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August 2002

Dropping a (LP) needle on the matter

Sitting on my window-ledge dangling my feet outside a window on the 42nd floor overlooking Central Park, I wondered if the unbearable temperature wasn't due to the heat generated by the thousands of air-conditioners that line the tall cement buildings covering every square inch of real estate on this tiny Island of Manhattan. If there were a world outside New York, how hot would it be, I wondered?

The idea of there being a utopian world outside New York, of course, never really crosses any New Yorker's mind, but in her generous cosmopolitanism, your Madame Bayaz thought that the question was worthy of momentary contemplation and decided to attempt contact with the other world. And that, only out of pity and for your sake. The telephonic logic of contact with that other world, that archaic or future utopian world, as Papa once pointed out in his Genealogy of Morals, has been disrupted in our a-mythical time. But disruption only means that the break in contact is never absolute. Like a cell phone connection, that contact can never be constant, but nor is the break ever clean. The other world is always at hand, yet the line is always somewhat scratchy. Your techno-attuned ear would recognize the connection as cellular in that the tenor of the voice on the other end has the sound of a worn out LP album.

Such shoddy connections to the other world are familiar to most Iranians and now also somewhat familiar to New Yorkers who had the privilege, last month, to witness three ta'ziyehs in the Muharram cycle in a white circus tent pitched on the lawn adjacent to the Lincoln Center. Last month, Judgement Day, or rather our mortal connection to it, was deferred by a week, when Imam Husayn's visa to the USA was held up because of "W's" curse of Evil on the Imam's current land of residence. The Imam arrived Wednesday late for a Sunday performance and his director, Mohammad Ghaffari, hired a local Iranian-looking crew of American actors to reenact and mourn his tragic beheading. Tragic indeed...

Madame Bayaz couldn't risk a connection that far removed in reading your sign this month, so she decided to give in to the nature of the contact and place her bets on the closest thing replicating the sound of the connection to the other world. She dropped her needle on an LP which had your destiny written all over it.

Mme Bayaz

Farvardin: Aries

You have the sign of The World this month, Aries. This signifies achievement, reward, well-earned recognition, peace, serenity and a sense of completion and success. Your liberation is a liberation of the spirit, though, be warned. You are the beheaded Husayn and this month, your head is on a spear encircling the globe. A tip -- perhaps a needless one -- Mohammad Ghaffari is directing the whole ordeal.

Ordibehesht: Taurus

Your groove is The Ace of Rods, signifying spirituality. Unlike the return to the archaic, found in Aries reading, yours is a utopian reading signifying new beginnings in business or in such life ventures as marriage, births, journeys. This is the time of renewal, of creative energies and of spiritual strengths. Me thinks you're in the audience this month, for what's on stage is packing up and moving right along. Your luck will stay a while.

Khordad: Gemini

The High Priestess has her heel dug in your chest and I wonder if behind that veil of hers, there isn't some bushy, bearded man with a soft feminine voice. It is a ta'zieyeh affair after all and girls don't get to play anymore (they did once, though not publicly). None the less, the priestess signifies creativity, serenity, love and understanding. Her groove is one that signals new beginnings in education, esoteric teaching, intuition, and foresight. Imagine that! The heel that is putting a dent on your chest might be somewhat uncomfortable, but you'll have to believe Madame Bayaz when she says that the Priestess's return to your life signals a positive hidden, feminine influence. Look out!

Tir: Cancer

This is the message from your higher powers, Cancer, so listen up! You're up for a time of resolution. Madame Bayaz knows that life has put you through a lot: Hardships, trials and tribulations. But alas, you're no Husayn, just one of his groupies wanting to be in the limelight. Judgement day being upon us, at least on tour, signifies the resolution of many hopes and desires on your part. You'll be receiving good news this month. Maybe this time Yazid will let you go home free. (Did I hear "W"? Never mind, the LP is scratchy.) That is only, of course, if you're a kid or a woman, that is to his liking. Otherwise, my dear, you'll have it all in the other world.

Mordad: Leo

The foundation of all matters this month, Leo, is strength, but notice that it is upside down. I suppose that is kinda the right metaphor for the moment that ta'ziyeh represents, its stage. Strength, wrong way around.? You, like Husayn's troop, are confronted by hostility, weakness and the lack of courage. The other side has an incurable sense of domination which, like Yazid in posterity, will lead to the loss of reputation. Ultimately his reputation is out the door. You'll overturn it all in due time. Patience is key and that is your strength.

Shahrivar: Virgo

You are passing through a period of doubt and fear. Anxieties are looming. Are you Fatimih, impatiently waiting for your children's safe return? Your desire to retreat is well taken ,but your sign, the seven of rods,this month, tells Madame Bayaz that what you need more than retreat, is a decisive action. Courage is key. Go ring the dinner bell, honey. Those bearded kids will come home... Bloody. But at least they'll be with you.

Mehr: Libra

You're heading towards Judgement, but it is ill dignified. You'll be isolated, disillusioned, worried, fearful, and there will be delays, many century's worth. You'll be lost in your personal point of view, believing beyond hope, that the family of the Prophet is the rightful heir to the Prophet's throne. Hence the sweaty battle on the plains of Karbala and, of course, the stage in New York. If you don't take action for positive change, you'll be unable to resolve any problems in your personal life. Fear not, Judgement and Judgement Day will forever be on your side.

Aban: Scorpio

You see yourself in the figure of the Heirophant this month, Scorpio. But you are a weakened sod, I tell you. The Heirophant appears to be up-rooted. Upside down. Confused by the unorthodoxy of your own thoughts and your openness to the myriad possibilities that are before you, you run hither and thither in circles. Like the actors on the ta'ziyeh stage, you have everyone believing that you're changing locations. But you're not. You're on a record player! Don't listen to any advice, this month. You'll be misguided. And your inner voice is weak or is feeding you misinformation. I say, turn back now before it is too late. You won't make it on that battlefield. And anyway, chances are "W" will be withholding that precious visa.

Azar: Sagittarius

The Four of Rods places you in a beautiful spacious castle, staged between two mountains. In front, against the backdrop of fountains and miles of green is an arrangement of beautiful colorful flowers. This month, you're the receiver of a million spiritual and emotional blessings. All your efforts, your love and devotion are finally rewarded. And we all know how hard you've worked for that. Peace, prosperity, restful enjoyment and a harmonious life at home create your environment. "Huh," Madame Bayaz cocks her head, "You must have been away while the battle was going on. Or are you one of the houris meeting the war torn warriors after the show?" You'll know soon enough. You the beautiful, loveable creature that you are.

Dey: Capricorn

This, my dear, constitutes your greatest hopes and fears: TEMPERENCE. You lack self control. You're impatient and confused. You lack balance and are in constant conflict in your spiritual, personal and business life. You're afraid of the scattering energies you embody. Yes, indeed. Those are real fears. You need to pick side, Hor. You can't go with Yazid and worship Husayn simultaneously. Resolve that, and you'll be dead anyway. But one choice and only one will have you lodged in remembrance forever.

Bahman: Aquarius

You've lost your groove or are lost in it. But I care not. And oh, come to think of it, nor does the LP needle. It skipped right on over you, honey.

Esfand: Pisces

The Ten of Swords, shows you face down on the ground with ten swords in your back. But you're in luck, Pisces. The card comes up ill dignified. This is the end of your suffering. A period of success which gives you a false sense of freedom from affliction and a sense of security.. Oh, yes! You must be good ol' Yazid. (Did I hear "W"?)

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