and raves and relationships and a night that’s darker in the wake of Florida sun. Gerard writes: “I’m cold. A window is open, but I don’t see any windows open.” Enter Neptune’s weird winds. Gerard writes: “Miles’ pupils are enormous. I lean into them.” Dancing and drugs and relationships and high school and sun and darkness and dancing and drugs and relationships and ecstasy and…..

Neptune_Full.jpg

It’s easy to lean into Neptune’s blue. When I’m in Florida, I either want to be outside staring into the sun or I want to lie in bed and eat cookies. I returned to the northeast feeling waterlogged and aglow.

We know that the sun is in Pisces and Mercury is retrograde in Pisces until the end of the month. It’s hard to find a container for Pisces. Everything-ness can’t be contained. Spin and spin and collect space coast particles and shake them off later.

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Lauren Mitchell, “Cocoa Beach, FL”

Lauren Mitchell, “Cocoa Beach, FL”

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