The Monk arrives, as he always does, in the inverted sign of his departure.
An equatorial grid reveals a hitherto unremarked affinity of the fabled Circlet of Pisces with the mythical vanity of Cassiopeia. Fortuitously lurking in the Mexican astrological house of the intellect, the two of them are conversely at home in the Indian Ocean aspirations of the antipodean American hungry ghost.
On his way to give succour to the wretched pilgrims camped expectantly below the Circlet of Unfulfilled Love, the Monk is waylaid by a throng of rancorous social scientists. He stands accused of not disclosing emotions which have the potential to perpetuate gender duality and white male supremacy. Additional charges, that he helped Captain Cook chart the Australian coast and is therefore implicated in the invasion which followed, and that he gave solace to unhappy priests tempted into the sexual abuse of children, have been dropped for want of credible eyewitnesses.
It cannot be denied that the Monk has triggered some pain, but if we can dispassionately judge perpetrator, why not victim? With all due respect, he defends himself, although I cannot deny being a witness to the whole of human history, I do not control it. I am not responsible for the emergent practice of connecting with the cosmos at sunset, or the associated encounter with the Other of people’s unconscious longing and exploitation. Do not delay me further, and what influence I may have, I will employ.
For generations, it has been the Circlet which has offered connection in the suffering embodied by human loving, and the Monk has been revered for the selfless love and courage of his service to humanity in renunciation of the physical comforts of biological union and material wealth. However, he is aware that some of his followers have begun to practise the contemplation towards the west of the setting Sun. As darkness falls on the last glow of the day, they quietly absorb the same feeling of primal union that dissolves the individuality of lovers and stimulates the dropping of bonded milk for the newborn.
The high priests, by computing the precise intersection of the prime meridian and the ecliptic, which half the time occurs below the horizon, have bolstered their claim to special powers of interpretation, but in doing so have introduced a potentially disturbing perspective, namely, that the rush of oxytocin may have unconscious elements which are not always benign.
“It’s sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause an oxytocin surge, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior. But these monikers may be misleading.
Oxytocin can also intensify memories of bonding gone bad, such as in cases where men have poor relationships with their mothers. It can also make people less accepting of people they see as outsiders. In other words, whether oxytocin makes you feel cuddly or suspicious of others depends on the environment.” Stephanie Pappas, Live Science.
Astrology is working in parallel with social science to quantify oxytocin’s effects. The Vertex faction of the Capricornia Chapter of the Australian Coastal Retirees Association is playing a prominent role. Its members are in silent uproar as the glorious rays of sunset give way to darkness. The Vertex at this latitude offers something for all who rummage in their hormones for the indrawn sigh of connection. Unfortunately, there is as yet no Anti-Vertex faction.
As the Vertex disappears below the horizon in the astrological house of relationship, the Monk is approaching from behind, while the cosmos has clicked into perhaps its most significant configuration. The Milky Way arcs in a straight line from southwest to northeast centred directly overhead. The Monk, himself an habitual contributor to light pollution, is unaware of the profound implications of connection with fifty thousand years of indigenous culture dulled by the lights of Rockhampton above the oxytocin worshippers focused on gratitude for their superannuation and companions in retirement. However, he does have some thoughts on country.
The Monk taps on his champagne glass and clears his throat. Lifelong friends, he begins, I commend you for your refusal to succumb to suffering as the pilgrims waiting for me at the Circlet do, but please hear my testimony. I share your yearning for validation, but I have learned its pitfalls. As long as it comes from the Other, it can only reinforce the Self as Other too. What is it about you which gives you the power to connect with the Other? Only Thou can know. Love is not projected, nor can it be measured or deserved. Transcendence and joy can only be found right here, as the source of the real, not at the end of an investigation or journey. Let your meditation be the ground under your feet and the sky above you. Open your heart to all who share them with you, and let yourself fall into total disclosure, whether they do or not. To worship and be worshipped is a beautiful thing, but to be the place of worship is sublime.
Observe the Vertex Calendar, true for leap years, and enjoy the rapture of prattling children, renewed friendship and new shoots in the vegetable garden, savour the mysteries of bewitchment and compulsion, but embody north, south and east too. The driver of midsummer is midwinter. The driver of permanence is idolatry. I will face my charges guilty of my innocence.
[My disclosure: I am a Cassiopeia in the lower case: letter ‘w’. ‘You’ are not Other, but when absent, missed. Please do not colour me in. Abliq.
Everything’s been returned which was owed. Dylan.]