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Doubt is the necessary condition for meaning, and the necessary condition for doubt is time, and specifically time’s experienced intervals. What measures your mindfulness and interrogates your ego? Habits? Addiction? Divorce and remarriage rate? Child milestones? Reunions? New Year’s Eve? For some of us it is Full Moons, and Saturn Returns. The longer the interval, the more abrupt and bittersweet our apprehension of the brevity of the time we have. Were we right?

By Johannes Kepler – De Stella Nova in pede Serpentarii (1606), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16622989

In a week from now, a Great Conjunction will divide our lives into twenty-year chunks. For a very long time, observers of the cosmos like Kepler have understood that successive conjunctions occur roughly 120 degrees apart, so that every third return occurs in the vicinity of its forerunner, but advancing through the Zodiac by 4-10 degrees every 60 years. The previous occurrence of this triad took place in sidereal Sagittarius in 1961. A Grand Return, a full circle, takes 1767-8 years, by my calculations. The last time it occurred in the vicinity of this one was in February 253 CE, and before that, ‘February’ 1455 BCE. How much time have we got?

I will leave it to the Sun and Moon to tell us how long it takes for a Great Conjunction in sidereal Capricorn to coincide with a New Moon. I am content to leave it in doubt. This Moon will be near First Quarter.

The last time the New Moon occurred on December 14-15 at the tail-end of the Scorpion was in 2001, and the next will be in 2031, when we may have another eleven years to look back on, and maybe not. At nightfall tonight Jupiter and Saturn are less than half an outstretched fingertip apart.

Salta Noon

I doubt if anybody here still holds to the view that seasons have a fixed starting date and duration. Perhaps there are Australians who regard scorching-hot weather before December 1 as an aberration, and purists who don their summer outfits at the Solstice. I know there are many who believe the Northern Hemisphere tropical signs apply down here with some sort of transcendental cosmological impact, and many of you up there incorporate Southern Signs into a meaningful polarity. Pity those migratory birds who arrive down here in a drought! But do notice how Ascendant and Descendant play out in the Antipodes.

Heyuan Underworld Solar Midnight

Along with the doubt which plagues us at this time of year that the brilliancy of our appropriate gifts will be under-appreciated, we have become accustomed to the devaluation of the Christian festival which draws nigh, just as the Christians devalued pagan antecedents. But as we prepare for the insufferable rectitude of pubescent nephews and nieces, can we admit the ambiguity and indefinability of the seasons?

After all, as our youngsters are fond of pointing out, it’s 2020, and it’s we who’ve changed the seasons, and perhaps invalidated all Tropical Signs, North and South. Have we really changed the seasons? Let’s have recourse to the timeless wisdom of indigenous peoples, or are they now wrong too?

There are no seasons on the Moon, only day and night, lasting 13 1/2 days each, which can be described as bloody hot and bloody cold. Perhaps the siderealists are right: Signs are no more than myth and appearance. If we abolish the seasons from the Moon’s view of us, what remains?

Moon view at 173 celsius below.

So back where we start from, we persevere in creating the antidote to doubt. What the Great Conjunction means depends on the Sign it occurs in, which I leave to the vested interests. All I know is how small it makes me. Country is time distilled. Will 2020, and the disadvantage its catastrophes have imposed at the margins, never end?