Welcome to the Movie Theater of Your Mind

Posted by Amanda Painter

Still from Alfonso Cuaron's film Roma.

Amanda Painter takes another look at Friday’s New Moon in Virgo — which features several planets and points opposite Neptune in Pisces — through the lens of a particular image: people collected together in a movie theater, watching a film being projected onto a screen.

By Amanda Painter

I was meditating this morning on the chart for Friday’s Virgo New Moon (which is exact at 6:37 am EDT / 10:37:01 UTC) to see if a new angle on it might emerge. And an image did come to me: people collected together in a movie theater, watching a film being projected onto a screen.

Cropped still from Alfonso Cuaron's 2018 film Roma.

Cropped still from Alfonso Cuaron’s 2018 film Roma.

It surprised me how tangibly the scene came through, and how appropriate it was, with an unusual collection of Virgo points clustered together opposite Neptune in Pisces.

For example, all of the ‘personal planets’ — the ones that describe our most basic traits and urges — are in early Virgo: Mercury (the mind, communication), the Sun (ego, conscious self-expression), the Moon (emotions, the unconscious), Mars (drive, ‘masculine’), Venus (receptivity, ‘feminine’). Along with them are the asteroid Juno (relationship needs), a hypothetical point called Transpluto (narrow focus, learning wholeness and integration) and a few other minor objects named for ancient deities with all-too-human characteristics.

Meanwhile, Neptune is the planet of illusion, projection, glamour, escapism, fiction and idealized images. It often represents film itself in astrology, which makes prefect sense.

What happens in a movie theater? A group of otherwise separate yet fundamentally connected individuals gather together, sit in the dark, and turn all of their attention to the mirage of activity on the screen in front of them. While they watch the story unfold, they may empathize, analyze, identify with characters and situations, get lost in the imaginary story with its emotional truths, project their own ideas and feelings onto the characters.

Then, the movie ends and disappears into nothingness; the lights come on; and everyone in the audience is left with their own individual and highly personal experience of what they just watched. There my be similarities of interpretation and impact, some quite strong and widely shared; but each person in that group is filtering what they saw through their own personal circumstances, biases, expectations, joys and sorrows. Everyone leaves the shared space of projection, with its single point of focus, and is left to integrate what they’ve seen and felt in their own way.

Now, by no means am I suggesting that the planets are having their own movie theater experience. Planets are not people (as far as I can tell). But I do think the scenario offers a way to think about the parts of ourselves that these planets represent.

Specifically, if these planets and points represent facets of our own psyche, inner potentials, processes of growth and so on, then we have an opportunity that actual, typical moviegoers don’t have in the same way: maybe these facets of ourselves don’t have to scatter back to their respective, disjointed experiences after this New Moon. At least, not to the same degree. We contain these qualities described by the planets, which means we have the ability to see how they fit together. We can make choices that bring them into better balance — which may shift depending on circumstances and phases of growth.

From what I can tell, that’s a good part of what people mean when they say “wholeness.” It’s not about always being balanced and steady; it’s not about never being in pain, or always being happy and feeling strong. But I do think it’s about staying as open as possible to the idea that any quality we think we lack (and that someone else appears to possess) can be found in us, somewhere. This New Moon in Virgo looks like an opportunity to experience that more tangibly than at other times.

Even so, Neptune in Pisces opposite this gathering in Virgo could very well symbolize the potential to get lost in the fog, to fall in love with someone else’s illusion of wholeness, to be captivated by the glamour and soft lighting and carefully crafted soundtrack. Perhaps with only the Sun and Moon in Virgo, that would be a stronger pitfall. But I suspect there’s enough rationality and earthy contact with the ground in Virgo right now — represented by having so many points there — that it offers fairly solid footing.

It will still take conscious intention on your part. We live in a time when escapism is so ubiquitous that many people don’t even notice it’s their primary mode of experience. As you’ve likely read on Planet Waves several times, digital technology is divorcing us from the ability to be present within ourselves, psychically and physically — and many people do not realize the extent to which this is happening. They wonder why they feel anxious and depressed, but then turn to the very activities exacerbating those sensations in search of something to help them feel better.

The Band-Aid falls off again pretty quickly, though. As it does with most other addictive or dependency-creating substances and activities.

I realize that for some people, this idea of integrating inner qualities — particularly if you’re convinced you don’t have them but someone else does — might sound like gibberish. Like, what does that even mean, anyway?

If that describes your response, it might be worthwhile to start a very basic process (with or without a counselor, or someone who can serve that function): try listing qualities that you see in others but feel you lack. Not things like, ‘Susie can run a marathon and I can’t'; more like, ‘Susie’s not afraid to go after what she wants’ or ‘Jimmy’s so empathetic and loving’.

You can try listing ‘negative’ qualities others possess, too. Then see if you can locate hints of these qualities — however you may classify them — in yourself. It’s not about building yourself up or tearing yourself down; it’s about learning to see the ways you are just as multi-layered as everyone else, and how those layers form the totality of you. Ideally, it may help you to make choices that feel better: more empowered, more grounded and more creative.

It might even help to mitigate the mental and emotional whiplash that can occur when somebody does not turn out to be who you thought they were. Which can feel devastating when you’ve projected so much of your own seemingly missing ‘stuff’ onto another person that you’ve been blind and deaf to who they really are. Especially if you’ve pinned expectations onto those projections — namely, expectations that the other person can fill your allegedly empty spots for you.

Say this with me now: “I am not empty. I simply have not discovered yet all that I contain. But I’m curious enough to go looking, and I’ll try to be gentle and compassionate with myself, because the journey could have some rough or scary spots along with the joyful and loving moments.”

Or if that still feels like a stretch, come back to the movie theater image: you’re among (contain!) friends and a few strangers, a unified group in the dark who’s looking toward the light on the screen. And that light is simply reflecting back to you all that you are, all you have been and all you could be. It’s the memory of what you’ve seen of the light, from this place in the New Moon’s dark, that you get to carry within you as you walk out into the world again.

It is difficult to feel good these days; it’s challenging to focus on your growth and self-care, or even to relax. We are pulled out of ourselves constantly, and often distracted from our core purposes. IN THESE TIMES, the Planet Waves autumn reading, will help.


Read more here.

In These Times graphic

2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Movie Theater of Your Mind

    1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

      Rachael — I’m so grateful to hear your response! Always humbled to know these writings resonate with people. Wishing you an excellent New Moon!

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