What is intuition, Mary of Magdala? Soteriology at Yabby Gate:
Welcome the Southern Moon to the Sign of Altruism! He will find things a lot different here, coming from the cobwebs of dilapidated castles which is the Northern Sign of Leo in The Crab. Here, he opposes an absolute monarch in Goat’s Head Soup, when the kids are back in school amid cyclones and some of the hottest days of the year.
Altruism is not a mission, or a moral or political stance. It is innate. You will find it associated with all of your experiences of the suffering of others. It does not say, “I have suffered”, but “Suffering is universal”, and lies at the heart, not of difference, offence and conflict, but of forgiveness, care and transcendence.
People who think of themselves as Leftist use altruism as a deontological set of instructions; Rightists use it as a consequentialist map. However, this month’s Full Moon reflects altruism’s fundamental relativity. Where does the Sun go when it sets? Into someone else’s consciousness, of course. And where is that place? Not here, and not in the past or future. I guess it is in my mind, somewhere, and where am I, there? Here, in someone else’s elsewhere. Someone I don’t know is in my mind, and I am in the mind of someone who doesn’t know me.
This is the passport the present stamps as I emerge on the threshold of my past. The fellow-travellers who scramble to fit into my selfie at Immigration are you, and I am in a thousand mementos on unknown mantels everywhere. I carry with me at all times, hidden in my secret place, the awareness that I am someone else.
Overnight, the Immigrant will arrive in the upside down lion (or possum) we call Leo, and tomorrow, south of a line from Sarina to Shark Bay, it will occult the Archangel Raphael and his ironic gift of healing.
Ironic, because our wound can only be healed by acceptance, in our innermost presence, where we die, where we are Other. This is the celebration at Regulus Gate. This, backpackers from all over the world, is where it’s at! No amount of studying Australia’s immigration law or the victimization of its minorities can prepare you for arrival at whom you’ve always been.
Attesting to the uncomfortable marriage of belief and truth, there exists in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories a township known to the Palestinians as Place of Meat, and to the Israelis as Place of Bread. These are mere facts, but to Christians, who know it as Bethlehem, it remains a landmark in the timeless human search for meaning, associated not only with a birth, but a sign.
This year there are signs in various parts of the world, in the days leading up to the annual commemoration of the Adoration of the Magi, known to Christians as the feast of the Epiphany, of a possible new birth. God knows we need one!
The first sign, at sunset in Bethlehem on January 4, is the simultaneous transit of the First Point of Aries and the First Quarter Moon. In fact, the Moon transits 2 seconds before the equinoxial point, and 7 minutes before official sunset, but it is signs we seek, not facts. Some sort of new beginning might be approaching. [All times at the foot of the following charts are Australian Eastern Daylight Time, UTC +11.]
The second sign, proving just how elusive signs can be, is manifest at Regulus Gate from my observatory on Epiphany morning.
Regulus, the star of the Lion’s heart, has a complex meaning in Southern Hemisphere Astrology. Not only does ‘Regulus‘ mean ‘little king’ (not ‘prince’), an infamous basilisk who can kill with just a glance, but Leo upside-down looks more like a possum than a lion, and as anyone who has been pissed on by a possum can attest, he is a malicious creature. Nonetheless, Regulus is one of the Royal Stars of Persia, the four guardians of the sky (along with Aldebaran, Antares and Fomalhaut), associated with the healing angel Raphael, and so the worst I can think of him is that he can seem sarcastic, when really his mordant wit is simply helping you to recover from yourself. It is important to know these resonances to understand Regulus Gate, because its other end is Alnair (at top of chart), the brightest star of Grus, the Crane, which carries Asian cultural connotations of celebration.
Now, Epiphany is astrology’s big moment, so flipping the globe to my meridian on the other side to see what the celebration end looks like in Brazil, I find the second sign.
Wow, the Ecliptic is so close to the zenith (the zigzag in the meridian line), and Venus is almost there and opposite Regulus, which is right on the opposite horizontal pole! This seems special in some way I can’t quite put my finger on, because Venus and Regulus have been a ‘thing’ for thousands of years. How does Venus in Aquarius through Alnair Gate relate to what I’m seeing in Breamlea? Is she prancing on Regulus’ sarcasm? Is celebration so unwarranted that she must negate her underworld man with an upskirt?
The third sign, computed by a Solomonese Indian astrologer, is the entry of the Moon into Ashvini, the first Nakshatra (opposite Spica) at the precise moment of transit, at sunset on Malaita, one of the Solomon Islands. (Official sunset is a mere 7 seconds later.)
Indulgent Jupiter constrained by shrewd Spica: a gravitational reminder of what the politeness of a refined wife may mask? No? Well, perhaps all these cyclical rebirths are all we get. But wait! Poring over my arcane tables in retreat from the late heat of the summer sun, I realize that Fomalhaut, the angel Gabriel, is culminating, signalling affirmation perhaps of the sacred meaning I am looking for. It was no doubt the same fervour that seizes me now which gripped the astrologers of Herod’s day! I must follow that star!
It takes about 9 hours for the Earth to rotate its longitudes so that Fomalhaut transits at Bethlehem, so I have plenty of time to get there and consult my tables, but I am thrown into consternation by complete unfamiliarity when I get there. It is cold, not at all like the nativity plays where I come from, where the wise men all wear shorts. I can’t even find the sun at first, until I realize it is behind me, much lower than I left it, and setting to my right, clockwise. The chart above, my home, is where I am used to the constellations following an anti-clockwise procession, but no matter, I am already acclimatizing.
But what’s this? What are those ridiculous signs? What in Heaven’s name is Gabriel affirming? Must I become the newborn and start learning to read the world all over again? My wisdom deserts me! Whoever heard of a confident crab, or an aggressive set of scales? Never could I associate a possum with perfectionism! No wonder there is such implacable hostility between sidereal and tropical astrologers up here! No wonder ‘wise men’ no longer look at the sky here: it’s all wrong!
And so, as the sun sets into the cosmic ocean, I finally have my epiphany. Life is not a river flowing down to the sea, but a journey in the opposite direction, through ever more sharply defined contours, dwindling resources and thinning populations, until finally, the water dries up completely.
The story so far:
The vagabond is homeless, disconnected, a refugee from the world of the therapeutically discriminating intellect. Is he unpacking his “stuff”? Is he on the way to realizing that the enemy of a perfect world is the undeconstructed self? Shall we ask him? Are we bored enough by our pallid Nothingness to inhabit with our self-aggrandizing ‘compassion’ another’s tedious wound? Do we have the temerity to apply our triumphant empathy to the capacity to deal with the shame of eating garbage, being constantly afflicted with diarrhoea and having nowhere to do it but in our pants? Are we ready to deal with the stereotypes he has us cast in?
Now read on.
Does this look like a smiley face to you? You’re sadly deluded. The Moon is a piece of rock without legs, and its ‘head’ is all face. If that doesn’t give him away as a shady type, the one eye confirms he is ‘other’, not to be trusted, potentially evil. Of course, as compassionate people, we have long abandoned physiognomy, but our compassion is anchored to the otherness of the ‘other’. Compassion is part of our identity, and the identity of the ‘other’ is as fixed: indigenous people must remain in traditional culture, disinherited and victimized, and disabled people must remain the recipients of our largesse, defined by their disability. To expect otherwise is racist and elitist, disrespectful of their identity.
The Sign of the constellation Taurus in the southern hemisphere is Sagittarius, the sign of charisma and independence. Re-inhabit your subjectivity and respect the ‘other’ in theirs! Nobody’s identity is fixed, at birth or in an analytical, managerial mind. There is no form which is not empty. There is only time, and the dark art of becoming. And the timelessly true subject of the subject, love.
Part The Second
If you want to justify yourself–tidy yourself at the margins–spare me some change, says the vagabond, the loser, the weirdo. Pause for a dialogue in the daylight world of your power to imagine away my exile. But if you can brave it, meet me in the middle of the night, in the chaos of your fears, the world of my power to make you an infantile irrelevance.
Chapter 1. Saiph
Who is God?
These people on the streets and roads of Afghanistan know the folly of disrespecting a man who will kill you instantly with impunity. If one is uneducated in the nature of offence, as I am, and you too, then one is in mortal danger. One must shroud oneself, maintain an attitude of deference and submit to any indignity. Is it wise to leave questions about God to the Imam to decide? No, it is stupid to voice an opinion. And that is why I will be long gone from the shelter of this moai by dawn. The power of Polynesians is immense, and under the gaze of their ancestors existence itself is an impertinence. Saiph has the laughter which incites a man to be bigger than his grandfather. It is very, very dangerous.
Chapter 2. Butch
Who are you?
Why do I sing “O Sole Mio” when all the beautiful people at this beach have their earplugs in? Because this is a dream, and singing a Neapolitan song gives me an aesthetic reason to be dressed in rags. My people forgive my problem with the bottle, and the years I wasted reading the history of the world, because I entertain the tourists. They tell me a woman’s beauty is not so much degraded by wolf-whistles in Italia these days. You can wear these revealing clothes. Is it true? A woman’s beauty in Pukapuka is the secret which keeps us alive. You will all leave and take your secrets with you, and here another cyclone will come.
Chapter 3. Avior
What is life?
You boys are trouble, no? Hahaha! No, just having fun, I know. That’s all I’ve got, and I don’t know when I’ll have more, but you’re welcome! A cricket team, eh? We play baseball where I am from, but last year I was in India. There it is big, I know. Howzat! Hahaha! The world is just a big game of cricket, no? Tampering with the ball! Hahaha! Go over there to vomit, man! Hahaha!
Chapter 4. Regulus
What is death?
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When will the Holocaust be forgotten? When will the Twin Towers be forgotten? For ever and ever. Now get out with me and witness the moment. I am pausing the meter, see?
That you will never see again. The star is the Archangel Raphael. I thought it was him when you started raving about death. Why do you want to talk about death? Is that my “stuff”? No. “I found more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, whose heart is a snare and whose hands are like prison chains.” That’s mine. “Eh quoi! n’est-ce donc que cela? La toile était levée et j’attendais encore.”
“Finally, I got home. It was tantamount to harassment.”
“Well, at least you got to see the Archangel Raphael”
“And you might refrain from turning our Christmas party into a conversation about death?”
Would you speak of objective empathy? The objective ‘soul of America’? An objective definition of your community? Of course not! But in fact, politicians, journalists and academics make utterances every day which assume you can. We are so accustomed to the use of such terms as ‘multi-cultural’, ‘global’, ‘universal human rights’ ‘culture’ and ‘community’ that we don’t question them. It’s time we remembered that economic and political systems are powered by individual activity. Naturally, since we are saturated by relationship, we are stimulated by a sense of relativity, but our activity does not occur in a systemic context unless it first occurs in a personal space. The dismantling of personal space is a human disaster. This, and any statement which generalizes from the particular, should occasion extreme doubt.
When the Sun and Moon come together in Breamlea Scorpio, this means, as far as can be practicably obtained in an equal division of the ecliptic by twelve, that the conjunction occurs against the background of astronomically-defined Scorpius, which the Sun enters in the last month of northern hemisphere autumn, and so carries the sign of the archer Sagittarius. In the southern hemisphere it carries the sign of the last month of equinoxially-defined spring, Gemini, the sign of over-thinking, intellectual constructs and mind-games. The relativity of northern and southern seasons is a mind-game, as is the relativity of solar and lunar calendars, and the imposition of boundaries in the sky by astronomers and astrologers. Be aware of being in your head, and be cautious of letting others get in there and play with it.
The spirit of the law is disobedience, therefore do not speak of cultural relativity and universal human rights in the same breath. That is a contamination. Being is becoming. Evangelism is not proselytism; love is not therapy. If Spirit beckons to the wilderness, Ideology belongs in the marketplace, not the mosques and law-courts.
Look upon the multitude of zombies who have lost the capacity to follow signs from a ‘within’, and instead, heads reeling with post-truth shock, set their course between different analytical impossibilities. Are you in this state? Is the next chapter of your life story so predictable, because your calling is ‘within’ a shape? Is your Tree of Life fully formed? You just haven’t finished painting all the leaves? Is doubt a blight on those leaves? Emptiness a one-way ticket to boredom and death? This is a lack of faith in the perpetual becoming of the self, the nurture of a pot-bound purchase from the nursery. The ego remains in charge of consciousness in a sort of secular agnosticism.
The sane person–any being overwhelmed by the suffering of the world and alive to the real and pressing predicament of their own finitude–who seeks salvation ‘within’, creates a relationship to the world, to outward appearances, by doubting logic, moulding reality to suit desire. Such madness, if madness it is, is truly founded in a nobility, even a sanctification of suffering. The more common madness makes suffering a malady. The ego doubts the self because it doesn’t like the view out the window. Between the magical realms of body and society it finds only a wound. The madness of the therapeutic solution to suffering pathologizes passionate love as limerence and anxiety as hormonal imbalance. The madness of activism, the political solution to suffering, destroys the validity of the ‘social inclusion’ and ‘cultural property’ it glorifies in minority by stigmatizing ‘elitism’, ‘racism’ and ‘fascism’. Sanity doubts all of this, surely?
Location, location, location! That the position of the Moon against the background stars affect its influence, I doubt. I doubt too the phases of the Moon: when and where do they exist? But I do not doubt that the Moon transits, and is in every instant transiting somewhere. The Gates give me a frame of reference to our Earth’s rotation more tangibly instantaneous and real than the Moon’s elongation from the Sun. In this instance, I like the balance of the instant at which South Africa, and all who share her meridian, lead the way into the new month:
Years are marked by the slow precession of the Moon’s nodes through the constellations. This has been the year the Moon has risen above the Ecliptic in Aquarius and fallen in Leo, a sign to me that we can be such perfectionists that we are inclined to overlook new connections which are not logical, seeing their potential as messy rather than liberating. We have dealt with issues in a relativist sort of way, but we have been blind to obvious signs of ‘our’ elitism and ‘their’ resentful conformity. The geometry of difference has imploded.
A sign is not merely a piece of evidence, like another piece of an academic jigsaw puzzle, a climate statistic, or the elongation of the Moon. It is totally subjective. It is almost a gravitational force, drawing an absolute necessity from somewhere deep inside a being’s sense of itself towards growth, connection, union, realization. Eureka! Epiphany! The world of reason and the law is an exoskeletal structure, but living, breathing reality is a lingering, lurking pulsation of signs.
What are the signs at top and bottom of the chart above? They may be the scented breath of a wind from the east, a seeking of the significance of the force which draws the Moon, the Sun and wandering stars inexorably in that direction. Alternatively, they may register the ownership of the universe by the human spirit. The character of the stars can and ought to be disputed, but that they have no character is a claim made by someone watching too much TV. These signs of the labelled stars and their underworld opposites indicate a geometrical reality, not of the Solar System, but of the observer’s instant in relation to time and geography. They connect continents, hemispheres and populations by meridian to their underworld being. They are gates of subjectivity standing on opposite sides of the globe punctuating this mental month as a personal, post-truth Moon passes through going eastward.
Part The First
Where is the Bangladesh-India Border? Between ethnicities? Languages? Religions? Who inhabits an Indian enclave within a Bangladeshi enclave within an Indian enclave within a Bangladeshi region? Where does Pegasus end and Andromeda begin? Where are the astronomical attributes of Alpha Andromedae? Spectrographic printout? Somewhere in space? The time of the printout? Of the emissions? How can a constellation be defined? How can Alpheratz not be ambiguous? It appears in a flying horse as well as a chained sacrifice.
If you can imagine yourself up on the cross, “Verklaerung”* (Transfiguration) is directly above you, and flanking it are the alternative directions of spirituality: the ecstacy and heightened awareness of “Sinistra”* (Delta Centauri), and the asceticism and moral rectitude of “Destra”* (Epsilon Centauri). Which do you choose when you are a prisoner enslaved to the construction of The Wall of Tears? Which leads to survival? Whose cries do tourists in the Galapagos hear?
Young indigenous offender, what has robbed you of the enjoyment of life and set your heart among the briars of your mind? What deity has initiated you into perpetual deprivation?
Seek him in the break on Brazil’s shore. He is a natural force, a cycle, a habit; but in the Underworld, he is the memory to unlearn. Only you might crest that wave.
Gazing out into the dark sea from your module in the launch stage of Punta Pacifica, you do appear to have presence. Where will you land? Will you choose, mythical minotaur of the labyrinth of capital?
Is it by transcending the ego that you will overcome fear, anxiety and despair? Or is mindfulness a detour around your infantile defences against failure, loss and finitude?
What just happened? It will keep university-educated top-down theorists ranting for four years, but the different ways in which resistance to meritocracy, globalisation and political correctness is evolving across the globe feels like a Peasants’ Revolt. Horror of horrors! The representatives of the deplorable, ignorant, racist, sexist, violent, unemployable rednecks have the controls!
But kids, slow down here! The voices now reaching a crescendo to match yours have been audible for years, and you have ignored them. Why? Why have you not seen (until now) that the structures and systems within which you struggle and prosper are a canon of righteousness and entitlement which is not inclusive at all, but exploitative and repressive, to a large percentage of the people you only know from what you’ve read and been taught?
Whether you call them peasants, or the working-class, bogans, suburbanites or deplorables, they only differ from you in not being practised in systematic analysis. They just know what they know. They’re only saying to you that they feel secure in the world you are taking away from them, the world in which they were productive and self-sufficient, and of distinct genders with community identities. The world they have faith in has lost its power, and that feels self-evidently wrong. Isn’t that how you also feel right now?
The Full Moon of November is always in one of the agrarian constellations of the Ram and the Bull. As Spring turns to Summer it descends to Full: it is lowly relative to the burgeoning midday Sun, as the emotions are secondary to the organisation of the enormous amount of work to be done. On the other hand, from the Northern Hemisphere the midday Sun appears low and the Moon high amongst the bales laid up for Winter. These are signs readily recognized by the bottom-up thinker.
The peasant, contrary to the ignorant, subservient boor caricatured in the stereotypical ‘silent majority’, has actually taken the first step towards enlightenment: he has aligned himself with the will of God, and is at the interface between individual truth and the mystery of the Holy Spirit. In history, he is the agrarian progenitor of civilization. He has both an intimate understanding of the scheme of things, and a point of view. Primal humanity, as an historical moment or stage in individual maturation, has an inherited view and a language with which to exchange and explore it. The peasant, in the constellation of the primal sign, is on the verge of adopting a view of his own.
Some peasants share the belief, rejected by science, that Supermoons, when Full coincides with Perigee, cause earthquakes. What possible basis could there be for connecting the New Zealand earthquake of Monday morning at longitude 173.02 with this?
On the same day, a new father emerges from a maternity hospital in Argentina for a cigarette. He tries to describe to himself the sensation of holding his new-born. He thinks he should feel different, that now everything has changed.
He does not believe in God, but in the ward it was as though a new spirit had arrived, and yet he could almost feel that the spirit of his child was made out of his and his wife’s in more than a physical way, that the baby had a past made out of the lives of its parents. Strange thoughts, especially when he turns them towards his own parents. He drops the butt of his cigarette and turns to go back in, thinking that he should return to work soon. He is aware of the immensity of his wife’s accomplishment, but for the new father, there are two more ephedrine deliveries due later in the afternoon.
All of a sudden, he becomes vividly aware of his surroundings in a weird way. The pavement beneath his shoes is more than naturally solid, and is curving away from him. The trees down the lane are standing at different angles to the ground. The clouds are still and the world is turning. The city around the hospital is droning and shuddering. It seems to have its own life, but in this strange moment it is an organism with a corpuscular traffic of drivers all like him, made out of their parents.
The world seems immense and small at the same time; empty of things, it is a corpuscular network of cities made out of the movements of people in moments like his, made like him out of their parents, their needs, their appointments. What time was the baby born? Is it a boy or a girl? Wow. This is like a dream.
On the same meridian around the other side of the world, or in the Underworld of the Argentinian–“Where does the Sun go when it goes down?”–the Moon is at transit over the Swan River.
I clasp you in my arms, boy of my youth. I know you would in this moment spill your last drop of blood for whom you love and what you believe in, if you but had the courage to be what you are…a peasant.
The reader will remember that the last memory to be erased by the Lethe—the Orion Arm of the Milky Way—is of the dark beauty Saiph, hoisting her dress to urinate on the bank. This month, the Moon learns more about her as he enters her Gate. A mass demonstration will be staged in Austin, Texas at 14:30 on Wednesday, to protest about women being treated like peasants. A delegation from the Australian Lock The Gate Alliance and the Northern Rivers Hate Out Of My Hills hippie divorcees community will attend. Thousands of T-Shirts are being distributed printed with this image.
On the same meridian, directly below—on Earth as it is in Heaven, as they say—lies the mighty Godavari River at Yanam in Andhra Pradesh. Peasants have been around a long time.
On the bank, a short distance from both a bridge and a ferry uniting north and south, stands a lingam flanked by two sacred elephants. Is this just coincidence? “The union of lingam and yoni represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”. “…According to Vivekananda, the explanation of the Shalagrama-Shila as a phallic emblem was an imaginary invention. Vivekananda argued that the explanation of the Shiva-Linga as a phallic emblem was brought forward by the most thoughtless, and was forthcoming in India in her most degraded times, those of the downfall of Buddhism.” Wikipedia
How long will it be before gender equality needs no demonstration? How long before gender fluidity is embraced in its intuitive, bottom-up pattern; before geographical separation and the term ‘coincidence’ are dismissed as unreal? The Moon offers a peasant’s advice: there is no eternal life or death, thank God! Stop imagining yourself as a subject of laws; think with your heart and live in your soul, and if you get separated, go to a gate; but know your shadow, and translate yourself into many languages!
Obviously, the project of Southern Hemisphere Astrology is to encourage resistance to objectivity, to create conditions for immunity from just another formal system which seduces the unwary into static, objective, received notions of identity and relationship. Astrology grew organically from observation, and still roots astronomy, at the source of its measurements, in the seasons. All I persevere to persuade those with the instinct to connect below with above is to observe, and recognize that the arcane traditions of Northern Hemisphere astrology are upside down in southern latitudes.
Observe that that the crescent of the waxing Moon is illuminated on the left, that it creeps clockwise as its phases displace it in time, that a negative sign means above, and that if you look to the south and bend over backwards far enough you can see from the Northern Hemisphere. Observe how much further the Moon moves nightly at perigee. Observe whether it is above or below a star such as Regulus or Zubenelgenubi on the ecliptic, and by the Moon’s progress know these and other prominent stars of the zodiac. Above all, observe the constellations the Moon and planets are in when astrology tells you which sign they are in, and calibrate that association so that all astrological meaning becomes at least ambiguous.
When you know where the seasons are in the sky, and when you know what seasons they are, then you’re ready and able to stand upright in the universe, in company with the people of the Pacific and the indigenous people of Australia, Africa and South America. You’re ready for the Gates.
The progress of the Moon through the gates, like its progress through the phases in psychological astrology, is only a game, in this case a geographical game, but it helps to envisage the invisible, and to give a deeper perspective of conditions as they unfold, a global ‘feel’. Bridging north and south, a Gate reminds us that everyone is walking upside down. Duality is not the root of suffering. Duality is the root of humanity. Hence:
and (because of space limitations to convey so much geographical information):
Every New Moon is a new set of conditions; every Full Moon the denouement of a story that unfolds from the attempt to give subjective meaning to those conditions, as dream orientates the events of a day, and Geworfenheit discovers itself, through and despite the pseudo-science of ethnography, as it unpacks the concept of ‘culture’. The absolutely essential ingredient in these conditions and narratives is the Sun.
And the harmonics of Moon orbit and Earth rotation are augmented by the harmonics of Earth orbit and rotation in such demonstrations as this, which will appear on Facebook as “Falling Towards Rectitude”, foreshadowing the next set of initial conditions.
Mother Courage revealed, thanks to what is visible in the sky at solar midnight when the Sun is before a Gate.
To be saved is to drown.
Seeing things as they really are: Full Moon at 19:05 GMT 16 September 2016.
“Imagine that a child drops a plate in the presence of his parents. When he seeks forgiveness from his father, the child is rebuffed. He experiences a pang of emotion linked both to fear of impending punishment and to anger and resentment at his father for his harsh reaction. This, according to Kosawa, approximates Freud’s understanding of guilt in the religious context. But then the child asks the mother for forgiveness — and receives it. The mother takes the child’s fearful and rebellious guilt and alchemises it into a ‘reparative guilt’: an overwhelming response to total, unconditional forgiveness. This latter reaction was, for Kosawa, a truly ‘religious state of mind’ and he saw it as the core of his own Shin tradition.” Christopher Harding.
“Here I am. Look up into my face. Can you see my emptiness? Or merely narcissism (Kristin Dombek), an illuminated disc? Be assured: I am here. My presence is my emptiness.”
“Adorno’s central objection—that astrology fostered a risky passivity—was later echoed by liberal intellectuals who argued that New Age thinking (to which astrology belonged, despite its lineage going back to antiquity) did even worse damage by encouraging an inward turn at the expense of the civic sphere.
“…For what did injunctions to “live in the moment” and “be present” mean if not “forget the past”?
“…What critics of astrology have in common—whether they come from the anarchist left or the Christian right or anywhere in between—is a tendency to see astrology as a form of therapy. What bothers them most is not astrology’s irrationality, but its use as a substitute for something older or truer—monotheism, freedom, the demos, the political — that is both the salvation and end goal of progress. To them, astrology is an ideology of the depressed, a politics of resignation: a balm that, like therapy in general, treats the individual symptom of a larger social illness without acknowledging the disease. Look at someone reading a horoscope and you may see hope: someone looking toward the future in a way that suggests a desire for a future at all. What the critics see, however, is someone giving up.
“…On the other hand, astrology offers those who take it less seriously a nice opportunity to critique taxonomies of identity in general.”
Here it is that the Moon returns once a month to walk in the grounds with ‘retreaters’, and reassure them that there is nothing essentially wrong with being unequal or having thoughts in a subjective language other than global-transformation-speak.
The visitors book has been signed by such notables as Lucy Who Fell Out Of A Tree, Diogenes of Sinope, Jesus of Nazareth, Giordano Bruno, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sören Kierkegaard and Mark Chapman, reader of Catcher in the Rye.
In a quiet murmur barely discernible from the ghostly whispers which still haunt the monastery from a time during the rise of socialism when it was sequestered for the reinforcement of class division, the Moon talks about relativity and difference, nothingness and emptiness, identity-with and ipseity, and the essential strife of being.
“We are all creatures of habit,” he counsels. “Each and every day there comes a time when we hate ourselves for the negativity with which we react to our complete immersion in the daily tide of inauthentic borrowed ideas, and at such times, often just after lunch or at sunset, it is advisable to take a nap.”
The monastery prospectus advertises with quotes of the Moon, and of course most people who come on retreat are disappointed by his absence. Some describe their visit in negative terms, but the funding of the monastery suffers little since they always shortly afterwards return, usually with an ephemeris in their bag.
“Yes, life has a measure,” goes one of the Moon’s aphorisms, “but neither is it in your pocket nor your enemy’s.” He has, with loving-kindness to equal the source of all woe, enabled thousands to dissolve themselves back into communities of anathema with a simple message: pause at the gate. This monk is nothing if not a neuro-linguistic programmer.
“This world you were deposited in at birth is not a prison of others’ making. You must realize how much it has adapted to you, but when you change it you must also realize that you are now one of the architects of the world new life is being deposited into. Your responsibility is not to own the world, and it is not to own yourself. Your responsibility is to stand at the gate before you open it for yourself or another, and recognize its nature and purpose. The gate is the intelligibility of the world. It opens with permission.”
His springtime visits draw thousands, who spill out into a great city of tents beyond the monastery grounds, and not just because he always appears in all his finery, complete with wings–every 18 years or so he actually arrives on a donkey preceded by youths waving palm leaves–but because this is the quintessential season of initiative and communication in a common cause. It is a bad time to be unequal.
Grab a bottle of wine and come over for lunch. Let’s talk about equality and #ssm!
What is the purpose of closing a gate? Does the farmer know you are here? What farmer? Aren’t we in Justfriendistan, or the Ninth Circle of Hell?
It is sacred; go ahead, clasp it; and open the wine.