This month celebrates the triumph of what is most ignoble in the human spirit, the desire and capacity to shove an opinion down somebody’s throat. Special recognition is given to the puppeteers whose armies of billions of zealots are so ready to hand.
One glance at social media in these physically disconnected times suggests that there are zealots everywhere, more than you can defeat in battle or even point a stick at. What they all seem to have in common, these stalwarts of the perennial conflict with imperfection, is the knowledge that something true is threatened with extinction.
The allure of totalitarianism is not particularly the opportunity to perfect others, but the absolute imperative to perpetuate the conditions for an identity, as a white supremacist, a queer person, a person of colour, a nationalist humiliated by history, the list goes on, or simply anyone otherwise perfect on the verge of being ignored. “Freedom!” the anti-lockdown protesters spit. I suspect they mean freedom from you.
In the beginning was time. First they diseased the future, and then they erased the past. Live in the now, they said. To fuse future and past into a present is the finitive compulsion of the zealot, but what happens to a past with no future is a black hole which haunts him. Time itself is something true threatened with extinction, like a chook running around without its head. The roots of the Tree of Life are dangling in mid-air.
Trees grow from the top, where the chloroplasts are. Is the Galactic Centre the crown of our tree or its roots wrapped around a spiritual black hole, winter in the North, summer in the South? Centres are full of zealots, and so passe.
Poet, Saint and Fool are far behind, propped in the lowest sephirot of the Tree of Man, somewhere back there among the ragged hills of youth and romance, not visible from the artificial park whose laps we avatars continue to call a journey, though it have no beginning and no end. Zealots, the shriek of the cockatoos means only, you’re facing the wrong direction. There has ever been a ready antidote to ideology.
At last, what difference does it make if Sun and Moon swap signs? If the Constellations of the ancient Zodiac retrieve their mythical identities from the precession of the seasons which we have destroyed anyway? If grief or anger will hold sway tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow? If it’s all confirmation bias and could not possibly be influenced by solar system orientation to the stars when that’s all relative, and every celestial body’s view of every other’s background is strikingly different? If the only thing you can say for certain is that you’re opposite on the Zodiac to whomever you’re looking at, and they signify nothing?
Is there a place to be other than at the centre of attention? Or, rephrased, why should you be the only one who doesn’t exist?
I could never resist one last question. Cheers, Zealot, nice to catch up, even if it does seem only once in a blue moon. You probably get this all the time?
“Forget all these pious denunciations of populism from progressive politicians. When figures like Khan use such grotesquely exaggerated moral categories to denounce Trump, they are promoting extremism more effectively than anyone else.” Greg Sheridan.
“And if everyone is anti-racist and anti-sexist, you have to really be strongly anti-racist and anti-sexist to get more points.” Jonathan Haidt.
For some strange reason, June is a time of dissatisfaction. Aligned according to preference as to whether it is poetry or pleasure that is not enough, everyone is declamatory. It is as though to the boor preening her preeminent progressivity the Moon could not make the timing of his fullness at the Galactic Centre more self-evident.
Whereas for most of us the Constellations are a backdrop to lunar motion, the zealot has a tendency to take things literally, project his borrowed and reified concepts onto a cosmology to which he expects unquestioned adherence by anyone with half a brain, and in eliding perspective, miss altogether the relative meaning which that other peculiar human being, the natural scientist, has given to the celestial spectacle since the Stone Age, namely the lapse of time.
The Gates of God and Man have absolutely nothing to do with the Signs or Seasons. They are the intersections of Ecliptic and Galactic Plane, and have occupied the Constellations of Sagittarius and Gemini since before their invention, some twelve thousand years ago, when axial precession was revealing its intention to turn the Seasons upside down. The Gate of God is called Woe, where the soul crosses the Acheron. It coincided with the Southern Summer Solstice in 1998. Jupiter at opposition, vacillating, obsesses with it every 83 years, last in 1960, next in 2043, although you could infer powerful dreaming from its retrograde hesitancy this year. Jupiter will cross on December 4. The Full Sun crosses at Southern Litha, in 2019 seven hours after Solstice on December 22.
The Gate of Man is called Forgetting, where the Ecliptic crosses the Lethe, which may or may not be the portal to reentry into the phenomenal world by the departed. It might simply be the spawning ground of socialist zealots. The New Sun crosses on June Solstice Day. As for Jupiter, the last time it was at opposition at the Gate of Man was December 1977, and the next will be December 2060. I am confident that by then, no Australian zealot will refuse to sing the words of this new and improved national anthem:
Australians all let us rejoice
For we are strong and free
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil
Our home is girt by sea
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare
In herstory’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia, yair
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia, yair!
Certainly, born in 1948, Abliq won’t, hypochondria notwithstanding. In the meantime, I hope you catch the close conjunction of Mars and Mercury in evening twilight tomorrow, and with clear skies on June 30, both the last appearance of the Morning Star and the evening twilight end of the 2017-19 Mars apparition: so endeth the Southern Year, and beginneth another, yair!
And wash thy white thigh, beautiful God, In the moon, of the woods, on the marble mount… Crowley, Hymn to Pan
“To give each emotion a personality, and a soul to every mood! The girls came around the bend in a large group. They sang as they walked, and the sound of their voices was happy. I don’t know who or what they might be. I listened to them for a time from afar, without a feeling of my own, but a feeling of sorrow for them impressed itself on my heart. For their future? For their unconsciousness? Not directly for them, and perhaps, after all, only for me.” Pessoa, The Book Of Disquiet.
Chorus: We are the voices trying to make sense. Interesting expression, isn’t it? No, the Zealot is not your enemy, but still a dangerous fool. While Sol completes her ritual cleansing in the history fade of the Lethe, Chaos rules, except in the heart of the Zealot, who crosses the Acheron in such emotional pain as to defy description. If we have welcomed you to our people with the rape and murder of your daughter, or your son it was who defiled our world in that act, you know the Zealot’s pain. It is shame: there will never be an end to the suffering of innocents while he continues to cause it, and he can do no other. He is driven by animosity to the identity we have moulded for him: his mind is unhinged from ours; his heart is in his brain, not our mind. The underworld is a dangerous place: the brain makes our body, and it is visible.
Forget the tour leader and the bus driver, ignore the American tourists. How beautiful is this? Would you rather listen to the tour guide’s explanation of the way the Milky Way turns, be left alone to discover this intriguing synchronicity for yourself, or just go back to the hotel and get warm? For ages I was a man, then in a small pocket of the human imagination a woman. Recently, above an infinitesimally small outcrop of sedimentary rock in Terra Nullius, I have been restored to masculinity, but an emasculated masculinity, reflecting with counterfeit beauty the life-force of the feminine, trying forlornly to outshine her. And yet, looking at me high over your head, can you have lost all amazement that I do not fall on you? I am an ancient symbol of polarity and duality but I will overcome inequality. I will transcend gender. Men, together, we can restore our beauty.
Chorus: The Zealot is a voice inside you, another voice claiming with overwhelming justification to be yours, but calling you to be Other, with no other power than yours to be, Other, here. It is not a will to meaning per se, but a persistence of meaning through the consciously bewildering bombardment of the ego by meaningless objective relativity: the possibility of instinctive truth, but a truth resisted by complacent social identity unto death. The Zealot campaigns for the body against the sovereignty of the social. The Zealot is in the body of the world, your sky. It is none other than the will to live, the autonomy of the organism. Awareness of the Zealot has its equivalent in our consciousness of geography: it’s called the Antipodes, and its sky, reflecting ours, illustrating the duality of Signs, provides an opportunity for us to evade the trap of fixed identity, whether imposed by ourselves or others.
If not in your gaze I am a rock with 0.120 albedo. You are required to notice that I am getting older, my teeth falling out, my waist thickened, my breasts and buttocks drooping, and to find that beautiful. It took the greatest minds of the modern age to understand my mechanics, but it only takes you to make me beautiful. I am a sports car hurtling through a deserted alley, and I am not to blame for nearly hitting you when you appear out of nowhere.
Chorus: It is the age we have arrived in, that Solstice Full Moons bring widespread confusion of the mind. We are apt to believe that opposites are reconciled within systems, transgression is a schism like the parting of the Red Sea, and dismantling narratives leaves us with something to be. We are not astounded by the approach of Venus to Regulus after another eight years, because that is just the way things are, in the Solar System. Woe to the Goddess of Love and Beauty, voided by mathematics! What has happened to our hearts since 2010, and will they be filled with the joy of intimacy by 2026? No, the condition of the heart does not depend on a system, of compatibilities or irreconcilable differences, but on whether or not the discovery of Beauty and constant reverence for it have transformed chemistry into astonishment and gratitude.
If you have ever talked to somebody so close it was really yourself you were conversing with, and if ever one night you have found nobody there, or she was asleep, then you may have been praying, or heard, in a social vacuum, your ancestors, giving voice to the body of the world. It’s a way the universal brain has of reassuring our mind that madness is normal, like the Chorus in Greek tragedy. You call it God.
Chorus: The universe is conscious, except not a mind but a body like ours, controlled by a brain we call the laws of physics. Only beauty can create universal mind, in its beholding. We are not here to be elsewhere. And yet elsewhere is here; unconsciously regulated by the brain. That bodily function is peculiar to you, not your identity, but merely a constant refining and adapting of your organism to your affect on the world and its affect on you, a correction of mistakes and a rearguard action on behalf of yesterday against who would swap healing for beauty. The more you trash beauty, the more habitual become both the impossibility of intimacy and the reinforcement of your doubt in yourself.
A woman once thanked me for giving her back her body. I now know that she was inadvertently giving me mine. In every moment that men shine, half of their wives are shining elsewhere, but incessantly active in a warrior’s sleeping body. Tomorrow in Rome, the warrior awakens at first light. Let him remember the ineffable beauty of his white thigh as it disappears down the rabbit-hole of hers. It is the country we came from.
Bikini Mosaic, Villa Romana del Casale, Photo by Bernard Muir
Chorus: We make only metaphorical claim that the arms of the Milky Way are rivers of Hades, and ever were so regarded, and that the orientation of the galaxy influences human behaviour, and that the crossing of the galactic plane by the Sun, Moon and planets, invisible in daylight, bright moonlight and light pollution, has an effect on us as social beings. Coincidences of position and configuration do have the potential to enthral. The current production is intended to entertain—is meaning anything else?—and why shouldn’t we entertain ourselves with synchronicities of human behaviour and perspective that can enthral? Self is country, which is embodied emptiness. We leave the stage now as the Covenant of the upright Cross begins its annual extinction in daylight.
You have twelve nights to give body to the embrace of the goddess of beauty and the venomous Little King, but half a year to make tangible what terrain may lie between the Lethe and the Acheron. Better get to it!
Are we down a rabbit hole? Are there emotional vampires here? Am I one? Are you strong enough to be my woman, werewolf?
“If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you… Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!” Rudyard Kipling, “If—“.
“Who cares for you?” said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland.
This lunar epiphany with massed choirs won’t be repeated in your lifetime. Just one of those days (for narcissists who get turned on by the mystery of their unexposed deceit)?
And I’m the last person who needs to be reminded of what made America great. My credulous, consumerist faith was there before your birth. No offence taken. Our ancestors died together in battle for something a bot would not recognize.
Please, corporate California, stop imagining that you can define my ‘family”s business as a family business!