Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In Honor of International Left-Handers' Day

Today is International Left-Handers' Day, which first celebrated approximately 10 percent of the human population on August 13, 1976. In a decade that brought us many wacky crazes, like mood rings, disco, and the pet rock, Left-Handers' Day proved to have staying power -- although it is one of the lesser-known holidays, the Internet has certainly increased its visibility. (I myself, who was old enough to remember the Bicentennial, was unaware of this holiday till I started going online.)

Being a lefty, I have only one minor bone to pick with whomever decided the date of Lefty Day: it should fall on March 13, not August 13. This is because Neptune is the planet that is most associated with left-handedness, and rules the sign Pisces (and the Sun transits the Pisces zone of the zodiac from February 19 to March 21).

However, I am fine with this holiday's falling on the 13th day of the month, because even though the number 13 is a Pluto/Scorpio number, not a Neptune number (that would be 7), 13 is a transgressive, subversive, taboo-oriented number, and many people still look upon lefties with suspicion and superstition (e.g., the devil is said to lurk on the left).

If you don't believe me about the Neptune thing, go on eBay or to an astrologer's yard sale and score a copy of the Oct./Nov. 1999 issue of The Mountain Astrologer, which features an "article particle" by yours truly, titled "Neptune: The Left-Handed Planet." I'd reprint it here, but this interface doesn't seem to handle text-oriented scans very well, and I'm not in the mood to transcribe the whole article. (It's copyrighted, by the way, so keep that in mind if you're a plagiarist.)

In a nutshell, back in the day when I was but a pre-Saturn Return but oh-so-serious sprout, I did enough research on the natal charts of famous and not-famous lefties to make a case that Neptune and/or its corresponding sign Pisces are unusually strong. Aspects between Mercury (which rules the hands) and Neptune are also common in lefties -- it doesn't seem to matter what the aspect is, as long as it is tight. This does not, of course, mean that everyone with a strong Neptune (i.e., Neptune conjunct Ascendant or Midheaven and/or making many aspects to other planets) or Pisces stellium (i.e., three or more planets conjunct in Pisces) is left-handed -- my Pisces bestie, for example, has more Pisces planets (some of which, including her Mercury, trine her Neptune) than anyone I've ever met, yet she is right-handed. However, she exemplifies many traits of lefties: creative, artistic, sensitive, quirky. I would say that makes her an honorary southpaw.

However, southpaws including Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Babe Ruth, Judy Garland, Rembrandt, Queen Victoria (who passed down her "birth-left" to subsequent generations of Brit royals including King George VI and Prince Charles), and Paul McCartney all have kick-ass Neptunes and/or strong Pisces placements. Not surprisingly, as Neptune/Pisces rules the arts, a staggeringly high percentage of notable lefties can be found there; two stunning examples of southpawhood, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, defined the Renaissance. Unfortunately, a high percentage of lefties can be found just plain staggering, as lefties tend to hit the bottle and other party favors harder than their righteous pals, and also tend to be clumsier and more inept due to living in a world designed for righteous consumers (from scissors to can openers to handshakes to door knobs to power tools to Western-style writing and driving).

Neurologists and psychologists have determined that lefties are not just more creative, juiced-up, and accident-prone than righties, but are also more stubborn, emotional, and angrier than righties, more prone to bedwetting, schizophrenia, and ADHD -- ooh, my neighbor's cooking something yummy, think I'll raid my fridge for a snack -- so Twinkies etc. are back but I can't keep 'em around, I'm on a diet, I'll have to eat some peanut butter instead -- wait, what was I saying...? Um, so I'm almost positive that author Ellen Gilchrist is left-handed; not only is she a Pisces, not only is her alter ego Rhoda Manning a Pisces, she makes a point of identifying several of her characters as left-handed. I'd ask Ms. Gilchrist, but I wrote her a fan letter back in the pre-Internet '90s and she never wrote back, and I'm just too damned sensitive to be ignored by this great writer a second time....

My own chart is a practically a calling card that announces my left-handedness: Neptune in the 3rd (Mercury-ruled) house trine Sun, Mars, and Mercury (the latter within a quarter of a degree), sextile my Rising Pluto, separating from a square to Venus in the (Neptune-ruled) 12th house, and widely opposing Saturn. Interestingly, my father, who is also left-handed, also has strong Neptune aspects -- but they are squares, not trines, and he did not flow into the arts as I did. He also had an undiagnosed case of dyslexia (far more common among lefties in Western culture due to conflicting orientation), whereas I was reading at a high-school level by age 6 -- yet my 3rd-house Neptune does mark me as a daydreamer who can easily get disoriented in my local environment. I can also sense funny vibes really fast, and have learned to exit venues and cross the street instead of scoffing at my spidey sense.

Happy Left-Handers' Day! If you are left-handed, I'd love to hear from you about your chart, if you are in the arts, and any other observations you may care to share about living life as a lefty. If you are not a lefty but are romantically involved with one or are the parent of southpaw spawn, I'd also love to hear from you.