So, What Are I Doing Here, Anyway? is a multi-course feast, offering readers a wide-ranging and thought-provoking collection of essays by noted writer and astrologer Ray Grasse. Where else can you leap from the philosophy and practice of astrology to the surreal genius of Salvador Dali, the twelve-fold mystery of the Great Pyramid, the broader implications of synchronicity, Jazz and the Aquarian Age, a mystical look at war, the interface of science and imagination, and personal reflections on the 1960s? Grasse brings his unique insight to understanding these and other subjects, while shining a light on many otherwise hidden connections between them. This book is suitable for astrologers of any level. It will also appeal to anyone curious about the connections and coincidences in their own lives as well as the meaning of events on the wider world stage.
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I could sum up this book with just one phrase, ‘thought-provoking’! At the beginning of the book, on an otherwise blank page, there appears a quote by Goethe:
“Few men have imagination enough for the truth of reality.”
This was something to contemplate, as I read through each essay, then I was further intrigued by Grasse’s early statement, “Having one’s imagination stretched to new boundaries – is there anything more important?” An interesting set up for the fascinating and inspiring read this turned out to be.
In general, there is an easy flow to the writer’s style as he ponders the seemingly imponderable. Each chapter is an ‘essay’. Some relate a story, while others pose a profound question for which there is no obvious answer. Though there is room for us to consider our own views within the context of the material, Grasse is not shy to offer a firm opinion. He offers ‘evidence’ to support his thinking (some astrological, some factual), and in many of the individual chapters he provides a clear conclusion to summarize his main idea(s). Each essay stands on its own but, like each individual person within the collective, they all have significant meaning and relevance to the whole.
What Grasse seems to be emphasizing is that each of us is unique. He says, ‘We live our lives within vast interlocking fields of meaning, with each of our personal dramas fitting into the larger “story” of the cosmos itself.’ In one essay, he looks back at the 1960s, contemplating ‘an explosive awakening of the collective imagination taking place, not just in the arts but in our openness to what was possible in reality itself.’ Those of us who were alive in the sixties will have our own take on that decade but, for me, this was not just a trip down “memory lane”, it was a re-framing of key events, people, and innovations…what they represented, then and now. How appropriate that he references the opening lines of Rod Serling’s, The Twilight Zone,
‘You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and
sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that
Introducing this collection of essays, Grasse tells us the material ‘sometimes requires ways of imagining you may not have entertained before.’ This turned out to be very much the case. However, I would add to that by saying I have not often come across a perspective that so clearly expresses some of my own ponderings. Grasse seems to have deftly translated those ideas into words…words that I could have written myself if only I had the skill he demonstrates. Having fully digested this book, I am now left to ponder some new questions of my own. With that in mind, I plan to explore some of Ray Grasse’s earlier work for additional insight, and to further stretch my imagination. Thank You Ray!
“I very often sit and admire the work of Ray Grasse – his work has a lot of depth to it from all directions.” Deborah Houlding
“Ray Grasse is one of the hidden geniuses of contemporary spirituality.” Richard Smoley, author Inner Christianity, Introduction to the Occult