Diplomacy, Gender, Love, Modernity, Moon Mansions, Moon's Wives, Nakshatras, New Moon in Pisces, The Golden Rule
If the signs are turned upside-down to match southern hemisphere seasons, this Moon seeks renewal at a time when the energy of the season is focussed on refinement and compromise, as we prepare for the confines of winter.
This year, we are also engaging each other in the daunting process of evaluating political representation and selecting the platform and personalities which can best govern for all. Ideally, we take our blinkers off, but at the very least, we should be aware of the necessity of refining our values to promote accord.
Easier said than done! In whom do we find an example? Eva Illouz offers the tantalizing thesis that at the very core of community in secular, iconoclastic societies is the practice of love:
“Modernity sobered people up from the powerful but sweet delusions and illusions that had made the misery of their lives bearable. Devoid of these fantasies, we would lead our lives without commitment to higher principles and values, without the fervor and ecstasy of the sacred, without the heroism of saints, without the certainty and orderliness of divine commandments, but most of all without those fictions that console and beautify.
Such sobering up is nowhere more apparent than in the realm of love, which for several centuries in the history of Western Europe had been governed by the ideals of chivalry, gallantry, and romanticism. The male ideal of chivalry had one cardinal stipulation: to defend the weak with courage and loyalty. The weakness of women was thus contained in a cultural system in which it was acknowledged and glorified because it transfigured male power and female frailty into lovable qualities….
“Women’s social inferiority could thus be traded for men’s absolute devotion in love, which in turn served as the very site of display and exercise of their masculinity, prowess, and honor. More: women’s dispossession of economic and political rights was accompanied (and presumably compensated) by the reassurance that in love they were not only protected by men but also superior to them. It is therefore unsurprising that love has been historically so powerfully seductive to women; it promised them the moral status and dignity they were otherwise denied in society and it glorified their social fate: taking care of and loving others, as mothers, wives, and lovers. Thus, historically, love was highly seductive precisely because it concealed as it beautified the deep inequalities at the heart of gender relationships.
“[…]To perform gender identity and gender struggles is to perform the institutional and cultural core dilemmas and ambivalence of modernity, dilemmas that are organized around the key cultural and institutional motives of authenticity, autonomy, equality, freedom, commitment, and self-realization. To study love is not peripheral but central to the study of the core and foundation of modernity.”
Eva Illouz, Why Love Hurts.
How well are we doing? Are we comfortable in grey? Have we established a discourse which enables mutual respect between progressive and conservative, gender neutrality and heterosexuality, safe space and free speech, anima and animus? Are we participating in the evolution of an inclusive polity, or are we still pitted against each other across religious, ethnic and gender barricades? How do we deal with the perception that patriarchy is being replaced by gynocentrism? Can we even agree on the gender of God, the Moon, the Sun? Have we chosen a gender? Is it unambiguous? How do we present it?
Perhaps we can find a guide to diplomacy and compromise in the course of the Moon this month, and by the time he gets to Mothers Day we might have resolved some of our dilemmas, and will all be celebrating the same thing.
Southern Hemisphere Astrology addresses you to a phenomenon which is inadequately addressed by physical laws, and is a metaphor for our quest for authenticity in community: momentum.
An elliptical orbit is usually described in terms of mass and velocity, elements deduced from observation which enable astronomy to define a system. If you can look up and see a system, that is a useful tool to apply to morality, and the analysts of the capitalist system will have no problem in dealing with you. However, if when you look up you have a sense of indefinable connection to what you see, a subjective sense of being here, then a question arises which might provide a slightly different tool for aligning yourself with the values of others.
Can you understand the momentum of the Moon as a constantly increasing will to push on, an attraction to what’s next? Or alternatively, does the Moon seem to be propelled by the desire to leave behind disappointment, error and strife?
We went to the astrological textbooks and were unable to find an answer. However, the ancient practice of associating lunar motion with certain prominent stars, and the division of a sidereal month into twenty-seven daily houses, each containing one of those stars, gave us a fruitful line of inquiry.
Indian mythology identifies the Moon as a man with twenty-seven wives. Several wives we have identified were willing to talk, and we asked them about their relationship with the Moon. On the matter of his momentum you may draw your own conclusions.Hamal
“I am nobody’s wife. The worst thing I ever did was take him in, out of pity. Everything he does looks like self-pity to me. There are jobs to be done. Any man would do them. He does them, but then he expects intimacy. I told him, I don’t need your love. If you don’t like the way things are, you can pack up and leave. I got along just fine before you came. And he does go, but he always comes back.”
“He lied to me. He seemed so interesting, and interested in me. But his mind was always really elsewhere, unfaithful. His love was a pretence, and our relationship a front. I told him, you’ve got other wives, I know, but you’re not a fit husband. You haven’t got it in you to make something of yourself. I’m ashamed.”
“What can I say? He is not a good lover. Very attractive: something mysterious about him, and an endearing sadness. But sometimes when he comes I have someone else with me, someone virile, and he just gives in. It is humiliating. He lounges around the house in tights. He has a good body, exercises a lot, wearing my underwear, as it happens.”
“It was good for the ego in the beginning. I know I’m not a beautiful woman, and I grew up feeling bad about my weight. I used to agonize about the welts between my eyebrows and on my upper lip. He doted on me, really adored my body and gave me lots of lovely massages. Then I came to realize it was always me doing the spooning. He was an attentive father, but probably a poor example. I did learn from him the affect I have on people, and that helps me to be good at what I do. I bear no ill will, but I do look forward to my own company.”
“He wrecks everything. Everything I work so hard to achieve he undermines. I invite colleagues to dinner and cook a gourmet meal, and he sequesters my boss to lecture her on the futility of ambition and the emptiness of success. I tell him how someone has criticised me, and he expects me to be inspired by his alternative presentation of their point of view. He makes it too hard to hold everything together. And I never win an argument. His affected superior insight infuriates everyone.”
“He doesn’t listen! The changes I’ve gone through in my life, I think I know a thing or two. I could say, to hell with it, like he does, but where would the world be if everyone did that? Women are still disadvantaged, and all over the world poverty disempowers and deactivates. I try to instil in our daughter an awareness of the gender stereotypes imbedded in our language, and he tries to get her to listen to nature for chrissake! He just doesn’t engage.”
“I accepted my arranged marriage. I love my parents. They complement each other, and their relationship has withstood the challenge of modernity and secularism in their adopted country, because they are indivisible halves of one whole. The romance has never died, because of the thoughtfulness of each toward the other. I thought it could be like that for us too, but he doesn’t notice the little things I do, the support I give when he’s really unsupportable, the space I give him when really he should be contributing more. I think I always get him on the rebound, but I really wonder how he gets on with his other wives. He’s so selfish.”
“Yes, I know that it is against the law in this country to have more than one wife, but I wish you would show some compassion. You must have some understanding of the pain you cause when you impose different conventions. You live in your heads, you people. You go to university and then you impose theories of what is good. You don’t accept suffering and you think to relieve it by changing the system. There is no system you are beyond inventing, and yet you have never eradicated suffering, just transferred it. I welcome his visits, and see no reason our heart-to-hearts should ever cease.”
“Why all the fuss? His life is complicated by so many wives, but you won’t simplify it by forbidding him to go to them. They haunt him. He comes to me, I cook for him, I bathe him, dress him in the soft fabrics he adores, play for him on the piano my own compositions, then I take him to bed and make love to him. In the morning he puts on another man-costume and his courage, and we don’t see each other for a month. Why can’t they all love the beautiful soul as I do, as a married man?”
“Of course we’re all victims of the impossibility of living happily ever after, and so is he. Just listen to all the whingers! Life is no fairy tale, babies. And it doesn’t revolve around women, regardless of how you pigeon-hole yourselves and each other. He does take your complaints too much to heart in my opinion, but he’s my best medicine. I’m as mad as a cut snake by the time he comes. He calms me. Once a month is perfect for us both. More he’d definitely find too hectic, hahaha.”
“I know precisely where I stand with him. He imagines me, as you imagine him; in fact his entire existence is confined to the imagination, but what of that? Is that not all there is? Whatever his intention, whatever his regret, I know to expect him twenty-seven days and eight hours hence when he is here. I know that he transforms me from the witch of the previous day, and in the arms of a man of courage the next day, into the infinite potential of the human spirit. I know that again on Christmas Day in eight years at breakfast, we will be King and Queen conjoined. What more needs be said?”
“My godfather understands me. His wisdom is all-seeing. His kindness envelops the world. But he also frightens me. I love him with my heart and soul but I know he wants more. I cower behind the locked door of my cloister when he comes, and his heartbeat thunders in my ears. His presence hides something, something always at the back of my mind, something destructive, which terrifies me.”
“Hello? What are you angling at exactly? Moon’s identity is not the question, and gender needs not be either! The driving force of existence is Antagonism, of course! I lay an egg in the analytics of relationship! What differences do our hormones manufacture which we need charm and diplomacy to dilute? Who cares? We are creatures. We can be too clever by half. Momentum is a middle way between push and pull, simply ‘keeping yourself nice.’ Not ‘do ut des‘ but do unto others what you would have them do to you, because what you do to others you do to yourself. (I have heard that, somewhere.) My personal view is that our Moon is rather a stupid individual, if you want the truth.”
Diplomacy breeds dishonesty and, ironically, subservience, isolation and self-absorption. It protects the structures of inauthenticity with charm. The Moon’s wives present an evasion of the connection they clamour for, compassion. Prisoners of modernity and its social structures, discourses, safe spaces and escape mechanisms, they cannot hold and offer their life in their hand, and what they cannot give, they cannot receive.
“It is only when Shiva is united with Shakti that He acquires the capability of becoming the Lord of the Universe. In the absence of Shakti, He is not even able to stir. In fact, the term “Shiva” originated from “Shva,” which implies a dead body. It is only through his inherent shakti that Shiva realizes his true nature.”
“…[L]et us ask “the world’s oldest and most important question”: how the hell did we end up here? Imagine being that liberal, energised by the moral certainty of your secularism, sustained by belief in the supremacy of your values and righteous indignation. Mightn’t you ask yourself: how the hell did I end up here, advocating bigotry and prejudice?” Nesrine Malik.