There is no doubt in my mind that one of the great contributions to philosophy in the twentieth century was I and Thou, by Martin Buber. There is no ‘I’ existing in and by itself, Buber says, only an ‘I’ which stands in relation in either of two pairings: I-Thou and I-It (or I-He/She). The Vertex reminds me that my love-image, my attachment style and the success of my intimate relationships all hinge on my capacity to experience my self in relation, to recognize what I am projecting, and also to enjoy myself as a beloved.
Some totalitarian tweeted the other day his faith that same-sex marriage would be embraced by Australian society, and this would be a repudiation of the ‘concept of the other’. One of us is out of step, and it could be me. This is an ‘I-It’ attitude. Australia has embraced same-sex marriage, and this might be interpreted as the consolidation of an Australian identity, a swelling of the ranks of a majority who see eye-to-eye. It might also be interpreted as a recognition and celebration of difference, that we love, and share our ‘country’, our personal space, with the Other, as the ‘I’ in ‘I-Thou’. I for one realize that inclusion does not confer identity when it is an act of love, and exclusion and inequality do not imply enmity and ought not be used as weapons by totalitarians to inflame it.
Astrology does not have clean hands when it comes to the totalitarian claims of identity politics. Object-permanence may be an essential intuition in early childhood development and an important element in a sense of self, but experience should lead us to the understanding that only the past and other objects can carry our desire for fixed meanings. No person or thing can properly be understood as enduring in time or occupying unambiguous space. I cannot hate you for not understanding me, or sharing my culture and its beliefs. How could I, when I am not the same person two days in a row?
I have not worked on the Vertex to enshrine it in the pantheon of formative influences, but to connect my hormones to my concepts, to empty both of fixed definition, and to broaden the internal debate about what personality entails by enhancing my focus on what I and the Other may be projecting. I must admit, I am drawn to the ambiguity of its offence, and its compartmental categories of latitude are irresistibly mischievous.
The Anti-Vertex is the elephant in the room.
The Ecliptic is fixed on the equatorial grid, which makes it easy to predict and time its movement. The tropical location generating the chart above sees the Zodiac passing directly overhead and high and low in both hemispheres, and I am definitely envious of the spectacle. However, it is totally unempirical speculation on my part to relate the symbols of our deepest affections to the altitude of the Ecliptic. The worship, not to say the fetishization, of eternity and permanence could not be imagined as a localized phenomenon, could it? Would not such a suggestion be an invitation to outmoded concepts like the ‘noble savage’ and ‘the Other’?
This little corner of the USA could not possibly offer emotional or daemonic experience unavailable in the rest of the country! I am really more interested in the movement of that red line than in real estate values, but what if resistance to culturalist pieties found itself drawn to enclaves further and further from the pernicious influence of a Vertex of conformity, even as the pietist preachers of victimhood were succumbing to the transference of exotic love-objects from sub-tropical climes?
How would you react if around 2020 you started to become aware of strange new yearnings unsatisfied by good old-fashioned marriage, self-improvement and illicit sex? Instead of idealizing youth, you began to hanker after a winged angel on your marble sarcophagus? Or instead of people being turned away by your cynical intellectualized dismissal of spiritual life, they began in droves to revere you as a messenger from another dimension, taking holy orders and even their own lives to be with you in eternity?
Computing the exact latitude of date of the Vertex in the realm of Eternity demands seven decimal places, or 11 millimetres at the red line, to minimize its duration to less than 2 seconds, so if you’re right on it, stay put. Its rate of migration is 16,000 millimetres p.a. and its disconcerting wingbeats will pass over and be gone in 4 hours. Besides, the maximum sub-conscious reach of the Vertex for antipodean day-dreamers is the Gemini Winter Solstice (tropical Cancer), where it coincides with our Lethe Crossing and ‘Forgetting’ is the universe’s middle name. In the North, Eternity coincides with the Sagittarius (Capricorn) Solstice at the woeful heart of our galaxy, and you must continue to drown deprivation as is your winter wont.
The chart above locates the Vertex above Marcoola Beach, but in the very same moment (03:35 Eastern European Time) it is in the Fourth House above the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III in Luxor, which is still forgetting at the Lethe an entry to the underworld 3,172 years later.
He was assassinated by a wife.
Roughly 4 hours later over Marcoola–woeful Luxor Eternity was roughly 8 hours ago: Eternity comes first–Permanence is a little more worrisome than Eternity, because of its tantalizing visibility, that is, it lurks in the House of Reputation, where consciousness is ever doing mortal combat with wokeness, and the next-door House of Attachment sublimates fear. Can you believe that enlightenment has been struggling with inherent properties for thousands of years, yet books purporting to contain the Word of God still top the bestseller list? Be mindful of the possibility that while you were deconstructing everything, your children were finding parasitism in the entrails of relativity and deprivation a most undesirable lifestyle. And note that in the Southern Hemisphere it is Cassiopeia, not Crux, in the First House. Don’t be surprised if your children convert to Islam because you’re just not permanent enough.
“Soon the hay-fields will ripen, soon the berry will show
Then they’ll fade into Autumn, to lie under the snow
Some years among many leave much more to remember
No need to explain how I feel about her. (Siebel, 1970.)
You could say that every Full Moon tests the understanding between lovers, but none presents greater danger than this one. “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” (Springsteen, 1980.) “Man from Mars, this time you went too far.” (Mitchell, 1989.) My heart may harbour a different dream, but it hurts just the same as yours. The man in the Moon exults in the light of the goddess Sun, but we all too often define worship as needy, and are just as quick to label vain assertions of independence as egoistic. We cherish the freedom of Summer in Winter, and the intimacy of Winter in Summer, but Spring and Autumn are most uncomfortable bedfellows, when the one is full of hope and the other is full of resentment. But so much in love depends on attachment style. The Peasant transits simultaneously over Detroit and Columbus (Ohio), and on down through Georgia and Florida, Western Cuba, the Gulf of Mexico and Costa Rica, and as latitude decreases, the meaning of love becomes more primal, totemic and transcendent. Do you have enough yeast in you to trace the astrological g-spot?
The Scales upside-down are a policeman’s boot, which means racial discrimination and the imposition of foreign law, but Aries is a ram, both ways, all instinct. If you have a sensitivity to cultural appropriation, you ask walking directions from Google Maps for Bamaga to Melbourne, and by all means argue your arcane knowledge of water-holes and star maps for one day’s walk out of sixty. That’s Aries. Here it comes: Permanence.
The Peasant is a convergence of two archetypes, one being coarse and ignorant, and the other confined to tradition and the rhythms of Nature. He is contemptuous of urban sophistication and political correctness, because every day he must, on behalf of city-slickers, do things they are too squeamish for, such as saw off the horn growing into an eye, shoot an endangered bird raiding the fruit, cut down a native tree or separate the newly-born from their mothers for butchering. He is the very opposite of late-Spring tranquility, and yet in his intransigence he is tranquil in his way. He will give you a mouthful if you do not qualify as his judge, but to let him get on with what he has to do you must be content with his reversal of your superiority. The Peasant is the quintessential Shakespearean Fool.
But what stirs in his heart? What hides behind his stubbornness, his brusqueness and his sullen strength, to explain his relentless commitment and unwavering care? Fly over farmland and weep for the felled forest of the world, but marvel at the increment of life upon life of back-breaking hard work with axe and saw. How many generations, how many acres per man? The Vertex and its projector are but geometric labels in search of a symbology, but peasants do have beloveds, I’m sure, even if they don’t dream of them like lovelorn adolescents. Every peasant is a philosopher on the porch before bed, with only one rudder in the sea of stars and time straight up, his deep. How did they love their wives? How did their children love them? And how are they remembered? For atrocities against indigenous people who were just like them? In terms of the imagination, not a lot has changed.
Permanence can easily be envisaged through the eyes of a peasant on a porch, raising his countenance from idealization at the horizon, comfortable completion halfway up, and then its logical implication as high as it is possible to look without straining something. But the peasant knows that the stars move the other way across the west, and it is a little more difficult to understand what’s happening when the cynic craning his neck eastward has to turn around.
The experts say that tropical weather patterns are expanding, but the lines of tropical latitude (Cancer and Capricorn) are moving towards the Equator, at the rate of about 1.5 kilometres per century. Currently, the Vertex can appear in Meridian Houses V and VIII at north and south latitudes less than 40.92°, IV and IX less than latitude 26.59°, and crosses the Meridian, twice, in the tropics, when the Ecliptic is overhead, equal and opposite distances from the Equinoxes. At the Equator, it is always at the (tropical) Aries or Libra Points–the Equinoxes–(whichever is in the west). It is permanent.
The enslavement of a user by a plaything is actually quite common, and really the transit of the zodiac at the zenith is as banal if you don’t apply your attention to it. Is not accepting a truth you don’t understand mere clinging to a world made by others? Is not the task of fixing a problem you see in someone else not a column in an edifice meant to be older than time? You’ve probably heard, ‘I’ll never forget you,’ a few times, and even, ‘It was written in the stars.’ What is heaven without permanence, asks the cynic trying to analyse eternity. Idolatry is boredom’s safety net, dreaming of old flames, or the first rung on the ladder of affect.
“Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fie away, fie away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
O did share it.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand, thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
O to weep there!”
Feste, Twelfth Night.
[My vain project is not only to enhance tropical astrology with a Southern Hemisphere perspective and an equatorial connection to the still-visible stars which might help heal its visible displacement, but to present a non-linear, cyclical background to human affairs before which people might discover more of the preconception of their moment, and as whom they are being created in it. I am not an activist telling you who you are, a scientist telling you what you’re made of or a medicine-man telling you who you were meant to be. Call me deluded, call me demented, but if I say something which helps you resist the magical realism of DSM diagnosis, the abyss of stardust cosmology, and the taboo against tampering with preordained creation with bottom-up interpretations of time and place, then I am justified in acting the fool. Call me a peasant then, my fellow-peasants!]
"Yeah the same thing's happened over again Every time I meet a woman she tries to pin ya in Found the only way to handle a woman Is to keep your bag packed, keep movin' Steppin' lightly Eyes forward, proud, determined, masculine Probably get horny Can't live with 'em and you can't live without 'em That's why I write so many of these weird songs I guess." Jerry Jeff Walker, Ramblin' Scramblin', 1969.
The unifying epiphany of materialism is the discovery of causality and connectedness, but the Miserere commemorates a different frame of reference, not the space of objects but the time of subjects, not the primacy of identity-with but the miraculous anguish of identity-from. Have mercy, Eternity.
You couldn’t get a more potent representation of balance and normality than the chart of the Prodigal’s transit over Ghandi’s ashram as the ‘Miserere’ arches from east to west crowned by vain Cassiopeia. How appropriate seem both Pisces’ Southern Hemisphere sign of Libran refinement and compromise, and its Northern Hemisphere sign of Aries, of energy with some impatience! What a princess!
But let’s lighten up. ‘Prodigal’ means ‘wasted’, in both meanings of the word. If only he would stop abusing substances and locating himself in the ephemeral, he could come home to love and community, couldn’t he? He could find real purpose. But look at it another way. As it is fast becoming conventional wisdom to say, the wastage of his being in mere existence may be put down to our conditioning of his experience of unlovability. Oxytocin addicts are not very good at convincing others that they are loved. While his normal parents sleep, a prodigal soul might be seduced far from their philosophy into the arms of awareness bordering on mental illness. What is there to wake up to, in this unlovable world?
Lord, have mercy on the population which can’t live with You, but can’t live without You. Who but the slightly insane can understand the dedication of a life on this earth to spiritual liberation? Who, blessed by the growing body of literature on the psychology of love, could be so engrossed in love’s endocrinology that a life embalmed in self-help books might seem like a path to spiritual liberation? What else but the travails of unlovability can explain the attempt by astrologers and mystics to tabulate the relationship between the prime vertical and the zodiac?
“Let’s play a game,” he says, totally out of it. “Imagine that we are robots, programmed at the factory to optimize the resilience and adaptability of artificial intelligence by embodying just enough order in chaos: depending on the time of year and day, we yearn to love in one of just six different ways in sequence, each involving its own geomagnetic drive, duration and triggering device. You have to guess which drive we’re in, and I have to guess if I am the right trigger. Let’s pretend Love!” Despite his wastage, or because of it, his notch on your barrel entices, if only for the beguiling recklessness it would add on your CV.
“You will love me forever if I treat you like dirt? No, wait! You are anxious about death, and you will love me for thinking I will live forever?”
“Keep it up, funny man. The more you intellectualize, the more alert I become to feelings I didn’t know were there. I am germinating! Some inherited dream deep in my imagination has been given a name.”
“What is it? ‘God’? I worship the goddess in you! You have the most intriguing hard and fast rules, and they’re all good! You know the best gifts to buy, and where from. You know what is appropriate behaviour, and what is not. You have beautiful paintings on the wall, fresh flowers in the vase, pithy quotations about positive attitude on the toilet wall! I dream about you! You have so many friends! I am so lucky!”
“I think it is ‘presence’. I convey my gratitude for what is to all around me, but especially to you, who get me so well.”
“We will travel. I want to share the world with you, and share you with the world. I want you in my family, and to love all my friends. They will love you as I do. I am lonely when I am with my friends since we became a number.”
“My father says you should get a job, and I want you to give up your addictions. We will have a child.”
“Whatever you say goes! I can do it. I’ve just made some silly mistakes in my life, but the self-help books you’ve lent me have awakened me to my self-defeat mechanisms. I am ready!”
“Yes, you could write your own book with your amazing mind. Stop reading, and write. I believe in your power to transform yourself, as I have, through counselling.”
“I feel as though I have emerged from a dark cloud, since I learned how to be silent and listen. Your friends no longer tell you how arrogant and abrasive I am. I hope they don’t! Do they?”
“I don’t keep in touch so much.”
“I have become a little concerned that people I know don’t understand you. One has said he thinks you are ‘arid’. ‘No!’ I said, but it does seem strange that others can’t see how beautiful, and intelligent, and witty, and supportive you are. You were quite a catch.”
“Perhaps you didn’t catch me, and you need to work harder, now that I am getting older, and finding that I interest a whole different class of people. Incidentally, I ran into my ex at that do you didn’t want to come to the other night.”
Birds in backyards, who have an innate attunement to the hours, the Earth and the stars we can only dream of, are attracted by mournful music, because it’s the easiest to sing. Humans are currently attracted to the idea that romantic love is a construction of the Middle Ages perfected by Hollywood as a capitalist tool. If you buy the idea that real love, that which connects everyone and everything, is universal compassion, and anything else is a hormonal delusion, you’re still just singing the easiest song.