In making up your mind on whether to vote for or against the legalization of same-sex marriage, you will discover, if you don’t already know it, that you are either a free-radical in your social organism, and your identity and values are self-defined, or else you are an integrated part of a whole, a conservative who finds purpose in protecting and perpetuating a system you may barely understand. As a radical, you may never cease to wage all-out war on the misguided values of others, or as a conservative, you may forever be perplexed as to whether opponents are ‘lights on the hill’ or enemies, sustenance or poison. Can you love a society which marginalizes minorities? Conversely, can you accept the definition of your loving as merely another category of existence debatable in a pluralist, relativist political economy?
This chart–the Sun enters Breamlea sidereal Virgo 24 minutes before New Moon and 2.6 degrees before the Equinox–was conceived to illustrate my conception of how the signs apply in the tropics, and how the skies of North and South can reveal each other, but it also depicts a fictional context for the consideration of the interaction of love and society, one of the two extreme configurations of the intersection of the Zodiac with the Prime Vertical not witnessed in temperate climes. Only above a line connecting Sunshine Coast Airport and Meekatharra does the Vertex appear in the Ninth Meridian House, the House of Aspiration and the madness of Deprivation. In the fictional world of astrology, what differentiates the experience of people above and below this line?
I want to make this absolutely clear: I am an astrologer; I make things up. I have conjectured a connection between the way the configurations of the Milky Way change as latitude decreases in Australia and the variation of Indigenous languages, but there is no reason whatsoever to believe that Jayne and Johndro’s Electric Axis operates differently as a ‘portal to transcendence’ on either side of a line.
We live in different States of a Commonwealth, here in Australia. In geopolitical terms, as distinct from historical time-lines of self-determination, does anything distinguish the Queensland residents of Point Danger from those in New South Wales? Of course not. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a Point Danger resident, obedient to Queensland law, educated in a Queensland school, in the care of the Queensland medical system, and the daily reader of a Queensland newspaper would in any way be distinguishable from a New South Wales resident across the street.
They live in the same ‘community’, after all. But what, it is time to ask ourselves, is a community? Broader than a nuclear family, certainly, yet more localized than a religious affiliation, moiety, or extended family, how does it differ from a society, club or association? Because we do mean something special by ‘community’, don’t we? An association holds together by common interests, a club by adherence to common rules, and a society by respect for a common set of values, but a community transcends different faiths and values, and allows conflicting interests and interpretations of the law.
Can Muslims and Jews count on each other in times of need? The altruism of Emergency Service officers helping flood and bushfire victims is beyond doubt, but is it sufficient proof of community? If you found out that the man who saved your life had sent his little girl overseas for a surgical procedure on her genitals, would that affect his membership of your community? Do you belong to a community in which decisions to vaccinate children and genitally mutilate sons go either way? How does cross-dressing in kindergarten go down in your neighbourhood? Do my arbitrary and heretical definitions and interpretations disqualify me from an astrology community, or is such an entity impossible?
The Prodigal Moon is an exile from community, as we all are. However, he does belong in my cosmology to the association of minds who are troubled in the west, represented above by the oxytocin addicts of Lismore, as he crosses the Prime Vertical in precise horizontal conjunction with a semi-conscious lack of completion in mid-Acheron, the Hades River of Woe. Completion is the social end of the electric gate of transcendence which spans the Fifth and Eleventh Meridian Houses. At the other end is its affect, the disposition which both primes the sense of destiny at the Vertex and presents itself to the Other beyond control: what else but Fantasy! Community does not endorse idolatry, fantasy, delusion, convention, narcissism or cynicism, because the Other, whatever healing and restorative power fate links us to, has affect too. Yes, community knows mercy, and it knows doom. Its love is a pearl in the pigsty.
The Electric Axis is a revelation of ghosts in our closet, and of the interpretation by others of our disposition, on a sliding scale of identity with their ghosts. Its relevance to my consideration of the endorsement of same-sex marriage is my conviction that a sense of community is actually the ghost in the machine. What unites people in a community is their sense of it: it is a bottom-up entity. Love is a bottom-up entity, too. May lovers of any gender or ideology desiring to consecrate their relationship continue to be embraced in the bosom of an enhanced community oblivious to opinion and definition.
And so the month defined by the Moon proceeds into the season defined by Astronomy and the calendar month defined by Christianity. It is not midday but noon in the heart of the country when this snapshot by a prodigal tourist is taken. Have we missed our chance to form a community of Indigenous Australia and its invaders, or can recognition of the authenticity of a degree of Indigenous autonomy enable us all to transcend our society’s definition by the Constitution? We have yet to preserve heterosexuality, and where religious freedom fits with civil obedience may evolve mutual hostility that will go on forever! Will Cynicism usher us into Eternity?
The Monk arrives, as he always does, in the inverted sign of his departure.
An equatorial grid reveals a hitherto unremarked affinity of the fabled Circlet of Pisces with the mythical vanity of Cassiopeia. Fortuitously lurking in the Mexican astrological house of the intellect, the two of them are conversely at home in the Indian Ocean aspirations of the antipodean American hungry ghost.
On his way to give succour to the wretched pilgrims camped expectantly below the Circlet of Unfulfilled Love, the Monk is waylaid by a throng of rancorous social scientists. He stands accused of not disclosing emotions which have the potential to perpetuate gender duality and white male supremacy. Additional charges, that he helped Captain Cook chart the Australian coast and is therefore implicated in the invasion which followed, and that he gave solace to unhappy priests tempted into the sexual abuse of children, have been dropped for want of credible eyewitnesses.
It cannot be denied that the Monk has triggered some pain, but if we can dispassionately judge perpetrator, why not victim? With all due respect, he defends himself, although I cannot deny being a witness to the whole of human history, I do not control it. I am not responsible for the emergent practice of connecting with the cosmos at sunset, or the associated encounter with the Other of people’s unconscious longing and exploitation. Do not delay me further, and what influence I may have, I will employ.
For generations, it has been the Circlet which has offered connection in the suffering embodied by human loving, and the Monk has been revered for the selfless love and courage of his service to humanity in renunciation of the physical comforts of biological union and material wealth. However, he is aware that some of his followers have begun to practise the contemplation towards the west of the setting Sun. As darkness falls on the last glow of the day, they quietly absorb the same feeling of primal union that dissolves the individuality of lovers and stimulates the dropping of bonded milk for the newborn.
The high priests, by computing the precise intersection of the prime meridian and the ecliptic, which half the time occurs below the horizon, have bolstered their claim to special powers of interpretation, but in doing so have introduced a potentially disturbing perspective, namely, that the rush of oxytocin may have unconscious elements which are not always benign.
“It’s sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause an oxytocin surge, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior. But these monikers may be misleading.
Oxytocin can also intensify memories of bonding gone bad, such as in cases where men have poor relationships with their mothers. It can also make people less accepting of people they see as outsiders. In other words, whether oxytocin makes you feel cuddly or suspicious of others depends on the environment.” Stephanie Pappas, Live Science.
Astrology is working in parallel with social science to quantify oxytocin’s effects. The Vertex faction of the Capricornia Chapter of the Australian Coastal Retirees Association is playing a prominent role. Its members are in silent uproar as the glorious rays of sunset give way to darkness. The Vertex at this latitude offers something for all who rummage in their hormones for the indrawn sigh of connection. Unfortunately, there is as yet no Anti-Vertex faction.
As the Vertex disappears below the horizon in the astrological house of relationship, the Monk is approaching from behind, while the cosmos has clicked into perhaps its most significant configuration. The Milky Way arcs in a straight line from southwest to northeast centred directly overhead. The Monk, himself an habitual contributor to light pollution, is unaware of the profound implications of connection with fifty thousand years of indigenous culture dulled by the lights of Rockhampton above the oxytocin worshippers focused on gratitude for their superannuation and companions in retirement. However, he does have some thoughts on country.
The Monk taps on his champagne glass and clears his throat. Lifelong friends, he begins, I commend you for your refusal to succumb to suffering as the pilgrims waiting for me at the Circlet do, but please hear my testimony. I share your yearning for validation, but I have learned its pitfalls. As long as it comes from the Other, it can only reinforce the Self as Other too. What is it about you which gives you the power to connect with the Other? Only Thou can know. Love is not projected, nor can it be measured or deserved. Transcendence and joy can only be found right here, as the source of the real, not at the end of an investigation or journey. Let your meditation be the ground under your feet and the sky above you. Open your heart to all who share them with you, and let yourself fall into total disclosure, whether they do or not. To worship and be worshipped is a beautiful thing, but to be the place of worship is sublime.
Observe the Vertex Calendar, true for leap years, and enjoy the rapture of prattling children, renewed friendship and new shoots in the vegetable garden, savour the mysteries of bewitchment and compulsion, but embody north, south and east too. The driver of midsummer is midwinter. The driver of permanence is idolatry. I will face my charges guilty of my innocence.
[My disclosure: I am a Cassiopeia in the lower case: letter ‘w’. ‘You’ are not Other, but when absent, missed. Please do not colour me in. Abliq.
Everything’s been returned which was owed. Dylan.]