These Visions of Winter

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“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.

[Kyrie eleison]

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.

Alternative Spirit Kyrie Winter Solstice 2017

[Kyrie eleison]

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

[Kyrie eleison]

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

Framlingham Kyrie Winter Solstice 2017

[Kyrie eleison]

Frank Herbert, Dune.

Dilettante Moon in Scorpio

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The dilettante gets bad press: Jack of all trades, master of none. No Universal Man is he, in a world made of interlocking expertise. Something is wrong with him. It is as though he has disassembled the jigsaw puzzle of reality and is trying to put it together a different way. You can’t do that, we say, it only goes one way. But why, he demands, why can’t we all make it the way we want it? Because that would be too messy, we say. It has taken a long time to make ourselves in the mould of the world as we see it, and no good will come of tinkering. The world was made, is made, by someone else, according to laws it is sensible to obey, and that’s that. But on that point, that myth, the dilettante cannot agree.

In his personal country the world is constantly reshaping itself within: if people believe only in obeying the law, the world is not made by law, but by submission; if there is strife, it is not caused by opposing laws, but by failure to share pleasure. Country is not an area on a map, but the experience of connection, and orientation must go hand-in-hand with recognition. The law does not demand submission, but personal sense, in accordance with instinct. The law must have a rhythm you can dance to. Without recognition of its origin in the personal space of communal dreaming, country is reviled for belonging to others, particularly venomously by owners and experts, lawmakers, high priests, scholars, ethnographers et al. who are qualified to annex and catalogue the minutiae of a grand plan.

But what of the country of those who seem happily to submit to the grand plan, who are entertained by diversity, who meditate away their instinct as the underlying cause of suffering, and who believe it prudent to have no country? Is it possible that country is an evolutionary phase of universal consciousness without borders and identity without individuality, that it appears at a stage of growth as a genetic template like ego which enlightenment gently but insistently eradicates? The dilettante has not found the way to such constant flight. He still gets tired and hungry. He meditates on the branch of a tree. He flies away when somebody chops it down. Is it possible that humanity will find a home in a Big Empty Country in which automatic ships plying the Tasman will not be haunted by the seaman’s sense of ocean heft and engine throb?

Dilettante Moon Tasman Sealane Jun09

He looks around at the stars above him and scratches his head. There will be no stars when he closes his eyes for the last time. Will they still be haunted by memories and totems and bowels despite forgetting the names he has given them? So wonders the Third Mate as he returns to the haven of the bridge after looking due north at the Full Moon, at the precise moment the Milky Way was rising vertical through fern-shaped Aquila on the port side. Dabbler in astrology, namer of stars, humming a song which has popped into his head, he muses on the status of memory. Are the galactic signs of language and identity his delusions of reward, or placed in the right place at the right time by a healer? Are they evolutionary or dismembering? He becomes conscious of what the song is saying: these visions of Johanna are now all that remain. Does Johanna linger in some tropical zone of the Urmensch? Are relativity and Louise temperate zone phenomena?

Dilettante Transit GSP90 Disseminating Paynesville Jun15

He looks forward to his R&R with fellow-golfers Pru and Bob next week, but if the truth be known, he is still shaken by that strange encounter a few days ago in Brisbane, when total strangers had gathered around him affectionately, showing him photos and bringing him up to date about people he couldn’t remember having ever met. That parting comment from the freckle-faced redhead in the bow-tie who more than he seemed to have preserved some of his youth, chiding gently, “And at least I have a university degree, eh?” What will Pru, chair of Indigenous Studies, make of evolutionary cultural divides at the latitudes of the Galactic Poles? Talk about something they can eat?

His supposed area of expertise is safety, but he does not approach its regulation as of a set of rules like Deuteronomy, but rather as a negotiated settlement of dynamic entitlement. The cultural property Pru might accuse him of appropriating is itself an appropriation: few people alive belong to a community living beneath the Milky Way, and any offence to the instinct of the few ought to be weighed against its stirring up of the rationality of the many. In his heart he knows that for thousands of years the people of the Milky Way felt its beat as he does-–as the seaman feels the throb of the engines-–whatever meaning they gave it. He is trying to graft lost instinct into his intellect. He wills to be a descendant of his ancestors.

Tweed River Warrior Jun10

He believes that Aboriginal consciousness was saturated by the night, as is his, and that the people who saw the emu saw everything in the Milky Way’s vivid band. Furthermore, in their intimate connection with it, they orientated the horizon to it, that is to say their daily experience, and profoundly considered the zenith, into which they fell as they lay to sleep. To overlay on that consciousness a Western geometry which evolved erect, eyes looking out windows, in no way diminishes it, but rather reaches out a humble hand of recognition. He is the one in need of reconciliation.

Pottsville Warrior Jun10

The dilettante discovers in Bundjalung country the latitude at which the zenith of the warrior beat passes into Scorpio, if this most prominent constellation of Southern Australian winter nights is measured from its easternmost star. Further south, at the Clarence River boundary between Bundjalung country and Gumbaynggirr country, Pisces and Virgo are replaced at the extremes of the Prime Vertical by Aquarius and Leo, if the constellations of the Zodiac are measured by twelve equal divisions of the ecliptic, originating at the zenith of the Northern Rivers warrior, he who monitors the boundary between Northern and Southern Australia.

Grafton Warrior Jun10

How is it possible to divorce the study of Aboriginal language from an intuitive grasp of the night sky? How can one conceive of an evolution of communication divorced from country? How much needs to be forgotten to create conscious order? And on that note, how is it possible to completely forget people who have obviously once known you well, to so utterly lose the memory of who you once were? The dilettante thinks again, as he clears away his charts, of those university days, studying languages, and all the turns his life has taken since. He searches his mind for an intuition of discontinuity but can’t find one. It seems that each new bearing has offered itself at the destination of the one before, and yet he can remember only the bearings. Was it really ever just too concise and too clear, that Johanna wasn’t here?

Populism: New Moon in Taurus

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The apparent behaviour of the Milky Way  may afford astrology a globalist understanding of how the constellations and seasons fit together in the interpretation of identity, and a matrix to make sense of an astrology which actually looks at the stars, but here in the South the head of the Bull reminds us that there is more to life than ideas.

Late Summer, when Taurus is most prominent in the evening sky, is when growth reveals its catastrophic potential as bushfire. The bush is not only our source of oxygen: it is made of wood! Taurus disappears into the Sun as Regulus, the basilisk known as the healing archangel Raphael, urinates on us from his evening possum perch in the northern trees of the law. Like it or not, Taurus is the last roll of the dice of theory, the dawning recognition that conflict and disaster cannot be mitigated by the legislation of wishful thinking, but must be understood as implications of the materiality of existence. The most persuasive voice of rationality right now gives intellectual form to a spirit which can no longer be suppressed, the experience that we are not from everywhere, but rooted in somewhere. Our national and global citizenship fails to locate us in country! Populism is the battle-ground of top-down and bottom-up thinking.

Taurus New Canberra May26

The Moon in Taurus will precede the Sun into Lethe, the Hades river of forgetting, and forge a path through the difficult terrain of love, the instinct of the heart. It’s all too easy to lose one’s head altogether in there!

Dilettante Signs 2017

And so what is to be done with one’s roots? Which is the greater delusion, that form is a product of mind, or that mind is a product of theory? Can we include strangers in our space if it has no boundaries? Can we fortify boundaries which exclude emptiness? Now we need a Spanish fly to manage Moroccan snails. Will an Indigenous Assembly antagonize or placate the invaders who keep muscling nativity aside with their foreign ‘countries’? Is there any future for rational community? Can harmony between different instinctive origins be attained within multicultural global society, or will the programming of robots suffice in an internet of things? Will our only freedom be to do nothing? Is obedience of the wilful the best we can do?

Ramadan St Kilda May27

If you imagine that when you die, what you know will live on, that your emotions, connections and experiences will be eternally reincarnated in other lives, other identities like yours, other components like you, then I probably can’t reach you. But there is another you. If you’re listening, Canberra, listen to the wondrous voice you are mistaking for mine, but which is entirely of your hearing and nobody else’s, as an echo of your creation. What you know and your knowing exist in parallel universes. Of the two, only your knowing is real. The world you know will be obliterated by your cessation to know it, so cease not while you live and breathe! This alone is ‘country’, the personal geography of intention and consequence, error and resilience, hubris and humility, hope and gratitude, hunger and pain. We want our country back!

What Regulus is thumping a paw to:

Acheron and Lethe

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GNP Transit Thebes EgyptThe Milky Way has been given precious little attention by astrology, no doubt because the riches of the Galactic Centre are invisible to most of the Northern Hemisphere, and planets rarely approach either of the great rivers of the Milky Way at night. Perhaps it has occurred to someone up there to consider the symbolism of Cassiopeia, which appears as the letter ‘m’ or ‘w’ due north according to which galactic pole is at transit, Southern or Northern, with the obvious gender connotations in the English language, but I doubt it.

Here in the South, we are indebted to various universities, and the researches of Ray Norris, Robert Fuller and Duane Hamacher in particular, for their disclosure of the significance of the Milky Way in Australian Indigenous cultures, but I suspect that most people are not aware of where it is in their light-polluted night sky, let alone how its configuration changes by hour, day and month.

Briefly, the Milky Way observed from the Southern Hemisphere moves continuously around the sky with the following six punctuating configurations:

  1. At Galactic South Pole (GSP) transit it rings the horizon; [I am not aware of any ethnographic support for my speculation that the ‘Near Eastern’ underworld may have been inspired by the Egyptian and Babylonian view of the horizontal Milky Way at Galactic North Pole (GNP) transit, illustrated above];GSP Transit Caboolture First Dark Jul14
  2. GSP due west, GNP due east (below the horizon); the Milky Way stretches from due north to due south, arcing across the eastern sky;Milky Way N-S(E) First Dark Sep18
  3. GNP rise, GSP set; the Milky Way rises vertically (to the observer’s zenith) from the northwest and southeast;Milky Way NW-SE Houses
  4. GNP transit; the Milky Way stretches across the southern sky from due east to due west;GNP Transit Lat 33S
  5. GNP set, GSP rise; the Milky Way rises vertically in the northeast and southwest;Milky Way NE-SW Houses
  6. GSP due east, GNP due west (below the horizon); the Milky Way stretches from due north to due south, arcing across the western sky.Milky Way N-S(W) First Dark May25

In a suburban or rural-transition sky in Wurundjeri country, when the Sun is more than 18° below the horizon, visibility of these six configurations is afforded as follows, remembering that  everything in the night sky except the Moon and planets appears in the same place roughly four minutes earlier each day.

  1. Miserere (Pisces transit): first morning visibility (FMV), in the pre-dawn sky, second week of July; last evening visibility (LEV), when the setting Sun is encroaching from the west, last week of November.
  2. Intuition (Taurus transit): FMV third week of September; LEV first week of January.
  3. Wanderer (Cancer transit): FMV mid-December; LEV mid-April.
  4. Kyrie (Virgo transit): FMV second week of February; LEV end of June.
  5. Warrior (Scorpio transit): FMV beginning of April; LEV last week in August.
  6. Inference (Capricorn transit): FMV last week of May; LEV mid-October.

Milky Way SeasonsPlease do not assume that I wish to attribute some causal mechanism to the Galactic Plane. On the contrary, my motivation is simply to create more interest in looking at the sky and finding in it signs of meaning. The synchronicity of freeze-frame configurations of the Milky Way and Dr Beth Gott’s Wurundjeri seasons may be delightful to one uncomfortable with inverted Northern Hemisphere seasons, but the cycle presented is continuous, by night and day, and I shrink from adding another invisible influence on personality. On the other hand, the bisection of the Zodiac is too tasty to resist. I hope my arbitrary labels of conventional astrology married to pop psychology, Christian liturgy and Greek mythology will provoke intuitive reaction, at the very least, if not whole-hearted disbelief in rationalism.

A narrative or Emotions of the Sky to describe the journey through Hades of the meridian and any body moving through the Zodiac and crossing its rivers could be confabulated in such a sequence as this. Nearly drowning in the swirling torrents of the Acheron the emotions desperately try to save themselves at each other’s expense. Humiliated, they ruefully recoil into the psyche as the ‘wound’. There follows an experiment by a self which admits no feelings other than empathy, but the perfectibility of this self is so battered by compromise that its structure collapses, and after succumbing briefly to the image others applaud of its aggressive survival, it then mortifies itself in the Lethe, in abnegation of itself as sufficient reason. Lo and behold, the emptiness of thought is the raw material of love. Community beckons, but resentment grows as the emptiness of love too is revealed, culminating in the turmoil of full-blown rejection, and retreat into the pages of self-help and astrology.

It is a mental illness to be habitually confined to a prison you are aware you have made for yourself, but be actually unwilling to escape. Welcoming, you impose too many rules; being welcomed, you refuse. You are always both oppressed and oppressor. You shouldn’t take things so personally. It’s only a temporary orientation of the Milky Way. Be grateful you can’t see things as they were seen here (and in Thebes) five thousand years ago. The Underworld can be so disturbing, it must be invented.

Jupiter: a sign of 2017

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Jupiter Transit Parkville South May24

Retrograde Jupiter reaches conjunction with the North Galactic Pole tonight, and will transit within a degree of it, repeating this configuration, until its conjunction with the Quarter Moon on July 1, and thereafter the Milky Way’s suburban disappearance in evening twilight.

Is it a sign? Of course it is! What do you think a sign is? If you cannot see the Milky Way, and therefore have no connection to what this sort of apparition may have spoken to your ancestral culture, well, that is indeed unfortunate.

Jupiter Transit Warragul North Grid May24

Full Moon in Sidereal Libra: The Sensualist

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The Signs of astrology represent twelve different modalities of consciousness. They can be rationalized in sequence as a progression of seasons, as a daily cycle of the biological clock, and as stages of enlightenment. Daily online horoscopes attest to the universal applicability of each, and that is how I choose to regard them. How do they help me identify the pitfalls of the imaginative life with which I must deal on this day, at this hour? In what state of awareness am I likely to arrive in the spotlight, on an impossible mission to resacralize this world clinging to authoritative archaisms, when I get to where the Sun will be in unsettled late Spring, the upside down Constellation which tries to be the scales of justice but looks more like the boot of the law, Libra in the Southern Sign of insecure tranquility, or of totally unjust, even fascist, aggressive assertiveness in the North, according to the authoritative archaism of Northern Hemisphere Tropical Astrology? How do I cope with aggression when I’m feeling insecure? How can consciousness rescue healing from neediness?

Sensualist Essendon May11

Why, I immerse myself in the world of the senses, of course. I listen to Mozart; I get out my colouring book; I turn off the news; I delight in the sunset, and the innocence of culturally diverse children hurrying home to dinners prepared by their brothers and fathers. In short, I activate my sensualist module. Less practised in my youth, I once tended to be seduced by the beauty of people, but this led to excesses of sexual instinct, and made my Shadow unmanageable. I now know how to circumvent the stirring of my sexuality module. The ultimate goal of the Libra module is enjoyment of the meaningless beauty of the surface of the world, the complete surrender of rational discrimination, in the Buddhist sense, to gratitude for what simply is. The tranquil beauty of sensualism is so seductive, its success in relieving me of fear, anger, shame and guilt so complete, that I am beguiled by the sense that I do not exist, except as the delight in itself of a benign creation.

Now, not only can I find tolerance of fundamentalist observance of archaic rules for separating conscious good from unconscious and instinctive evil, but I know that my impressions of beauty differ from those of others, and that the only way for me to preserve my equanimity in the company of divergent senses is to remain silent, save perhaps for an occasional “Ohhh!” of transcendent appreciation revealing only my worship. Indeed, the maxim, ‘Love yourself in order to be able to love others’ is entirely persuasive. Am I not resplendent in my spacious horizontal connections with colour and scent, dappled shadows and the tinkle of clear streams? Are we not one, dissolved in beauty?

Unfortunately, Libra is not a permanent state. The boundary the sensualist creates between light and dark is made permeable by language, the necessary vehicle for purpose, with all its ambiguities, manipulations and inferences. We must work, we must engage, and are never free of the judgment it takes to understand each other. Our unconscious reveals itself to others, even when we deny it. “By their projections shall ye know them.” There is particular irony in the experience of discrimination by minorities in multicultural societies like the one I live in, which pride themselves on diversity: in the subsumation into identity, narrative and right of what we might share in silence, the discrimination is theirs.

So verily I say unto thee, hearken unto the words of the prophet. Lift up thine eyes from the earth unto heaven. Look not upon the shadow of another, though it fall between you and the light. The prophet says, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one escapes the Shadow except through me. Shadows! Rejoice for the person who takes guidance from priest, prophet or astrologer beckoning towards the light, for be assured that the shadow of sin will remain hidden, especially if it is a lantern which casts it invisible behind us. Pity the native of the tropics who, confused by the direction of the light, sometimes in submission to error finds the shadow all too visible preceding, or lost altogether in mayhem of who knows whose making.

Where does the shadow go when the light is directly overhead? And what of the shadow cast by the Moon? When Sun and Moon are casting your shadow in opposite directions, the unconscious can be difficult to avoid. This happens in the tropics. Therefore place your trust in the prophet, and stand so that you never have to bend over backwards to gaze upon him, lest dizzily you cast your eyes down and see the hidden animal in you crawling before you with the serpents. Vigilance must safeguard us from ourselves. The shibboleths of devils who steal shadows and denizens of the underworld like zombies, bogeymen and bunyips will not trouble us who keep our eyes on the light.

Sensualist Moon El Hawata Underworld South May11

This Moon, the eighth in the Islamic calendar, can deliver salvation to believers, in jihad if they face south. Rest assured that the prophet has subterranean influences under control. The Libra Moon transits in opposition not only to the Sun, but this year to the “CMB Cold Spot” in Eridanus, where unbelievers fear our entire finite universe to be in touch with another in a Multiverse. Perhaps it is so, and this is where bunyips come from, and shadows go. Fear not, if you keep your shadow behind you, it cannot attain a third dimension and take over your world, denying you salvation in perpetuity.

Sensualist Moon Ntcheu Underworld May10

Peoples of the south, though you be not safe from the north, fear not the jihadists who keep the shadow behind them. They will turn as they reach you, and pass without harm like the babbling of a brook. It is written: the tranquility of sensuality shall protect you from rampant disregard of the sanctions against the unconscious.

Sensualist Moon Ntcheu Grid North May10

The prophet says, give yourself up to the senses. Behold creation in its depthless measure. Your ascendant promises originality, meaning what has been here from the beginning, the perfect ideal, and the descendant chattering behind your left shoulder reminds you in awful dread that rebellion, at the edge of the world, is where the light ceases, and the Shadow will consume you.

All those in favour of a world without offence, say ‘I’!

Aries New Moon: Opportunism

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“Gurus Can Loathe Very Little Signs Of Spiritual Change And Preach A Totality.” Abliq.

“Reality conforms to precedent certainly, and you can analyze it that way, but it is not imprisoned by immutable laws or patterns, any more than identity is. Reality is what you make of yourself, and you are what reality makes of itself, moment by moment.

I mean by reality conforming to precedent that there is something akin to intention in the world. Form emerges according to pattern. The context of an emergent thing encourages relations and structures that are readily available, practised, in a word.

A seed is an intention; the form a tree takes is an accident. If you would see a thing, you must look to the processes creating it, and they are always relational in the same way that you can never define where one thing ends and another begins.

The existence of a thing takes form, but that form is the carcass of its creative process. A thing is an imprint on the world which has left its imprint on the thing. This to me indicates the essence of identity.” Abliq.

Sahih Bukhari (49:857) – “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.”

“Opportunism is the exploitation of form.” Abliq.

“This little planet causes more problems than it is worth. The side tilted this way is emerging from ice and snow and you would think its people could just happily forage for food and be done with conflict, but their leaders are playing “Mine’s Bigger Than Yours”, teeming millions are on the roads, displaced by war, famine and climate-change, the shamans are at loggerheads over what is fundamental, and prophesy, competing for scarce funds, seems unable to restore calm.

Aries New Cardiff Grid Apr26

On the other side things don’t seem much better. Duty and self-indulgence have been their usual strange bedfellows during the summer. People haven’t made sufficient provision for the winter, and there will be anger and resentment boiling over when they are confined together and forced to share.

Aries New Te Teko Grid Apr27

They don’t take much notice of me these days, and I confess it wouldn’t matter to me if they wiped themselves out, but you’re closer to them, you do care, and they still look up to you. Do something new. You’ve already tried uniting them with polarities. That’s not working fast enough. Say something to them that will placate them. Make something up, if you want. They stopped trying to agree on truth a long time ago, but though they shirk it, they crave it. Go on, little man, give them something to believe in. Their meanings are failing them, and if they don’t lift their spirits, they’re doomed.

Aries New Dimbokro Clock Apr26

[The grid indicates the declinations of the constellations and the paths they take across the meridian. Much of Pisces and all of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo will pass to the north, anti-clockwise with East on the right. What are the seasonal influences of March-August? Are they Northern or Southern Hemisphere, tranquil or aggressive, neither or both? Exegesis I, ii.]

That’s the style! Show them that their chaos might simply be a matter of facing the wrong way. Throw a bit of the others in with it: love, brotherhood, sisterhood, submission, everlasting life, success, affluence, celebrity, presence, healing, enlightenment, transcendence, emptiness. Use science and mathematics. They believe that. Restore awe, for God’s sake! Take a leaf out of the Artisan’s book and just make astrology work.

Aries New Dimbokro Country Apr26

Nice! You’ve got country, a powerful indigenous notion, and one to cleanse evil spirits who come to whisper young people away from rootedness in creation.

Aries New Darwin Apr26

[Where you are on a two-dimensional chart, your ‘country’ as previously described, is at the zenith of your sky. Darwin people facing north would have to crane their necks 10º backwards to see the Sun in Scorpius and Sagittarius, and a backbreaking 30º+ to see all of those constellations. In fact, much of Scorpius, not to mention the Moon at major lunar standstills, is south of overhead at many southern latitudes, even when the Ecliptic is not. Furthermore, Darwin has only two seasons, Wet (November-April, conventionally) and Dry (May-October). Can these be correlated with the direction of the Sun, south with Northern Signs in green and north with Southern Signs in yellow, or to the chirality of east and west and to apparent clockwise or anticlockwise Zodiac motion? Exegesis I, iv.]

Embodiment, nice touch! Transform two dimensions into three by lying down under the stars, head one way or the other. Turning reverently to the qibla of choice, like a code for pollen danced by bees. Suitably mystifying. Let them look up with their own eyes into the mind of God. If they question the seasons, we can always say you’re divinely inspired. Or that all prophets have been known to be wrong. Now, off you go. Good luck!

Sensualist Transits Parkville 2017

Perhaps The Prophet will bring everlasting nocturnal life! “The devil will be with you in a moment,” as the hunchback in The Tin Drum said in the lavatory.”

Sha'ban

[The Sun obtains her peculiar power, not from her light and energy, but from her regularity, from the nutrients of night and day and the cycle of the seasons. We may no longer worship her, but we still experience her movement, just as we continue to think of time as clockwise. Convention records her annual passage through the Zodiac, as though country in the night sky were not more appropriate indication of our progress on this planet. Even her regularity is a projection, revealed to inquiry as deriving from the momentum of our tilted fall. It is Earth which deserves our reverence, and yet, like some atavistic matriarch, and like our own outgrown parents, the Sun still pulls strings in our unconscious. Exegesis I, i.]

The Artisan: Full Moon in Virgo April 10-11

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The passage of the imminent Full Moon is a blind passage. We gaze up at it as into a bright street light, seeing nothing. Its lame attempt to outshine the Sun diverts our attention from much more important things, signs which can nourish our quest for authenticity, which demonstrate the vast and timeless backdrop behind our pretences, and which confirm the vanity of life which ignores death. This is a story of the embrace of tradition: how a group of wage-slaves transcended the imperatives of economic reality and became artisans.

Milky Way E-W South

The story begins at lunch-time, when a group of tradesmen emerge from the Quarry Hotel to return to work up the street. They see a young man in the intersection outside drawing lines with yellow chalk, ducking in and out of traffic, and enquire into his apparently passionate project. Word passes around at their workplace and when they return to the Quarry after work, they are followed by the foreman and an engineer.

The traffic is now dense, but the young man is still at it as the workers install themselves at the bar. A desultory conversation about the weekend’s football is attempted, but nobody is really attending to anything but the single-minded effort of the young man outside. Suddenly, as one, safety being drilled into them as of paramount importance in the union industry, the drinkers pour out of the pub and set up barricades with tables from the hotel, and begin diverting the traffic.

Instantly, while the young man, in his early twenties and of middle-eastern appearance, carries on chalking the plan for a building in the middle of the street, there is uproar. The barricades are aggressively confronted by irate motorists and, very soon, two and then four tram drivers, not to mention the publican trying to reclaim his property. Some police arrive, and any pretence of restraint is abandoned. A melee ensues, until thirty police in riot gear arrive, and after dispersing the combatants with capsicum spray and restoring the flow of traffic, take the instigators, including the young man, into custody.

Under questioning through an interpreter, the young Iraqi immigrant confesses that his intention, without offending anyone or breaking any laws, is simply to create a two-dimensional representation of a mosque, facing the Quiba along Weston St, and featuring a street-wide arch in the style of the Islamic arches which gave inspiration to the architects of the Gothic cathedrals, aligned east and west like the magnificent celestial arch he saw for the first time upon arriving in Australia, and which has filled him with such joy as a Muslim student of architecture that he sees his design in the intersection as a fusion of north and south, ancient and modern, spiritual and physical, and celestial and temporal.

The Superintendent asks him, what celestial arch? The Milky Way, he responds, adding his conviction that it was the vault of heaven which first inspired the Muslim arches of medieval architecture. The workers are released to be charged on summons, and the senior policeman, intrigued, follows them back to the Quarry. Politely resisting invitations to have a beer, the Muslim spreads a number of blueprints on a table in the lounge. The first is of his Celestial Arch a few minutes before midnight, outside:

Artisan Blueprint GNP Transit Apr10

The second is of the transit of the not-quite-Full Moon one and a half minutes later:

Artisan Blueprint Transit Apr10

The third is of the ever so slightly asymmetrical angles at midnight:

Artisan Blueprint Midnight Apr11

Nobody in the pub has seen the Milky Way more than once or twice in their lives, but there is no cynicism. Instead, laptops come out and people makes calls and consult smartphones.

Pretty soon the assemblage is joined by some influential people: the Moreland Mayor, an Imam, an Aboriginal Elder, a Catholic Priest, a Buddhist Lama, someone from the Comedy Festival, another from the Brunswick Festival, numerous architects, geographers, engineers, teachers, trade union officials, photographers and journalists, an astronomer and an assortment of drug dealers, poets, artists and astrologers from off the street.

The Imam challenges the Iraqi’s Arch by presenting a depiction of the moment as seen from ancient Babylon:

GNPTransit Babylon

This is not the inspiration for the illustrious invention of the arch, he asserts, but the transit of the opposite pole:

GSP Transit Babylon

He does admit that the Iraqi’s is more impressive, but the Lama disagrees, and presents a depiction of the Arch as the vault of heaven itself encircled by the 360° vision of the Buddha:

Artisan Blueprint GNP Transit Kathmandu Apr10

The astronomer wants everyone to know that the Full Moon will actually transit over Guatemala, and presents the evidence of an anonymous astrologer, complete with deference to the tropical sign of the Northern Hemisphere, and this gets quite a few at the bar talking:

Artisan Moon Guatemala City Apr11

The same sky over us will look like this, he adds:

Artisan Guatamala Sky East Brunswick Apr11

Irrelevant, says a geographer from PNG, what matters is the Arch, and here on Bougainville is the place to build it:

Artisan Blueprint Moon GNP Transit Haisi Bougainville Apr11

This causes great consternation among the entourage of the Mayor, but faced with the Iraqi student’s increasing discomfort, the tradesmen rise to the challenge. “She’ll be right, mate,” says the foreman. “We’ll just make it work, won’t we boys?” A rousing cheer goes up throughout the pub. “Midnight it is!”

Artisan Under the Bridge East Brunswick Apr11

By eleven o’clock, despite the hubbub, everyone knows the disparate elements of the Iraqi’s dream and their feasibility, and believes that at midnight something real will happen. And believe it or not, there is a real chance that the Arch will be erected across the intersection:

Artisan Arch

However, that is not the highlight of this event. Rather, at the stroke of midnight, one hundred and fifty men, women and homeless children are standing in the intersection of Lygon and Weston Streets in Brunswick, facing south towards the city and craning their necks backwards in a ceremonial observation of the Full Moon. The Aboriginal Elder welcomes the Iraqi-born student to her country, and ‘the boys’ now know how to build.

Artisan GNP Transit Polluted Apr10

Nothing is more certain than that the Quarry will become a temple of ecumenical faith, but in the same way that land is an interruption of the sea, ‘country’ is buffetted by forces which cannot be enclosed by architecture. Diplomacy may indeed farm many ‘countries’ in one place, and if it were true that it never rains at a Full Moon, then perhaps, were the Virgo Moon shining full over Melbourne instead of Guatemala, one hundred and fifty converts would not be feeling so cold, wet and foolish.