In contemporary usage, ‘community’ means a group of people who share an identity, and Southern Hemisphere Astrology would agree with this usage. However, I seem to stand alone as regards the meaning of ‘identity’. Identity is not a characteristic. It cannot be defined, decided or owned, since it is not fixed, but always becoming in a feedback loop engaging waking consciousness with deeper subconscious levels of awareness and meaning.
My generation, at least to some extent raised among religious precepts, link ‘identity’, and logically ‘community’, with aspiration and dream, not with character or personal history. They simply do not understand how anyone can actually believe in communities formed from definable static identities, as compared with their participation in communities articulating a shared vision or commitment.
Young secular progressives on the other hand seem unable to understand “We are all one” to mean anything inclusive outside their group. I submit that two perplexities are at the root of this divide. One, a loss of historical perspective, a dissolution of time and causality into the now; and two, a hyper-inflation of waking consciousness and personal space at the expense of a subconscious reality of dreaming, ancestral voices, and vocation.
An identity framed and maintained as a real entity by waking consciousness is like Sisyphus doomed never to get what he is pushing to the top of the hill. What this identity is pushing is community. The force of gravity is lent by opposing groups with profoundly other instantaneous perceptions. Ultimately, identity politics will discover that unity in shared grievance has only one imperative, warfare between grievances to create ever more grievance, and implies only one community, a community of one.
Identity used to subsume difference, because change, alternative means to an end and ambiguity of relation were assumed. Difference was an accident, and community a coincidence. Somewhere along the line, secular societies, without even realizing they had thrown a precious baby out with the bath water of religious participation, began to really believe in universal human rights as though they existed separately from universal human obligations, and before you could say, “Hey, Presto!” there was a world full of victims equating identity and pain-body, focussed on the identity of both those to blame and of any heretic with the balls to say,”I’m not hurting that bad”; and suddenly, the biggest crime was to inhibit someone’s healing.
This world is just fiction, ladies and gentlemen–Hollywood, Bollywood, love, fear and everything in between–and the most important element of it is making it real. Performance, and performance there must be, is real to its audience, the silent ones beyond the footlights who know it’s a role you’re playing for their sake, and who love you for it. Sit in the audience. Recognize fellow-players when you see them. That is community: you cannot sit twice in the same one.
Nobody owns his space, ladies and gentlemen, and no amount of proselytism and appropriation-resistance will alter the fact that personal reality is fiction. Sharing is messy, and judgment and exploitation are perhaps built into it, and degrees of success in marketing, that is to say, comparative numbers in ashrams, churches and mosques, or in social forums on the net, but that’s the nature of self: it’s designed to be expressed, not hoarded but shared. You cannot wake twice into the same identity.
When it all boils down, community may be nothing but the kindness of the audience, suspended disbelief. How can you be what you’re becoming? Perhaps kindness is the way society dreams. What the so-called ultra-right represents may be no more than slighted generosity, and we should hear the underpinnings of their utterances in that way, because we need their kindness.
The North is a story, the location of mythology, the inching across the night sky of the primordial artefact known as the Zodiac. The South on the other hand, defying narrative, simply revolves. Reverse directions if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, but my astrological focus is on Southern Hemisphere experience, because nobody else’s is.
It is by no means paradoxical that the most important attribute of the North is that it is opposite the South. Astrology is a system of symbols of human existence, and the upper (northern) Meridian, or Medium Coeli, where the stars, and approximately, the Sun, Moon and planets, culminate in their daily arcs, is given pride of place as the symbol of the conscious self. However, there is in each of us an awareness of the limitations of that waking, egoistic consciousness, which works in our body-consciousness as under-arching and over-riding necessities like eating and sleeping, and, I would argue, in our dream-consciousness as moral, spiritual or metaphysical questions, such as, “Am I responsible for what I’ve just done?” All of that deeper dimension of consciousness, and therefore any possibility of individuation, wholeness, or oneness, is symbolized by the Meridian, the direct, continuous connection of above and below, North and South.