Aboriginal Astronomy, Emu in the Sky, Full Moon, Full Moon in Sagittarius, Metonic Cycle, Sagittarius, Southern Hemisphere Astrology, Summer Solstice, Zealot
It’s time to press Restart.
A long time ago now, having more by good luck than good management evaded capture by the Germans, or betrayal by collaborators, five abandoned British soldiers found their way by the light of a full moon to the port of Le Verdon, where they were taken on board a Polish ship and evacuated from German-occupied France. Actually, only four made it to the ship. The lieutenant who went missing was a lunatic, the expatriate veteran who shot him from behind confided to me in drunken anguish one Anzac Day in Prahran. My stepfather was a decorated officer of the Black Watch, and his reaction was guarded when he heard this story. He still had nightmares about leading the liberation of an extermination camp at the end of the war, my mother told me.
Exactly 76 years ago, 4 multiples of 19, the Full Moon of June 1940 was within a degree of this year’s, therefore in the same Nakshatra, and very close to the Sagittarius solstice point, like this one. Reading accounts of the conflicts which my parents’ generation grew up in is every bit as challenging as confronting my implication in the treatment of indigenous people here and in Papua, and my share of responsibility for the suffering of millions in the Middle East. I am ashamed to be embedded in this violence, as most of my generation are who have been passengers on what we have believed to be a journey to reconciliation. Can astrology have anything to say on the subject?
There wasn’t much sign of reconciliation in 1959, when my generation were still in school: the Solstice Moon shone on a respectable world in which insecurity resolved itself by proxy: shorthand for thousands of violent deaths in Central America, Vietnam and the ‘colonies’ of Africa; and for the indoctrination which validated the massive spending on nuclear proliferation which accompanied the Cold War; not to mention the evasion of the law constituted by contemporary closed-shop methods of dealing with sexual abuse of children. Dictatorship and military-style leadership seemed the norm, on the international stage, in workplaces and families. [1959.]
Everyone was a zealot by 1978: Aboriginal land rights occupied centre-stage in Australia, but two decades of self-actualization had resulted in substantial progress for the equality of women and the secularization of morality. Economic reform was underway in both USSR and China which would transform the world. However, there were signs of trouble ahead, in the emergent form of ‘political correctness‘. [1978.] Then came 1997, which I look back to as the high tide of multiculturalism, but the Australian ‘history wars‘ of that period were a disturbing crack in the foundations of a belief that we are one humanity undivided, indeed enhanced, by difference. Zealots were emerging on the extreme left as well as the extreme right. [1997.]
And so the punctuation of the Moon’s orbit, the foundation of archaeoastronomy and arguably at the root of earthly civilization, science and technology, returns it to the solstice this month. How are we looking? Do we go around and around like the Moon, or are we getting somewhere? Is there still a ‘silent majority’ of good people armed with regard for each other’s welfare and fulfilment? Does it have a resilient discourse to steer us more or less unanimously towards a decent solution to the humanitarian crises we must face, of violent political upheaval and mass-migration, despite the clamour of zealots at both extremes? Can it direct the resurgence of religious difference towards the enhancement of secular, multicultural cohesion?
The Full Moon this month as you can see is half an arc-minute from the solstice of the Tropic of Cancer, so it is more than valid to look at it from a southern astrological perspective. The one-half of the world’s population who live below the Tropic of Cancer are looking north to see the Moon, so it appears 104 degrees past the descending node! Most of you will go, “Huh?”, but in the interests of the ‘silent majority’ I would like to remind you that Southern Hemisphere Astrology evolved as a rejection of colonialism! Our perspective ‘down’ here is as relevant as yours ‘up’ there, and perhaps the polarities of astrology can resonate with the ‘silent majority’ after all.
Out of respect for our northern cousins, i.e. those living north of 23.44 degrees north latitude, I present the view from the ‘Mirror’ just off the east coast of Japan, the same distance ‘above’ the equator as Melbourne is ‘below’ it, and at the same longitude. Let me remind all readers that you can always see the opposite hemisphere’s point of view if you turn to the cardinal point opposite the Medium Coeli, cusp of the Fourth House, and crane your neck backwards far enough!
What you will read in astrology columns will almost exclusively relate to this image, in terms similar to these:
Needless to say, it is wrong for half the world’s population. That’s OK: it’s right for the other half. Or is it? Perhaps each is wrong. Is the Moon as an entity above or below the Ecliptic? Both, or neither? Do we need to respect the Other’s truth more, or ours less? Remember, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Whichever way you look at it, the Sun in Gemini is making up its mind, and the Moon in Sagittarius is making up its heart. Perhaps therein lies the reason the egg the Emu lays every nineteen years never hatches, bleached by the Sun. You may take our word for it. [There is an alternative periodicity of Full Moons at the June solstice, eight years after this series, visible at night somewhere in the southern hemisphere, in Australia in 1948 and 2043. The Moon is above the Ecliptic. As far as I’m aware, the bird, ostrich, cormorant, or vulture perhaps, has not been identified.]
This time around, the egg that won’t hatch is internalized phobia and, dare I say, self-love dependent on the removal of offence. Not as though this may apply to you, here is a cautionary quote with an interesting link for those susceptible to reintardation, prey to compartmentalization, or with a tendency to project shame onto other people: “To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster!” Denis Diderot.