Today, when the afternoon Sun is 18 degrees above the western horizon, the Milky Way commences its cycle of Underworld visibility. Thanks to the psychological effects of this pandemic, including disturbed sleep patterns, the Underworld is very close to the threshold of consciousness. If you take your mind off the evening news for a moment and listen carefully, you may hear the ceremonial tones of the ancestors as astronomical twilight begins in the Underworld.
If you miss it, you can listen tomorrow four minutes earlier and for four minutes longer.
Love yourself, Menkar says. Work on your stuff. Don’t take it personally, she says, but people say negative things about you. You lack humility, she says. Every wife is a challenge.
The Peasant looks forward to jumping between the sheets with Alcyone, after the peculiarities of Hamal and Menkar, the daunting accomplices of his descent from the high places. Be mindful of your tendency to aggression, Peasant, and don’t inflate your expectations. There are puppeteers offstage, and this is a pantomime about freedom, not intimacy.
It is harder to be a peasant these days than when princes and priests ruled the land. Three levels of government with 16-20% of the workforce administering control exert a lot more energy than the muscles of yore, and yet you never know when the power or water will go off, because every politician and bureaucrat is a prince and a priest. For a guest of a mid-Autumn mansion in mid-Spring things are further complicated by a plethora of boundary ordinances.
A bureaucrat thinks nothing of drawing a boundary on paper, like the Local Government Areas which located restrictions of movement during Victoria’s infamous lockdown, but like the limits of nationalities and territorial waters, they usually involve conflict when marked on the ground. The horizon is a boundary, but you try pegging it. Where is the coastline? Where does a mangrove swamp end, or a eucalyptus forest? Celestial boundaries are no less nebulous, for all that they may be precisely defined, because they move, and so do the herds they enclose.
The Peasant has a motto: we’ll make it work. That does not satisfy the princes and priests whose province is value, despite never having to jostle for position on a fishing ground. It doesn’t satisfy the Sun either. Despite moving around the galactic centre at 230 km/sec, she has never accepted the momentum of her planets, and any notion of one of their satellites having a mind of its own is anathema. On this occasion when earthbound astronomers and astrologers are at loggerheads over divisions of the Ecliptic, and the Moon is intensely trying to make it work, she will put her own stamp on things.
This otherwise significant event for Moon and observers is only 5 1/2 minutes before the upstart’s most comprehensive diminishment.
“Peekaboo! Assertiveness is it? A fig for your hemispheric Signs, Earthlings! And while we’re at it, a pox on the enclosed absolute sanctimony of your social media! And I will be anthropomorphized if I feel like it! What does Earth’s moon know about seasons? He may have rhythm, but what of it? I’ve got gravitas.”
The motto of the Peasant takes another form: She’ll be right, mate! Though dictators demand heartlessness and investors in change rant about the apocalypse, and though Underworld insecurity undermine and render transparent the independence the Southern Moon is obliged in Taurus to revere, that motto will resound.
Peasant into shadow and Vagabond out, but she’ll be right! The lasciviousness of Alcyone is ambiguous enough! And so the shadow retreats and Earthlings reinhabit their narcissistic boundaries. In suburban Brisbane, the ancestors line the outer of the Underworld, supplicating the referee of a game the Sun simply does not understand, and all know that a fair referee only gets it right half the time.
Was it a dream in a cusp?
Is that not a dragon’s tail coming to sweep us back into the urgency of our predicament? Give it to me, she says. Make it right. And yes, she’ll be right!
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!
Those whom the gods would destroy find in their madness a subject for analysis.
He got into big trouble when it was discovered. It took many decades and generations of controllers fretting over the often irrational signals coming from the spacecraft before it was finally deduced that somehow limerence must have got on board. Only a virus like constant craving could explain so many perverse communications. Naturally, he was found to be the culprit, and was sentenced by the joint chiefs of staff of the supreme powers to pay retribution, which he will be obliged to pay, denied escape velocity, forever.
There were no doubt high-level sympathisers with the view, frequently expressed by common people, that elimination of limerence is unsustainable, and we must learn to live with it. However, to send limerence into the cosmos as representative of humanity was formally agreed to be unconscionable. It is ignoble, the communique emphasised, to wish for what one does not have. It is a betrayal of community to so devalue the expectations of others that one might excuse oneself from them and find in oneself a more alluring voice.
So long as the ‘Galactic Anticenter’ points to the ground, any but the most dispassionate astrological interpretations of the intersection of Prime Vertical and Ecliptic are to be suppressed, and the escape velocity in the Bardo from any variety of madness is to be defined as fifteen degrees per hour.
That is why First Crescent can be scientifically predicted, and no longer needs to be seen. That is why consciousness is measured by wakefulness. At least limerence, like the Golden Record the fingerprints of the ache of eternity, will be preserved as a human relic, as the tools of the first ancestors to venture out of Africa, in that first ineffable stir of limerence, have been preserved by the sands of the Nefud Desert.
Have you got it? Have you been tested? Have you been inoculated? Are you self-isolating? Do you really believe that love can save the world?
You only lose what you cling to. That’s it! Nothing eternal here but cynicism, nothing permanent but idolatry. The Earth is full in Aquarius, disclosing what? Impatient perfectionism? Farewell.
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.
Earth’s self upholds this monument To conquerors who won her when Wooing was dangerous, and now Are gathered unto her again.Brian Fitzpatrick.
Now there’s a dog on the v’randa, for his master he waits But the boss is inside drinking wine with his mates He hurries for cover and he cringes in fear It’s no place for a dog ’round a pub with no beer.Gordon Parsons.
The Artisan, schooled in a time-honoured tradition, has practised his craft so often that design and method have become innate. Ornament is often idiosyncratic but his guiding star is utility, and the artefact he produces is ever used in the same way. We don’t need an instruction manual to place and sit on a chair, or hold a cup the right way to drink out of it. Conventions needs no description. To be inside them is enough, until they no longer work. The patriarchy no longer works, and we have laboriously deconstructed it, or in places begun at least to recognize its negative influence in traditional societies evolving connection beyond the village. However, the belief that a convention has lost its utility becomes another convention, which no instruction manual can market. Inclusion takes time and immense care to avoid violence and hurt as a new authority attempts to confront an old one.
Fortunately, the convention of map reading has not reached that position, or even revealed its existence to more than a handful. (See McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World.) Southern stargazers take it for granted that North is at the bottom and that we are looking at traditionally represented asterisms upside down, but the cartographical convention that North is up cannot be ignored when the Moon’s perspective attempts to align with ours, or to put it another way, when the Artisan attempts to make something we can use. How can we in the South possibly get inside a Moon in our Zodiac who is looking at the Earth upside down?
We will get to an explanation presently, but first consider the Constellation, Cetus. What is the basis of the attributes I have given it? Had Babylonian, Greek or mediaeval European taxonomers seen Cetus our way up, they would possibly have called it Vespa, the Wasp, because that’s what it resembles in the South, with a stinger to the west and a proboscis to the east, in celestial context which only came to make sense when Southerners began to ride horses, and the Fishes revealed themselves as a presumptuous rider on Pegasus whose moomba in jodphurs was worth investigating. Diphda is antagonistic and Menkar is intrusive, but the industry of the Potter Wasp, an artisan if there ever was one, is both beguiling and inspiring. It is difficult to assess the impression we make on others, though convention has it that there are those who ‘get’ us and those who don’t. The passage of the Earth through Vespa (Cetus) depends on where the Moon’s nodes are. This orbit we Earthlings are giving the impression of both positive and negative characteristics of waspishness, whichever way up we ought to be viewed, between 15:28 on the 28th and 08:25 on the 29th UTC, and after a day and two hours in Pisces, 10:45 and 15:14 on the 30th UTC. Know your time differences? Then mind how you go!
Your selfie over Nepal is a Northern tour de force, Artisan! You have created an image in the tradition of ancient maps of the world showing it surrounded by ocean, while giving your position the authentic offset from the Zenith which proves you’re not a robot. Most helpfully, your projection of the sky, first mapped onto paleolithic cave walls, demonstrates the root of the conventional orientation of north and south on a map. But you know, the Packers Prize goes to another.
The sky can be dragged down to the vertical from any direction. To see the Zodiac the Southern way up, drag it down from the North, but then North will be at the bottom, the opposite of our maps, in which the South is always behind us. Let’s view the Honourable Mention.
To see the Emu right way up, drag the sky down from the South-East. The Emu at Zenith is always above a North-up Earth. How’s that for a Treaty? And every artisan leaves a signature: today the upper transit of the Southern Cross was at Solar Midnight. Only happens once a year, on this day. Nice one.
“The function of memory is not only to preserve, but also to throw away. If you remembered everything from your entire life, you would be sick.” Umberto Eco.
“The bull of the herd had stepped into the white foaming brook, and went forward slowly, now striving against, now giving way to his tempestuous course; thus, no doubt, he took his sort of fierce pleasure. Two dark brown beings, of Bergamasque origin, tended the herd, the girl dressed almost like a boy.” Nietzsche, Human All Too Human, Second Sequel, The Wanderer And His Shadow, Aphorism §295, ed. Darryl Marks, trans. H. Zimmern, P. Cohn, Everlasting Flames, 2010.
The naming of Moons of course connects them to what we’re doing down here. Inverting European and North American names or leaving names behind completely in the Northern Hemisphere might do for some, and continuing such traditions as Yule and Easter in their opposite seasons doesn’t seem to have disturbed capitalism or hurt anybody, but the entertaining possibility exists that seasons and customs merely refine what we’re doing and feeling, and we’re actually all doing more or less the same thing. It might at least be said that we are all subject to universal influences on our mental health, which fall into cyclical patterns we all engage with in similar ways, if at different times. Two distinctive things we all have in common with the Vagabond are the balancing of the desire to forget and the inability to remember, and the experience of being utterly alone.
The best moments of your life are the hardest to remember, because your language did not impose you on them, but rather from the bottom up, your spirit was dissolving into a belonging in something beyond, something almost magical, a connectedness which drew its miraculous energy from you, which could only last an instant and might never emerge again from the objective definition of your existence, but which in a flash of awareness revealed the reality of being alive instead of dead. Ceremony is of course your best method of putting your memory back in that transcendent self you own abstractly as yours. But what of the wooden hands of the cellist, the traffic vibrations and the halitosis of the singer behind you, and your own, for that matter? Is solitary meditation the only way to engage in a ceremony of connection? Must we wash our hands of others lest we forget who we are? Would such uncleanliness truly be the opposite of authenticity? Is there an important lesson in equanimity to be gained from the Vagabond’s stoical existence?
The danger we sense is real: the most vividly lived moments of our past are most challenging to relive, because they include the best, which we can seldom recall in all their complexity, and the worst, which can traumatically reconstruct themselves viscerally in the most unwelcome way. We even judge the good in the context of the meaning of the bad, and we think to free our good selves from shame by working on our shadow, but the judgment our insight passes on the self-as-other is so vivid in its remorseless negativity that compulsively as we might train ourselves to disbelieve, we are built to forget, and it is easier to disbelieve what is forgotten. The shadow of the Vagabond in sidereal Taurus falls across the June Solstice and the river of Hades he approaches in the Bardo, the River of Forgetting.
If you have the good fortune to withdraw from the everyday, just for one night at the right time of the year, and in your nearest dark sky, you can realize the connection of above and below, as it was known by the prehistoric people who lived under the Milky Way, as it was once known under rural skies by the swagman, and as it has now been forgotten in urban lanes by everyone: when the Milky Way arcs overhead from horizon to horizon in either of the two configurations which are so formed, its bearings link all Warriors or Wanderers camped on their river, Acheron or Lethe. My Acheron crosses Eastern Australia to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, but my Lethe arcs over Central Australia to the Kimberley and beyond through Timor Leste and Western China to Siberian Omsk. I am proud when I am on the Lethe to project over the horizon the kin of my spiritual sisters of Wurdi Youang. Detroit’s Lethe arcs over the Caribbean to Brazil, and a shout-out wells up in my heart to all countrywomen, and tonight, fellow Vagabonds!
Not everyone is summoned by a divine voice to sacrifice his son, as was the Patriarch of all of the religions of The Book, and of socialism and humanism, in all their woeful, forgetting folly. If the nearest you can now approach to such grief, mysterious atavistic Vagabond of our cosmic loneliness, as you stare over the Atacama Desert, is not quite being able to erase the memory of rejection, the clinical name healers give the extinction of a divine voice and the reduction to dust of every monolithic monument to human immortality since the dawn of civilization, you are as blessed as you seem to believe yourself, blessed to have heard the voice, blessed to have been spared its demand. Charismatic though our inner voices may be, the gods are bent on the narcissistic autonomy they enjoy in our submission to their resentful, perfectionist control.
The Vagabond is the avatar of all who throughout history and before it have gratefully accepted country as more real than landscape and real estate: the ancestral, the migratory, the rejected, the enslaved, the dispossessed of everything but kinship and the meaning of ceremony and song. He and they enact the memory we share eternally of what remains of creation to be forgotten. What more could there ever possibly be, than broken, throbbing hearts crying, “Please don’t climb my rock,” and protected by them in a world of liars, charlatans, scammers, hostage-takers, people-smugglers, bullies, creeps and bogeymen, the laughter and tears of children?
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.
“Cy-git un chevalier courtois
Du souverain sujet fidèle
Et qui toujours sut à la fois
Servir sa patrie et sa belle.” L’épitaphe sur le cénotaphe de François de Rochechouart.
“There’s a lot to be said for brevity.” Mad Magazine, Issue #502 – 01/2010, Wikiquote.
The Monk got into attaching to the female as a boy. Little did he realize as he gave himself to the caresses and chaste kisses of older girls that as he modelled his gender on theirs, as his feelings and emotions satisfied themselves with intuition and softness and resonance, they were modelling theirs on his, or what they perceived of it beneath their caresses, to the extent of synchronising ovulation with his tender boyish blush, and castrating him to erase the semen stains testifying to their spoor on his woodpile. Perhaps when the Monk responds to the Sun’s “All men are bastards” with “You get that on these big jobs” the transpiration of gender fluidity and the respiration of cultural stability enter the market.
It does take a while to accept that a birth tree can be seen as a source of firewood or an impediment to progress, but of course it is undesirable to freeze to death or graduate to design a 6-lane freeway which does not sacrifice a bit of bush, now that the equipment is at our disposal to deal with the big ones. Furthermore, the number of people who know what has happened to the place of their parents’ birth would be infinitesimally small, and I say that as a callow youth in my memory awaiting the birth in 1968 of my first child, banished to the corridor of what is now Melbourne Central shopping complex. How does a woman bear witness who drives past the place where her grandmother gave birth to her mother and it’s a traffic island? Who knows? No man, probably. You get that on these big woodpiles.
But I digress. One cannot be too discursive when one is limited to a few paragraphs, and there are several important things to explain. First of all, there is some confusion over who is bullying whom, but the ranks have been shuffled somewhat for next year, and the Monk is actually relieved to be moved out of perfectionism by the Zealot. What difference does it make? Let the Zealot overcome the narcissistic design of the Drone’s redundancy. The Peasant will go back to aggression where he belongs, and perhaps it will be good to leave 2019 behind as a year of inauthentic pretence that ‘They’ were ‘You’. The Monk will relinquish his connection with Yvonne, Les Sablonnières and the unobtainable, and trudge past the Circlet of Pisces on a pilgrimage to nowhere like the rest of us, every nineteen years threading the eye of a needle without shank or stitch. I cherish the thought that his recalcitrant belle will dematerialize, along with the head and tail of the dragon, and the contestation of victimhood will die uninhabited.
The next thing is the question resonating all the way through 2019: who is ‘The Man’? Frankly, the Moon is becoming tired of this male metaphor. Of course it is logical that a Moon recovering from a Drone’s bad relationship withdraw for a while, but it is as logical for the Monk to draw re-inspiration from a female Sun in Leo as it was for him to design his gender on the woodpile. Are Trump, Johnson and Xi unequivocally male, and even if they are, is their gender more than populism’s rhetorical flourish? How can Full Moons represent gender dysphoria when the majority who imprint on the Moon do not live gender on a spectrum? Is the Moon no more than a scam, the seduction and control of suckers by a Creator in drag irritated by our reluctant recognition? “We have a special connection, and you can inhabit it by being proud of the attributes for which I diminish you by their diminishment of me.” The proliferation of scammers and the question they raise about secrecy—”Why did it take me so long to see it?”—haunt my experience of the ‘disintegration of humanity’: the Hong Kong insurrection, the destruction of Amazon forests, the danger of sailing the Strait of Hormuz, the genocide in West Papua, the collapse of world order, the counterfeit legitimacy of British democracy, the corruption of the free market, and the mesh of vapour-trails imprinting the desire to be anywhere else.
Which beholder would label the Monk’s withdrawal from the gender wars as abuse? Which appellate judge? Which not? Which woman will shoulder her suspicion of beauty, her hunger for childhood, her fear of her own manhood, and of the power to be someone other than herself, in order to rule the theft of country and her own sovereignty? Alas, the Monk ventures, beyond the biology of gender and the landscape of country, more woman than man, more dingo than pawprint, more tide than rock, none of you. And yet … he continues to be imprisoned in the month, his E Lucevan Le Stelle powerless to delay a single day, his rising and setting, mere accidents of the directions of traffic flow, the time-limit of his appearance in the exercise yard of the Gaia Penitentiary.
The soul, the spirit, the essence, what is it? There’s a good chance you were taught to look for it within. The Circlet of Pisces, the event horizon of childhood delusion, is as good a place as any to start, but when you realize that the whole world is within, you begin to lose the distinction between what is inside and what is outside. It’s all chemistry, isn’t it, really? Country, yes, and emptiness, and the subjective. But it is in the essence of astrology that we find the key to the Monk’s immunity to naturalism, our rootedness in the objective. The essence of astrology, the utility of its birthing-place, is the emptiness of identity, the transparency of perspective, the underworld of the underworld: like the ancestral galactic gyrations of solitude fossilised by the Miserere of Hell, like a divine command reverberating in the lost domain of an Egyptian tomb, and like the memory of a childhood caress, regardless of its perversity.
Anyone who has lived through the internet’s transformation of reality will have noticed a proliferation of certainty. Every debate is loud with it, and wisdom, dismayed, must consider unassailable facts on both sides. Whereas investigation was previously predicated on ‘I don’t know’, it has apparently degenerated into a search for facts which support ‘I know’. This is quite amazing to somebody educated in facts, with the purpose of disclosing the extent of ignorance, who has seen the transformation of critical theory into the syllabus of primary schools, with the purpose of exposing the ambiguity of knowledge.
The notorious family conflicts which arise when children reach puberty disclose the ideological opposition of ‘I know’ to ‘I don’t know’, and two stages of personal development, the investigation of experience as existence and the investigation of existence as experience. Such conflict can take generations to resolve. In an Australian multicultural context, these two stages manifest themselves in the perennial dynamic of integration. Immigrants are dismayed by their perception of a demand for acculturation, and antagonists to plural monoculturalism can find difficulty in locating their pragmatism in recovery from the grief of their own displaced ancestors.
What differentiates quality journalism from populism is the avoidance of bias confirmation. Both base investigation on the Five W’s, who, where, when, what, and why, but whereas quality journalism demonstrates the ambiguity of the answers, populism confirms their simplicity. Once upon a time, my own investigation of current affairs was led by The Guardian and the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and it has taken time to accept, to grieve, that quality journalism can no longer be confidently sought there.
In similar terms, quality astrology differentiates itself from the populist variety in its focus on ambiguity and recognition of confirmation bias. It presents a tool for asking the Five W’s, but it assumes readers to be seeking more questions, not answers, and to be intensifying existence, not pacifying it. The answer to the question, ‘Who am I?’, is indeterminate, and that is exciting. If you must know who you are, it is my sad duty to inform you that you are nobody.
Where and when you were born cannot be identified, because the where has disappeared, like your parent culture and the climate and geographic coordinates of your birth location, into nowhere, and the when cannot be retrieved except in the historical antecedents of various different arbitrary measures of time based on their obviously impossible separation. The increments of one against another may be small– the measure of sky movement, sidereal time, increases against solar time by 33 seconds every 8 years–but no-when will they ever coincide again. Specifics are out of the question, my dear Watson.
Where is this place?
Cessnock is a real entity, proclaimed with defined boundaries in 1906, and is indexed on thousands of databases and maps. It welcomes the traveller with a real sign in the real ground beside the highway, and every property-owner knows they are in it because they pay council rates. That information may answer the questions who and what, but my question was, ‘where is it?’ Someone in Cessnock, perhaps you can tell me? Down the road from Newcastle, yes, but where is Newcastle, down the road from Cessnock? If I approached from the west, the bush of the Pokolbin Forest, following a road, or else Cessnock would repel me beyond an array of back fences, sooner or later a sign would tell me the road’s name, and someone would tell me I was in Cessnock, someone who wouldn’t understand that they weren’t answering my question, “Where am I?” If I were really lucky, a child might give me the right answer, “Here, in country!”
Here is another correct answer: Cessnock is, not a thou’ out, directly and exactly above its underworld! (A pubescent child always knows when an adult is using semantics to reach a common understanding, which explains the ubiquity of the expression, ‘Sarcasm is the wit of fools’.) Seriously, you have to ask yourself, couldn’t we have done away with 100 years of research into the unconscious if we had simply listened to the people who could find it on a map, right here?
The Miserere, Psalm 51, is the cry of the penitent who is left here, when the rivers of Hades, and their grazing thunder lizards, have disappeared beyond the boundary of the underworld, and penitents are not sure which shore they inhabit. Who are we? The ordinary souls sent to the Asphodel Meadows of our underworld’s underworld? Can Here be There, as the Proclamation has it? What do the aquifers of country disclose when your lover is on the line and your voice is in their head?
This is the moment the ancestors ring the edge of the world, above and below, in neither. Steep Point is the western tip of a continent, from which the then living ancestors watched Dirk Hartog sail past in 1616 CE, with no idea that country was about to be proclaimed out of existence, parcelled up as abutments. To be fair to those seafarers and the settlers who eventually followed them, they had no idea of the Universal Proclamation of Humanity gestating in the abutted minds of landowning philosophers, astrologists and activists. Like any migrant, they were simply creating right of way through abutting, overseas kinships they had no relationship to.
Now we come to the weird bit. Who are ‘they’? Who are we as they?
Osorezan is an active volcano in northern Honshu believed by many to be the threshold of the underworld. Half the world (and almost everyone in these parts) has always believed that ill fortune is not an outcome of karma, what goes around comes around, but the result of sorcery, the conjuring of injured, vengeful spirits from the underworld. I have not found reference to which way up they endure, or if their seasons, directions and chirality mirror the hemisphere of the living, but when they climb out of the fissures of the Earth their evil is authentically alien to ours. Shamans and sorcerers know how to channel them, and so, apparently, do the revilers of Captain Cook, and those still fighting the lost War Against the Proclamation of Country.
So you have no self which is not some other nobody’s nobody, no country which is not some other underworld, and no history which has not been repudiated by you, its child. How WOW is that? But you will be who you want to be, until we have built Jerusalem, and the holy temple of your devotion will be the body, of the visible world, indeterminate, ineffable, enfolding you tenderly in your confirmation bias until you have exhausted fact, country has thrown open its five aggregates of mind and the fleeting moment has disclosed its unbearable beauty. Country, world disclosure, is your will to be, your sap, your yeast, your music, and you are always welcome!