Yes, something has happened: the universe has said something we have all heard, and I’m as much in the dark as the dictators and populists who claim the authority from somewhere to be its exclusive interpreter.
Like you, I don’t want to discuss what I don’t understand. Like you, I just want to let it all out, the grief, the anxiety, the fear, the aggression, the fury.
And I tell you, I’m tired of your bickering perspectives. If your emotions are so important, so am I. Anyway, your emotions seem to be honing themselves into the excuse I need to disconnect.
Supporters of sidereal and tropical astrology can riot in the streets, and loot and burn their own neighbourhoods, but what I’m looking at directly above me is a straightforward conjunction of Sun and Earth in the Constellation Taurus. What’s the difference if the Bull’s Sign is Gemini or Sagittarius, the Scorpion’s Sagittarius or Gemini? You are the meat in the same sandwich!
Your grievances have brought upon you a perfect storm of populists from left and right bent on destroying everything. All that still survives in the centre is a thin blue and khaki faultline.
It all looks like Bull to me—a bull in a china-shop, perhaps—but from out here you at least all look equal. Adapt to that, you emancipated covidiots!
Have you worked out what ‘Why?’ means? Pretty important question, perhaps the most important, especially for me and my friends and enemies, as Reason reaches the last moments of its bout with Instinct in old age. Are you getting anxious about how much time you’ve wasted, or don’t you have time? Of course you were meant to integrate the souls of your parents, but what if you couldn’t be bothered, or had other fish to fry? Are you just starting to get bored after forty years of having a good time? Was hedonism an abnegation of a calling or an excuse for not hearing one? Are you a better judge of what you deserve than anyone younger?
Astrology may have been just one of numerous historical tool sets for grappling with such questions, but its diagrams may reflect a crystalline template for the adaptation of life to that primordial question, ‘WTF’? Because, left to its own devices, this question, ‘Why?’, is devastating to the fabric of consciousness, and to society, even human survival, yet the rogue is characterised, perhaps defined, by the insistence on asking it. Why does the rogue emerge at this time of year? Elections? Ask him! What response can you get from a globular rock you might notice less than ten times a year?
Eddie Betts is an Australian Rules Football rogue who has a magical control of the ball which regularly produces impossible goals. When asked to teach the skill, he said something like, “Sorry mate, you can’t learn it: it’s got to be in you.” Is that the Vertex or the Anti-Vertex the Moon and Jupiter are aligned with in Tampa’s Underworld, West or East, as the Moon sets in Sydney this morning?
Nobody seems to have any idea where they come from, these rogues, for want of a better term. Dilettantes, I have previously called them: clever types who are never able to dedicate themselves to a specialty, whose convictions intensify in inverse proportion to the dilution of their interdisciplinary insights in the apathetic ignorance of the Underworld which surrounds the dead and the unborn, and their metamorphosis in ‘Why?’.
The dilettante gets bad press: Jack of all trades, master of none. No Universal Man is he, in a world made of interlocking expertise. Something is wrong with him. It is as though he has disassembled the jigsaw puzzle of reality and is trying to put it together a different way. You can’t do that, we say, it only goes one way. But why, he demands, why can’t we all make it the way we want it? Because that would be too messy, we say. It has taken a long time to make ourselves in the mould of the world as we see it, and no good will come of tinkering. The world was made, is made, by someone else, according to laws it is sensible to obey, and that’s that. But on that point, that myth, the dilettante cannot agree.
In his personal country the world is constantly reshaping itself within: if people believe only in obeying the law, the world is not made by law, but by submission; if there is strife, it is not caused by opposing laws, but by failure to share pleasure. Country is not an area on a map, but the experience of connection, and orientation must go hand-in-hand with recognition. The law does not demand submission, but personal sense, in accordance with instinct. The law must have a rhythm you can dance to. Without recognition of its origin in the personal space of communal dreaming, country is reviled for belonging to others, particularly venomously by owners and experts, lawmakers, high priests, scholars, ethnographers et al. who are qualified to annex and catalogue the minutiae of a grand plan.
But what of the country of those who seem happily to submit to the grand plan, who are entertained by diversity, who meditate away their instinct as the underlying cause of suffering, and who believe it prudent to have no country? Is it possible that country is an evolutionary phase of universal consciousness without borders and identity without individuality, that it appears at a stage of growth as a genetic template like ego which enlightenment gently but insistently eradicates? The dilettante has not found the way to such constant flight. He still gets tired and hungry. He meditates on the branch of a tree. He flies away when somebody chops it down. Is it possible that humanity will find a home in a Big Empty Country in which automatic ships plying the Tasman will not be haunted by the seaman’s sense of ocean heft and engine throb?
He looks around at the stars above him and scratches his head. There will be no stars when he closes his eyes for the last time. Will they still be haunted by memories and totems and bowels despite forgetting the names he has given them? So wonders the Third Mate as he returns to the haven of the bridge after looking due north at the Full Moon, at the precise moment the Milky Way was rising vertical through fern-shaped Aquila on the port side. Dabbler in astrology, namer of stars, humming a song which has popped into his head, he muses on the status of memory. Are the galactic signs of language and identity his delusions of reward, or placed in the right place at the right time by a healer? Are they evolutionary or dismembering? He becomes conscious of what the song is saying: these visions of Johanna are now all that remain. Does Johanna linger in some tropical zone of the Urmensch? Are relativity and Louise temperate zone phenomena?
He looks forward to his R&R with fellow-golfers Pru and Bob next week, but if the truth be known, he is still shaken by that strange encounter a few days ago in Brisbane, when total strangers had gathered around him affectionately, showing him photos and bringing him up to date about people he couldn’t remember having ever met. That parting comment from the freckle-faced redhead in the bow-tie who more than he seemed to have preserved some of his youth, chiding gently, “And at least I have a university degree, eh?” What will Pru, chair of Indigenous Studies, make of evolutionary cultural divides at the latitudes of the Galactic Poles? Talk about something they can eat?
His supposed area of expertise is safety, but he does not approach its regulation as of a set of rules like Deuteronomy, but rather as a negotiated settlement of dynamic entitlement. The cultural property Pru might accuse him of appropriating is itself an appropriation: few people alive belong to a community living beneath the Milky Way, and any offence to the instinct of the few ought to be weighed against its stirring up of the rationality of the many. In his heart he knows that for thousands of years the people of the Milky Way felt its beat as he does-–as the seaman feels the throb of the engines-–whatever meaning they gave it. He is trying to graft lost instinct into his intellect. He wills to be a descendant of his ancestors.
He believes that Aboriginal consciousness was saturated by the night, as is his, and that the people who saw the emu saw everything in the Milky Way’s vivid band. Furthermore, in their intimate connection with it, they orientated the horizon to it, that is to say their daily experience, and profoundly considered the zenith, into which they fell as they lay to sleep. To overlay on that consciousness a Western geometry which evolved erect, eyes looking out windows, in no way diminishes it, but rather reaches out a humble hand of recognition. He is the one in need of reconciliation.
The dilettante discovers in Bundjalung country the latitude at which the zenith of the warrior beat passes into Scorpio, if this most prominent constellation of Southern Australian winter nights is measured from its easternmost star. Further south, at the Clarence River boundary between Bundjalung country and Gumbaynggirr country, Pisces and Virgo are replaced at the extremes of the Prime Vertical by Aquarius and Leo, if the constellations of the Zodiac are measured by twelve equal divisions of the ecliptic, originating at the zenith of the Northern Rivers warrior, he who monitors the boundary between Northern and Southern Australia.
How is it possible to divorce the study of Aboriginal language from an intuitive grasp of the night sky? How can one conceive of an evolution of communication divorced from country? How much needs to be forgotten to create conscious order? And on that note, how is it possible to completely forget people who have obviously once known you well, to so utterly lose the memory of who you once were? The dilettante thinks again, as he clears away his charts, of those university days, studying languages, and all the turns his life has taken since. He searches his mind for an intuition of discontinuity but can’t find one. It seems that each new bearing has offered itself at the destination of the one before, and yet he can remember only the bearings. Was it really ever just too concise and too clear, that Johanna wasn’t here?
Some people have opinions nobody agrees with because they’re stale, but some people with old opinions dedicate themselves to making them true. These are often people who have no time for the opinions of others. Other people have opinions they just got from social media, or out of a self-help book, and will have new ones tomorrow, but are they any worse for that? Such people are the ones alert to other opinions, ultimately worthless though they may be.
On the other hand, there are some enlightened opinions which need to be protected from the market, aren’t there? One doing the rounds implies that the hoi polloi are not qualified to decide what’s good for them, and so it is ‘absolutely’ wrong to let public broadcasting and the arts and culture sector, for example, battle for survival in a user-pays economy. We may lose our cultural identity.
As we apply our five-minute attention span to the election campaign, and the task of filtering in turn the social and commercial media filters on the complexities of who should be funded by our borrowed money, this emu has his head in old opinions about the Moon, asking himself questions you might expect from someone with his bum in the air.
It is a cliche of astrology that the Full Moon realizes the purpose imported from its New interplay with the Sun, in a synthesis of head and heart at the opposite side of the Zodiac reconciling apparent contradictions and opposites. For those who opine that life is a journey, with a beginning, middle and end, this is a resonant model of enlightenment, a geometrical representation of self-realization.
In these terms, and from a southern hemisphere tropical perspective, the Moon has been mulling over the moral implications of opportunity since its conjunction in Aries with a strong-willed Sun inspired by assertiveness, tending unfortunately to aggression, according to the character of northern hemisphere natives born in early winter. How might the Moon in Scorpio, dipping below the western horizon in the seventh house, especially now that his reflection is of an ego which has moved on into a semblance of mastery in close-quarters winter interaction, synthesize those implications?We all occupy forward positions, with death in front of us, and behind us in the trenches a card game of autonomous bodily betrayal and a sergeant we don’t trust. Consumption and self-realization are at odds. If we weren’t so hungry, for amusement, for diversity, for change, and above all for self-realization, we might satisfy ourselves with the mastery of something, and take a secure context to our graves, but fat chance of that.
In the context of the political chaos we face as the Moon wheels into the mind of Scorpio, I get the impression that his self-realization is as compliant and superficial as ours. The anxiety which underlies the ethics of opportunity avails itself of a healthy dose of humour, and a relativist perspective, in order simply to get on with other people similarly assailed by the universal predicament, too many options.
Opportunism can be moralistically defined as a weakness of character betraying the common good, or simply as the use of an opportunity for personal gain which may or may not adequately weigh consequences. But suspend judgment. The common good is a temporary opinion. We are all rescued from indecision by choice of the most immediately appealing option. Ideology gets no more than five minutes, like everybody else. The only universal is the particular, and the particular is dissolved in the universal.
What we have complied with is the deconstruction of universal standards of measure, but while that may make us ungovernable, eternally dissatisfied, there is good reason to congratulate the dilettante. My Moon for one is less constrained by human needs and expectations and does what he feels like. A rock in space is leading the charge to identity transcendence!
Here is the clock at the moment of ‘full moon’.The houses which determine the state of the mechanism, and the surrounding stars, are but my local perspective. All those geographical regions are where the hour hand is at the top, and indicate the infinite possibilities which the Moon enjoys. He may be precisely located in a vedic nakshatra, but his choice of wives is limitless. And how is his contiguity with the stars measured? What qualities does he show above and below the terrestrial equator? Are these qualities tropical or sidereal? Are they definable? Does it matter? He’s off on a romp which puts things, especially houses, in perspective.
This chart dissolves the particular in the universal, but perhaps you have to have more of a connection to sky rotation than most people to get it. Without the innate awareness of the relations of Sun position and time of day which people who work outside acquire, sense of direction is lost without landmarks. I suspect that the common experience of the Sun’s hourly movement is back in the Stone Age. Ask yourself: do I see the Sun moving across a fixed sky, or do I see the sky moving, or myself?
I have to say that I cherish local perspective, even when it’s the dark interior of a hole in the ground. I came to astrology as a stargazer, and the algorithms of Southern Hemisphere Astrology evolved out of years researching celestial mechanics. The adherence ‘downunder’ to historical northern hemisphere interpretations of the Moon’s nodes (the draconic month)–appearances are downside up in the south–was merely the bait. My abiding intention is to encourage my grandchildren and you to go outside and have a look. I hope once in a lifetime you will stay at least half an hour to experience sky movement.
What is enlightened opinion to one person may seem like prejudice to another. Astrology is bedevilled by the problem of measurement. In what common frame of reference ought aspects be measured? The recent conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon which looked like an ear-ring was entrancing, because the two were vertically, not ecliptically, aligned across the whole (fixed) sky. What orb, or time-frame, reduces the shift of the seasons in relation to the stars, or of the stars in relation to each other, to insignificance? What are the local seasons? Can they be divided geometrically? Can it be believed that two people born an hour apart are ‘ruled’ by different signs? How can the Moon be Full when you can’t see it?How does a locality attain community without established and mutually respected perspectives? How can it develop better educational and employment outcomes in a continuously changing economy, as fresh opinions do battle with stale ones and vice versa, when voters cannot tolerate each other’s opinions on social inclusion and sustainability, let alone apply common standards of mathematical and linguistic excellence, which are the tools of any kind of insight and management?
None of this speaks to me of a definable moment in the unfolding of human consciousness. To paraphrase Alan Watts, you deserve pity if you get to the end of your life having lived it as a journey with a destination, and realize that it was a musical and your only opportunity to sing and dance. By any measure, ‘we’ are in a mess, but enjoy the moment.