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.

New Moon in Aquarius: Convention


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The mere name of philosophy, however quietly pursued, is an object of sufficient scorn, and what would happen if we should begin to separate ourselves from the customs of our fellow-men?  Seneca.

One of the conventions of astrology I have found most meaningful is the notion that New Moon reveals a new perspective which the Full Moon brings to fruition with an invigorated disposition as enlightenment, another joist to bear a creative and joyful attitude. Southern Hemisphere Astrology breaks with the convention that the Moon is feminine, because it is clear to me, notwithstanding his monthly cycle, that he is like me, glorifying a peripheral existence. The most suppressed feeling in a man’s heart is the anxiety that life has no meaning. Meaning is embodied, by women and men: this is as clear to women as the day is long. Power, the meaning of energy, has always been enjoyed by them and alas, envied by men. “Are you strong enough to be my man?”

When my generation started flouting convention back in the sixties I noticed two remarkable things: the only thing we understood about what we were flouting was that it was restrictive; and whatever convention we defied we replaced with another. Correct me if I’m wrong, but today’s encounter with convention seems no different. Some people get into trouble by rejecting convention, and others get bullied into conforming. A convention is being flouted in Damascus: the slaughter of civilians is not collateral damage but a war crime. Another is emerging: if you harbour terrorists, even under force, you deserve their fate. National security is being deconstructed.

Children are dying in Damascus, in the same agony as a man on a cross. Aristotle’s view, some 300 years before Jesus of Nazareth, was that the highest good is the good of society. The view of Jesus was that the personal good is highest since it is the good of God within. Does the slaughter of these innocents mean anything to us? My heart is broken equally by their suffering and by our capacity to believe in a higher good than theirs, The International World Order. Can you identify any good in this conflict? Can you love the children as you love your own? Can you empathize with the conviction of the combatants and the communities that harbour them and abet their atrocities? Would you be prepared to die in their situation? What for?

Aquarius New Damascus Mar17

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Can submission to convention actually be evil? Is this the meaning of love, that hormones, like everything in the matrix, go awry, and our proper task is to study and modify the psychological and social conditions of their distortion, rather than send in the army? Look in your heart. Is there a hero there, or a coward? Connection or perfectionism? You have probably learned how to deconstruct history, capitalism, patriarchy and gender. What is left to believe in? Babies? God? Universal human rights? Unchanging climate? Have you balked at deconstructing those?

Aquarius New Townsville Mar17

The conventional view of the inferiority of Aboriginal culture which I can still remember, has been replaced by the agreement that white invaders passed down stolen land, and we inheritors bear the guilt for the dysfunction of Indigenous communities. The interpenetration of identity, language and country is sacred, but it seems a long way from conferring sovereignty. Who has the right to determine whether Adani may proceed, the citizens of the International World Order or the local landowners? What convention bestows that right? A superior one? Two conventions seem to conflict in Townsville: that you are your language, and that it is in the syntax of your language that you oppress others.

Mars at Woe Parkville Mar18

The two charts above and below speak to me of the enlightened connection of heart-bone meaning to head-bone convention: emptiness. Should even one other person be mesmerized by the synchronicity illustrated in them, two new friends might transcend convention. From two different perspectives, or one from different angles—Timbaúba, an hour and a half’s drive northwest of Recife in Brazil, is on the meridian of longitude directly opposite Parkville’s, or the same one on the other side of the poles of the Earth’s rotation—we are observing the moment Mars crosses the plane of our galaxy; in the same moment Venus and Mercury are in equatorial conjunction on the meridian, just as the galactic poles are also transiting. Look that up in your astrological conventions! [Signs in yellow are associated with constellations seen to the north, turquoise with constellations seen to the south—Timbaúba is a mere 7.5° south of the equator.]

Mars at Woe Timbauba Mar18

For those oxytocin addicts who muse wistfully on the meaning of life at sunset, Monday brings another enchantment at the latitude of Melbourne. The constriction of ‘Thy’ idealization subsides, and though we may seem to ourselves conventional, we find ourselves so at peace as to discover our significant other within our self-love: ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ are one. This tranquility will see us through the denouement of the Syrian conflict, and right through the confinement of winter, until Early Spring in mid-July. When Lethe Crossing is at the meridian, local sidereal time has just gone 6 o’clock.

Submission-Convention Sunset Parkville Mar19

Sidereal Vertex Temperate Australia
Friendship is trust in another to share one’s meaning. That trust is fragile. Without it we have to rely on convention, its diplomatic vacuity, lest we find ourselves overwhelmed by enmity. The power of the Moon is receding into our understanding of its light. Trust is under deconstruction. How can Syrian society exist now? As for the pillars of the emergent International World Order, one of Britain’s ambassadors to the Soviet Union, Sir Bryan Cartledge, is reported to have said, “Never engage in a pissing match with a skunk: he possesses important natural advantages.” On Monday at 19:40 in Sydney, following discussions with ASEAN leaders over the weekend, it is anticipated that the first-crescent Moon will make a public endorsement of the Sun. What else would you expect? The Sun will have gone ‘down’: of course global warming is our fault!

Healer Moon in Leo


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The Full Moon in sidereal Leo is in the Northern tropical sign of Virgo, close to Regulus, the star of the healing archangel Raphael, but redolent with Northern seasonal associations adapted from maiden aunt characteristics of shrewdness, clarity of thought, and orderliness. The strategy of conventional astrology is to announce the sign and its associated constellation, but this is quite unsatisfactory to someone watching the Moon and familiar with the night sky. It took me a long time as a stargazer to stop associating my natal Sun Sign Capricorn with Capricornus, and it was only when I did that I realized not only how a centaur may adapt to season drift, but how it inhabits the imagination on this side of the Equator too. Think of the terroir of European grapes transformed into wine in the Cambrian soils of Heathcote in the State of Victoria.

So it is with Leo. As astrology evolved, it drifted from the throne of Northern Midsummer, one month and then two, gradually adapting to its displacement by tempering its ferocity, overcoming its vanity and getting its palace in order for the Autumn of its ceremonial role. All the while, it has also adapted to the different latitudes astrology has colonised, including Australia. It is now the last constellation before the Northern Autumn Equinox, and downside up it is the last constellation of Winter. Just as importantly, it culminates in the night sky from dawn in January to dusk in June, and around midnight (Full Moon phase) in late February-early March.

‘To heal’ is both a transitive and intransitive verb. The Healer plays a role in a sequence. Following the Migrant, he represents all those who cannot find their way home, dispossessed of the time and place in which their culture made sense, trying to understand the personal effect of intergenerational acculturation and trauma. He is the lion playing possum, his identity the creation of a god who has disappeared, or worse, a pathfinder to an objective identity in relativity and chaos. The meaning of life is threatened by an unfamiliar cosmos. Mortally wounded self-medicator, he can do more harm than good.

Healer at Aldebaran Gate Vatican Feb23

I commune with St Michael the archangel, Royal Star and Watcher of the East, leader of the righteous against evil, assessor of souls and Guardian of the Vatican. Let not his presence be diminished by objectifying perspectives of human intellect, lest I be cast adrift in a soulless cosmos without a Creator. Let this moment reinforce my determination to atone for my egregious sins by defeating the evil in me now and always.

Relationship 4:30am Saturday, Breamlea. We know that the Moon is a satellite in a monthly orbit, but there are many things we don’t know which were meaningful once. For example, there is a Full Moon in Leo at the beginning of March every 19 years. How and with whom were you healing on March 2 in 1999 or 1980? This Moon might have related to your life in such a context until the Christian Church made such a fuss about keeping the Earth in the centre of God’s plan, that we transferred our faith to science, which has persuaded us that we are objects, not subjects, and who we are under the microscope is much more interesting than where the Moon is.

Healer at Saiph Gate Sao Paulo Feb24

I succumb to temptation. Public condemnation of moral laxity in others is a good way of pulling the wool over the eyes, and its volume seems to match its hypocrisy. I know I am weak to be tempted by a naked body washing in the reeds by this river, but I also know that while most people pay lip-service to freedom, they are afraid of it. They disown their instincts, call them bad habits, something to be improved under counselling. Once I would have been on my way to a fortifying sermon. Now I say, grasp the moment: we’re a long time dead!

Boredom 9:26am Sunday, Breamlea. Impiety is an old-fashioned word, but it simply means lacking respect, and Saiph-gate suggests a connection between one person’s disrespect and another’s behaviour: written in the stars, according to me. I see Orion as an upside down hunter, but its more identifiable asterism in the South is the Saucepan: the sword of the Hunter is its handle. This is as impious as a hunter’s boot in the sacred waters of the Underworld, or indeed the Moon’s worship of a tributary of Arethusan urine. To pay proper respect to the fundamentalism of Southern adherence to Northern astrology, you must face south like a Northerner, and look behind you past the Zenith: you must crane your head to see what is there upside down. I have a T-shirt that says “No Fear”, which I wear as though designed inside out, so that it scans in the mirror. That’s country. Bending over backwards like an idiot is country too, and as is walking fully-clothed on a sandy beach, deserving of impiety.

Healer Forgetting Newcastle Feb25

My mood of self-loathing dissipates as families gather for their weekly get-together. Death holds no fear from this vantage point, since genes are reincarnated in grandchildren, and will be in theirs. I am unconscious of the genes of my ancestors, but they are artesian wells nourishing all growth and regrowth, I’m told.

Discrimination 6pm Sunday, Breamlea. Meaning comes from the Underworld, to which we follow signs. There are no signs of the Moon’s galactic alignment with the myth of the Lethe at this time of year in broad daylight, when the ancestors are clamouring like birds for our intuition, and so it has no meaning. It is a perfect, powerless forgetting.

Healer at Regulus Gate Wall of Tears Feb28

Watching the clock. What is the point of the building of this or any wall, he says, Regulus, my most difficult wife. Choose friendship, Raphael the healer says. Trust. Carouse. Believe. Die.

Healer at Regulus Gate North Wall of Tears Feb28

“I am your friend, and not just I, but everyone has had her, the one you worship. I bring you this odorous revelation of how I see you, as the gullible ghost of my own victimhood, here at the business end of the right way up, in the spirit of friendship. Drink more water; know her urine and our shame.”

Ignorance 16:38 Thursday, Breamlea. Without empathy, being interior with another subject, there is no love. Without idealisation, playing exteriors with another object, there is no desire. Without power, the meaning of energy, there is no friendship. Should any one of these be abjured, or sought and not found, healing is a mirage.

Healer Kyrie Uluru Mar02

Fear 4:30am Friday, Breamlea. Kyrie eleison: Lord, have mercy. Not a heart attack now, O Wounded Self of distant ceremony! I pray to thee, medical science of my Underworld, that thou wouldst worship me as thy Higher Self.

Healer Moon Limerick Mar02

Deprivation 11:51am Friday, Breamlea. All hail the belligerent instinct of the Irish diaspora, the republican plaque in the heart of the British Empire, subsiding now in senescent history. May all the Irish blood in the indigenous peoples of the Antipodes circulate with more water, and be believed!

Healer Moon Uluru Mar02

Relationship, 10:21am Friday, Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara Country. As above, so below. ‘Welcome to Country’ is an invitation into the spirit of place. I would offer it as meaningful subjectivity, which is healing, not divisive. History has a horizon: it languishes within the eyeball. My Country, on the other hand, as far as the eye can see and beyond, embraces an attitude to meaning: the seer and the scenery, the victim and the healer, penetrate each other in a way of being real which is unique and at the same time shared with every being which has bequeathed its vision and its dream. It is not the territory of one’s map. It is the otherness of one’s creation, the identity of one’s absence. It is nothing; it is the eternity of meaning. Thank you, Underworld healer, energy of my country.


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 …