Would you rather be a Libra or an Aries? Have you of sidereal Virgo birth decided which season you were born in, or committed yourself, though energetically and impatiently, to a refined, compromising northern tribe? Somewhere in Web-Rot we have previously encountered the astrological migration southward of Indigenous Australians, and suggested that (a) our planet is divided into two astrological hemispheres by the declination of the Sun and whether noon shadows are falling north or south, and (b) that any meaning ascribed to the Vertex, where the Ecliptic intersects the Prime Vertical, must derive from the limits imposed by latitude, namely, the increasing angle of the Vertex with the zenith as distance from the Equator increases.
In other words, epiphany retreats south and north, according to hemisphere, into ever less mystical and more pusillanimous wish-fulfilment, until it exhausts itself in idealization and submission; or alternatively one could say, the limerent finally reaches a quarter-acre block and a triple-fronted brick-veneer. Mountebank, charlatan, you cry! How dare you draw a line between North and South Island of New Zealand, Tasmania and the mainland of Australia, the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, the United States and Canada? Please, no offence intended: the atrophy of limerence is a good thing, isn’t it?
Community is the elephant in the room. Can community exist through Destiny’s Gate? Of course not, by its very nature, despite the fact we all yearn for something. Perhaps Bass Strait celebrates the division of two different tribes yearning for dry land. There is an undercurrent of anarchism among the opponents of compulsory vaccination, mandatory restrictions such as mask-wearing, and lockdowns. Two tribes are facing off. Prisoners of society, each resents being told what to do by the other, but fundamental to their antagonism is belief in community. Community is the original top-down concept of a balance of paranoia and relativity.
Conversely, the acquiescence of the majority in the removal of their liberty speaks to the tenuous nature of tribal relationships and the extent to which their neighbours have been replaced as helpers by experts, professionals and institutions. Ironically, people in lockdown are rediscovering their neighbourhood, while confronting the tribal fracture of multicultural community: unanimity abides about the need for the freeways, hospitals, airports and police forces whose ownership they have handed up.
If Christianity and Islam could not meld tribes into a community, what chance does astrology have? The Vertex does determine hemisphere at least, as the noon Sun in the Tropics crosses the zenith to the south, but can you picture how difficult it is to ascertain the direction of zenith shadows? Would the transfiguration of cynicism into the yearning for permanence give the clue? What other compensation could a secessionist acquire for the blistering heat of being here now, especially being unable to breathe?
Perceived from an angular distance of 180 degrees, the Sun’s awakening to responsibility a fortnight ago seems incongruous, to say the least. She is more humble in Cancer, more attuned to the farcical Bardo of madness wound by the Earth’s solitary rotation which represents on stage for your delectation the irrepressible corruption of its inhabitants. Welcome to the cast, aromantics; so pleasing to see any identity emerge from the wings of limerence! Welcome, demisexuals, please line up with the aromantics towards stage-right where we can all see you in Self-Development. Clinging, quite naturally, should be neither sanctioned nor sanctioned, but expect the audience in the cheap seats to be primed to laugh. An influencer will be with you shortly.
Before influencers there were astrologers, who possibly inherited the wisdom of shamans. Where are we? Everyone wanted to know, but any answer was required to confirm and reinforce power. Has anything changed? Incidentally, the tryst of Venus and Regulus which divides life into eight-year orbits occurred on Thursday. It was invisible in south-eastern Australia, but we know it happened, don’t we? Did you see it? What influence did it have on you eight years ago? Sixteen years ago? Go on, drone, be your own influencer!
Here, it was evident to the shaman, but that question remains, oblique and disconnected in ways foreign to one intimate with the underworld. And isn’t that all of us? Do we not dream? Do we not do hourly battle with our emotions? Do we not have loved ones on the other side of the world? And yet we remain transfixed by the power of the tangible, grooming our diet, appearance and performance for a flight into history which someone else will probably make. Where others are is circumstantial, but here in the south-east of New Holland, where country is the answer to the question, we are amongst the first blooms of early Spring, if you hadn’t noticed. What? The seasons are changing? Get out of town!
In the beginning was the Emu, and among other coincidences, the right angles of Aquarius and Enif, and of Adhara, Wezen and Aludra, the diamond facet of Denebola, Spica and Arcturus, and the relationship of stellar visibility to the seasons. The beginning came before meaning, and yet it ordained meaning. You were ordained, how about that? No, not your sexuality, which was always fluid, and yours to play with as the influencers saw fit. But you know what? The way you felt when you got up this morning was ordained! The workers fed you in your wintry underworld, or they did not. Stand by, an influencer will be with you shortly.
At the risk of throttling another fish with its ordained plastic balloon, the obvious must be stated:
Check out the Signs and Houses. Yes, it would appear that it was ordained in the beginning that we would all be in this together, and that influencers would be needed to spell out our differences. Drones are such ‘warrior‘ wannabes, don’t you think? What do your influencers think? Careful! Try to avoid being struck by an emu when the Milky Way is in the Warrior configuration.
Is that not the very picture of us? Did you fear a shameful image of biomass annihilation? Totalitarianism? Corruption saturation? Don’t be perverse. Hearken to your influencer.
So that’s where we are! Confused? Wait please, good inhabitants of Sichuan with genealogies going back thousands of years, your influencer will be with you presently, whether or not you want your country and underworld validated. No doubt about it, he’s done well for himself.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Dreams, like music, have a way of seeming personal.
It was late and time to turn the music off … turn, turn, turn … blowing through the jasmine in my mind … are you old enough? … handle me with care … I’ll clean it up myself I guess … and it ain’t me who’s gonna leave … there’s one way of gettin’ there, I’ve been usin’ the method for twenty-five years or more … so open up your beach umbrella while you’re watchin’ TV … desultorily clinging to words which had made the world around him, but merely punctuated the arpeggios of his soul … skipped the light and bangles … hey little sister who’s the only one … tastes just like cherry cola … how to open doors with just a smile … don’t want your kisses that’s for sure … and you wish the world was as tired as you … never lost a minute of sleepin’ worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been … I guess hell has finally frozen over … didn’t recognize the boy in the mirror … now he wants the music to stop, but when he takes the needle off the dream groove the music keeps going. He tries the volume and the off switch to no avail. The music cannot be stopped. He is aware that music has defined every step of his life’s journey, learned and made his own, but ever with a life of its own, a cosmos of his entrails.
The dream is still there when the astrologer awakes slumped in his wheelchair. The garden outside his window is in twilight. Any moment now the nurse will come to wheel him into the dining-room. He will eat, and then be hoisted into bed, sleep, and be hoisted out again and onto the toilet, then back into his wheelchair. His bodily processes, like the music, cannot be stopped. A lifetime of change seems petrified by the bodily processes which have governed it, and by the wheeling heavens which they have written in their dance book.
This Moon aligns with one of the vertical configurations of the Milky Way, or near enough, not the transcendent associated with the initiation of Indigenous men, but the other one.
Is anyone dreaming of music in the Rohingya camps tonight? Are Southern Hemisphere Signs protruding into anyone’s northern sky? Are the Rivers of Hades no more than a poetic device, and the Milky Way no more transcendent than a campfire?
Essential to this astrologer’s country is the awareness of cyclical change. Sometimes she is a man, and sometimes he is a woman. One of the more interesting implications of the meaning he has given to the intersections of the Zodiac with the Milky Way, in no small part inspired by the imputed association of one region of the Milky Way with ‘secret men’s business’, is that at the Southern Summer Solstice the female Sun is in masculine territory, and on this rare occasion the male Moon realizes itself in what the astrologer regards as feminine territory, ‘secret women’s business’. It must be conceded that the heroic male constantly facing the insurmountable obstacles to his immortality presented by the world, and the repression of female individuation which wipes her from history, are archaic cultural constructs nowhere near obliteration.
You should be familiar with the Emu, but you may not know how its appearance has moved throughout the millennia. It has been remarked that evidence of the orientation of Bora grounds to the position of the Emu is largely to be found in Northern N.S.W. and Queensland, a phenomenon which one day might enter the debate about continental vs. regional Indigenous culture. In the meantime, there seems to me a cogent explanation for the scarcity of such evidence south of the Murray, which has nothing to do with genocide or expropriation, and everything to do with locality.
About 12,000 years ago, around the time of final separation of Tasmanian inhabitants from the mainland resulting from rising sea levels, something just as weird began in the sky: creeping northward from Southern Tasmania, the orientations of the two vertical configurations of the Milky Way when the Galactic Poles cross the horizon converged due East and West. The Poles intersected with the horizon at the Meridian (addition of the absolute values of the declination of either Pole and local latitude equalled 90°, the angle between zenith and horizon). This weirdness got as high as Tallangatta around 4500 BCE then doubled back before it quite reached Echuca, passing south of Southern Tasmania again around 1800 BCE.
Down my way, at the Wurdi Youang stone circle, this occurred in approximately 5815 and 3190 BCE (as contemporaneously it did upside down in Copper Age Anatolia and Peloponnese Greece), according to Stellarium‘s algorithms, and during the intervening millennia the Emu was never precisely vertical. The NGP crossed the Meridian below the horizon and the SGP was circumpolar. It is possible that ‘near enough is good enough’ originated in Southern Australia (or Turkey, or Greece), but it is also just possible the Kulin nation occupied the locus for a sanctification of the Prime Vertical, the invention of the plumb bob or the transmogrification of masculinity.
It is also worthy of note, especially by those anthropologists and archaeologists who have not imagined the cultural impact of an evolving sky one lives under by night, that the vertical Emu has not always appeared as it does today head down in the southwest. Between 13000 and 3000 BCE it was entirely framed head up in the northeastern sky at Wurdi Youang, similarly moving down and back up between 12800 and 3200 BCE in Northern Victoria, and in Northern N.S.W. between 10800 and 5000 BCE.
That was the time to fetishize the dust lanes recognized as the Emu, and adapt geodesy and ceremony to the subsequent millennia, and so antiquity combined with latitude explains the orientation of countrywide Bora grounds all over the compass.
The fundamental revelation which underlies compassionate humanity is not woundedness but harmfulness. Yes, we suffer, and that means we sometimes cannot help the harm we do, but never have we alleviated suffering by being blameless. And have we alleviated suffering by institutionalising goodness? We like to think so, and weep in gratitude for the separation of conjoined twins, but we are also outraged by the sexual misdemeanours of priests.
The terrible truth is that we choose to harm, and because our freedom and responsibility are the conjoined twins of our selfhood, it eventually falls to us all to confront and own our harmfulness, and if we are not to lose our selfhood to self-hatred, see ourselves finally as victims of our own evil, we must find forgiveness. Loving myself and others as wounded victims is so, how can I put it, de-meaning? Woman, you chose to be this way. The only transformation of patriarchy that works comes from the forgiveness of the guilty, women who have taken a man, from his children, his mother, himself, to give their existence meaning, women who have accepted the inherited status of domesticated animals, and men who have conflagrated their heroism in love.
“Nobody owns my country but me,” our struggle seems to entitle us to say, and yet the past I and the ancestors have vacated stretches fence by fence across the horizon. The past of my neighbours is my country. Is it a paradox that we cannot forgive our enemies, when we are identical to them in our manias of self-justification? Have we lost with the Us and Them moieties of trade-unionism a mechanism for bringing the best out of each other? Pleistocene Australians invented the fire-stick, Holocene Europeans the fence. Is it a paradox that setting fire to the bush protects the fences, originally invented to minimize conflict over game? Do traditional owners really want the onerous task of collecting the rent to fund the administration of Blue Mud Bay fishing? Midnight permits? Boarding and sinking dinghies? Headlines? Civil war?
The human bones revealed by the shifting sand of deep time belong to a nonentity who was a hero or heroine like us, and so they are sacred, like every somebody who tries not to be nobody. The guilt-ridden invaders have been willing for ages to play a fugue with the Indigenous people their ancestral nonentities wronged, but the Indigenous prelude, from the time before European settlement, has not been scored for Western instruments. How far away are the stars now? Is it different for a man or a woman to stare into the abyss? Is the Wanderer more than a dead white man’s Fantasy in C Major? Is there now a Cassiopeia in Wurundjeri country? Yes, my anxiety is salved when the Moon crosses the Lethe, why would it not be? Am I not my Mother’s son? Was it not a Song of the Rainbow Serpent she sang which opened my heart to my welcome as an interloper at the campfire of strangers? Yes, “everybody owns my country” is what I’m trying to say.
“I’m a time traveller.” “You’re a clock watcher.” “All my life I’ve been travelling at 7.9 km/sec.” “You’re hooked on melancholy”“Doubt everything, especially yourself.” “How could you believe being a failure was paying your dues?” “How could you think therapy could pay yours?” “Your anality is dying in its arse.” “Your top-down thinking is arse-up.” “I can’t keep a straight face listening to a dead man’s vain attempt to sacralize death.” “One more km/sec and I never had to hear you.” “Why did you need to tell me that? Stop attacking me.”
This all too human propensity for discrimination and judgment, unalloyed with a good dose of skepticism, consolidates normal black and white mental illness. Applied to the skin, it establishes the difference manifested by foreignness. Binary gender is a classic example: humans have confronted and adapted to devastating climate change countless times throughout the millennia, but when they were forced to leave, it was always into someone else’s country; the right to somebody else’s country doesn’t exist, but could that be rouge on the cheeks of Chopin’s corpse when Khatia Buniatishvili plays ‘his’ Piano Concerto No. 2?
The veteran in his wheelchair will not see the like of this again, and nobody younger will experience quite the awe of the Pleistocene, because dark skies are gone from Sunbury, where once the soul could study the lines of its eternal palm under the stars. Hoisted into bed, the astrologer lays his grateful head on plumped pillows, dissolves the fences of mind, floats down and beyond the fulcrum of duality, and sleeps.
“Anxiety is the first experience of our freedom, as a freedom from things and other people. It is a freedom to begin to become myself. Anxiety is perhaps the philosophical mood par excellence, it is the experience of detachment from things and from others where I can begin to think freely for myself. Yet, as Heidegger was very well aware, anxiety is also a mood that is powerfully analysed in the Christian tradition, from Augustine to Kierkegaard, where it describes the self’s effort to turn itself, to undergo a kind of conversion. Heidegger’s difference with Christianity is that the self’s conversion is not undergone with reference to God, but only in relation to death….” Simon Critchley.
Astrology’s conversion is undergone by gender and the mind/body duality with reference to the Antipodes, (complete with continents of obscuring cloud), where planets are in opposite signs and houses, but the houses carry the same signs.
Bordertown in South Australia is in fact some 17 km from the Victorian border as the crow flies, but it is perfectly named as a location demonstrating another border, between the adaptive attitudes and habits of consciousness and the reactive, instinctive moods of the body’s interpretation of its existence in the world, which together form identity, the emptiness of Country. At the stroke of New Moon, the Signs and angles of Bordertown’s Underworld are in perfect harmony with the hours across the border in the Northern Hemisphere, and Death speaks with its customary ambivalence.
It is in response to the awareness of finitude that we show ourselves who we are. There are many ways our body can seduce us into evasion of this awareness, by consoling us with belonging to something timeless, eternal salvation in religious and secular ways. Are we making the world a better place? Are we following the rules which screen entry to Heaven? Does anything really matter? Is not pleasure an end in itself? These are some of the voices which call us to forget the anxiety of the anticipation of annihilation. These are some of the roadmaps we overlay on country to separate ourselves from it, and to make it traversable.
Bordertown tells us, on the other hand, that whether we are emerging from the waters of Lethe into an interlude of imaginative indolence or determined withdrawal, instinct is locating the necessity to identify gratitude as the harmonious well of our calling. This world is not a thing, it is me! I made it; I am made of it. It is not a departure point to another one. The future is no different from the past: both have no existence other than right here, in me, in the only world there is, mine, lived with you.
Ah, relationship. “We are lovers, that is a fact” (Bowie). In a social reality dominated by discrimination, judgement and projection, relationship is in theory a connectedness which overcomes meaninglessness and loneliness, but in practice it reveals more than we want to know, engaging identity in constant trench-warfare against misunderstanding. Just who is the person your lovers and friends are in relationship with? Is your Shadow your shit or theirs, and whose, if theirs?
Somewhere out of mind in the South Pacific, the invisible Underworld sky of the spiritual home of the Abrahamic religions affirms what most martyrs still breathing acquire, the spiritual materialism of immortality; but with a decided lean by nightfall, the idea of a covenant, like the heritage churches of rural Australia, which are struggling to stay standing, let alone provide financial compensation to victims of historical clerical sexual abuse, has passed its use-by date this year as a source of meaning, if we ever had the imagination to make it one in these secular postmodern times.
At dawn up at home, however, it is the vain queen Cassiopeia who is faded from the sky, her chair lodged in the branches of the elm at the entrance to Hades, like the morning-after evidence of a rowdy party. The Jerusalem Signs, identically mirrored in its autonomous underworld body, bode ill for the likelihood of a resolution of sectarian conflict coming from mutual understanding and respect. What really happened seems as elusive as what is really happening, in this cloakroom of multiple tickets for the same baggage.
Yes, it is relationship which tears our world apart. The British vote for their right to autonomy, but baulk at complete separation. The Americans bring the World Order crashing down around our ears, but our protests contain no inkling of faith in the World Order’s capability to develop solutions to the unemployment of children and grandchildren ejected from automated workplaces and failed states. The reallocation of Australian aid to Palestine through the United Nations provokes a reaction revealing political Islam’s belief in spitting on people. The endorsement of same-sex marriage in Australia precipitates debate about religious freedom, to which the Social Services Minister adds the insight, “We have not realised Martin Luther King’s dream of a society where you are judged by the content of your character, not the colour of your skin. Instead we have woken up to a nightmare where the value of your contribution to a debate depends on what you claim to be a victim of.”
But peppering the news on all these fronts of our alarm come daily reports of irresponsible masculinity: murder, rape, assault and adolescent aggression and criminality. Before we have agreed on the evolutionary value of anger and aggression, it might well be geneticists who solve the problem by doing away with masculinity altogether, but in the meantime, what is it we are initiating our men into, global or local, community or game, grievance or responsibility? Undoubtedly, we need to equip ourselves with an authentic grasp of our own emotions, as the custodians of the world body into which our children insert their consciousness, and if we have no idea how the heroism of the Tham Luang cave was formed, perhaps an historical cultural practice of the Australian First Nations can nudge us in the right direction.
The Warrior Sky is the name I have given to the configuration of the Milky Way when it arcs in a straight line over our heads from southwest to northeast with its awesome centre, in the last degree of Breamlea Zodiac Scorpio (currently at tropical longitude 27Sgr6), near the zenith (Melbourne BZ longitude 23Sco11, tropical 20Sgr38). In this article, in Australian Archaeology, No. 77, Fuller, Hamacher and Norris (2013) present evidence of Aboriginal initiation sites being aligned with this configuration, as a result of its vertical presentation of the Emu. The opposite configuration which I have called the Wanderer Sky, extinguished by sunlight at this time of year, features the upright Emu rising vertically in the southeast, but its body is too close to the horizon in Australia to be seen. Is there a hidden message to non-Aboriginal initiates about gender and responsibility in the upside-down appearance of the Emu emblem in the southwest?
Perhaps, hidden in our bodily awareness, the physical impact of the world we interpret through the cultural lens imposed by generations of ancestors through our parents, there is an emptiness of meaning our sons can use to disarm anger, hostility and aggression. Perhaps the upside-downness of the Emu means nothing.
Vertical Emu, Wurdi Youang, 3150 BCE
Boys, can you find the temporal emptiness of your bodily imperatives, your aggressive reactions to disappointment and disability, your intimidatory expression of frustration and anger, your malignant resentment of your displacement from the pedestal of worship? The essence of responsibility is to own the shit of others. Look to the Underworld, the Other Side. You will soon have a lot of time to do so.
Local Sidereal Time 17:19:22
Girls of the Northern Hemisphere, observe your animus downunder, and girls everywhere, in the bodies of boys, own your own shit.
A long time ago now, having more by good luck than good management evaded capture by the Germans, or betrayal by collaborators, five abandoned British soldiers found their way by the light of a full moon to the port of Le Verdon, where they were taken on board a Polish ship and evacuated from German-occupied France. Actually, only four made it to the ship. The lieutenant who went missing was a lunatic, the expatriate veteran who shot him from behind confided to me in drunken anguish one Anzac Day in Prahran. My stepfather was a decorated officer of the Black Watch, and his reaction was guarded when he heard this story. He still had nightmares about leading the liberation of an extermination camp at the end of the war, my mother told me.
Exactly 76 years ago, 4 multiples of 19, the Full Moon of June 1940 was within a degree of this year’s, therefore in the same Nakshatra, and very close to the Sagittarius solstice point, like this one. Reading accounts of the conflicts which my parents’ generation grew up in is every bit as challenging as confronting my implication in the treatment of indigenous people here and in Papua, and my share of responsibility for the suffering of millions in the Middle East. I am ashamed to be embedded in this violence, as most of my generation are who have been passengers on what we have believed to be a journey to reconciliation. Can astrology have anything to say on the subject?
There wasn’t much sign of reconciliation in 1959, when my generation were still in school: the Solstice Moon shone on a respectable world in which insecurity resolved itself by proxy: shorthand for thousands of violent deaths in Central America, Vietnam and the ‘colonies’ of Africa; and for the indoctrination which validated the massive spending on nuclear proliferation which accompanied the Cold War; not to mention the evasion of the law constituted by contemporary closed-shop methods of dealing with sexual abuse of children. Dictatorship and military-style leadership seemed the norm, on the international stage, in workplaces and families. [1959.]
Everyone was a zealot by 1978: Aboriginal land rights occupied centre-stage in Australia, but two decades of self-actualization had resulted in substantial progress for the equality of women and the secularization of morality. Economic reform was underway in both USSR and China which would transform the world. However, there were signs of trouble ahead, in the emergent form of ‘political correctness‘. [1978.] Then came 1997, which I look back to as the high tide of multiculturalism, but the Australian ‘history wars‘ of that period were a disturbing crack in the foundations of a belief that we are one humanity undivided, indeed enhanced, by difference. Zealots were emerging on the extreme left as well as the extreme right. [1997.]
And so the punctuation of the Moon’s orbit, the foundation of archaeoastronomy and arguably at the root of earthly civilization, science and technology, returns it to the solstice this month. How are we looking? Do we go around and around like the Moon, or are we getting somewhere? Is there still a ‘silent majority’ of good people armed with regard for each other’s welfare and fulfilment? Does it have a resilient discourse to steer us more or less unanimously towards a decent solution to the humanitarian crises we must face, of violent political upheaval and mass-migration, despite the clamour of zealots at both extremes? Can it direct the resurgence of religious difference towards the enhancement of secular, multicultural cohesion?
The Full Moon this month as you can see is half an arc-minute from the solstice of the Tropic of Cancer, so it is more than valid to look at it from a southern astrological perspective. The one-half of the world’s population who live below the Tropic of Cancer are looking north to see the Moon, so it appears 104 degrees past the descending node! Most of you will go, “Huh?”, but in the interests of the ‘silent majority’ I would like to remind you that Southern Hemisphere Astrology evolved as a rejection of colonialism! Our perspective ‘down’ here is as relevant as yours ‘up’ there, and perhaps the polarities of astrology can resonate with the ‘silent majority’ after all.
Out of respect for our northern cousins, i.e. those living north of 23.44 degrees north latitude, I present the view from the ‘Mirror’ just off the east coast of Japan, the same distance ‘above’ the equator as Melbourne is ‘below’ it, and at the same longitude. Let me remind all readers that you can always see the opposite hemisphere’s point of view if you turn to the cardinal point opposite the Medium Coeli, cusp of the Fourth House, and crane your neck backwards far enough!
What you will read in astrology columns will almost exclusively relate to this image, in terms similar to these:
Needless to say, it is wrong for half the world’s population. That’s OK: it’s right for the other half. Or is it? Perhaps each is wrong. Is the Moon as an entity above or below the Ecliptic? Both, or neither? Do we need to respect the Other’s truth more, or ours less? Remember, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Whichever way you look at it, the Sun in Gemini is making up its mind, and the Moon in Sagittarius is making up its heart. Perhaps therein lies the reason the egg the Emu lays every nineteen years never hatches, bleached by the Sun. You may take ourword for it. [There is an alternative periodicity of Full Moons at the June solstice, eight years after this series, visible at night somewhere in the southern hemisphere, in Australia in 1948 and 2043. The Moon is above the Ecliptic. As far as I’m aware, the bird, ostrich, cormorant, or vulture perhaps, has not been identified.]
This time around, the egg that won’t hatch is internalized phobia and, dare I say, self-love dependent on the removal of offence. Not as though this may apply to you, here is a cautionary quote with an interesting link for those susceptible to reintardation, prey to compartmentalization, or with a tendency to project shame onto other people: “To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster!” Denis Diderot.
The zodiac is an entity like the conscious human mind, the inorganic energy transfer processes at the root of life, the gears which drive the hands we hardly see when we ‘tell the time’, or the keystrokes on a qwerty keyboard that produce ‘laughter’ and ‘crying’: it takes shape!
It suddenly hit me one day that we recognise ‘things’ by their structure, but structure generates itself in the world—as it generates its idea in my mind—out of shapes which endure because they fit.
Shape is the wood of trees and a wood of trees. It is what is shared in pairing, what crystallises in solutions, what appears out of a fog, what connects a narrative, what constitutes a mood.
Only bits of the zodiac are visible at a time, and the bits that are visible have enduring rather than permanent shape, but the whole sky resonates with them! Like the waves of hormones which roll through a brain in the course of a cycle of light and dark, the shape of the zodiac shifts in a peristalsis which is both ingress and egress, cause, initial condition and consequence.
We know that the bits we see are connected to the angles made by Earth’s axis with the stars and the Sun, as we know where the sky goes below the horizon. We know so much more than the draughtsmen of the zodiac that what we don’t know may come as a surprise.
Everything is in the zodiac because ‘everything’ gives the zodiac its shape. The poles of the ecliptic are in the zodiac, as are the equatorial and horizontal poles. The stars which are adjacent are also opposite, and the stars which are never visible are circumpolar in the opposite latitude. The seasons are in the zodiac, and so are their opposites, because of the nature of shape: a lion can be a charismatic lionheart one millennium and a bit of an irritable know-all the next, a benign dictator or a bungler in intimacy.
Feel the wave of his stars roll through you, bringing the awareness of infinitely complex implications to your best intentions. See the hands of connection and confusion tick around the clock of the south at all hours of the day and night. The South Celestial Pole—your latitude above the horizon—engraves ‘E’ at 9 o’clock and ‘W’ at 3 o’clock and somehow the hands at those figures always point down and across to the cardinal directions on the horizon. Marvellous contraption!
Henceforth we shall consult it as a frame of reference. And immediately we strike gold! We have already met the coincidence of Australia Day and Southern Cross daybreak transit. Now, with our enlightened appreciation of shape, we are presented on late January mornings in ‘complete’ darkness—darkness is never complete, even in death—with the rising of the shape known as The Emu.
but briefly this is a gormless individual prey to delusion who straddles many signs, recognised by the first, unrecompensed, owners of your property many thousands of years ago, a marvellous sight an hour and a half before sunrise, and may I suggest a typically strident justifier of faith ever implicated in the contemporary phenomenon of straggling haste?
Did I mention that today marks the arrival of Late Summer, as Aldebaran crosses the meridian at nightfall, or that today the Moon is full in Cancer, transiting 5 minutes before solar midnight somewhere over eastern Greenland?