The astrologer sat in the concourse of the shopping mall, feeling very strange. Hundreds of people were milling past him. They must have been talking and calling and laughing, he could see from their faces, but aside from the strains of some inane pop song thrumming intermittently inside the electronics store all he could hear was an inchoate groan, like what you hear when a recording is played backwards. No snatches of conversation, no click-clack of shoes on the tiles, nothing in the foreground. Every idea in his head was no more than background noise in a world which needed faith, not information, hope, not truth. Not one person needed to know that later that day the rising of Sirius at Giza would not align with Orion’s Belt and the pyramids, but indeed would in four days at Athens, where the myth of the Lion’s Gate evolved in the minds of astrologers who had probably never seen a heliacal rising, let alone at Giza.
The world is an operation of four dimensions: it falls, it speeds, it spins, and it changes. Being fabricates meaning, intention, suffering and perfection. Religion and ideology promise identity, reward, equanimity and love. Country is the emptiness of submission, narrative, relativity and survival: horizon engenders the fall, form the speed, energy the spin and utility the change. In other words, country turns the zenith into ground, the stars into seeds, the weather into shelter and decay into food. Country is the intersectionality of your identity, but essentially, the empty essence of your world. What urgent need has the shopper to be somewhere else?
The human habitat spins and speeds towards the east, and our desire for novelty, the possibility of fresh perspectives, and curiosity about what’s coming, incline us as individuals in that direction. In the North you have to swing left from your normal orientation towards the Sun; in the South we swing right. Your planets and circumpolar stars revolve anti-clockwise; ours clockwise. This may give us different inner workings: I don’t know.
In the opposite direction, our identity is constrained by logic, language and relationship. In a sense, we lean towards the west to balance our eastward spin. But the west is also the gravity which captures our momentum: the Shadow is not the unconscious, but its revelation in the reaction of others to the unconscious meaning of our behaviour. It is by expressing ourselves that our dreams take shape, in language constantly mediated by others.
All the while, we share with all being a trajectory and entropy of time and change, which in us leads to the mission to construct a consciousness which will give our frightening transience at least semi-permanent status. We have invented science, the humanities and religion to do this, to live ‘the way’, and to connect in us the past and future. The timetables of arrival and departure so fabricated make us unfortunately easy to control.
The north-south axis frames the meaning of all this. We are never either fully conscious or unconscious, rather there operates at all times a feedback loop between the two which dissolves any definition of a boundary. Ego straps us into our seat and emotions unsteady us, but the journey is mapped as we embark: reason and instinct are impressions of each other, like practice and confidence, skill and habit, law and ceremony, result and intention, challenge and dream. Left and right hands on the wheel, peripheral vision and feet ready for brake and gas guide our trajectory down slot-car alley.
Unlike every other being in the universe you may believe you lack a sense of direction. If you have been in both hemispheres, you wouldn’t believe that. However, perhaps if direction as a tool for understanding is my vanity, and the enterprise of caring for each other is based on the delusion that we can know what’s good for each other, then I am wasting my words. Why does anybody bother to speak?
Are all of these shoppers medieval fundamentalists, caring only to carry the harmony, or like worker insects, simply following a mental map?
Are concepts of humanity, altruism, equality, entitlement and human rights any different from other constructs of worship, based not in reality but in separation from it, in withdrawal to a fabrication called ideology where disbelief is subhuman? Is empathy real? There are oodles of interpretations of the partial eclipse superimposing themselves on its path, but who can understand someone else’s country, even when they’re standing in it? Can my southern mystification of time and direction give any more meaning to Kolkata experience? It takes an entire childhood to learn to read a map.
Perhaps belief inhabits two separate functions of mind: idolatry and miracle-worship which evolve out of woe and a narrative of oppression and exclusion into a conflation of separation, transcendence and identity; and iconoclasm and mystery-worship which evolve out of forgetting, not just suffering, but individuality as a fabrication of guilt and shame, and which conflate a cloud of emptiness, immanence and corruption.
The former might be referred to by the latter as Gratitude, which in turn might know the latter as Kindness. Equally, Kind people could scoff at Grateful people as unkind consumerists, and be mocked themselves as ungrateful addicts. Perhaps they are mutually abusive voices in an endpoint argument, or are each polyphonic embellishments of medieval chant?
Perhaps a drone is of a spiritual nature and cannot be heard in the physical world, but perhaps to hear it is the one spiritual experience available in the physical world, and reality’s way of suggesting that there is always more to existence than meets the eye, at the same time as a drone adds a pleasant undercurrent to the transient which makes it almost seem permanent. Is it the map or the territory which is the background groan?
Astrology is very old, and its habits are set. The astrologer is dependent on his habits, and because they deliver faith and hope, has no intention of changing them, let alone doing away with habit altogether. However, for as long as sentient beings have felt obliged to curb their emotions, the habits, wisdom, expertise and most tried and tested beliefs of others have been perceived as preventing them from realizing true potential–which only we can see. This we call charity.
The South looks at the North, where False Dreams are in Discrimination:
The North looks at the South, where the Covenant is in Relationship:
The covenant of the cross is not continuously visible in the North, nor are the elms at the entrance to hell in the South. Furthermore, of what value is a sky clock to a traveller with charge in her smartphone, especially one which turns backwards? How should I know? Just another thing I dreamed up, along with the map of hell and the madness of the hours, while I was respiring, photosynthesizing, drinking from the earth and resting birds here in country. Why don’t you go out one night, turn away from the Zodiac, and allow a covenant and a grove of false dreams to roam in the rooms of your disintegration? Or just absorb the energy bursting through the Lion’s Gate Portal and move on: does the astrologer pocketing his schedule of trains really care?