Fifteen million people in Australia’s south-east are emerging from lockdown, and a monk is on the ridge which overlooks the vast reaches of suburbia sloping down to the Lethe, peering into the heart of anyone emerging long enough from social media to return his gaze, and looking for stirrings of love and kind intentions, so long constrained.
Is it just a coincidence that the monk is back? Where is this Moon? Why is the Moon where it is? Is that even a sensible question?
The monk will not discourage any romantic impulse or narrowly focussed desire, because he too has had a lonely time of it. He is the archetypal lover, you see, the Libran Moon of the Southern Hemisphere, and while nothing might overcome his buddha-nature, he is occasionally disturbed by thoughts unbecoming in one sworn to celibacy, and by memories of not-quite innocent, and consequential, passions of the past.
Permanence, idolatry; completion, fantasy; idealisation, delusion; submission, convention; seduction, narcissism; eternity, cynicism: every angle the westerly zodiac makes with the horizon has its opposite. The anti-vertex is both the weakness which empowers the vertex wish, and the compensatory mechanism for the absolute unattainability of that wish.
The electric axis is, as the passport out of herein, a powerful tool for the self-congratulation of the spiritual bypass we have for so long indulged in lockdown. The weeds of narcissism are luxuriant.
And where is it to be found, this tool? In the cosmos, in the dreamtime or the moment? In the warp of imagination? In the pages of pseudo-science? In the gaze of a dead Moon? Does it only exist because we narcissists, or whomever we are wholly not, have invented it to cocoon our unreality?
Are we, on this dangerous axis, committing ourselves to the impossibility of being ourselves? For an entire generation, isolation might become the elephant in the room.
Everybody’s mad. Go out and give someone the hug you need from them. Let’s do it. Let’s fall in love. Embrace your muse. Cling if necessary. Enjoy any limerence which can survive helpless altruism!
Idealize a future and idolize its impossible permanence. Be seduced by the reflection of your agoraphobia. Submit your difference to self-help. Believe in your cynicism. Is totalitarian surveillance intimidating you? Check out the monk’s skimpy g-strings on the line!
Bring me my gun, and I`ll shoot that bird dead That`s what your mammy and pappy once said The crow on the cradle, what can we do Ah, this is a thing that I`ll leave up to you Sang the crow on the cradle.
260. And down from there he spies this little spot of earth that with the sea is embraced, and begins to despise this wretched world, and hold it vanity compared with the true felicity that is in heaven above. And at the last down where he was slain, his gaze he cast.
261. And in himself he laughed at the woe of those who wept for his death now past: and damned all our work that follows so on blind lust, which can never last, when we should all our heart on heaven cast. And forth he went, briefly to tell, where Mercury appointed him to dwell.
Responsibility dries on the skin like nakedness as the first thing we remember on the lee shore of the Lethe. The silent voice which asks who we are belonged once to the god, and then for many centuries we recognized it as our own. Enslaved to inattention, we are vaguely aware of the crisis of irresponsibility which engulfs us now. We listen in vain for our calling. The earth we tread is sealed. The heavens are curtained by our artificial light. We must wake up, consult a map or an instruction manual, dispel the suspicion we are sleepwalking. Can it be that the tear in the fabric of our journey-commemorative teatowel is irreparable?
How did we never notice before, with the Gemini Sun on our skin, that the tumult of the Acheron was beneath us?
Can we bear the thought that the oasis of difference is a mirage?
This is the beginning of what might be called Southern Hemisphere Miserere Season, from July to November, roughly 4 minutes earlier each day, when the Milky Way is visible in a dark sky between astronomical twilights as a ring around the horizon. (The Northern Hemisphere season is between January and May.) This configuration, exact at the latitude of the declination of the Galactic South Pole, gives the Emu a chance to have a lie down, which is something awesome to see at a location further south such as Apollo Bay on Victoria’s Surf Coast. However, at the latitude of the angle between the planes of the Galaxy and the Solar System, namely approximately 63°, the Emu is a busy bird.
The Emu’s job there is to point East. Country inherited its cardinal directions from the Emu, finding their nocturnal lyricism preferable to the glare of equinoxes over its eternal landmarks.
There is not a moment to lose, if the power of the Emu is to be invoked to get us out of the mess we’re in: the last Kyrie is upon us! Heaven be praised: our dire predicament cannot efface Galactic synchronicities: so let this Emu Moon begin!
The Siberian child staring at the strange figure lying full-length face-down on the sodden turf sees him move, and asks her parents what he is doing. They do not notice any movement. “Come along, quickly,” they urge the child.
This is the intellectual Moon, in the Southern Sign of Gemini, elevated to the zenith while the Sun struggles towards the Winter Solstice. Like a rogue adolescent, whose book-learning enables him to theorize away the conservative values of older generations, and who does not yet know the meaning of hubris, the Rogue needs to be reminded of a few things, such as myth and kin. A rogue might see an opportunity, and call it his, but it was created by others. A total eclipse should remind him whose light he shines.
But it is only we nearing the end of a life on Earth who learn his lesson, while the young celebrate their interventionist vainglory, unconscious of the gravity of their privilege. Never chased by an emu! Who cares where dogs go when they leave the dog park? Who cares who replenishes the poo bags? Kyrie eleison.
Studying the Moon’s progress during the past week as it rose later each day behind the cranes disfiguring my landscape, I discovered a strange thing. He started in Cancer in the second House. Nothing surprising there: fervent altruism in the Bardo of fearful discrimination. Likewise his Leonine sensitivity the next day when he appeared in the Bardo of perfection. By the time his perspicacious sincerity in Virgo presented itself at 4 pm on the fourth day, I was ready to stick my fingers down my throat, and I was no more sympathetic to his sensuality in Libra or his current anxiety in Scorpio. What is wrong with me? Am I losing my rogue? This Moon and I should not be antagonists.
Yet I am discovering that it is he who belongs and I who do not. Over his shoulder, as it were, he sniffs his millennial disinterest in the Bardo’s cosmic emotional cycle, for Earth hours are of no significance to him. The rebellious system of this site is finally just one more zombie measuring up his coffin, though going rogue seemed like healing at the time. He is a healer too, he claims, although 4 billion years seems a long time to be healing, and it is I who pick up the cans and coffee cups he drops over the front fence.
Who can understand why he is so contemptuous? After all, the Earth passes through the Moon’s own astral gates, differently polarized by his axis of rotation. We might be kin, if I weren’t on the wrong side of history, and my garden, with the bloom of my wounds and their astral petals, so much detritus in his path.
Once he was creator of the world, and until just now has been happy to collude with any soothsayer whose system accorded him agency to intrigue the superstitious, but the collective madness of opposition seems to me now to be all he has left. He does not own his history, you see, and so he cannot identify with the white supremacy of gravity. He does not own his gender either, and so millennia of menstrual synchronicity cannot persuade him to call chests breasts. Nevertheless, identity seems a big issue: is the butt of his jokes a clue?
Am I sad that history has caught up with me and passed me by? Of course I get lost, but no, I saw it coming, for history is not rogue. It is as the Gate of Antares, where consequence emanates from presence, and deprivation is paranoia’s fool.
I remember the sixties as opposing love to fear, but they too also went rogue on racism, sexism and homophobia. The search for love? I think I still understand that, although the turbines privilege me with a little difficulty of hearing. Perhaps it is ethical to interrogate the credentials of love, but an old man begs you, Rogue, do not topple its statue. Kyrie eleison. If you will excuse me, I have to get back to the dishes.
Well! The Moon is right in its element above our divided world this phase! Somewhere in the wilderness of tropical timekeeping, Cancer, as an angular distance from the Spring Equinox, may today attach itself to Gemini or Sagittarius, but as a Constellation, though it adopt the Sign of Leo or Aquarius, it remains a crab, the home of Praesepe, the Beehive Cluster, the Manger, the Crib. And the principle function of the Moon is to nurture, isn’t it? And what, may we ask, as we awaken to our utter helplessness as humanoids, needs nurture more than ‘Healing’?
Healing, like Praesepe, when your sky is dark enough to see it, is an island. Cancer is a homestead in the desert, aerially disclosing the feint tracks of its organism; it is the digestive system of a spider on a web, waiting. Can it be found in the Strait of Hormuz, or the South China Sea? No, the Island of Healing lies in an ocean vaster than the Milky Way, beyond the cosmic shards of objectivity, totality and truth and other attributes of wholeness which progressive education, in the name of critical theory, moral relativism and Buddhism 101, has shattered. Should you desire to go there without drugs, you will join an interminable queue, for the bureaucrats in the ticket office demand evidence that mental illness has been officially processed. Leaving the world a better place wasn’t meant to be easy. Wholeness without allness? Oh well, sleepwalking in country might have to suffice for authenticity.
What preceded the Big Bang? When was time created? How important was the cataclysm which resulted in the Moon’s momentum? How smug was the ecological niche vacated by the dinosaurs? The dynamism of Earthly gravity and Lunar momentum embodies an encouragement to the timeless legion healing physical or emotional discomfort, the evolution of habitat, and the loneliness of gender duality: Cancer is the partner of Capricorn, and to imagine perfect harmony with the Other as Self is not neediness, but humanity. Is it stretching it too far to suggest momentum to be the healing of gravity, and gravity to be the healing of momentum?
Welcome to Late-Summer island country, girls and boys. Aldebaran, the star of presence, is crossing the Meridian in south-east mainland Australia at nightfall this week. The Emu is rising. “We’ll all be healed,” said Hanrahan. The Covenant is serious business, and by dawn, beyond paranoia: the Southern Cross is scarecrowing into the Bardo of Relativity.
It is the third day after Invasion Day here, or Australia Day as it was once known. We invaders have the unenviable task of healing the legacy of our ancestors, those primitives who believed that the culture of the people who were living here when they arrived was even more primitive than theirs, and whose dogged effort to transform country into a country bequeathed us everything we own. ‘Sorry for buying stolen goods’ doesn’t cut it. We must heal our dependence on authority, integrity and trust, on our comfort, our recreation, our individual identity. How else can ‘all’ and ‘permanent’ not exist? And indigenous Australians must heal too, not only from dispossession, but from their inheritance of child abuse and family violence. We must ‘all’ heal the primitive societies which spawned us whole, when absolutes like ‘permanence’ and ‘wholeness’ still existed.
Is there a way to heal being born? Should we, can we, disown our birth trees? Indigenous cultures remember what individualism forgot: that property is only a right if it is also a duty. Insularity may well market itself as wholeness, but it merely transforms any temptation to identify property and value into a mortgage. Having submitted to ownership of the village by outsiders, we orbit duty to shareholders and our momentum is the right to take a second and third job. The Moon’s orbit embodies a more benign healing: of gravity versus momentum. If only our healing were eternal like his. If only we were rocks. Yes, there he is, our guru, above his birth tree, in his own world, trading shamelessly in reflected light futures.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
John 1:10. King James Version.
Jesus was a carpenter and He worked with a saw and a hammer
And His hands could form a table true enough to stand forever
And He might have spun His life out in the coolness of the mornings
But He put aside His tools and He walked the burning highways
To build a house from folks like you and me.
The artisan did not amount to very much. You traded his tradition for relativity, the working class for a mickey-mouse education, and his product for tourism, so what did you expect? It is not easy to embody raw energy harnessed to regrowth when the world is licking its wounds, or to symbolize restraint when pestilence is roaring unchecked, but the artisan should be fortified by the respect earned by the workers who rebuilt the economy after the last world war, and be ready to do it again when the mighty have crashed all around us. Unfortunately, he will have to deal with his substance abuse first, the violence embodied by the collapse of civil obedience and the irresistible fate of tradition in the disappearance of the past. Somehow, he will have to stop behaving like an ape behind the wheel, and deprived of his tribe in the pub, find a sober way to protect his self-esteem from the barbs of his similarly incarcerated loved ones aimed at its gargantuan absence.
I wonder what happened to the student who chalked the mosque outside the Quarry Hotel, and all the revellers who spilled into the intersection to marvel at a religious icon in a galaxy they couldn’t see. He will be a qualified architect by now. Or an Imam. Or both. Many of his elders have gone to paradise, no doubt, and I feel sure that you would wish me to convey your condolences to any of his community who might be reading this. Actually, all of the communities who gathered at the Quarry that year will have lost elders. Kyrie eleison is an injunction, not a supplication: it reminds God that She might have made the world, but we invest Her with our loving-kindness, the merciful self-love which is our escape from Her cruelty. It is not self-sacrifice or blind faith to leave staple commodities on supermarket shelves, but simple mercy. O Lord, thou art merciful! And there is no more profound recognition of mercy than the identification of the crucifix symbol with the midnight keystone of the Galaxy at Easter, the Southern Cross and the head of the Emu. May it rekindle your faith in celestial kindness!
In one human lifetime, our understanding of the universe has expanded from the consciousness of being surrounded by stars to the consciousness of being surrounded by galaxies, the remnant light of an original conflagration, and the mysterious dominant forces of karma, namely, dark matter and dark energy. In one year, our understanding of country, the context and legacy of our brief lives, has replaced a celebration of global structure and connectedness with a bunkering of independence and social distance, and introduced to discourse an influence on human history and evolution which all along to the intuition was real, and in a bottom-up view was obvious, the dark matter of disease, and the dark energy of the ‘healing’ or pharmaceutical industry, the First Horseman of The Apocalypse. Intergalactic travel may be no more outlandish a cosmological joke than global multicultural connectivity when the expansion of the distance between food source and kitchen door can end in 60km traffic jams.
Before Euclid and Pythagoras, there were four cardinal directions and a hunt for correspondences. Who was that physicist who agreed with Jung about synchronicity? Somebody whose memory endures in an age in which things have names, no doubt. As a matter of fact, a word might capture the meaning of a thing, but meaning is not a thing, nor is a word, nor a thing. For five thousand years, locals around here have been trying to come up with words to explain what happened to the overhead bridge on the Milky Way East-West Arterial at Early Winter Equinox, towards which a dark emu rose vertically from the sunrise side. Best they’ve been able to come up with is an injunction to imagine it was there once, and therefore still is. What are the chances of the annual tradition of commemorating a crucifixion coinciding accidentally with the midnight transit of a Constellation called Crux at the apex of an arc of the Milky Way stretching across the southern sky from due east to due west?
Are you in, or fast approaching, your seventies? Denied subjectivity by the object of your faith? Or merely awash with Dark Energy? On behalf of The Creator, and Her undercover artisans everywhere, let my apology for transcendent finitude resound in the gateway to your country. The rest is astrology.
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.Jude, King James Version, Verse 12-13.
There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are envious of their neighbours for their lockups groaning with toilet paper, and those who are not … ! This speaks to me not only of the timeless wisdom of social distancing, but also specifically, of the civility practised a while ago in this season by Pontius Pilate, which this year will need to be honed to a fine art by all of us as we learn to self-isolate for a common good decomposing somewhere in the underworld, on and on, and over and over again. Sidereal Pisces it was which got us into this soteriological fix, and the tropical Signs of Aries and Southern Libra have only made it worse. I’m inclined to wash my hands of the whole damn thing!
If you have dreamed yourself safely tucked up in your childhood with a universe of goodness sparkling on the painted window-pane, and awoken none the wiser but richer for the benevolence of the painter’s condolence, then in seeking kindness from the heavens you have probably plotted the Moon’s course among the stars, trusting the rise and fall through phases and seasons of feelings which would otherwise seem to attach to flimsy relationships with others not painted on the pane. Your imagination, like mine, may have entertained the idea that not only time, but the getting of wisdom, might be measurable by synodic cycles equivalent to the adventures that befall a chick on a training flight.
Let divinely-infused faith, hope and charity be not thwarted, but confirmed, by the subjectivity of the Sun and Moon, since in giving selves to celestial bodies, and the animals and plants in our diets we have treated bestially for so long, we might compel our hearts to reconsider self-denial as a denial of the most important element of identity, its appearance. And how can you deny that, unless you do not discriminate at all? It’s not for nothing your underworld Sun sets in your East. For it is only logical that the exclusivity of culture which keeps it together and gives its adherence identity must ultimately succeed in protecting every other culture from its judgment until nothing is interconnected but through blindness. A world of victims is a mortuary, and the selflessness myth its painted pane.
And so let us reconsider the punctuation of the New Moon, initially from the Migrant’s vantage-point. If the Sun were truly the parent and the Moon its chick, both would be observing the Earth as though the Sun were illuminating it from behind the Moon with the express purpose of lighting the way. So beware little chick so accustomed to dependency and unadapted to change: your parent is behind you, and you are about to discover the imperative of flight! When you come back, you will be someone else: parents never tell you that! Get your bearings!
But the Earth spins! And flies faster than I! Context and judgment, cries the disembodied voice no longer behind the Artisan. Watch the passing parade: Scales, Scorpion, Archer, Sea-Goat, Water-Carrier and Fishes. As I stay in Pisces, and you watch your Earth, you will see me in the procession of trolls pass behind it, leaving it quite dark, but there I will be on Tiger Snake Ridge, shining full on your face with activist pride! Now practise your counting: how many Earth rotations to an Earth phase? If you’re clever enough you might go up there one day! This is crazy!Did you have to do this? Of course, beams the Sun through her teeth, the whole world knows how to fly. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
I would like to say I remember every face which has ever presented itself to me, but I can’t. I very much fear that there is no longer a man in the Moon, and sometimes I wonder if there ever was. I know that I am, and where I am—I know your retina like the back of my hand—but I no longer seem to remember when I was here last or what I was feeling. I am in less of a rush to watch Lethe’s ablutions, and less susceptible to Aldebaran’s eye, as though I have forever already passed through the Gate of Man, or the waters of Lethe permanently cling to me now, in a Labyrinth of Forgetting haunted by the Minotaur of who I once was.
I know I once flaunted myself over the trenches of Flanders, and confusing what is deep in the heart with what is in the sky is as old as time, but whereas I have hosted human technology and confidence you could achieve anything, more than half the world has lost faith in everything, including that, and the rest are sampling a delectation of priceless baubles, even while they decry the manufacture of their satisfaction beyond the event horizon of the seventies, when developed countries allayed their panic about pollution by creating mountains of waste someone else could get filthy and sick transforming. ‘Progress’ had a different meaning in those days. Now it means a race by the poor for world domination, or giving up the technology of climate creation and planetary mining to lie down in a submissive but guilt-relieved ditch of abnegation.
How long ago was it that your ancestors could hold you accountable by disappearing over the horizon and leaving you to your ’emotional intelligence’, your faithless disobedience? In the oldest continuous culture on Earth, among Australia’s first immigrants, it looked like this.
But in the politics of resistance to patriarchal aggression the ancestors always reappeared in the East to applaud the resilience of women, and dare I say, non-binary men? Women who rise from their beds early in the Spring and retire late in Summer are confirmed in worshipping nothing but their own sensibility: it is all going to be just fine.
In the Northern Hemisphere it has always been a different story, and what other explanation do you need for the despoliation of the planet and the exploitation by miners and slavers of Southern Hemisphere equanimity? When they align themselves across the eastern sky, arcing like ancient wisdom between the cardinal directions of South and North, it is as gods within that the ancestors first return in Northern skies. It is at the Gate of God, when the nebulosity at the centre of the galaxy in the southwest leaves its spoor directly overhead, that boys cross into manhood in the hungry dawns of Spring and the proud evenings of Summer’s disappearance. The matriarchy of Southern latitudes is a mythical lost paradise. Seventeen hours or eight months later, the ancestors retire under the blankets above post-industrial Western welfare-states, where the masculinity-challenged may dream of healing, presence, collective rights and a day of reckoning.
Yes, the burqa and niqab are written in the stars, but now that nobody who looks can see, I am lost. I cannot read your heart any more. Your thought seems more like borderline personality disorder than soul, and that begins to seem as though we are no longer looking at each other with the same capacity to share that a bird on a wire has regarding the cars on the freeway, if only the drivers would stop, and let the children get out, to walk under the wire.
Is it time to be a Peasant or a Vagabond? Aggressive or insecure? Independent or withdrawn? I don’t know, and it is rather urgent we put our heads together, because next May, the Northern Ascending Node (Southern Descending Node) precesses to the Lethe. If I don’t find myself, neither will you, but unlike yours, my forgetting might be eternal. “What am I here[-]after?” we may well ask. The answer is just around the corner I turned yesterday, as you would realize, not having turned it.
“Chi K’ang asked Confucius about government, saying, ‘What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good of the principled?’ Confucius replied, ‘Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors, is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it.’”Analects XII, 19, Kindle Edition, Open Road Integrated Media 2016.
Whether he stands or sits in the men’s toilet is immaterial if he calls himself a man. On the Dasein clock he might be rescuing animals from floods, putting out bushfires or carting hay, but his custom is an instinctively assertive response to community’s self-importance, whether he has time to listen or not. After all, you can’t set up a committee every time you must do something, can you? He can be impatient and harsh, but he has a lot of practical wisdom, perhaps because he has chewed so many grass stalks waiting for it to rain, or to stop raining. One year, it rained and rained, right through Christmas. You cut the hay, then you relax at Christmas, right? Wrong, hay ruined in the field! Talking to one bloke who was adamant that you wouldn’t cut it if it was still growing, you could tell he was in unfamiliar territory two months late in early January, and he had more than one manager sweating on his call. I told him the Moon was full, and he spent the next ten minutes on the phone, because as any peasant will tell you, it never rains at a Full Moon. Of course, in a rare gap in the weather his peasants got the harvest safely into the shed.
My grandfather raised sheep in the West Australian wheatbelt. He used to tell a yarn of the time an itinerant labourer came looking for work. Papa had work for him, so he told him to come back in the morning. Next morning, Papa invited the labourer to have breakfast with him while he described the location of some fencing which needed repair. Papa was only too happy for the man to have a second helping, because the job was too far away to come back for lunch. “Tell you what,” the man said as he finished, “If I have a bit more I can work right through to dark,” “Fair enough,” agreed Papa, and when the labourer had stuffed himself full of food, the two men walked outside. The labourer marched off towards the front gate. “It’s back this way,” called Papa. “Scusa,” the labourer called back. “I never work after my evening meal.”
Even if there was nothing good on the telly, you wouldn’t sit out on the verandah in the twilight like we used to. Mosquitoes big as sheep. So I really couldn’t say what phase the Moon is, and if there might be a climate change. Some big storms, the river silts up at the mouth, and the farm goes underwater. Mosquitoes love it, but I reckon the greenies in the fastness across the creek don’t spend much time on the verandah either. They clamour for nature to be allowed to run its course, and the catchment can be inundated for years. Fortunately there is a popular surf break at the mouth, and when the access road gets too boggy and the Council closes it, a kilometre to carry the board gets too much, and somebody in the dead of night digs a channel. Like I said, peasants have a lot of practical wisdom.
Interesting that the astronomical year starts when it is so dry. Water-carriers and Fishes: something wrong there, you would think. I know Pisces. Uranus was camped there for years. Spoke to a drifter years ago, before the mosquitoes, and she showed me the dim lines of the fish as ridges where Moon and Uranus often sat around a fire and talked of thousands of years ago. All I could see was a jockey standing in the stirrups, but no colours or number to guide me in Cups betting. Pretty useless, I would say, and I told her so.
I ceased a long time ago to be amazed when things get turned upside down. Speaking of the resurgent popularity of socialism among millenials and the recent commemoration of the victory which set in train the Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen Square, I am reminded of the time a steer had a horn growing into his eye, and a couple of friends and I minding the farm while Mum was off somewhere tried to hacksaw it off. We couldn’t bear the bellows of agony, so called a neighbour for advice. He ripped it off with six violent blows with the hacksaw. “Bloody city-slickers,’ he growled.
Come to think of it, in reference to something the Sun said last time we met, let me say that my business is not to unite. It may have a terrestrial function, my motion, and the relativity of perspective may promote inclusivity, but binary concepts are beyond me. I just keep going, whether I orbit the Earth or the Sun, and whether you measure my movement or not. Of course I will suffer and die one day, but the cow’s horn has to come off, and that’s that, whether it be Frisian, Hereford or Angus! Well I hope you have enjoyed this candid shot of the Peasant in Northern Hemisphere Tropical Taurus. I know I have, because you’ve been such respectful listeners, even after such a big breakfast! Scusa!
“The last men, far from being the heirs of power, will be of all men most subject to the dead hand of the great planners and conditioners and will themselves exercise least power upon the future.” Lewis, C. S.. The Abolition of Man (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis) (pp. 58-59). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
“The past is the present’s food, and the present’s digestive system is synchronized, adapted as it has always been.” Abliq.
The phases of the Moon are conventions. The mathematical definitions of the relative positions of Sun and Moon on the Ecliptic are real enough, but what they define is imaginary, illusory, transient, relative and nebulous. When the Moon will be in conjunction with the Sun is important for anticipating eclipses and tides, and convenient for dividing the year, but the event itself as dependent arising occurs in nature as a disappearance, an invisible transition from morning crescent to evening crescent lasting several days. You would be right to call any moment in that transition a New Moon, wouldn’t you?
We all ‘know’ that it is the movement of the Earth, not the Sun, which continuously changes the Sun’s background stars, but once again, the stars behind the Sun’s present ‘location’ are invisible, and only tangible as somewhere between which stars are rising in the dawn and which are setting in the dusk. Nonetheless, thanks to the scales of measurement and frames of reference developed in astronomy for thousands of years, we can be confident that if the astrologers tell us this New Moon is happening in Pisces, it is, and if the astronomers tell us Aquarius, we can be confident of that too, and that the wet season the North once associated with the Water-Carrier asterism has gained on it a month.
Such matters as these present themselves for our contemporary scrutiny because the conventions of cultural interplay and civilized discourse seem to have dissolved into the contested perspectives from which they emerged. Southern Hemisphere Astrology focuses on norms at this time of year because Aquarius down here carries the conventional sign which precedes the Autumn Equinox, Virgo, associated with perspicacity tending towards perfectionism, not necessarily the obsessive compulsions you would not be alone in seeing everywhere at the present time. Aquarius upside-down resembles the post-graduate waiter who skilfully manages two armfuls of dishes while imparting a sniff at the conventional choice of wine a mealtime assemblage of newly independent MPs might have made.
By curious coincidence at the moment of New Moon as defined, a divine promise is being given to the good people of the Bowen Basin, where local and indigenous sovereignty has been under attack ever since it became conventional wisdom that the best way to pass on a better world to your grandchildren is to impoverish them, and the best way to beat the colonialist rap is to cede your sovereignty as a mark of indigenous ignorance. Perhaps the Adani coal-mine will proceed, honouring the wishes of the majority of traditional owners, and perhaps there will be fewer numbers in endangered species in the area for the rest of us to be unconscious of.
The Solar System orbits the Galactic Centre at about 230 kms/sec; the Earth orbits the Sun at about 30 kms/sec; and the Earth’s surface at Australian latitudes rotates at between about 350 and 460 metres/sec. If you add the approximate velocity of our galaxy through the universe of 583.3 kms/sec, that’s a lot of motion to be physically unaware of. It is up to you to decide which elite will be victorious: those who would override your sovereignty in the cause of mitigating climate change, or those who would override your sovereignty in the cause of minimizing the cost of energy. If it were up to me, I would not accept a scientific basis for the supremacy of any value, certainly not a rigid one.
The asterisms and myths of the Zodiac have been influential conventions on at least 500 successive generations, in ways we are as unconscious of as we are of our astronomical motion. These days, the Gregorian calendar and its widespread end-of-year celebrations, the urban lifestyle of the vast majority of the global population, and climate change itself, have largely supplanted the seasonal basis of human behaviour, and general precession will eventually associate every seasonal sign to every constellation, if it has not already done so, especially below the Tropic of Cancer.
Is a coking or thermal coal deposit below the surface or in the underworld?
Should the evaluation of the needs of others be an extrapolation of our needs, an ownership of theirs, or a continuous contestation of both by experts on the nature of ‘Reality’ and ‘The Good’? When it’s a simple matter of projection, why are we always compliant in the wars of the powerful?
The solstices precessed to the Galactic Plane in 1998 CE, and so for as long as recorded history into the future, the Sun’s maximum positive and negative declinations will precede its crossing of the Milky Way, assuming the IAU don’t fiddle. In 2177 CE, the December Equinox will precess into Scorpio in the Breamlea Zodiac. In 2228 CE, the Sun will cross the Galactic Plane on Christmas Day, and cross it New Year’s Day around 2700 CE. In all that time there is one thing that will not noticeably change, as it has not during the millennia of human civilization, and that is the stars in the background of the nodes where the Ecliptic intersects with the Galactic Plane. The Milky Way is as real as the seasons were when mass media began popularizing Sun Signs in the 1930s, as the Underworld Zodiac was when children asked 10 thousand years ago, “Why does the Sun go down?” and as the unconscious was at the dawn of the twentieth century when its geography was desacralized.
I, writing my epitaph, and thou, resonating with it, have this in common: we resist convention, but end up accepting that we belong in a timeless tradition–of accepting the wisdom of our ancestors, unscientific as it might be, as a prescription of who we are–into which we might be seen to have groomed those of our descendants who listened and were grateful for their culture.
Is life a journey? Does one day, month or year to another measure a distance, or does duration just go around in circles like the hands of a clock? What is this mysterious ‘Now’ the self continuously inhabits? Does it transcend time, or is it a piece in the journey’s jigsaw-puzzle? Is it ‘Country’? Is it emptiness? Is it no more than the struggle for existence between birth and death, or a moment of emergent Being as it learns and actualizes the interplay of an infinite array of evolving controls? A serious question: are you conscious or unconscious? In 17 days it will be 140 years since a ship’s apprentice by the name of Tom Pearce rescued Eva Carmichael, around 2 hours before a New Moon in Taurus, the only other survivor of the wreck of the Loch Ard. (No, they did not marry–read this eerie story, by Tony Wright, at the Sydney Morning Herald.)
A similar configuration of the southern stars is visible all over Eastern Australia. Come on, quit your studies and social media conformity, and bow with me to hear the Kyrie, at journey’s end. Along the Shipwreck Coast an estimated 638 journeys ended in tragedy. I’m afraid you’re staging for a free-kick if you can’t budge from your ideological opposition to the invasion which resulted from the courage of your ancestors lucky to get here to spawn you. Our lives are a complicated mechanism, and if truth be acknowledged, we are a little rusty. We have too many conflicting theories of how it works, and as many therapies for its repair in situ, but having eliminated religion and sympathetic magic, even applying objective understanding to the emotions, we find the mechanism lacking in an essential input, the lubricant of communion, the sense of shared energy within, and the security of being another’s Thou which comes with the faith that we can get inside each other.
“Man needs vengeance like a tired person needs a bath.” (Baudelaire.) The ‘Realm of Hungry Ghosts‘, represented in my charts as the Houses occupied by the Sun when we’re usually asleep, is always operating in us unconsciously, and if you’re stuck with an insatiable desire for revenge, an unshakable belief that you could be the person you want to be if someone’s actions hadn’t denied the possibility forever, or you can’t help loving it when you see another person suffering, you may need to enhance your conscious connection with where your dreams come from. Try closing your eyes in a public place and imagining there is no way of measuring how far away the hubbub is; or try in conversation to be the person your interlocutor thinks you to be.
Here is a chart which represents where the European invaders on the Loch Ard might have thought they were on the morning of their death so far from home.
The New Moon was soon to occur in Gemini, but there was nothing Springlike in the fog in which their journey ended, and no familiar Zodiac was lurking in the southern sky anyway. Woe at the Vertex (though it hadn’t been invented yet) was not an auspicious sign, but otherwise the portents for their new life in Terra Nullius seemed favourable enough. However, a local perspective tells a different story.
Sun and Moon were not highlighting the Ascendant House at all, but the Animal Realm, where taking yourself too seriously on awakening is a natural cover for ignorance, but it may have been the retrograde motion of dauntless Jupiter in relativist Capricorn and the idealist hunger of Cancer that did them in. Perhaps you should try to imagine this was you, but you should definitely eliminate the intergenerational trauma of not finding the Zodiac when you look to the south.
Back to 2018, when the IAC and tropical astrology agree that the May New Moon occurs in Taurus (1° and 14.6° respectively), but I have the Sun 2½ days away in Breamlea Aries. The important thing is to know where we are, and that is definitely not in a seasonal quarter neatly divisible by three. Deep Winter in Victoria arrives in a week, but it came early, didn’t it? Not only Southern Hemisphere Astrology believes that Kalgoorlie ego and mood are contiguous in the Bardo Realm of Hell, but arcane powers as well.
The Bardo Houses are identical on the same meridian north or south of the Equator, a facticity of profound interest to forces for integration and harmonious difference. You may imagine what use in diplomacy might be made of knowing the unconscious mood of entire populations, and being able to project it from your own experience. Furthermore, I am not the only one who has established that the Houses are opposite on the same meridian the other side of the geographic poles.
In the age of artificial intelligence and psychological and virtual warfare, these elements of Being have not gone unnoticed. Moscow’s meridian passes through the Middle East, Washington’s through Cuba and Ecuador. I believe I am at the forefront of incorporating elements of Australian Indigenous wisdom in my self-examination, formatting Milky Way configurations with the cardinal directions of Country, but I cannot be at all sure of that.
To succeed in life you must assert yourself. Don’t worry about who your self is–it’s a passive, defeatist predilection to think of life as a set of rules to obey, or a race you’re not winning, especially if you’ve retired hurt. Life is not a straight line, but cycles within cycles, circles intersecting incongruent circles, and you must always be ready, like a fox evading the hounds, to leap sideways, from one merry-go-round to another, one treadmill to another. Opportunism is a characteristic of the ground of being. If you reflect on your addictions, you will know how opportunistically they multiply their positive reinforcements.
“So you don’t have to look painfully for some kind of stepping-stone; instead, a stepping-stone presents itself in your life. You have the confidence to start on the first thing that is available within your experience—if you know the geography or road map of developmental psychological structures.
…If you try to create something by will, you have to use accidents as a way of channeling yourself.” (Chögyam Trungpa, Transcending Madness.)
Unconstrained by ego’s besieged battlements, the midnight mind
Hurls its toys against a nursery wall daubed
With experiments in defecation.
Try as noon might to wrest behaviour from dream
Boredom never surrenders
the puppet-strings of meaning.
[On May 19, when the Sun enters Taurus, until July 25, when it will be in Cancer, the nightfall Sun (12° below the horizon) will be in the House of Self-Improvement at the latitude of Melbourne. The naked-eye Breamlea First Crescent of Opportunism will be at 18:05 on May 17, but the Moon, in Taurus, will be in the House of Fear. At nightfall, 6° above the horizon, it will occupy its rightful place in the House of Self-Improvement. The nightfall Sun will be in House VII (Aggression) until Full Moon in Sydney (Campbelltown)-Margaret River, and all Lunar Month above Port Macquarie-Yanchep. Make hay while the sun shines.]