New Moon in Cancer: Connection

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But if the present is only a time because it is passing away, how can we say that it exists, since the reason for its existing as time is that it will soon not be, which means we can only say it exists because it is on its way to non-existence?” Augustine, Confessions, Book Eleven, III, 17 (Penguin Classics).

Guess what? Speech has just three basic components: waffle, prattle and wank.

Waffle is making something out of nothing. Prattle is making nothing out of everything. Wank is making everything out of something. Depending on which voice you heed, the evening appearance of the Warrior sky might mean something, everything or nothing. It might portend the end of an Indigenous initiation season; it might illustrate a fundamental observation of the nature of time, that any configuration of the sky first appears before dawn, finally appears after sunset, then disappears into the afternoon; or it might serve as an example of dependent arising, one delusory form among the many snares of human suffering. We say we ‘pay something no mind’ when we simply fail to register it among more pressing concerns, when it doesn’t enter our ‘space’.

Cancer New Wurdi Youang Sky Aug11

Did ancient Australians measure time by the motion of the Sun? When they erected their stone circle on the rise overlooking the river now known as Little River, and invested the West with the significance attested to by the three enigmatic boulders facing the extinct volcanoes of the Anakies in that direction, did they dance to the left, like the inner clockwork of Big Ben? Even primary school children know the loss of country suffered by Indigenous people under colonization, but who appreciates the cultural upheaval of learning to tell the time clockwise?

Cancer New Wurdi Youang Underworld Aug11

Like any map, the stereographic whole-horizon projection can be difficult to orientate. You need only keep in mind that the Earth rotates to the east–that is the very definition of East–then you will instantly see that the stars appear to revolve clockwise around the South Celestial Pole, and anti-clockwise around the North Celestial Pole, unless it’s not the sky’s face we’re looking at, but its body. Look up, and you see the face; look down, at a map of your sky, or through the ground at your Underworld, and you see the body. Furthermore, your face is at the bottom of the chart, and everything over the Prime Meridian is projected upside-down. Tilt your face back far enough from the daytime direction of the Sun and imagine what is going on behind you as the experience of a night sky on the other side. Don’t get it? Perhaps your gamma wave needs some work?

Or try this exercise revealing everything connected to everything else: raise your arms in opposite directions, rotate them in tight circles the same way, and notice that one hand is in clockwise motion and the other anti-clockwise, and that an observer beyond either arm would see the opposite motion to what you think it’s describing. Think about that the next time you query the meaning of retrograde motion, adopt identity or hear your habitual inner voice: perhaps, for example, something is being made out of a prattler’s nothing. And I assure you, on the face of it, any resonance in the influences of exactly opposite stars, the so-called stargates, must be pure wank, since I projected them seven years before the Breamlea Zodiac.

Cancer New Shanghai Aug11

Voices and their words, the concepts they communicate and the behaviours they influence are all embodied in culture, in turn embedded in history, and like the clockwork of Big Ben and the psychology of colonization (and gender for that matter), are coming at you from the opposite side of your face, out in the ageing body of the world into which you were born and cast your narrative. No matter how successful you are in wresting back the clock-face of your heartbeat and breath, the body of time has fossilized your life-span. When you try to share your life, you cannot free it from a narrative the Other creates.

Of course my conjectures are just more waffle, commemorating like a plaque a shared ‘space’ in time, for old and young, ‘right’ and ‘left’, male and female, native and exotic. The fact is, I would waffle you out of your wounds, contrived by the spatialization of time, of displacement and historical injustice, into this time-space I also call ‘Country’, an empty space made of now, pulsating with codependent, reified, numinous historical forms such as the body, the clock, real estate, difference, evil, the mere male and the warrior, the whore and the mother, the psyche, and even consciousness itself.

Behold the reconciliation of separate perspectives, of geographical hemispheres, of consciousness and sleep. The markings on the clocks indicate different ways of going, but the signs are in the same temporal houses. Thus does space wed time, body wed mind, self wed other. “Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve” (John Archibald Wheeler).

Cancer New Paysandu Underworld Aug11

The essence of human existence, which it shares with all animate and so-called inanimate entities, and which Buddhism knows as dependent arising, materialism knows as history, and we all know as culture, is within time, not space. Life is within death. Body is within change. Mind is within experience. Connection is within habit. Death is not a place. Its essence is permanence. Culture is not a structure. Its essence is freedom. Identity is not a thing. Its essence is relationship. The world is not a thing. Its essence is clockwork.

We are beguiled by the prospect of making the world a better place, but we are pinned like dead butterflies to a map, and the market of cultural interchange is located in a cul-de-sac. We embarked long ago on a project of what Fromm called ‘rootedness’ to make all of the categories of existence we could imagine into spaces within themselves. The psyche, once a transcendent identification of life and self, air and breath, became merely a compartment of being along with the body. Community became an assembly of individuals, heredity an arrangement of DNA. The world became a jigsaw-puzzle and death became part of eternal life. Consciousness forgot how to be unconscious. The horizon formed a space, seasons and phases were fixed on calendars, language banished the nameless, heaven was subsumed by distance and light extinguished the night.

This all happened in a period of not more than twenty thousand years. The next twenty thousand years is a mystery which defies compartmentalization, and yet we are already within it. Voyager 1, which was launched half a life-span ago, accompanied by two time capsules, will take twice as long as the spatialization of being to reach the vicinity of the nearest star in its path, but nonetheless is already nearly five times further from us than the outermost planet of our system. It is already beyond our within of light-minutes from Sol, the nearest star. Soon it will be beyond the within of light-hours, but even after forty thousand years, it will still be connected to any descendants still here, and to us now, though we be long dead, by the momentum originating here, in our neighbourhood of heaven.

Cancer New Voyager 1 Transit Parkville Aug11

The spatialization of the alienated self continues apace. “Keep ‘it’ buried in the not-me, and ‘I’ am what remains, blameless, shameless,” is prattle. No, comforting Jeremiah, putting definitions and boundaries in the right context, requires us to embrace time as the essence of self. Every ‘thing’ is indeed not connected to everything else, because ‘everything’ is an error, a closure, a linguistic confusion of ‘is’ and ‘is not’. The land and the inhabitant, the artefact and the commodity, the violater and the victim, each breathe history into the other, but the mantra, ‘always was and always will be’, is an absurdity. Country is not ‘timeless’. It obliges fearless familiarity with change. Whereas separation is emergent in space, connection is emergent in time: the meaning of a foreign language, the lifespan of a cemetery, the scar made out of flesh, the village’s love for the newborn, the faith in whom we have chosen which makes us the right choice, the barely perceptible dying breath of a machine in the silence between stars, and the knowledge of a warrior staring up at someone’s Underworld.

Think of time as waffle, prattle and wank. It is embedded like a signature on the treble clef of speech. The Moon and the stars chant its music, have you noticed, not on the horoscope page, but at the hour you sometimes remember to look out?

Drone Moon in Capricorn July 27-28

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Defined in the end by its disenchanted context, the human self too is inevitably disenchanted. Ultimately it becomes, like everything else, a mere object of material forces and efficient causes: a sociobiological pawn, a selfish gene, a meme machine, a biotechnological artifact, an unwitting tool of its own tools. For the cosmology of a civilization both reflects and influences all human activity, motivation, and self-understanding that take place within its parameters. It is the container for everything else.” Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche [Viking, 2006, p.33].

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, like a satellite without responsibility for its own trajectory. The meanings we have given the Moon’s orbit derive not from its motion, which is straightforward, if subject to gravitational influences and historical violent collisions, but from our perspective. However, not only its elliptical orbit and the inclination of its orbit to Earth’s but their phenomena belong to the body of the world. The Moon’s angular distance from the ‘First Point of Aries’ and its deviation from the Ecliptic are real, and so is its apparent size and phase, though these are not its properties. The law which has always addressed and divided humans, punitive and often aggressive and cruel, is real in the same way. Its initiates are drones; it is inherent in country as a phenomenon, not a property. Country is the body of the world we are made of as we perceive it, or rather create it with our perception and account of ourselves.

To recognize the Constellation of Capricornus in the night sky is to be seduced into an expansion of its proportions. The smallest Zodiac Constellation is also exceedingly dim over cities, but to compensate, it can impose its shape beyond its boundaries, across the entire field of vision, because it is replicated by the stars surrounding it, as the personage inhabits the child who wears an item of its clothing.

Drone in Expansionary Capricornus Mauritius Jul28

The Fish-Goat was placed in the heavens by ancient reverence for duplicity as the birth-pangs of subjective consciousness: for the state of being one thing in the world of aggression and another in the inner space of difference. Capricorn is the symbol of deceit. The fish-goat was fatally flawed: it was ruled by the desire to under-stand the gods. It was obliged to climb out of the waters of oneness with the tides of spirituality to actualize the commands of its god. Sadly, by the time it clambered onto the historical shore, social relations were no longer a chorus of inner voices, but a mime of certainty obtained from the soundless reading of the written word, and the goat-fish could not read. He became a goat, his own body, and lost his mind to goat’s head soup.

To this day, Capricorn in the Breamlea Zodiac continues to resonate with the concern for authenticity which is the hallmark of the present age. As a late summer constellation, a mansion the Southern Sun occupies from January to February, it carries the fifth Sign of Leonine confidence, but as the winter mansion of the Southern Full Moon it also carries the eleventh Sign of Aquarian altruism. It symbolizes our struggle with deceit, life making do with the subordination of care and the subterfuge of being. Gone is the Aquarian impulse to found a harmonious commune—the New Age has morphed into a therapy for addiction and dissent—and gone is the respectability of an inner life immersed in canons of literature and music. The techniques developing today are to affirm identity from hostile country, to give voice which overcomes noise, to colonise public space, to stop hiding, to dream the life, to think the body.

Drone Vertex Lilith Port Louis Jul28

You have been brought here to the Port Louis Casino to observe how these techniques might be more successfully developed and employed on country. For tens of thousands of years the Moon has presented its metaphor for human existence, waxing and waning, emulating the path of the Sun optimistically in winter, soberly in summer, regularly and irresistibly receding and drawing near. Tonight, by remote control, we are synchronized with the Moon’s eclipse at apogee. What can we learn from the Moon’s survival of bombardment of our own experience of persecution by the world? Can we emerge from violence non-violently? Can we slough the fishtail of an eye for an eye, pause in the struggle for existence on the stony paths of goathood to enjoy ourselves, without creating enemies of mind and body, self and world, instinct and expertise? Can we create country in our own beautiful image? Can we both empty and own our body, its eccentricity, obliquity and remote-control eclipse?

Drone Nhill Sky

The good people of Nhill have set the standard for living on country. All you need to know is how to put yourself on the map, obliquely perhaps, but always with good grace. We’re all winging it, aren’t we?

‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I’ll tell you! We have killed him – you and I! We are all his murderers. But how did we do this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving to now? Where are we moving to? Away from all suns? Are we not continually falling? And backwards, sidewards, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an up and a down? Aren’t we straying as though through an infinite nothing? Isn’t empty space breathing at us? Hasn’t it got colder? Isn’t night and more night coming again and again? Don’t lanterns have to be lit in the morning? Do we still hear nothing of the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we still smell nothing of the divine decomposition?…’”
Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Book 3, §125, “The madman” [Trans. Josefine Nauckhoff, Cambridge University Press, 2001].

Drone Nhill Underworld

“…It’s not anger that I feel towards the two of you, it’s something much, much worse.
It’s pity.
You have no empathy for your fellow man, and you clearly have no idea what love is.
So you have nothing.” Anthony Maslin.

“…To be different/ imperfect/ not normal is scary.
To be different/ imperfect/ not normal in a world where everyone projects ‘perfect’ is a fear

I tell my story here to confront that fear.
To show the world who I am.
I am Grief. This is me. Grief is me.
To look at me is to see your own fear reflected back at you.
To look at me is to also see strength.
The strength of us all.
All of those who stand behind me.
The strength of my fathers and grandmothers.
An ancient strength.
The strength of my land.
My land of burnt umber and dry sand.
The strength of laterite and million year old tears.
The strength of the broken who rebuilt.

What do you see when you look at the bully?” Rin Norris.

I see stars. I see someone controlled by the body. I see a drone.

New Moon in Gemini: Own Your Own Shit

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“Anxiety is the first experience of our freedom, as a freedom from things and other people. It is a freedom to begin to become myself. Anxiety is perhaps the philosophical mood par excellence, it is the experience of detachment from things and from others where I can begin to think freely for myself. Yet, as Heidegger was very well aware, anxiety is also a mood that is powerfully analysed in the Christian tradition, from Augustine to Kierkegaard, where it describes the self’s effort to turn itself, to undergo a kind of conversion. Heidegger’s difference with Christianity is that the self’s conversion is not undergone with reference to God, but only in relation to death….” Simon Critchley.

Astrology’s conversion is undergone by gender and the mind/body duality with reference to the Antipodes, (complete with continents of obscuring cloud), where planets are in opposite signs and houses, but the houses carry the same signs.

Gemini New Bordertown Antipodes Jul13

Bordertown in South Australia is in fact some 17 km from the Victorian border as the crow flies, but it is perfectly named as a location demonstrating another border, between the adaptive attitudes and habits of consciousness and the reactive, instinctive moods of the body’s interpretation of its existence in the world, which together form identity, the emptiness of Country. At the stroke of New Moon, the Signs and angles of Bordertown’s Underworld are in perfect harmony with the hours across the border in the Northern Hemisphere, and Death speaks with its customary ambivalence.

Gemini New Transit Bordertown Jul13

It is in response to the awareness of finitude that we show ourselves who we are. There are many ways our body can seduce us into evasion of this awareness, by consoling us with belonging to something timeless, eternal salvation in religious and secular ways. Are we making the world a better place? Are we following the rules which screen entry to Heaven? Does anything really matter? Is not pleasure an end in itself? These are some of the voices which call us to forget the anxiety of the anticipation of annihilation. These are some of the roadmaps we overlay on country to separate ourselves from it, and to make it traversable.

Bordertown tells us, on the other hand, that whether we are emerging from the waters of Lethe into an interlude of imaginative indolence or determined withdrawal, instinct is locating the necessity to identify gratitude as the harmonious well of our calling. This world is not a thing, it is me! I made it; I am made of it. It is not a departure point to another one. The future is no different from the past: both have no existence other than right here, in me, in the only world there is, mine, lived with you.

Ah, relationship. “We are lovers, that is a fact” (Bowie). In a social reality dominated by discrimination, judgement and projection, relationship is in theory a connectedness which overcomes meaninglessness and loneliness, but in practice it reveals more than we want to know, engaging identity in constant trench-warfare against misunderstanding. Just who is the person your lovers and friends are in relationship with? Is your Shadow your shit or theirs, and whose, if theirs?

Gemini New Jerusalem Antipodes Jul13

Somewhere out of mind in the South Pacific, the invisible Underworld sky of the spiritual home of the Abrahamic religions affirms what most martyrs still breathing acquire, the spiritual materialism of immortality; but with a decided lean by nightfall, the idea of a covenant, like the heritage churches of rural Australia, which are struggling to stay standing, let alone provide financial compensation to victims of historical clerical sexual abuse, has passed its use-by date this year as a source of meaning, if we ever had the imagination to make it one in these secular postmodern times.

Gemini New Jerusalem Jul13

At dawn up at home, however, it is the vain queen Cassiopeia who is faded from the sky, her chair lodged in the branches of the elm at the entrance to Hades, like the morning-after evidence of a rowdy party. The Jerusalem Signs, identically mirrored in its autonomous underworld body, bode ill for the likelihood of a resolution of sectarian conflict coming from mutual understanding and respect. What really happened seems as elusive as what is really happening, in this cloakroom of multiple tickets for the same baggage.

Yes, it is relationship which tears our world apart. The British vote for their right to autonomy, but baulk at complete separation. The Americans bring the World Order crashing down around our ears, but our protests contain no inkling of faith in the World Order’s capability to develop solutions to the unemployment of children and grandchildren ejected from automated workplaces and failed states. The reallocation of Australian aid to Palestine through the United Nations provokes a reaction revealing political Islam’s belief in spitting on people. The endorsement of same-sex marriage in Australia precipitates debate about religious freedom, to which the Social Services Minister adds the insight, “We have not realised Martin Luther King’s dream of a society where you are judged by the content of your character, not the colour of your skin. Instead we have woken up to a nightmare where the value of your contribution to a debate depends on what you claim to be a victim of.”

But peppering the news on all these fronts of our alarm come daily reports of irresponsible masculinity: murder, rape, assault and adolescent aggression and criminality. Before we have agreed on the evolutionary value of anger and aggression, it might well be geneticists who solve the problem by doing away with masculinity altogether, but in the meantime, what is it we are initiating our men into, global or local, community or game, grievance or responsibility? Undoubtedly, we need to equip ourselves with an authentic grasp of our own emotions, as the custodians of the world body into which our children insert their consciousness, and if we have no idea how the heroism of the Tham Luang cave was formed, perhaps an historical cultural practice of the Australian First Nations can nudge us in the right direction.

Drone Warrior Sky Northcote Jul13

The Warrior Sky is the name I have given to the configuration of the Milky Way when it arcs in a straight line over our heads from southwest to northeast with its awesome centre, in the last degree of Breamlea Zodiac Scorpio (currently at tropical longitude 27Sgr6), near the zenith (Melbourne BZ longitude 23Sco11, tropical 20Sgr38). In this article, in Australian Archaeology, No. 77, Fuller, Hamacher and Norris (2013) present evidence of Aboriginal initiation sites being aligned with this configuration, as a result of its vertical presentation of the Emu. The opposite configuration which I have called the Wanderer Sky, extinguished by sunlight at this time of year, features the upright Emu rising vertically in the southeast, but its body is too close to the horizon in Australia to be seen. Is there a hidden message to non-Aboriginal initiates about gender and responsibility in the upside-down appearance of the Emu emblem in the southwest?

Perhaps, hidden in our bodily awareness, the physical impact of the world we interpret through the cultural lens imposed by generations of ancestors through our parents, there is an emptiness of meaning our sons can use to disarm anger, hostility and aggression. Perhaps the upside-downness of the Emu means nothing.

Emu Wurdi Youang Last Visibility Autumn 3150BCE

Vertical Emu, Wurdi Youang, 3150 BCE

Boys, can you find the temporal emptiness of your bodily imperatives, your aggressive reactions to disappointment and disability, your intimidatory expression of frustration and anger, your malignant resentment of your displacement from the pedestal of worship? The essence of responsibility is to own the shit of others. Look to the Underworld, the Other Side. You will soon have a lot of time to do so.

Drone Progress White Northcote

Local Sidereal Time 17:19:22

Girls of the Northern Hemisphere, observe your animus downunder, and girls everywhere, in the bodies of boys, own your own shit.

Zealot Moon in Sagittarius

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And wash thy white thigh, beautiful God,
In the moon, of the woods, on the marble mount… Crowley, Hymn to Pan

To give each emotion a personality, and a soul to every mood! The girls came around the bend in a large group. They sang as they walked, and the sound of their voices was happy. I don’t know who or what they might be. I listened to them for a time from afar, without a feeling of my own, but a feeling of sorrow for them impressed itself on my heart. For their future? For their unconsciousness? Not directly for them, and perhaps, after all, only for me.” Pessoa, The Book Of Disquiet.

Chorus: We are the voices trying to make sense. Interesting expression, isn’t it? No, the Zealot is not your enemy, but still a dangerous fool. While Sol completes her ritual cleansing in the history fade of the Lethe, Chaos rules, except in the heart of the Zealot, who crosses the Acheron in such emotional pain as to defy description. If we have welcomed you to our people with the rape and murder of your daughter, or your son it was who defiled our world in that act, you know the Zealot’s pain. It is shame: there will never be an end to the suffering of innocents while he continues to cause it, and he can do no other. He is driven by animosity to the identity we have moulded for him: his mind is unhinged from ours; his heart is in his brain, not our mind. The underworld is a dangerous place: the brain makes our body, and it is visible.

Zealot Machu Picchu South Jun27

Forget the tour leader and the bus driver, ignore the American tourists. How beautiful is this? Would you rather listen to the tour guide’s explanation of the way the Milky Way turns, be left alone to discover this intriguing synchronicity for yourself, or just go back to the hotel and get warm? For ages I was a man, then in a small pocket of the human imagination a woman. Recently, above an infinitesimally small outcrop of sedimentary rock in Terra Nullius, I have been restored to masculinity, but an emasculated masculinity, reflecting with counterfeit beauty the life-force of the feminine, trying forlornly to outshine her. And yet, looking at me high over your head, can you have lost all amazement that I do not fall on you? I am an ancient symbol of polarity and duality but I will overcome inequality. I will transcend gender. Men, together, we can restore our beauty.

Chorus: The Zealot is a voice inside you, another voice claiming with overwhelming justification to be yours, but calling you to be Other, with no other power than yours to be, Other, here. It is not a will to meaning per se, but a persistence of meaning through the consciously bewildering bombardment of the ego by meaningless objective relativity: the possibility of instinctive truth, but a truth resisted by complacent social identity unto death. The Zealot campaigns for the body against the sovereignty of the social. The Zealot is in the body of the world, your sky. It is none other than the will to live, the autonomy of the organism. Awareness of the Zealot has its equivalent in our consciousness of geography: it’s called the Antipodes, and its sky, reflecting ours, illustrating the duality of Signs, provides an opportunity for us to evade the trap of fixed identity, whether imposed by ourselves or others.

Zealot Wanderer Lomphat Jun28

If not in your gaze I am a rock with 0.120 albedo. You are required to notice that I am getting older, my teeth falling out, my waist thickened, my breasts and buttocks drooping, and to find that beautiful. It took the greatest minds of the modern age to understand my mechanics, but it only takes you to make me beautiful. I am a sports car hurtling through a deserted alley, and I am not to blame for nearly hitting you when you appear out of nowhere.

Chorus: It is the age we have arrived in, that Solstice Full Moons bring widespread confusion of the mind. We are apt to believe that opposites are reconciled within systems, transgression is a schism like the parting of the Red Sea, and dismantling narratives leaves us with something to be. We are not astounded by the approach of Venus to Regulus after another eight years, because that is just the way things are, in the Solar System. Woe to the Goddess of Love and Beauty, voided by mathematics! What has happened to our hearts since 2010, and will they be filled with the joy of intimacy by 2026? No, the condition of the heart does not depend on a system, of compatibilities or irreconcilable differences, but on whether or not the discovery of Beauty and constant reverence for it have transformed chemistry into astonishment and gratitude.

Zealot Palm Springs South Jun27

If you have ever talked to somebody so close it was really yourself you were conversing with, and if ever one night you have found nobody there, or she was asleep, then you may have been praying, or heard, in a social vacuum, your ancestors, giving voice to the body of the world. It’s a way the universal brain has of reassuring our mind that madness is normal, like the Chorus in Greek tragedy. You call it God.

Zealot Palm Springs Antipodes Jun27

Chorus: The universe is conscious, except not a mind but a body like ours, controlled by a brain we call the laws of physics. Only beauty can create universal mind, in its beholding. We are not here to be elsewhere. And yet elsewhere is here; unconsciously regulated by the brain. That bodily function is peculiar to you, not your identity, but merely a constant refining and adapting of your organism to your affect on the world and its affect on you, a correction of mistakes and a rearguard action on behalf of yesterday against who would swap healing for beauty. The more you trash beauty, the more habitual become both the impossibility of intimacy and the reinforcement of your doubt in yourself.

Zealot Warrior Rome Jun28

A woman once thanked me for giving her back her body. I now know that she was inadvertently giving me mine. In every moment that men shine, half of their wives are shining elsewhere, but incessantly active in a warrior’s sleeping body. Tomorrow in Rome, the warrior awakens at first light. Let him remember the ineffable beauty of his white thigh as it disappears down the rabbit-hole of hers. It is the country we came from.

Sporting bikini girls

Bikini Mosaic, Villa Romana del Casale, Photo by Bernard Muir

Chorus: We make only metaphorical claim that the arms of the Milky Way are rivers of Hades, and ever were so regarded, and that the orientation of the galaxy influences human behaviour, and that the crossing of the galactic plane by the Sun, Moon and planets, invisible in daylight, bright moonlight and light pollution, has an effect on us as social beings. Coincidences of position and configuration do have the potential to enthral. The current production is intended to entertain—is meaning anything else?—and why shouldn’t we entertain ourselves with synchronicities of human behaviour and perspective that can enthral? Self is country, which is embodied emptiness. We leave the stage now as the Covenant of the upright Cross begins its annual extinction in daylight.

Zealot Last Dark Kyrie Breamlea Jun28

You have twelve nights to give body to the embrace of the goddess of beauty and the venomous Little King, but half a year to make tangible what terrain may lie between the Lethe and the Acheron. Better get to it!

Are we down a rabbit hole? Are there emotional vampires here? Am I one? Are you strong enough to be my woman, werewolf?

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!” Rudyard Kipling, “If—“.

“Who cares for you?” said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland.

Populism: New Moon in Taurus

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“…can you remember the last time life felt long or kind, or like it was yours and mine?” Maria Tumarkin, Axiomatic.

In the beginning was country, and then when gods learned language, the Word. In the end it may be Neurolinguistics. Most of us get our first glimpse of country when our child’s eyes begin to see who we are not, and we begin to embrace a role on their stage, sitting in the darkened audience. As I’ve said, I am in it when it is what will vanish with my death, but when I drive through the rent wilderness of suburbs under construction I recognize a future country in which I am absent, in which my sense of the beauty of these new emptinesses, these fraught playgrounds of a new generation, is absent too.

Taurus New Lismore Jun14

Like all New Moons which occur in the second fortnight of a tropical month, this one sets the psyche on a path to enlightenment which will resonate to rumblings in the underworld affecting its impetus and destination. Just as we experience the transformation of a project’s potential according to the attitude we bring to it, which changes from day to day, hour to hour, the Moon’s orbit and ours can never be pinned down. This month begins on the Gemini-Sagittarius tropical axis but in five days the Sun will enter sidereal Gemini (in the Breamlea Zodiac), at 87.45° ecliptic longitude (next year 87.46° etc.), or a smidgeon wider than a finger-width east of Alheka; in eight days, it will change its tropical stripes to Cancer-Capricorn. These are geometric conventions.

Of course, none of this is visible, and if the point has to made, nothing is. Not the Earth’s motion, or even the apparent diurnal motion of the Sun, though we notice it in different parts of the sky. At least we see the Sun, you might say, and of course that phrase, ‘we see the Sun’ has meaning; there is a seeing happening, it cannot be denied. But who is doing it is a linguistic convention, and so is what is being seen. All things, including the identity of the seer, are made facts by language. Beyond what we can say about ourselves and the entities of our existence, there is emptiness, nothing which can be put into words.

Taurus New Beirut Jun13

And put into words it is, -Isms of every stripe. Muhammad said: “No, carry on doing good deeds, for everyone will find it easy (to do) such deeds that will lead him towards that for which he has been created.” (Surah al-Lail 92:5-7.) There is a holiness about the Good, when the words of one’s inner voice are echoing in the soul of millions. The intersectionality of social forces invokes a call to arms, but first sociology has wrapped the warrior in its embrace of intelligent design, its Night of Power. The appeal of submission to ‘respair’ is seductive. Kierkegaard had a good crack at defining despair, as the failure to obey one’s calling, and what could be more crippling than to hear none, to inherit the silence of the Omniscient, to be busy, constrained, obedient and good, to be free, to have an identity, to shout anything in the emptiness of finitude, to be the Word of no god?

They say that populism, defined as an appeal to the spirit of a people to revolt against the rule of an elite, began to mushroom in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. I might equally say, for the sake of argument, that its first rumblings began in 1998, ten years earlier, and isn’t it the way of awareness, to take ten years from trendy epiphany to filter into the lowest social strata? Isn’t it the organism’s way of enhancing its existence, protecting itself and maintaining homeostasis, to notice a change, to instinctively react, and to modify its operation according to the responses it generates?

Forgetting Winter Solstice Clock Gladstone 1998

Be that as it may, the crossing of the rivers of Hades is another factor which complicates the passage of this Moon to Opposition. Of course it means nothing to the elite, just another superstition, like ‘the spirit of the people’, or the collective unconscious. ‘As above, so below,’ what a lot of ‘rubbish’, (not in the least ‘cheeky’). The common people can’t even see the stars these days, let alone the Milky Way. Wouldn’t that mean, ‘extinguished above, collectively unconscious below’? But it can surely be admitted to have passing mathematical interest, that the nodes where galactic equator and ecliptic intersect, while increasing in longitude by 180° in 13,000 odd years, haven’t noticeably changed in galactic perspective.

Miserere Jericho 10088 BCE

It’s really quite amazing that, although absolutely everybody through the ages has reacted angrily to trespass across their boundaries, which the shamans, astronomers and philosophers have always been trusted to arbitrate—even marginality has status—that the science of change is still without a myth in which we can live separately and respectfully in an enlightened Now connecting us to the vivid lives of our ten thousand generations of beauty and truth.

Kyrie Ruma 1300BCE

If I wrote that during the Late Bronze Age the shamans of Thrace drew power from the convergence of two phenomena, the summer to autumn procession overhead of the ancestors in a straight line joining due east and west, and their orderly winter to spring return to the underworld, and that during the Iron Age a great schism developed between those migrating northward to preserve the power of the former and the others migrating southward to preserve the power of the latter, according to the direction the roof of heaven was moving, you would interpret it as fantasy. If, on the other hand, I asserted that Neolithic awareness of celestial change was reassured by the faith that explanations were possessed by specialists who could thereby justify their status and upkeep, you might accept that as a confabulation of the birth of metallurgy and astrology, or of the emergence of propaganda in the service of political exploitation, in short, populism.

Miserere Ruma 1300BCE

Tropical astrology has largely succeeded in confounding the intellect to the extent that most associate their ‘birth-signs’, which the popular press has portrayed as fundamental to their personalities, with the asterisms of the same name, and the association of the Constellations with the seasons, which 2000 years ago was so real to Ptolemy, has been mystified, with the end result that even when we’re reading our horoscope on the train, we’re on the outside looking in.

NGP Transit Athens Year Dot

It took until quite recently to insert emotion into economic value. Zoe Williams has written about anger cycles and Kondratiev Waves: “Anger is remarkable not in and of itself, but when it becomes so widespread that it feels like the dominant cultural force.”
“The causes documented by Kondratiev waves, primarily include inequity, opportunity and social freedoms; although very often, much more discussion is made of the notable effects of these causes as well.  Effects are both good and bad and include, to name just a few, technological advance, birthrates, revolutions/populism—and revolution’s contributing causes which can include racism, religious or political intolerance, failed-freedoms and opportunity, incarceration rates, terrorism and similar.” {Wikipedia, Kondratiev Wave.) Are cycles of this kind self-regulating, or are the shamans still with us, filling us with righteous indignation at trespass of boundaries whose limits they continue to control with cultural indoctrination? Are we pawns in a war amongst shamans, or are we merely oblivious to how easy our instincts are to hack for a living? Perhaps the revolution has arrived, but I think not. Love is not in the air, so it’s much more likely that the anger boiling around us is simply paying shamans’ wages.

The ancestors are indeed alive and well in the bardo, as attested to by today’s sensitivity towards cultural appropriation, and perhaps it is out of reverence for such wisdom as, “It never rains at a Full Moon”, that a few of us pay astrology heed. On the other hand, the resilience of the ancestors may show in the inheritance of chirality, or the danceability of songs of woe and forgetting. And while you’re rummaging in the Underworld for the voice of Harpocrates, what a child means with a finger deserves a rethink.

 

Dilettante Moon in Scorpio

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The Journey

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. 
T.S.Eliot, Four Quartets.

It was just an offhand suggestion, and a trip I have made many times–just up the road, as my father would describe a ten-hour drive to Meekatharra–but I am prepared and packed, and the boys next door, who seemed to leap at the idea, are nowhere near ready and don’t seem at all perturbed. If we don’t leave soon, we’ll get there in the middle of the night!

Dilettante Moon Clock Cooktown May30

Just doing a last check, patting my wallet, as it were, I discover I don’t have my phone. Where is it? Not there, or there … when did I last have it? Something strange is beginning to happen to me: I can’t for the life of me remember when I last had it! Instead of running around in circles like a mad thing, just remember what you were doing when you had it last. I can’t. I’m like a little boy: I just can’t.

In England, visiting my dying stepfather, and realizing Mum’s unpreparedness was the real reason they had paid for the trip, I read her the funny letter in her magazine which proved she wasn’t the only one. When people get older, they spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter. Going from one room to the other, they ask themselves, what am I here after? Boredom is the soul of relativity.

The boys arrive, and I’m distraught. This isn’t supposed to happen. Without my phone, I’ll be as helpless as they, who’ve never been before, will be. The woman steps in, and makes a call. Next minute I’m talking to Sue, from the insurance, who doesn’t think this is at all unusual, and will furnish me, right now, with a temporary replacement, run me through it, help me with police statements if necessary. She’s very calming, but deep down, I know chaos: I can’t remember anything! I’ve checked every pair of trousers I own, every jacket, outside and inside pockets, even though I wouldn’t have been wearing any of them: I was at work. Ah!

It’s all a bit of a dream. Will the charger for this phone work in my car? Is this my car? Is my charger in it? Which car are we taking? Why are we going down Rathdowne St? Sue is so nice. She doesn’t have a customer service manner, just seems to be intimate with everything I’m not. Did I check my taxi uniform? Should we go back? Sure enough, the taxi depot guy has a carton with my stuff in it, the contents of a shift, including my phone and charger and paperwork not done. The owner sits in the back. Not the end of the world, seems to be his attitude.

Did I get robbed, I ask. The cab’s fine. Was it a blow on the head? Getting my phone back doesn’t solve anything. The past is blank.

 

What would it be like to turn ritual inside out? If people didn’t begin to grow up until they were old enough for their children to look after them? If habit and expertise were an exoskeleton and experience and meaning a dream? If the law was a ceremony made of sign-posts? Does a priest have someone to upgrade his phone plan? How would priests like it if people spoke to each other as they do to priests? What if there were a woman to take charge for every Imam, she proceeding on his journey while he lived in another world, incompetent, asleep? What if reality were only a five percent swing away and twitterbots were hacking practice in kindergarten? What if I were a murnong in a sheep run and kangaroos ruled the world?

Dilettante Moonset Robe May30

What will happen about the replacement phone? It’s ok, the woman explains, you’ve made the minimum four calls, and that waives the formalities. It’s my cab we’re going to drop it off in. I recognize it, but the day-driver doesn’t seem as though he’s ever driven before. At the lights, he starts bashing that bit of unstuck moulding on the dash with a steel rod from my carton, wrecking the cab in front of the owner. The boys are laughing and talking with him in another language.

And now we’re in Brunswick Rd, at the construction, and he’s missed the detour that sticks out like dog’s balls and driven straight into the fenced yard. Blithely, he backs out into a wall of oncoming traffic. Look over your shoulder, I tell him, like a supervisor. He doesn’t. Miraculously, there is no impact, and we’re on our way to the airport. The owner and I exchange the sign of the finger across the throat.

Life is a journey: Carlton to Tullamarine with a cabbie who puts personality into his driving, because you know the way; Tullamareena’s journey as mainmet through hostile country after release for not understanding English; Chinese journeys from Cooktown to the Palmer River goldfield terminating in the fork of an ironbark hung by the pigtail for ‘Ron; Airlie Beach to Cooktown intersecting with 350,000 comfortable daily trajectories; A Day Out With Thomas ten days ago with two fledgling migrant train-driver apprentices from Melbourne. All a dream. A recharge of the phone.

I wonder what I’ll be when I grow up? A statue of Captain Cook, or the last Orange-Bellied Parrot. I want to be unique, doing something nobody’s heard of, and be really good at it. I want my own space, but where everybody is always happy. Perhaps I can discover that I’m an ugly duckling, a gorgeous swan to cuckold Tyndareus, or model bikinis with my tip-tilted breasts. Could I possibly continue in the direction my journey has led me thus far? I can’t seem to find it. Have my opportunities dried up like shingles at low-tide, or are there as many as there always were, but now they’re disconnected from forgotten dreams? Why is every upturned face so vacant? Over the hills and far away … I wish I had stored Sue’s number. With her I could keep going. She makes empty country benign. She’s the Centre. She’s an original.

Dilettante Moonrise Parkville May30

Only one member of the Burke and Wills Expedition, John King, made the return to Melbourne. The others died, but King was cared for by some Yandruwandha people. While searching for the missing expedition along the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1862, William Landsborough buried some supplies in the hope the missing explorers might find them, and carved the word, ‘Dig’ into the trunk of a eucalypt. The tree was Heritage listed, but destroyed by ‘vandals’ in 2002. By the time King died, inland Australia was crawling with whitefellas and their cattle.

The Beginning.

Opportunism: New Moon in Aries

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Is life a journey? Does one day, month or year to another measure a distance, or does duration just go around in circles like the hands of a clock? What is this mysterious ‘Now’ the self continuously inhabits? Does it transcend time, or is it a piece in the journey’s jigsaw-puzzle? Is it ‘Country’? Is it emptiness? Is it no more than the struggle for existence between birth and death, or a moment of emergent Being as it learns and actualizes the interplay of an infinite array of evolving controls? A serious question: are you conscious or unconscious? In 17 days it will be 140 years since a ship’s apprentice by the name of Tom Pearce rescued Eva Carmichael, around 2 hours before a New Moon in Taurus, the only other survivor of the wreck of the Loch Ard. (No, they did not marry–read this eerie story, by Tony Wright, at the Sydney Morning Herald.)

Aries New Loch Ard Gorge May15

A similar configuration of the southern stars is visible all over Eastern Australia. Come on, quit your studies and social media conformity, and bow with me to hear the Kyrie, at journey’s end. Along the Shipwreck Coast an estimated 638 journeys ended in tragedy. I’m afraid you’re staging for a free-kick if you can’t budge from your ideological opposition to the invasion which resulted from the courage of your ancestors lucky to get here to spawn you. Our lives are a complicated mechanism, and if truth be acknowledged, we are a little rusty. We have too many conflicting theories of how it works, and as many therapies for its repair in situ, but having eliminated religion and sympathetic magic, even applying objective understanding to the emotions, we find the mechanism lacking in an essential input, the lubricant of communion, the sense of shared energy within, and the security of being another’s Thou which comes with the faith that we can get inside each other.

Man needs vengeance like a tired person needs a bath.” (Baudelaire.) The ‘Realm of Hungry Ghosts‘, represented in my charts as the Houses occupied by the Sun when we’re usually asleep, is always operating in us unconsciously, and if you’re stuck with an insatiable desire for revenge, an unshakable belief that you could be the person you want to be if someone’s actions hadn’t denied the possibility forever, or you can’t help loving it when you see another person suffering, you may need to enhance your conscious connection with where your dreams come from. Try closing your eyes in a public place and imagining there is no way of measuring how far away the hubbub is; or try in conversation to be the person your interlocutor thinks you to be.

Here is a chart which represents where the European invaders on the Loch Ard might have thought they were on the morning of their death so far from home.

Loch Ard Ecliptic

The New Moon was soon to occur in Gemini, but there was nothing Springlike in the fog in which their journey ended, and no familiar Zodiac was lurking in the southern sky anyway. Woe at the Vertex (though it hadn’t been invented yet) was not an auspicious sign, but otherwise the portents for their new life in Terra Nullius seemed favourable enough. However, a local perspective tells a different story.

Loch Ard Equatorial

Sun and Moon were not highlighting the Ascendant House at all, but the Animal Realm, where taking yourself too seriously on awakening is a natural cover for ignorance, but it may have been the retrograde motion of dauntless Jupiter in relativist Capricorn and the idealist hunger of Cancer that did them in. Perhaps you should try to imagine this was you, but you should definitely eliminate the intergenerational trauma of not finding the Zodiac when you look to the south.

Aries New Kalgoorlie May15

Back to 2018, when the IAC and tropical astrology agree that the May New Moon occurs in Taurus (1° and 14.6° respectively), but I have the Sun 2½ days away in Breamlea Aries. The important thing is to know where we are, and that is definitely not in a seasonal quarter neatly divisible by three. Deep Winter in Victoria arrives in a week, but it came early, didn’t it? Not only Southern Hemisphere Astrology believes that Kalgoorlie ego and mood are contiguous in the Bardo Realm of Hell, but arcane powers as well.

Aries New Shanghai May15

The Bardo Houses are identical on the same meridian north or south of the Equator, a facticity of profound interest to forces for integration and harmonious difference. You may imagine what use in diplomacy might be made of knowing the unconscious mood of entire populations, and being able to project it from your own experience. Furthermore, I am not the only one who has established that the Houses are opposite on the same meridian the other side of the geographic poles.

Aries New Paysandu May15

In the age of artificial intelligence and psychological and virtual warfare, these elements of Being have not gone unnoticed. Moscow’s meridian passes through the Middle East, Washington’s through Cuba and Ecuador. I believe I am at the forefront of incorporating elements of Australian Indigenous wisdom in my self-examination, formatting Milky Way configurations with the cardinal directions of Country, but I cannot be at all sure of that.

To succeed in life you must assert yourself. Don’t worry about who your self is–it’s a passive, defeatist predilection to think of life as a set of rules to obey, or a race you’re not winning, especially if you’ve retired hurt. Life is not a straight line, but cycles within cycles, circles intersecting incongruent circles, and you must always be ready, like a fox evading the hounds, to leap sideways, from one merry-go-round to another, one treadmill to another. Opportunism is a characteristic of the ground of being. If you reflect on your addictions, you will know how opportunistically they multiply their positive reinforcements.

So you don’t have to look painfully for some kind of stepping-stone; instead, a stepping-stone presents itself in your life. You have the confidence to start on the first thing that is available within your experience—if you know the geography or road map of developmental psychological structures.
…If you try to create something by will, you have to use accidents as a way of channeling yourself.”
(Chögyam Trungpa, Transcending Madness.)

BARDO

Unconstrained by ego’s besieged battlements, the midnight mind

Hurls its toys against a nursery wall daubed

With experiments in defecation.

Try as noon might to wrest behaviour from dream

Boredom never surrenders

the puppet-strings of meaning.

 

[On May 19, when the Sun enters Taurus, until July 25, when it will be in Cancer, the nightfall Sun (12° below the horizon) will be in the House of Self-Improvement at the latitude of Melbourne. The naked-eye Breamlea First Crescent of Opportunism will be at 18:05 on May 17, but the Moon, in Taurus, will be in the House of Fear. At nightfall, 6° above the horizon, it will occupy its rightful place in the House of Self-Improvement. The nightfall Sun will be in House VII (Aggression) until Full Moon in Sydney (Campbelltown)-Margaret River, and all Lunar Month above Port Macquarie-Yanchep. Make hay while the sun shines.]

Sensualist Moon in Libra

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Looking south past the Pepper Coast above the South Atlantic Ocean, this is the view at the moment of Full Moon an hour after midnight: a sensual delight for the average person, perhaps signifying nothing, but more fancifully, a portentous conjunction of Moon and Jupiter above an horizon glistening with the reflection of riotous fires in the eyes of bewildered children.

Sensualist Moon Conakry Apr30

Why complicate it? If you recognize the Maiden’s asterism, the Full Moon is at her foot. Does it actually make life meaningful to recognize myths traced in the night sky thousands of years ago by foreign cultures?

Sensualist Moon Guinea Apr30

These are good questions, and I have to ask myself whether astrology is more than a narcissistic obsession. Take the prominent constellations of Centaurus and Lupus for example. In my imagination, they are emblematic of the root of the historical conflict between British settlers and the Australian First Nations. Someone half-human is killing either a kangaroo or a sheep.

From my equal divisions of the Ecliptic, I place the Moon in Libra, the scales of colonial justice, and the Sign of Taurus, which after all, is not as ridiculous as placing it in the Scorpion, as Northern Hemisphere tropical astrology does. Astronomical definitions also place the Moon in Libra, but do hemispheric seasonal differences, mathematics and geometry make what a child might see more real?

Sensualist Moon Conakry Clock Apr30

The astrological chart of tropical Conakry, a place sadly organized at the moment by hate-speech not civility, is crowded with ambiguity. The declinations of Zodiac Constellations in this representation determine their signs, accordingly as they appear in the northern or southern sky, but like language, the meanings of astrology should not be regarded strictly in terms of syntax. That my words are usually interpreted to mean something utterly different from my intention, that the world is empty of intrinsic meaning, and that I refer to things constructed by my mind alone, do not deter my instinct to share my feelings, and nor should they, within reason.

All things and all beings are without self, but they are not non-existent. Sensation is one of the aggregates to which we may attach ourselves in suffering, but as long as we live, we are all sensualists, using our senses to interpret our experience. For the true sensualist who does not cling to the forms of a reality delivered by the senses, the world of the senses is, like poetry and music, a symphony of pleasurable emptiness. Sensuality is the language of things without self. This Moon is such a thing.

Of course, sensualism has its pitfalls. It values the passions over abstract ideas, and that can lead to recklessness. It attaches itself to presence, and has a hard time subtracting its ears from its symphony of constant need. It is readily convicted of narcissism, and bending cognition to its will, can create a prison cell from solitary practice in its body temple. It is difficult in practice to delight in another’s beauty if you’re attached to your own, and intimacy can be denied a being resentful of neediness.

Sensualist Moon Innamincka Country Apr30

However, sensuality is a song of joy in response to finitude, and not to be pathologized by the intellect. Notwithstanding the invisibility of the Moon of sensuality in the landscape encircled by the rivers of Hades a short charter flight from her embarkation at Birdsville–remember civility?–our voluptuous heroine is its embodiment on her mission to introduce to the women of  Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka Country the principles of Tantra so entrancing to the men of Birdsville.

Have you ever flown the length of East Coast Australia, marvelled at the patchwork of farms below you, and wondered beyond your horror at the deforestation of Aboriginal Country, how many lifetimes of displaced labour were dedicated to clearing by axe and handsaw, grubbing and ploughing those fields? In such manner marvels a wellness guide on her way to lunch past a group of Aboriginal men, sprawling in meagre shade in a dry creek-bed, apparently sharing a flagon in a forlorn attempt at spirituous escape from appalling conditions.

Below, in a nutshell, is the sensualist view of Innamincka Country. Civility is the entrance to Hell. But epiphany is a wondrous thing, a sudden inexplicable simplification of the neural pathways between instinct and reason, intuition and inference, occasioned by nothing more urgent than the discomfort of riding over deep corrugations in a hard-suspensioned 4WD. Our heroine suddenly realizes how comfortable that Aboriginal backside feels up against its tree. And in this moment, ladies and gentlemen, she understands what ‘Country’ means. She is in it!

Sensualist Moon Innamincka Clock Apr30

Her husband, not unfortunately on the other side of the world, would never understand: such a narcissist! Sensualists are what they are aware of, and deep in her body temple our heroine is aware of her dreams. Without the auspicious epiphany from deep within her organizing principle, she might have been in considerably less favourable frame of mind to guide the spirits of a group of Aboriginal women, because the dream she had this morning, when the Sun was in the Tenth House, was a fight to the death with her abusive husband, a disturbingly brutal fight resulting in vividly gruesome injuries to him, traumatically never enough to change his murderous intent.

Life is full of organizing principles, as any astrologer will tell you, and at this very moment, at the conclusion of today’s proceedings of the ecological convention he is attending in Brazil, not in the slightest interested in dreams, but practised in the arcane arts of interpreting the organizing principles of populations, her husband is feeling quite at home with the Southern Cross.

Sensualist Moon Nova Vicosa Country Apr29

No doubt when he gets home it will be back to the contingent bitter resentment which blights his life. If only she had an interest in the world. Without an interest, we are assailed by boredom. Of that statistically undeniable organizing principle he is aware. His wife’s behaviour establishes the empirical fact: out of interest, responsibility; out of boredom, practice. In what deluded scenario does the delight in the touch of herself transform itself into a desire to touch him?

Sensualist Moon Nova Vicosa Clock Apr29

Southern Cross and Queen Cassiopeia are spokes on a symmetrical wheel, an invisible organizing principle. When we call someone a narcissist, it just means we have fallen out of love with their peculiar sensualism, because ours doesn’t feature in it. Christian missionaries gave the First Nations a name for sitting against a tree in a river-bed: ‘Love’–the love of God, being loved by Creation. Identity is not a self, but beloved Country. Identity secure on Country is empty. Have we turned our spouses, and everyone really, including our Aboriginal people, and farmers who cut down trees, into narcissists?

IMG_1820

All of the planets would fit between the Earth and the Moon at apogee. Imagine that. The biggest, Jupiter, will be at opposition on Wednesday week. That means it will transit around solar midnight, and will be the closest it gets until June next year. It is nearly 143,000 kms in diameter, over 11 times bigger than Earth, and in the range of 9.58 +/- 1 Earth-Sun distances away. As a narcissist, I love knowing that.

Civility: New Moon in Pisces

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It’s as though an evil spirit has got into us all. At the very least, the gods, goddesses, totems and saints seem to have vacated us, and nobody could blame them for not wanting to come back. Hatred and its deluded excuse, resentment, paranoia, ridicule, not to mention chemical warfare and the faithlessly spirited prosecution of sacrilege, are not in their line of work. Our symbol of oneness has become 1. I am right, I am healing, I am equal, I am together, I choose my identity and my gender. The world is full of objects, of which I am one. My love is a delusion and I’m reassembling it. My role is an oppression and so is my image. I face them. I turn my back on them. I am the iris of a proud cat’s eye.

Many years ago, one of my precocious granddaughters in her ‘What’s that?’ phase was pointing indiscriminately all over the garden, asking, “What’s that?” I could see Nominalism 101 in full swing, and perversely tried to turn the tide. A broken stem was a hole. An upturned empty pot was a hole. The end of the hose was a hole. Together we discovered that the world is full of holes, not just things.

Pisces New Birdsville Apr16

My custom is to present an image of the sky over a place where Sun and/or Moon are at the meridian, in an ongoing attempt to broaden a sense of global country, its connectedness and its objective emptiness. That place at noon in the moment of conjunction is Penrith, Australia, with the Moon in the third house. Once I would have explored the horizontal non-alignment of the two bodies to confirm my use of the equatorial system, but I noticed that the galactic plane was close to one of its distinctive configurations, and mathematical investigation led me to the sky above Birdsville, in Western Queensland. The conjunction of Sun and Moon is an invisible cat’s eye, the symbol 1. The alignment of horizon and galactic plane is an invisible ring, the symbol O. It is a hole.

Do you think we might reexamine circles in this light? Could we go back to the beginning, the ‘What’s that’ stage, and recognize the circle, our group, our culture, our religion, not as a zone of exclusion or as the boundary of its solid contents, but as a concept of emptiness? The horizon is a perfect example. What is it really? Perhaps it is so obstructed by the physical features that crowd your environment that you have never even seen its circularity. Are you aware that it changes with every step you take? Are you aware that you share elements within it with people beyond it?

The Milky Way is another perfect example. We are accustomed to seeing it, perhaps on rare occasions when we vacate the circle of our city, as an arc. From representations of our galaxy as a thing, we ‘know’ it as a spiral we observe from near its rotational plane. However, just like the horizon, it reveals itself as a circle as we turn around. When its poles cross the meridian, South Pole in the South, North Pole in the North, it becomes a closed circle near the horizon and disappears. What is within it? Are we?

Curiously, the horizontal galactic circle reveals a potentially therapeutic symmetry between the astrologies of North and South. Perfect alignment, at the present time, occurs at latitudes 27° North and South. Here it is at Laredo in North America.

NGP Transit Laredo USA

The empty night sky is observed in this configuration from mid-January until the end of May. The Moon and planets are not shown. Note the ruling Sign of the Constellation Virgo. And here is the same galactic configuration at Oodnadatta in Central Australia, observable from mid-July until the end of November. Note the ruling Sign of the Constellation Pisces. What’s in a Sign, eh?

SGP Transit Oodnadatta

The Laredo alignment was moving south at the latitude of Stonehenge in 2700 BCE. Imagine what figurative representations of the sky might have occurred to people who lived under the Milky Way on the Salisbury Plain, as science emerged from Neolithic concepts of the cardinal directions. Imagine the concept of good, honourable government which might have stood in the circle of extinguished ancestors!

By 880 BCE, the Galactic Poles were at the latitudes of Southern Tasmania and the Great Lakes of Adena culture. What is within the circle of disappeared ancestors? Grave mounds. Legend. Story. Nobody knows for sure what the sky-stories of these people were, but over China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece, zodiacs had formed. The concept of the empty circle was being supplanted by linear histories in cultures with boundaries. By the year dot, the North Galactic Pole transited over Athens, where Western science was born within the circle of Hell, and the South Pole over South-Eastern Australia, where my conception of the southward evolution of Indigenous cosmology culminates.

My astrology is rooted in the circle: the cyclical madness of postmodern hormones, the presence of the bardo, and the emptiness of country. Remember Justfriendistan? A “territory only to be rivaled in inhospitality by the Western Sahara, the Atacama Desert, and Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell.” (Ali Binazir.) Is the Styx of hatred destined to flow across our circle between Acheron and Lethe? Is it the Zodiac? What is this impassioned battle between suppressed women and shame-faced perpetrators of all sorts of atrocities? Do people really want to spend the rest of their lives at war, or in one or two friendships hermetically sealed from the other sex? Must a male Moon be like a boy returning to his mother’s arms from ridicule for being a Mummy’s boy, an errant inner god submitting to the contempt of a generation?

And what do we want to leave our great-grandchildren, fast internet speeds and cheap power, or safe streets? Civility turns theories of power on their heads. Power is not disseminated from authority figures or a resilience concentrated towards the centre of social structures. That is force, not power. Country cannot be invaded and taken from you by any force, even if its hills and waterholes can and its stories be made about somewhere else. Why not? Because country is empty. It’s just you standing in your absence.

Look at your circle, and see its emptiness. It contains only one thing I can see: a hole of civility.

Artisan Moon in Virgo

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This is a transcript of the Country Talk program originally broadcast at 8 pm on Saturday 31 March 2018, presented by Joe Blow.

[Joe Blow:] Aboriginal evangelist Roundaway Camooweal has died in hospital overnight from head injuries sustained while attempting to intercede in a violent confrontation outside Trades Hall between members of the Bricklayers and Tilers Union and the Robotics Assembly and Maintenance Guild.

Mourners gathered outside Northcote Town Hall this evening thronging across High St with placards proclaiming “Emptiness Is Saved” and “Country Is Sovereign”, while inside, the Country Artisanry Awards presentation goes ahead as scheduled, following a Welcome to Country delivered by Witchetty Grub people from the Wurundjeri Land Council. In the absence of the patron of the awards, Aboriginal Petrichor Cokehurt, Professor of Comparative Astrology at Quinoa Curtain University, will conduct proceedings.

[Prof. Cokehurt:] It is gratifying to see so many people here in the aftermath of the horrific confrontation at Trades Hall yesterday, and I hope that this event may be repeated for so long as we hold Roundaway’s memory in our hearts. Tomorrow is Easter, I wish it were more widely known just how complicated that word is, but let us not conflate our tragic loss with archaic symbolism. Shall we simply look forward to the joy of watching little ones hunt for Easter eggs, keeping our thoughts about the true meaning of death and salvation to ourselves, as we have learned to internalise the seasonal contradictions Down Under of our imported ritual of springtime renewal?

Our patron initiated this celebration of artisanry which most emphatically reveals itself as a tradition voicing its own resurrection. The background of his project is not hard to grasp, although in this age of environmental alertness it can be hard to imagine the un-attuned culture our patron grew up in, saturated with personalities so separate from nature that death presented an annihilation disturbing enough to necessitate the advent of a messiah.

Roundaway was raised under the authoritarian guidance of magi who supervised the amputation of his intuition: forced to wear dresses to school, to learn to write with his left hand, and to speak in a language which few at school could understand and was too archaic to express any of the elements of his experience, he was routinely sequestered among elders who were mentally ill. While the girls in the street were able to communicate in a fashion by kicking balls around, the boys faced a constant struggle with indecipherable antagonism. The intimate caress of a magus was almost a relief.

Defined by the magi as a Capricorn, he suppressed his Sagittarian imagination as a tendency towards depression and a hindrance to ambition. He was initiated into what the magi called his true nature by some very gloomy people. He learned to mask himself as a philosopher and poet, even as he worked long hours as a delivery boy. Eventually his inner life was possessed by a priapic god, and the dysfunction of his early adulthood encompassed a search for meaning in the disposition of the body, an attempt to integrate Arthur Lingam and Martha Yoni.

And then he received his vision. Simply walking down a city street one day, still more or less a delivery boy, but now a clerk of courts in a suit, he was suddenly aware not only of images and objects as empty processes, but of the essential nature of images and objects as ingredients in empty relationships. God had taken off his dress, the illusion of form had taken shape, and passers-by were all walking backwards in time, upside down.

He stopped going to magus meetings, and his life fell apart, time and again. Other people couldn’t hold it together for long, try as they might to save their image of his Capricornia. One day he left his dilapidated land rover to wander in the bush and fell into a cave, from which he was rescued a month later, skin and bone and raving about self as the emptiness of country, and three principles: sovereignty as perpetual struggle with language; cruelty and suffering as the faces of boredom; and the sky as real from bottom up.

Many here tonight have heard his description of that experience, how the mouth of the cave yawned below him like the maw of a monstrous future, a fateful harvest of consequence coming at him like a freight train, and how wandering in the bowels of the earth led him to discover that people are all artisans, their identities created by the utility of what they fashion in obedience to the imperative of their craft, just like the processes of geology.

And so to our winners, the inhabitants of this sublime synchronicity, and with them the builders, architects, engineers and surveyors who helped put it in exactly the right place. Very nearly a perfect creation, but not quite. Should the residents care to observe the precisely full Moon due north in their location, they will be mesmerized by the arc of the Milky Way stretching miraculously from east to west, and let no astronomer or surveyor awake in the vicinity quibble about precision. Indeed, not only is no creation perfect, but no one creator is ever responsible. Add those who made it exactly the right time and place: the Moon, the Earth, its tilt, oceans and shores, the Sun and all the other stars. They all belong to our guild.

Artisan Moon Oaro Apr01

The runner-up is the precise moment of the transit of the galactic poles. The Moon and due north are too close to call: who knows where north is in the dark?

Artisan Moon Kyrie Upper Hutt Apr01

And at Uluru, who knows the precise moment of full Moon? It looks full all night, and there’s no doubt that the Moon is transiting in the same instant as the Galactic Poles! And what more fitting place for the Moon to highlight the Covenant of Crux at Easter to the awesome strains of the Kyrie! In a sense, Uluru fashioned itself through geological processes for this very event.

Artisan Kyrie Uluru Apr01

The girls in the packing room don’t miss much! Their award goes to a very distinguished entry indeed. Its depiction of the Moon’s conjunction with Porrima balances the confluences of the Zodiac and the Rivers of Hades on Christianity’s horizon at the stroke of its Easter Moon, thoroughly deserving the packing room accolade. Woe can be an occasion of defeat, but it can also ground us, in faith, in compassion. Forgetting can salve suffering, but moving on can condemn us to shame. Angles can anchor the projection of a map, but only as sovereign in a particular place at a particular time. It is not possible to formulate the combined experience of people on opposite sides of the Earth, walking with their feet pointing at each other, minds full of signs sticking out like pins into the cosmos.

Artisan Moon St Patrick's Cathedral Mar31

In the beginning was the word, and the word was ‘good’. Any parent who has sought an impression of their child’s day at school has grappled with the contentious primeval meaning of that first word. Whether you believe that Jesus was the son of God or not, civilisation is a creation of gods, as surely as a work of art is its own creation, and neither one is an end product of a cumulative evolution of rules. Corruption is the fruit on the tree of law. Only creation, the inhabitation of human hearts by the meaning of the word, has saved us until now. Both the victim and the possibility of routine evil which victimises exist in the realm abandoned by gods as surely as the coward punch that killed the patron was inhabited by the god of silence and perimeters, a totem of nihilism.

Here is the last work we want to show you, from the patron’s bottom drawer. A sign is coming on Tuesday, an alignment of bodies, matrices and angles which signifies a living breathing inhabitation of country by a dead man. What does it mean that the conjunction of Mars and Saturn occurs every two years? Clockwise in the South through the constellations, signs and houses? I don’t know. Do you? A punctuation mark in separated, meaningless lives, or something else?

Mars-Saturn Maffra Apr03

I do know that Roundaway hoped to live until the triple conjunction with Mercury in the Constellation of Pisces in 2026. Will that event be authored by his desire? What does it mean that today’s ten-year-olds will see it when they’re eighteen?

[Joe Blow:] So there you have it: sovereignty or narcissism, polarities or contradictions, emptiness or meaninglessness, conscience or chaos? Thank you for listening. This is Joe Blow, signing off from Northcote Town Hall. Now it’s time for us all to don Easter Bunny costumes. But remember, it’s Autumn: no smiling until tomorrow.