New Moon in Capricorn: Relativity

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The task of astrology, which is always true and always false, is not to define personality but to frame it. Every morning I wake up in the dark, and listen to the sound of silence. In the dark distance may be the drone of a truck, or the cries of a bird. I do not hear them, my ears and brain do that. I am the witness at the doors of perception, who hears darkness, and silence, and emptiness. I enter the experience of being a body here in the umbra, populated here and there by meaning in a sleeping world. I am the joy of country’s creation in my mind. It is what I don’t hear which frames itself, and my hearing, and me. Astrology is like the cries of birds in nocturnal country.

Country is an imaginary map of intersectionality, superimposing on the landscape of finitude an interplay of cardinal powers, law and ceremony, language and ethnicity, which leaves the centre free to be inhabited by the spirit. It represents the will to be, the need for recognition, and the silent well of resilient kindness at the heart of duty in the everyday prison of everyone’s expectations. It is known as ‘my space’, notoriously hard to find, not only for being unmapped in most cases, but also because your space is an invasion of mine. My speech repels your silence; your resentment is a betrayal of our relativity.

Capricorn New Uluru Feb16

Country has a bewildering array of layers then, in a multicultural society, made more profuse, not less, by the dissolution of social ‘facts’ like masculinity and femininity, authority and sovereignty, truth and habit, beauty and objectification. The assumption is that beneath the layers of rules for what not to do or think there can be a bedrock of meaning, but this is not so. My space, my country, stripped to the bone of its culture, is empty, and emptiness cannot be shared. Two worlds: speech, the ceremonies of relationship; and the subjectivity of death, the spirit. The cardinal directions towards and away from the noonday heat of the sun represent in the nexus of reason and instinct the defeat of death by dream, as the sunrise-sunset nexus of intuition and inference represent death’s defeat by language.

Capricorn New Northern Tropical Chart Uluru Feb16

Relativity is not merely the obvious connection of everything to everything else in space and time, but the existence of everything only in relation. Not only the individuals who have migrated to ‘Australia’, but their cultures and religions, including tropical astrology, have jostled to impose new layers on country, but in essence the aboriginal meanings themselves were layers, layers of ceremony, layers of story, layers of language, upon what cannot be ignored and yet cannot be spoken, the emptiness of relativity, of ‘my space’. Can you see altruism anywhere? It is absurd to think Europeans could believe they could stamp their seasons on this mysterious continent, but that’s what they did. They brought ‘my space’ with them.

Capricorn New Southern Sidereal Chart Uluru Feb16

Since the birth of language, the vehicle for all cultural meaning and impact, we have tried to govern, and not be governed by, two competing forces, greed and fear. And all the while, lurking beneath the layers of culture, there has been art, the glimpses of the primary layer, the mortal view, framed by eyelashes, greedy for ever more elaborate masks of fear, fraught, ambiguous, taboo. Would conflict and victimhood have been avoided if everyone lived in empty country? Impossible! Children require parents who share a language and a culture, layers on country. But would the world be a better place for comprising true country beneath its layers, the vista of a world looking in through a fringe of eyelashes, the rising sea-level of death lapping at the beaches of memory and story? Perhaps.

Capricorn New Southern Sidereal Chart RA Uluru Feb16

What truth will remain after my death? This question holds many ambiguities. Am I grasping for absolute truth, or personal truth situated in a cultural sharing, or am I already absenting myself in a matrix of emergent doubt? Is there an I? ‘I’ formed within a fifties hit parade of love songs. Love comes close to enfolding me in the eternal, but only as an idea. In practice, those I have loving relationships with love me back in ways I seldom understand, for the lyrics they liked are so different. My love will not survive my death, nor will ‘thou’, if my love is not thy love. How could it, when it emanates from country?

Capricorn New Hanga Roa Feb15

When I awake from my siesta, I find myself amid a profusion of artefacts, each a fantasy of completion, a cry to eternity, a semblance of permanence, and all the trees are cynically felled in the mechanics of installation. When you’re young, finitude hits you like a ton of bricks. I was seventeen, in my second year of university, my family asleep throughout the house, when I discovered the immensity of the universe, and the status of emptiness in it. It took some years to cultivate an antidote. Each of us has adopted the habit of being a saint, a poet or a fool, imposing on country an overlay, a template, of bog, labyrinth or tower, our strategy for understanding now in context. Are we alienated from a present created by the past, right in a wrong world? Is the future our opportunity to update the past to accommodate new interpretations of the law, to add our contribution to the sum of human knowledge? Is the experience of now dissolved in a playful ambiguity of past and future which makes even breathing a creative enterprise and absolves us from responsibility by revealing the emptiness of all form?

Capricorn-Aquarius New RA Hanga Roa Feb15

The New Moon is framed by convention along the plane of Earth’s revolution around the Sun. It is a prediction of mathematical models evolved over thousands of years. It is never visible against the backdrop of the stars, although it is there, behind its eyelashes, a bird calling in the dark.

Migrant Moon in Cancer

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I am as confused as everyone else in the crosscurrents of Australian politics by the way multiculturalism has evolved. Of course there are eminent personages and legions of faceless men and women who are not at all confused. It is they who are accountable for the concrete social reality I try unsuccessfully to infiltrate. It’s comparable to a technology of non-obsolescence which might be imaginable if no scientists had read Kuhn and Popper. Multiculturalism, which simply promised to transform the migratory experience from discrimination and disadvantage to welcoming and nurturing stimulation, has succeeded in annihilating the potential in migration for all ethnicities to learn from each other through change. It is as though migration itself has been abolished.

This Moon is party to the opposition of idealism and vanity, despite beginning its first cycle of the calendar year encouraged not to take things too seriously. As a migrant like me–my ancestors came here in the 1840s, but like you, I am continuously migrating from the past–he wants you to look up in wonder at how liberated and enriched he is by change, but we are casting a shadow of regularity bordering on intransigence. Look up at your shadow and recognize its discouragement of reflection and dialogue.

Migrant Moon 1 Sydney Feb01

“I look around at my community and see them struggling, especially with their adolescent children. Where we come from society is overseen and ruled by organised religion, with an iron fist. It has always been that way, because we are too smart for our own good. Our wits have always been attractive to people who can make a living out of somebody else’s hard work. But here people are not smart and there is no apparent rule outside of our imported communities. Because of where we come from this lack of rule feels like lawlessness.  It is all too easy for our children to succumb.

Migrant Moon 2 Sydney Feb01

“I have done well with a simple strategy. I came here with the usual negative attitude to the West and its history of colonialism and exploitation, but once I began to master the language I saw not colonialists but slaves to colonialism. The citizens of my new country are encouraged to be too stupid to colonise anyone, by a massive and all-pervading structure of control to which they are either blind or which they actually trust, because it has evolved seemingly from centuries of struggle for the good. In my old country leaders identify themselves in uniforms. Here they pretend to be ordinary.

Migrant Moon 3 Sydney Feb01

“And so I devised my strategy: develop a broad Australian accent, adopt a team in the local football code, and express myself in terms of its fortunes; meanwhile use my innate skill at sizing people up to my advantage and present what I want to sell as what they want to buy. You see, the most distinctive feature of this country is the almost total absence of the everyday process of bargaining, a process which is my country, both where I come from and what I have brought here and teach my children. My cardinal rule? What men want is what women want!

Migrant Moon 4 Sydney Feb01

“My big break came when the boss left on a month’s tour of our suppliers, leaving me with an attractive and personable but very stupid assistant. I showed her how a customer’s preferences lined up like waves on the beach, the ripples our bread and butter but the swell our big-margin items. It was just like teaching someone with no sense of direction how to read a map: turn it to the terrain so where you’re looking is up. By the time the boss returned, the assistant was rotating our products to left and right of the shoreline and seducing the customers into the pleasures of wave-riding by showing them the heat of the dunes. Our bottom line took off. A week after he got back, the boss hired two more assistants and put me in charge.

Migrant Moon 5 Sydney Feb01

“I tell my children, study conscientiously, because the way in this country to ease and security for your families is through professional status, but never forget that through the ages there have always been slaves and thieves. Slaves will tell you that you are a thief and thieves will tell you that you are a slave. They are like an ocean in which it is impossible not to get wet. You have the opportunity in this country to be anonymous. Take it and use it. You must shun the ghetto, for it is full of slaves and thieves who will suck the blood out of you. And the last voice you should listen to is the word of God. If you can hear it, it is because you are not ready to speak, so let there be silence, while you get on with your work, even if it be driving a taxi. ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Who wants to know?’ Ah, we are from the same place: yesterday.”

Migrant Moon 6 Sydney Feb01

Idealism is altruism’s error. Let us cease interfering with our innate loving-kindness by defining what is good for us and others. Discrimination consists in just such interference. It is high time we applied transcendent perspicacity to ourselves and what is going on around us. Australian values? What are they? If someone doesn’t espouse them, are they not Australian? Yours are the only values I see, emerging from so-called parent-cultures to apply in your unique way, if you’re conscious enough. Question them. If they’re not wrong, they haven’t been tested. There never was a divine voice which could talk over spiritual insight. God-kings and militant prophets were just a species of thief.

A lunar eclipse is as good a time as any to enjoy with our body in time and space an experience of the emptiness of all things, even synchronicity. Country too is empty, even when it is carted all over the world. The world that is coming is an Asian world. Progressive education serves our children well if it teaches them how to love our empty past, the past we leave behind, incrementally. Don’t fret about Australia Day and Cook statues. It’s time to brush up on your Buddhism. First we discover shame, then responsibility, then forgiveness, then love, then freedom. Freedom is the mission of the migrant, not submission. There is no freedom without love.

Frivolity: New Moon in Sagittarius

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Well! This is strange. The Sun is on the cusp of Capricorn, which means she has drained imagination dry, and intends to give bravado a go. Very confusing for the student in the front row, the Moon. You no doubt are as inured to the mediocrity of your teachers as you are to the error of your parents, but not the Moon, whose phases are serious business in astrology. Someone tweeted something at New Year that caught my eye: old people are bitter, so ignore them and remake the world in your own image. There’s the rub: because of the mediocrity of your teachers and the error of your parents you have no idea what your image is, do you? And that’s why we can’t simply say the Moon has disappeared for a few days.

We in the south have entered the transition into late summer:Late Summer 2018 Parkville Jan23

It gets bloody hot, mate! In these days when universal air-conditioning sits uncomfortably with the shame of climate change and the outrageous price of electricity, we have largely forgotten the emergence of entire populations from enervating sleeps in stifling homes, and the dread of interaction which resulted. If you were born in South-East Australia when the Sun was in Capricorn, that was the emotional climate you landed in. How welcome was being able to vent on you without judgement, and how esteemed the vanity of the fellow-victim who could make us laugh!

We should not forget the epiphanies of our ancestors, as we do, such as the disappearance of the Moon in the East and its reappearance in the West, but they are much more palatable in the cool of the evening, as song and dance. The Veteran was forever whistling through his breath and tapping his foot. Where did rhythm originate? From making hard, repetitive tasks fun when when it was too bloody hot to work!

Sagittarius New Grenfell Jan17

But country is the lesson the orienteering Moon wants to receive, in the first month of a new year, even if the shadows beyond the hemline of his teacher’s skirt evoke a backslide into introspection. Ah, Sagittarius, what sins have been committed downunder in thy name!

Some Indigenous Australians claim to still live in country. Do we? In the frivolous exchange Amy Bairstow shares, we get two contrary views of the bush, from Henry Lawson (who came from the country above) and Banjo Paterson (who came from Orange, not far away), back in 1892-94. Of course neither of these romancers had seen their country from the back seat of an air-conditioned car, and both lived in the city.

Shall we continue this light-hearted debate? What really is the essence of the bush? Must we overlay it with a ‘country’ we brought from elsewhere? How can we inhabit this continent as ‘country’ in the way of First Peoples?

Augustine gives me the clue, when he finds the essence of creation in what does not decay. Yes, within its cruel cycle of flood and drought, the bush rules life and death. Constant change and decay seem the order of the day, but this is merely phenomenal. Think of a dry creek-bed or spigot and a torrent of debris as the one watercourse. Think of the shady tree on Summit Avenue as one of a family who have lived on the ridge for a thousand years. Think of a song in the air as nostalgic for ungainliness reincarnated in every generation. Think of the absent intention of five generations of squatters on sacred horizons, penning their legacy. These are country, what does not decay, not a totality but an infinite spectrum of character wafted by a song-line of readiness. Frivolity is awesome readiness: to be here, to be trivial, to be gauche, to age ungracefully, to die unrepentant. Evolution should be thus defined, and so should karma, and bad habits. The essence of humanity is nothing more substantial than a kiss, but it does not decay.

This will be worth an early start Saturday:Thirteenth Beach Jan20

Laughter is our riposte to the gods of the sky, and our salvation from unkissability. Isn’t that why comedians project our egoic shadows?

The error in my spreadsheet computations amounts to 2 seconds of arc for the Sun, 4 for the Moon (according to Stellarium). In time, this error is more marked for the Sun, because it moves more slowly. I compute the Sun’s ingress into Breamlea Capricorn 12 minutes later, and the Moon’s ingress 2 minutes later, than Stellarium. We need to approach the matter of orbs in astrology with self-deprecation: they simply mask error. In similar vein, country is haunted by ghosts of false memory:Melbourne Seasonal Marker Stars

Sagittarius is haunted by Northern Hemisphere Capricorn, as what transpires is haunted by ancestral anticipation, and as the names of oral history are haunted by ignorance; and ignorance does not decay, whatever country you find yourself distant from, especially Death.

But how truly fortunate we are to have been born in this age of subjectivity, don’t you think? Just imagine living on a flat Earth with all those dead people in the underworld just under your feet. All those poor souls on the other side walking around upside down! Why, we don’t have to be aware of death at all. Just to be aware of our posture at the window while we contemplate it, to feel a restorative brandy gurgling in our insides, these are sufficient to return us to the core of our very living being! The whole idea of death is so remote that astrologers and other idlers with their cosmic ages, bardos and underworlds, their souls, heavens and hells, need not be taken seriously at all.

To be here now, that’s all that matters! And to be ‘me’, in all ‘my’ endocrinal glory, not someone else’s patient, specimen or victim! To walk here in another time haunted by totems, gods and other voices of authority would have been hell on earth, if you know what I mean. Aren’t we lucky to have grown out of all that negative self-talk?

And again, more voices: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help … Ha! The past, in the echo-chambers of my wounded heart, where I keep the voices of the dead under lock and key, is a foreign country … What shall it profit a man, if absence decay not? … When all said and done, one must decide oneself whether one will open in Capricorn country playing tragedy or comedy. Left to the audience, it would be a farce …

Veteran Moon in Gemini

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"Know thyself."
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
'Neti Neti'.
"Smile and the world smiles with you; cry and you cry alone."

When the pilot light of your gas hot water blows out, it’s just a matter of relighting it and you’ll get hot water again. Its essence is its machinery. Animate things like us are not like that. There was a magnificent gum tree beside my access track whose roots were killed by the rising saltwater-table last year when conservationists across the river decided the mouth should stay blocked by the sand-bar a big storm had dumped. The local magpies still roost there, but it’s only the form of a tree: when hydraulics ceased, respiration and photosynthesis ceased permanently, and the essence of the tree vanished. The Moon exists in relation like a tree. When the time comes for a human being to pay it no mind, it still governs the tides. It’s a moot point whether it’s animate or a piece of machinery.

Your elders are still recovering from the rigours of your family reunion, still wondering exactly what role you expect them to play in your life. This Moon is in the lowest constellation of the Zodiac, in keeping with your elders’ wisest strategy. They’re getting on, aren’t they, these dotards you like to think of as at least having the potential, whatever the grievous harm they once had the power to inflict on you or your parents, to depart with dignity and grace, leaving the machinery running.

Indeed, when the Sun is in Sagittarius, and we are counting our blessings as we embrace a new year, the Moon is foreshadowing his goodbye. You will not peel your eyes to identify its background stars, I fear, but Gemini really is an evocative constellation. Upside down, the weirdly symmetrical twins could be conjoined in their coffin, immortalized in Forgetfulness. A veteran is complete unto himself. His symbol is the Twins. He is affirmed by his absent Other, like a hot water system bears witness to its extinguished pilot light. We are all veterans when we seek validation in social media from others who express our views, when we live variations on a theme. We speak in quotes to immortalize the mechanisms of repetition. You can find our reason on page 55 of a self-help book, word for word.

The inner light as boredom and idolatry; eternity, validation, pain and evanescence: musings of an old man. The impression the veteran nodding off makes on young people is of remembering. Isn’t life a journey consisting of things you do? No, the old man is in the trance which has nourished his whole existence, withdrawing from his formation in relation, yes, but now it’s come to everyday experiences like the generic chatter of great-grandchildren, the pattern of the carpet, the sensation of new-mown hay on the summer wind, the discomfiture of limbs. The dotard sings a flooded country. Each rendition has seemed like an utterly different song, but it is the same he has always remixed. His country exists in song, in any improvisation, so long as his feelings quiver like the machinery of a beyond.

Dasein 2018[Download]

Everyday reality is not serene enclosure like old age, but a kind of perpetual mental illness papered over by tolerance. To one who has been there, done that, it seems as an undeclared war between kindness and anger over who owns the bombed-out remnants of a post-Manichean essentialist world of a Good assembled out of contested rights.

Veteran Moon Natal Jan01

Are there still Magi somewhere who can see in the transit of the Gemini Moon over Natal (sic) a promise of the return of a female Christ? This configuration of the Milky Way is the converse of the sky which heralds Australian initiation among its First Peoples. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Veteran Moon Clock Natal Jan01

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. I have created two hemispheres.

Veteran Moon Clock Melbourne Jan02

What really happened to the Magi? They were veterans of a war between Good and Evil, and whatever the sign was they followed it was as the twittering of birds to most contemporaries. Historical change transpired in its own way, long after their deaths, but what of freedom versus predestination? How goes the war between grace and anger? Did Jesus help? Is his song still heard? Where to find the guiding star? Is Jesus more than an empty desk in one of the skyscrapers that paint the night sky grey?

Veteran Moon Iconoclast Breamlea Jan02

The young ex-Muslim atheist still asks all the wrong questions, the vestiges of his upbringing by Allah: Why are we here? How can it be that we are so perfect? What is death? Why? The secular humanist also asks these questions, but history cannot validate what it has forgotten. What is the Eastern Wall? What are its mathematics?

For two weeks, wading across the Styx, then through the attenuated constellations of Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries, the Veteran tried to answer such questions on the side of language, society and organised religion. Rioting broke out in Melbourne and society enslaved by freedom harboured a quasi-religious sociopath who drove through scores of citizens crossing the street. For the next two weeks, the Veteran will cross the Anima, and once again the River of Woe, searching in vain within for answers like kindness, submission, lust and love, healing and yoga.

The Lunar Mansions are the same, but the occupants now covet their personalities, like their friendships and their youth, behind curtains of beads in the hallway. The streets are the same, but the short-cuts, always a left then a right, have been barricaded by bollards, negotiable only by pedestrians and cyclists, chattering like cockatoos in a foreign language.

Only here, staring at the carpet of what remains of his country, glistening with oblivion, are the Veteran’s answers to be found, unravelled and not in the slightest mystifying. Veterans don’t live in the past, they did. And so Christmas will end with a most emphatic epiphany below a wall.

Veteran Twelfth Night Iconoclasm Bethlehem Jan06

The Full Moon over Australia is in the Ninth House. In the daily cycle of the madness of materialistic existence, that puts it in the Bardo of deprivation. East Asia ‘sees’ it in relationship, India aggression, the Middle East self-improvement, Europe and Africa fear, Western Africa and the Atlantic relativity, Eastern South America paranoia, Western South America and Eastern USA discrimination, Western USA perfection, and the Pacific East to West seriousness, ignorance and boredom. If that means nothing else, it indicates that at least the Earth is still alive.

Scorpio New Moon: Doubt

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I take it as a given that most people in the West live on a flat Earth. With no value for the nuances of language and mathematics which have engineered their technology, or the cultural capital of their Christian history, they are unable to sustain the emergent reality they have inherited from the commitment of their ancestors, let alone build on it. They are objects, and their introspection is devoted to understanding and perfecting themselves, and others, as objects. The spiritual dimension of their lives is reduced to ideological conflict, because the spectacle of their finitude is not immediately present, but filtered and polluted. Their suffering is unique, renegade, and blind.

In the month of Sagittarius, for the Sun has only hours left in Scorpio, you have the time to indulge your imagination, behind your sunglasses on the beach, with the chatter and laughter of children confirming the safety of the shallows, and if you join with Sun and Moon in discarding the intellect, you may be able to imagine who you would be without human rights and victimhood, neighbours and argument, retirement security and parental influence, cultural cringe and the tall poppy syndrome, political correctness and cognitive dissonance, and any other idol which springs to mind before which you worship the self-enclosed and permanent utopia to which you pay your weekly subscription.

However, for the imagination to free us from a prison, it needs to do more than place us outside. It must create a context for the prison, and for this you might need an entirely new language. We might call this the language of extrospection, since it is the reverse of introspection. Instead of regarding the interior of an object as a subject, it enters the object’s exterior as its subject. Perhaps such a reverie might voice a song of change to dissolve the permanence of your victimhood. Is the situation you have been intent to define really intolerable? The lineaments of creation are hidden in thunderous surf, the sun-parched wilderness, its distant low hills, waterholes, trees and sky. Why are we seduced by healing from a celebration of the wound creation stamps us with? Because such consciousness might be the aura of death?

Extrospection is a peculiar type of consciousness. It is not a tool of social control with evolutionary benefit for group survival. It is not emergent in a cultural sense. It is akin to the intimate connection farmers have to the land, First Peoples have to country, poets have to language, and medical practitioners have to health, not disease. It is like introspection, in that it is a consciousness of consciousness, but the self which is conscious of itself in extrospection has no boundaries: what inspects itself is an artefact of the timeless process of creation, the universe created by your understanding, at once subject and object, eternal and finite. A meditation on change, it is the landscape of one’s absence, an unfolding of the immanent death of emptiness.

Scorpio New Bamaga Dec18

Imagine your life lived at the dawn of humanity, emerging from the refuge of the tropical forest, and increasingly confident of your group’s capacity to repel predators, but now sleeping all night in pitch blackness under a canopy of stars so vividly ablaze you could reach up and touch them. You know them. They are all dead spirits flooding up from the underworld to watch over you while you sleep. They are beautiful, but terrible too. They saturate your bodily awareness. You live in death.

If we are to find equanimity in the extremities of awareness, not merely escape them as utopians do, we must address the question the stifling trappings of the mediocre class mask. What is my country? How does what I’m conscious of respond to my consciousness of it? What, if anything, will survive of my consciousness in its death? Not in what memory will I be remembered, what mark on the world will I leave, questions of the living dead, but what mark, what miracle will I take, what bubble will reality burst?

The field of archaeoastronomy is not properly the province of top-down thinkers, and certainly not researchers who have not witnessed an heliacal rising or the stars of a very dark sky. Most research I’ve read focuses on the emergence of the understanding of eclipses, planetary movements, seasonal correlations and the utility of stars for navigation, and this might be expected from searchers working backwards for the roots of what we think we know. I believe research would better serve a quest for what we think we don’t know, such as the impact of the Milky Way on our distant ancestors, which indefinably we have inherited in our cultures in ways we no longer recognize.

Northern Iconoclast Shanghai Dec20

Lethe visible on the right (latitudes greater than 30°, Sun -18°) is the Western Wall December-May in the North, and the Eastern Wall August-December in the South.

Right and left: what do they mean to you? Yes, besides left and right hemispheres of the brain and opposite sides of the body, lateralized information processing, and what several generations of scientists taught, that language was exclusive to the left, etc.. Where did some First Peoples of Australia get the notion that the cardinal direction of language was the West? Where did astrology pick up the idea that the West is social and the East is personal? Do metaphors of East and West have something to do with rising and setting, or with left and right, or both? Perhaps it’s not only astrology but evolution and emergence that a bit of confirmation bias gets into.

Scorpio New Breamlea Dec18

Acheron visible on the Left (latitudes greater than 30°, Sun -18°) is the Eastern Wall February-June in the North, and the Western Wall June-November in the South.

As our ancestors migrated northward out of the tropics of Africa, what impression do you imagine their ancestors created, and where in the mind, when every one of them lined up in the West, and at other times in the East? Was it left and right which made it meaningful? Or East and West? What can you imagine the First Peoples of South America, Southern Africa and Australia made of the migration of left to West as they faced natural law, the Sun? Why did they go south? What was different about them? Was it a story the galaxy was imprinting on their imagination in Crux or the Emu in a language as yet to perfect itself when that stellar region was high enough to see? Are they different, people who find West right and left? What do you imagine happens in migrants from North to South today? What would you do? Go back? Build a home facing south?

Veteran Signs 2017-18

You see? The galaxy we evolved in wants to leave its mark, even as it is dying to the naked eye no doubt.

Vagabond Moon in Taurus

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Scavengers are very smart birds, the vagabond says to himself, noticing an anomalous crow on the beach. A different kind of smart from migratory birds. He remembers a science bulletin years ago which described how some scavenger species was herding migrating birds to their death among North American skyscrapers. How would you know that, he muses, remembering the spectacle of seagulls in the updraft of the incandescent spire of the Melbourne Arts Centre wheeling in turn to swoop on insects with the studied delight of dancers. Nobody else had believed that. And the London crow, or raven or whatever, which dropped nuts onto a pedestrian crossing for the traffic to crush, and then hopped out to retrieve them when the light turned red. And the Perth restaurant which put its sumptuous garbage bins in a peculiar place only he knew, from tracking compactor trucks.

Just one thing, he rehearses, sloshing in a sudden flat phosphorescent sigh. It may be my only opportunity to say, that ‘being there’ means only to be attentive; ‘being there for someone’ does not mean to feel compassion, or help someone to deal with their problems, but to attend to someone, to enjoy someone. That alone is ‘presence’ and ‘loving-kindness’. I know I should keep my trap shut, he mutters, but it feels like something which has never been said, the ancestor of common-sense, the moist soil of a Garden of Eden … and another thing …

Vagabond Moon Eighty Mile Beach Dec03

We’re all vagabonds, in our pursuit of a journey of indeterminate duration and destination. This is especially so for those knights errant who pursue love, or good, or truth. The destination is never reached. Evasion of someone else’s idea of these gives us direction, but brings us no closer to ours. And what happens when there is nobody left to evade? One by one our accusers face the gallows.

What is a vagabond doing on Eighty Mile Beach near midnight? Easy to imagine how he got there: dysfunction, rejection, confusion, rectitude, dissociation, addiction. But where on Earth is he heading? Towards Broome it appears, where–unless I’m mistaken–he started school in 1954. But he’s gazing lugubriously at the Moon, which is headed over the Indian Ocean, the other way. Familiar with the night sky from decades of sleeping out and a thousand municipal libraries, he may be walking towards a particular star, which might explain his continual veering towards the ocean, or is he drunk? We’ll never know; neither will the crow.

Perhaps he is headed beyond Broome, to the person gazing at the Moon in his direction right now, thinking of him. Thinking what, I wonder, and is she the person he thinks she is? Dulcinea or Aldonza? An acquaintance’s deserted wife, a schooldays friend, distant family? Haughty teenager promised to the elder he met in gaol who died there of an overdose on her Facebook? His own clever daughter perhaps, willing his connection to mean something? How does he want to be remembered? she might wonder, and well might she, with the most inane question in all of Errantry!

He battled with the Dumbledors,
the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,
and won the Golden Honeycomb,
and running home on sunny seas,
in ship of leaves and gossamer,
with blossom for a canopy,
he sat and sang, and furbished up,
and burnished up his panoply. (Tolkien)

Vagabond Moon Halls Creek Dec03

Vagabond at Saiph Gate Halls Creek Dec05

I am haunted by a story written by my father about the Eighty Mile Beach, or rather a man stranded in its sandhills in the pitch dark. My memory has attributed to it the most evocative description I have ever read of the three- or four-dimensional experience of the galaxy in a dark sky, where you can see the vast distances of the solar system with the naked eye, and looking up feels like falling. This was my projection, dispelled by recent rereading: Dad’s character couldn’t see even his body, so lay down and slept until light, as though the stars weren’t there. But my Dad loved the Kimberleys, worked there during my early schooling–a daguerreotype experience of post-colonialism before its infiltration by the concept of ‘self as other’–and as he was dying completed the self-publication of a novel about “black and white love in the Kimberleys”, The Binding Chain. I am still wandering on his beach.

And so is the vagabond I guess, while his eponymous namesake heads out to sea, but I seem to have lost him, and can only see where moonlight slicks upon the heavy fluttering of a large black bird on a mound a long way up the beach.

The Moon, together with the voices of our ancestors in the self we call the world, is doubtless the harbinger of the god who dies and is reborn. Certainly the Vagabond will return tomorrow night and, possibly beyond the lifespan of humanity, repeat the sequence every year: recite a pagan god’s name backwards, S-E-R-A-T-N-A, outsmart seven sisters, quit the manger-cave of the Bull and Aldebaran (the archangel Michael), bathe in the sacred hormones of Saiph, cross the Lethe, sashay in a tutu onto a midsummer night’s dream, wake up in the mind, invent an astrology. It does seem strange that some people can’t love him until they turn him into a woman, but there you are.

Vagabond Forgetting North 80 Mile Beach Dec05

Grandchildren, if you come to vacation at the Eighty Mile Beach Luxury Eco Resort, taking advantage of the pre-Christmas off-season rates, make the most of the floodlit sky of the social beach-volleyball, for you’ll soon be migrated to an eighty-storey condominium in Hobart. Broome and Halls Creek will be ghost-towns, and the saga of Eighty Mile Beach will be the improbable tale of a couple of old men, of a woman in the Moon never there, and a soliloquy interrupted, always wrong, long-elided.

Funny how the Full Moon transits in the middle of the night, huh? Funny that the middle of the night is rarely midnight. Funny how the Bull looks like a real bull, and Michael his eye. Funny that Papa talked about such things as though he had actually seen them. Funny about the Seven Sisters and how they had to be tricked into sharing …

Eternity and Permanence

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There is no doubt in my mind that one of the great contributions to philosophy in the twentieth century was I and Thou, by Martin Buber. There is no ‘I’ existing in and by itself, Buber says, only an ‘I’ which stands in relation in either of two pairings: I-Thou and I-It (or I-He/She). The Vertex reminds me that my love-image, my attachment style and the success of my intimate relationships all hinge on my capacity to experience my self in relation, to recognize what I am projecting, and also to enjoy myself as a beloved.

Some totalitarian tweeted the other day his faith that same-sex marriage would be embraced by Australian society, and this would be a repudiation of the ‘concept of the other’. One of us is out of step, and it could be me. This is an ‘I-It’ attitude. Australia has embraced same-sex marriage, and this might be interpreted as the consolidation of an Australian identity, a swelling of the ranks of a majority who see eye-to-eye. It might also be interpreted as a recognition and celebration of difference, that we love, and share our ‘country’, our personal space, with the Other, as the ‘I’ in ‘I-Thou’. I for one realize that inclusion does not confer identity when it is an act of love, and exclusion and inequality do not imply enmity and ought not be used as weapons by totalitarians to inflame it.

Astrology does not have clean hands when it comes to the totalitarian claims of identity politics. Object-permanence may be an essential intuition in early childhood development and an important element in a sense of self, but experience should lead us to the understanding that only the past and other objects can carry our desire for fixed meanings. No person or thing can properly be understood as enduring in time or occupying unambiguous space. I cannot hate you for not understanding me, or sharing my culture and its beliefs. How could I, when I am not the same person two days in a row?

I have not worked on the Vertex to enshrine it in the pantheon of formative influences, but to connect my hormones to my concepts, to empty both of fixed definition, and to broaden the internal debate about what personality entails by enhancing my focus on what I and the Other may be projecting. I must admit, I am drawn to the ambiguity of its offence, and its compartmental categories of latitude are irresistibly mischievous.

Electric Houses

The Anti-Vertex is the elephant in the room.

The Ecliptic is fixed on the equatorial grid, which makes it easy to predict and time its movement. The tropical location generating the chart above sees the Zodiac passing directly overhead and high and low in both hemispheres, and I am definitely envious of the spectacle. However, it is totally unempirical speculation on my part to relate the symbols of our deepest affections to the altitude of the Ecliptic. The worship, not to say the fetishization, of eternity and permanence could not be imagined as a localized phenomenon, could it? Would not such a suggestion be an invitation to outmoded concepts like the ‘noble savage’ and ‘the Other’?

Eternity South Texas 2017

This little corner of the USA could not possibly offer emotional or daemonic experience unavailable in the rest of the country! I am really more interested in the movement of that red line than in real estate values, but what if resistance to culturalist pieties found itself drawn to enclaves further and further from the pernicious influence of a Vertex of conformity, even as the pietist preachers of victimhood were succumbing to the transference of exotic love-objects from sub-tropical climes?

Marcoola Beach

How would you react if around 2020 you started to become aware of strange new yearnings unsatisfied by good old-fashioned marriage, self-improvement and illicit sex? Instead of idealizing youth, you began to hanker after a winged angel on your marble sarcophagus? Or instead of people being turned away by your cynical intellectualized dismissal of spiritual life, they began in droves to revere you as a messenger from another dimension, taking holy orders and even their own lives to be with you in eternity?

End of Eternity 2017

Computing the exact latitude of date of the Vertex in the realm of Eternity demands seven decimal places, or 11 millimetres at the red line, to minimize its duration to less than 2 seconds, so if you’re right on it, stay put. Its rate of migration is 16,000 millimetres p.a. and its disconcerting wingbeats will pass over and be gone in 4 hours. Besides, the maximum sub-conscious reach of the Vertex for antipodean day-dreamers is the Gemini Winter Solstice (tropical Cancer), where it coincides with our Lethe Crossing and ‘Forgetting’ is the universe’s middle name. In the North, Eternity coincides with the Sagittarius (Capricorn) Solstice at the woeful heart of our galaxy, and you must continue to drown deprivation as is your winter wont.

The chart above locates the Vertex above Marcoola Beach, but in the very same moment (03:35 Eastern European Time) it is in the Fourth House above the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III in Luxor, which is still forgetting at the Lethe an entry to the underworld 3,172 years later.

Permanence Luxor 2017

He was assassinated by a wife.

End of Permanence 2017

Roughly 4 hours later over Marcoola–woeful Luxor Eternity was roughly 8 hours ago: Eternity comes first–Permanence is a little more worrisome than Eternity, because of its tantalizing visibility, that is, it lurks in the House of Reputation, where consciousness is ever doing mortal combat with wokeness, and the next-door House of Attachment sublimates fear. Can you believe that enlightenment has been struggling with inherent properties for thousands of years, yet books purporting to contain the Word of God still top the bestseller list? Be mindful of the possibility that while you were deconstructing everything, your children were finding parasitism in the entrails of relativity and deprivation a most undesirable lifestyle. And note that in the Southern Hemisphere it is Cassiopeia, not Crux, in the First House. Don’t be surprised if your children convert to Islam because you’re just not permanent enough.

 

New Moon in Libra: Rectitude

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I was wrong. I hurt you, and I’m sorry. I am sorry that the things I have always most wanted to say are offensive. Sorry that my actions, so full of misunderstanding, are never innocent. The world is full of suffering; the road to hell is paved with good intentions. My ignorant intention has merely been to live, to course with desire, to experiment, to explore. Life is so short. The world was so big, so full of difference and mystery, and is now so full of hurt.

We can’t forgive each other, because you’ve excused yourself. You’re aggrieved. Why is that? Is it because you see every action as a reaction? Your ego is threatened by blame? You never studied history? I deserved it? You deserved better? Do you deserve better than your own children? No doubt you don’t let yourself think that, but do they deserve a better mother? Is that the attitude you want to teach them? I think not, but sometimes your attitude seems like the unspoken voice of an unconscious god–“bad poetry disguised as science” (Jaynes)–with the trajectory of a dodgem car.

The essence of life is not design or narrative, unconscious or conscious, but error. If an opinion fits ‘the facts’ better, it is less wrong, not more right. We have to live among people who are not listening carefully enough, and therefore make unreasonable demands of our egoistic ignorance. Four solutions to this discomfort have been embraced historically, and they are all religious. The first was identification with primal forces in conflict: asserting our chosenness. The second was the skill of tuning out: letting go, learning silence. The third was the practice of forgiveness, by force if necessary: silencing resentment. And the last was agnostic obedience, admitting that it’s safer to go with the experts: approaching the font. None has eliminated error and its discomfort, and all are alive and well today.

When we don’t know what we don’t know, it’s very tempting to clamber onto the desert island of opinion and cling to it circled by the sharks of difference. It should come as no surprise that only the deluded want to join us.

Libra New Cocos Island Nov18

Being wrong is in the eyes of the beholder, for whom being right looks like denial. There is a long-established place where rectitude may be permanently undisturbed, where a Big Bloke who knows everything rules uncontested, even supplying an undiminishing number of virgin-dolls to males who gave their lives for the ignorant opinions of slaves to a man from a cave and never questioned the economics of eternally intact flesh-and-blood hymens.

Libra New Hastings Nov18

Hastings is a relatively new cemetery which just happens to lie at the appropriate longitude to illustrate the incongruity of conjunctions in ecliptic longitude of bodies which belong in different frames of reference. Its inhabitants began dying in 1856, putting them in the generation which not only abolished slavery, but also sent about 164,000 convicts to the British colonies of Australia, and encouraged them to make comfortable their exile by assuming ownership of Aboriginal song and country. Like the bones history has scattered all over the Earth, they don’t need to make sense, as we do.

The most recent immigrants to our cemeteries and crematoria are of my generation, a coalition of supremacists, stoics, martyrs and submissives which thought to dismantle the communist experiment, give us equal rights for women and people of all ethnicities, and establish a global economy. How are they working out for you? God knows why we’re even talking about rectitude. Nobody’s right, right? But how does that go down with your kids? I guess we’ll find out soon enough, unless denial is so ingrained that we project our guilt onto their cluelessness as what we didn’t deserve.

Vagabond First Crescent St Kilda Nov20

Hunt around on that desert island surrounded by danger and evil. Somewhere you’ll find a rock, and beneath it a cave. If you go down into it you’ll find yourself in an underground fissure that goes for kilometres. It links to the Hormones Aquifer which flows not only through my heart and beneath the shark-infested sea but under every waterhole, field, workplace and home on the continent. If you crawl and swim far enough and find a way out through the twisted roots of passion, obsession and betrayal, like countless previous shamans and prophets, you will be saved. Emerging from another cave, you will have qualified to announce the prohibitions necessary to keep hormones where they belong. You will be feted as a supernatural being. AI policepersons will be entrusted to exert total control, because being programmed with your rules, they will be immune to human frailty.

One winter night, when Libra is at transit, look south at the spearing of Lupus, imagining it as I do a sheep. You might then be able to agree that the Libran scales of injustice, or trooper’s boot, epitomize the tranquility and insecurity of law in this wide brown land.

…Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred.
Down came the troopers, one, two, three.
“Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”
…Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong
“You’ll never catch me alive,” said he,
And his ghost may be heard, as you pass by that billabong:

“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”… (Paterson/Macpherson)

Vagabond Signs 2017

Core of my heart, my country! (Mackellar)

Yes! It’s my country too!

I imagine your authority as the first, and perhaps last, voice of a new λóγος, of a world in which oxytocin comes in a bottle, where ‘self-help’ is a tautology and the ‘self’ in ‘self-knowledge’ is on the syllabus, where questions of eternity are settled by the ‘moment’, metaconsciousness has vanished into the graveyard, and the entire human race is corralled in latitudes greater than 40°, where one’s daemon is guaranteed to match what’s available in the marriage market, never lurking more than 30° from the horizon. Confirmation bias is a commodity, and your solipsistic submission is already before the Matrix Determination Committee. The future past is coming, because the truth is what we deserve.

Peasant Moon in Aries

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“Soon the hay-fields will ripen, soon the berry will show
Then they’ll fade into Autumn, to lie under the snow
Some years among many leave much more to remember
No need to explain how I feel about her. (Siebel, 1970.)

You could say that every Full Moon tests the understanding between lovers, but none presents greater danger than this one. “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” (Springsteen, 1980.) “Man from Mars, this time you went too far.” (Mitchell, 1989.) My heart may harbour a different dream, but it hurts just the same as yours. The man in the Moon exults in the light of the goddess Sun, but we all too often define worship as needy, and are just as quick to label vain assertions of independence as egoistic. We cherish the freedom of Summer in Winter, and the intimacy of Winter in Summer, but Spring and Autumn are most uncomfortable bedfellows, when the one is full of hope and the other is full of resentment. But so much in love depends on attachment style. The Peasant transits simultaneously over Detroit and Columbus (Ohio), and on down through Georgia and Florida, Western Cuba, the Gulf of Mexico and Costa Rica, and as latitude decreases, the meaning of love becomes more primal, totemic and transcendent. Do you have enough yeast in you to trace the astrological g-spot?

Peasant Miserere Curre Nov03

The Scales upside-down are a policeman’s boot, which means racial discrimination and the imposition of foreign law, but Aries is a ram, both ways, all instinct. If you have a sensitivity to cultural appropriation, you ask walking directions from Google Maps for Bamaga to Melbourne, and by all means argue your arcane knowledge of water-holes and star maps for one day’s walk out of sixty. That’s Aries. Here it comes: Permanence.

Peasant Vertex Retro Curre Nov03

The Peasant is a convergence of two archetypes, one being coarse and ignorant, and the other confined to tradition and the rhythms of Nature. He is contemptuous of urban sophistication and political correctness, because every day he must, on behalf of city-slickers, do things they are too squeamish for, such as saw off the horn growing into an eye, shoot an endangered bird raiding the fruit, cut down a native tree or separate the newly-born from their mothers for butchering. He is the very opposite of late-Spring tranquility, and yet in his intransigence he is tranquil in his way. He will give you a mouthful if you do not qualify as his judge, but to let him get on with what he has to do you must be content with his reversal of your superiority. The Peasant is the quintessential Shakespearean Fool.

Peasant Moon Curre Nov03

But what stirs in his heart? What hides behind his stubbornness, his brusqueness and his sullen strength, to explain his relentless commitment and unwavering care? Fly over farmland and weep for the felled forest of the world, but marvel at the increment of life upon life of back-breaking hard work with axe and saw. How many generations, how many acres per man? The Vertex and its projector are but geometric labels in search of a symbology, but peasants do have beloveds, I’m sure, even if they don’t dream of them like lovelorn adolescents. Every peasant is a philosopher on the porch before bed, with only one rudder in the sea of stars and time straight up, his deep. How did they love their wives? How did their children love them? And how are they remembered? For atrocities against indigenous people who were just like them? In terms of the imagination, not a lot has changed.

Peasant Vertex Direct Curre Nov04

Permanence can easily be envisaged through the eyes of a peasant on a porch, raising his countenance from idealization at the horizon, comfortable completion halfway up, and then its logical implication as high as it is possible to look without straining something. But the peasant knows that the stars move the other way across the west, and it is a little more difficult to understand what’s happening when the cynic craning his neck eastward has to turn around.

The experts say that tropical weather patterns are expanding, but the lines of tropical latitude (Cancer and Capricorn) are moving towards the Equator, at the rate of about 1.5 kilometres per century. Currently, the Vertex can appear in Meridian Houses V and VIII at north and south latitudes less than 40.92°, IV and IX less than latitude 26.59°, and crosses the Meridian, twice, in the tropics, when the Ecliptic is overhead, equal and opposite distances from the Equinoxes. At the Equator, it is always at the (tropical) Aries or Libra Points–the Equinoxes–(whichever is in the west). It is permanent.

Electric Houses

The enslavement of a user by a plaything is actually quite common, and really the transit of the zodiac at the zenith is as banal if you don’t apply your attention to it. Is not accepting a truth you don’t understand mere clinging to a world made by others? Is not the task of fixing a problem you see in someone else not a column in an edifice meant to be older than time? You’ve probably heard, ‘I’ll never forget you,’ a few times, and even, ‘It was written in the stars.’ What is heaven without permanence, asks the cynic trying to analyse eternity. Idolatry is boredom’s safety net, dreaming of old flames, or the first rung on the ladder of affect.

Peasant Moon Stradford-on-Avon Nov04

“Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fie away, fie away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
O did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand, thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
O to weep there!”

FesteTwelfth Night.

[My vain project is not only to enhance tropical astrology with a Southern Hemisphere perspective and an equatorial connection to the still-visible stars which might help heal its visible displacement, but to present a non-linear, cyclical background to human affairs before which people might discover more of the preconception of their moment, and as whom they are being created in it. I am not an activist telling you who you are, a scientist telling you what you’re made of or a medicine-man telling you who you were meant to be. Call me deluded, call me demented, but if I say something which helps you resist the magical realism of DSM diagnosis, the abyss of stardust cosmology, and the taboo against tampering with preordained creation with bottom-up interpretations of time and place, then I am justified in acting the fool. Call me a peasant then, my fellow-peasants!]