Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Inexorable Fragmentation

I didn’t write a column last month because I was sad.  My family suffered a loss when our matriarch died, our oldest member.  Tití was a few months short of a hundred years old, almost a century of history wrapped up in one small self-possessed woman.  She was a native of Venezuela, but lived and travelled all over the world.   

Now Venezuela is going through a terrible and tumultuous time.  It’s painful to see so many progressive people in my circle upholding Maduro and claiming that yesterday’s events were orchestrated by the CIA.  Today, as I write this, the streets are once again full of people. 

I know that the U.S.’s imperialist hunger has been the villain in countless other stories.  My wife and I just saw the documentary “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America”, and much of the history given was familiar to me.  The US doesn’t have clean hands in Venezuelan history, either, since it supported several dictators in the past.  But Chávez was his own worst enemy, as is Maduro, and the US didn’t wreck the Venezuelan economy.   In fact, the US was the biggest buyer of Venezuelan oil until March of this year.

What I know is that Tití worked hard all her life, and if the Venezuelan economy had worked, she would have ended up with a pension and health care in her old age.  Instead, she had no security at all, except for her relatives in other countries.  We have other friends and relatives in Venezuela who spend their days trying to find food and medicine, and their nights in the dark, with only intermittent electricity. 

Wondering what the outcome will be,  I checked out Nicolás Maduro’s chart, and there’s a mix of aspects.  On the one hand, Neptune’s inconjunct to his Mars indicates confusion and strife.  But Uranus is sextiling his Jupiter, so there are also lucky breaks, and perhaps there was a last-minute rescue, as some people have reported.  Juan Guaidó’s chart is not looking particularly good right now, with Saturn and the south node opposing his Mars.  This looks more like jail than victory.   I think it’s true that the military is very divided, and they are the ones who have most of the power at this moment.

So I don’t have much good news about Venezuela, and I’m just praying that people are able to stay safe, and to survive.  This is a time of change, but I’m not sure that Guaidó will be able to lead this charge into the future.  His chart has the look of a hero, with a lot of fire, and a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Sagittarius.  But, in real life, I don’t put a lot of faith in heroes. 

In so many parts of the world, things are breaking apart.  It seems every country is fiercely divided between an authoritarian power bloc (which for some reason calls itself populist) and a more progressive movement.  The middle ground has vanished.  Brexit is a case in point, a sledgehammer poised to demolish the status quo, with people scrambling to figure out how to contain the damage. 

I see this in my own life, as several well-established lesbian organizations are splintering.  Suddenly women are sharply divided about what the word “lesbian” means, and old friendships are turning hostile over this.  No matter how distraught people are, nothing stops this movement toward dissolution.  It has to play itself out. 

Here in the US, the old boy’s club that’s upheld Trump’s presidency is also breaking up.  I’ve been looking for the aspects that show the Fall of Trump since he was elected, and now I’m finally seeing them – not in the next month, but in the next eight months.  These are slow aspects.  I assume this has to do with all the investigations, but it could also be about his health, or some combination of the two.  
All of us humans are dealing with an intense karmic aspect right now, as Saturn conjuncts the lunar south node and moves towards the conjunction of Pluto.  It won’t be till January 2020 that Saturn joins Pluto, but we’re seeing the first cracks these days.  I expect this Saturn/Pluto conjunction to be a significant meeting, a crossroads time for many of these old, strained institutions. 

Saturn turns us around, so that we see and understand the results of our past actions, and that’s why they call it the Great Teacher.  How much do we have to learn?  What are the consequences that we need to own?  What parts of our history will explain us to ourselves? When we turn around and look honestly at the past, we see into the blind spots we never knew we had.    

The end of the Trump regime won’t fix anything, but it will release a lot of tense energy, energy that’s been bound up in containing him, justifying him, lying about him, or attacking him.  (I do admire Nancy Pelosi’s cool head as she’s dealt with the toxic mess in the executive branch.) 

And then afterwards, we’ll have to look our own extinction in the eye, and see if we can head it off.  Perhaps at last we’ll be ready to deal with some basic survival issues.  In 2023, Pluto enters Aquarius, and this seems to me to give the best chance for us to come together and devise new ways to live as a world, scarred but united.    

Until then, let’s all try to stay out of the way as the rubble falls.     

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dissolve into March

It’s been a long month since my last column, but still, little has changed.  I’m looking out on a snowy landscape once more, although the snow has fallen and melted, fallen and melted, since I wrote here last. 

And we’re still taking care of my wife’s grandmother, who sometimes gets stronger and sometimes weaker.  But she keeps soldiering on. 

I’m not sure anything much will happen in March either.  Mercury is going to be retrograde in Pisces for most of the month, so we may all be locked in a dreamlike state.  Forward motion will be checked in subtle ways.  Someone could start out from her house, follow a winding path, and end up at her own back door.

The month begins with a new moon in which the sun and moon in Pisces are closely conjunct Neptune, the planet of dreams and illusions.  The Pisces New Moon is always a Dreamer’s Moon, a Poet’s Moon, but the conjunction of Neptune makes the dreams that much deeper.  We are all wrapped in the softest mantle of snow.  How can we be bound by something so feathery and fluffy?

This is a gentle new moon, and so the dreams may be beautiful ones.  Even for the feistiest among us, it’s a time of surrender.  There are many things that won’t get done in March, and you can forget about them.  Instead, let your dreams take you wandering down pathways you can only imagine.  There are tunnels, where the sunlight is diffused to a faint glow, and they seem to go on forever.  The ends and the beginnings come together, reminding you that change is just a reconfiguration. 

So does this mean nothing at all will take shape in March?  Are the forces of dissolution so much stronger than the force of creation? 

Well, no.  What’s predominant in March are the energies of Pisces and Neptune – sensitive, subtle, gentle, melancholy or blissful.  The main image of March is that of a dancer who spins to a tune that only she can hear.  But there is an earthier influence, and so there are things that will take shape.  They are slow, but they are solid.  Just as the earth does her steady work under the crust of snow, creating roots and buds, so it will be for us.  There will also be some foundational work this month. 

Mars in Taurus is carrying a lot of this burden, staying sensible while the shape-shifters dance.  Taurus is the fixed earth sign, the one that’s most impervious to the distractions that all this Neptunian energy provides.  And Mars is about the way we use physical energy.  So while Mercury tells ghost stories around a fire, Mars is hewing the logs for the fire, or knitting blankets to keep you warm.  There is practical work to be done, and Mars in Taurus makes sure it happens.

Until the spring equinox of March 20, there are no really speedy influences in March.  When the spring equinox comes along, with the Aries sun, a certain restlessness takes hold, with an urge to pick up the pace.  But the dreams won’t let go.  During the last third of March, Mercury slows down to go direct while conjuncting mystical Neptune, so the mental plane continues to be fanciful and magical.  Mars in Taurus is still plugging away, building something strong and sustaining, but words themselves are even more evanescent and unreliable than before.    

So you could say this will be a month for poets, but you could also say this will be a month for liars.  There’s a pervasive sense of unreality all through March, so it will be hard to even settle on a definition of truth, much less isolate it.  Everyone could stay a bit ambivalent and confused, as well as very easily distracted by strange, twisting scenarios.  We are already seeing this in the highest circles of power in the US government, and we’ll see more in March.

During a Mercury retrograde, people look to the past for answers, generating a lot of  heartfelt nostalgia.  Sometimes this is just a way to check out, to escape into a dreamscape.  And yet there are things in the past that can help us through this time of shadow plays and master manipulation.  There are things we know, even though the knowing can be buried deep, deep inside us. 

Everyone has a single point of universal connection in this complex of nerve endings and stray thoughts we call the self.  From this point, energy springs forth and takes on lights and colors and shapes and textures, making for a life full of sensation and stimulation.  Meditating, you find that beginning point within yourself, and you recognize it as the source of everything you are.              

We all need to spend a lot of time there in March.  It’s a month of strangeness and beauty, confusion and deception, dissolution and transformation.  But we have our answers, in our center selves.  When you get tired of wandering, just be still for a while, and let knowing form within.  It’s always there, even though the weather outside is continually shifting.                   

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Milder February

It’s snowing outside.  It’s been a hard winter for us here, so far.  My wife and I have taken on new roles as nurses, helping her grandmother navigate her suddenly uncooperative body.  She’s awake and aware, and she holds on to her dignity, but it’s not easy for any of us. 

I’ve been an astrologer for many years, and I knew that things were about to get intense.  But you never know exactly what form it’s going to take.  Looking at the new moon of February 4, though, I’m a little heartened.  It’s much gentler than the last one. 

The new moon shows some of the new beginnings we can expect this month.  This is a more dispassionate, cerebral new moon, with Mercury close to the sun/moon in Aquarius.  It’s a time when we can all be more objective, when we can get some distance from the problems that shocked and unbalanced us during the last lunar cycle. 

And this distance lends itself to problem-solving, to ingenuity and creativity.  One of the hallmarks of Aquarius is the willingness to try new things, to invent and construct alternative techniques and strategies.  I’m looking forward to this, if only to help us streamline our new routines a bit. 

Maybe we’ll turn out to be hotshot nurses.  Only yesterday we were congratulating each other because we’ve gotten pretty smooth with a drawcloth and a three-count, hoisting the granny up to a higher position on the bed.  Maybe there will be more stories to hear, before she falls back asleep again.  Maybe we’ll be amazed by the secrets that emerge, secrets buried for almost a hundred years. 

The granny holds court from a bed which obligingly changes shape at the press of a button.  Meanwhile, winter creeps by outside, soft flakes falling past her window.  She ignores them,  fixated on the pictures hanging on the wall, the photos of family and close friends.  When we take them down, she touches them and says the name of each person.

Mostly gentle, the February new moon has one hard aspect:  a separating square between Mars and Pluto.  This shows an ongoing struggle with power, with forces that are too strong for us.  In our home, we certainly see this, as we face the harsh realities of human frailty and transience.  There is so little we can do.  The snow covers everything, once again.   

In the political landscape, we see it as well.  One of the grueling things about January was the government shut-down, and the economic insecurity it engendered for so many people.  It became obvious that the president’s habit of ignoring consequences really doesn’t work for him – and definitely not for anyone else.  Now the new Democratic House has started working with the kind of energy we haven’t seen in Congress in a while, and it’s becoming clearer to the public where that energy is getting choked off.

During the first half of February, there are a lot of stimulating Mercury aspects, which keep mental energy flowing.  Information will move outward more freely, coming from discussions, meetings, and the sharing of ideas.  This will be a welcome contrast to the kind of gaslighting the president routinely does.  Of course, it’s only a beginning, a showcase of how government, civil society, and the press can work together.  But it will be heartening. 

The middle of February is the most turbulent time, and I realize this is when government funding comes due again, on February 15.  Mars will move out of combative Aries and into the more sedate sign Taurus.  However Taurus is a fixed sign.  Could there be another impasse?  I doubt it, because Mars in Taurus is also basically practical, and a government shut-down helps nobody.      

However, something rather violent and shocking could happen, when Mars and Uranus conjoin in late Aries.  This happens between February 9 and 16, and if you have anything in the last degree of Aries (or any other cardinal sign), it’s a good idea to be extra careful then.  It looks like something will be ending, but unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the Trump presidency.  I don’t have too much hope that that will happen till March at the earliest, when Jupiter opposes his sun for the first time.  At that point, some of his excesses could catch up with him.

One danger is military action, during this Mars/Uranus conjunction.  But I’m hoping the month’s emphasis on healthy civil discourse will have a discouraging effect when it comes to military adventures.  I don’t see any astrological indication of an invasion of Venezuela, since this Mars/Uranus conjunction is actually benign in the Venezuelan national chart.  It could mean a sudden but positive shift in the balance of power there. 

Other tricky aspects in mid-February are less turbulent, but could be problematic.  Venus conjuncts Saturn, and this is rather bleak.  Hard Venus aspects often indicate setbacks in the gay and queer community, but this is not an easy aspect for anybody’s love life.   At the same time, Mercury conjuncts Neptune.  This aspect lends itself to fantasy worlds which distract everyone from the disappointments of that Venus/Saturn aspect.  It could be all shimmer and glitter, and it could be beautiful, but it could also be one of those mass hypnosis times.  Afterwards everybody wonders why they fell in love with a donkey, or believed one of DT’s lies.

Aside from the sudden shocks of the Mars/Uranus conjunction, and the sorrows of the Venus/Saturn conjunction, I’m not seeing too many surprises in February.  The best thing about the coming month is that people will be thinking, and except for that spate of delusion in the middle of the month, they’ll be thinking more clearly than usual.  Dawn takes its time, following one band of daylight with another and another.  But sooner or later, the world will be a lighter place.      


Monday, December 31, 2018

A Look at 2019

It’s a drippy day, this last day of 2018, here in the outskirts of the US capital.  My wife just waded through the puddles, taking her grandmother to the doctor.   Outside my window is a pastiche of browns and greys. 

I’ve been reading Katharine Graham’s autobiography, which is also the history of the Washington Post, and it covers all the news that shook our bones during the last half of the twentieth century.  I just got to the part where Richard Nixon resigns. 

One thing I’m really noticing is how long it took to tighten the net around Nixon.  There were three long years between the Watergate burglary and his resignation. And these were hard times for the Post, since the White House used every weapon possible to weaken and threaten them.  Of course, this aversion to transparency is a sign of a corrupt administration, as we see nowadays. 

Trump’s level of corruption is worse, and he’s not as smart, but he has plenty of enablers.  I don’t think there was ever a Nixon cult, but there are a bunch of people who see Trump as a their golden-haired Messiah.  And there are many in power who think he can be persuaded to advance their agendas – as indeed, he already has. 

So how long will it take for the Trumpster Fire to be extinguished?  The aspects throughout 2019 give a meandering air to the year.  Both Jupiter and Saturn make recurring aspects to Neptune, and Neptune is all about illusions and confusion. So there could be a certain amount of circling around, going nowhere, or bumping up against errors and contradictions.  Economically, 2019 looks like a year of cyclical rises and falls, each with its predictable chorus of elation and despair.

However, I am also looking at the first solar eclipse of the year, on January 5, to see how the first half of the year will go, and it looks quite serious.  Mercury, Saturn, the sun, the moon, and Pluto are all in Capricorn, with the latter four quite close together.  These planets gathered in Capricorn are like a board-room of robotic executives, or perhaps a phalanx of nuns with heavy rulers.  The focus is on cutbacks, austerity, limitation, and discipline.  We already see this in the government shut-down, now in its 10th day.  There is an underlying grumbling in the land, as thousands of people try to get by without paychecks.    

Comparing the eclipse chart to the chart for the US, we mark a cardinal cross, a tense configuration.  That Capricorn stellium opposes the sun in the US chart, and squares its Saturn.  The US chart has a sun/Saturn square, and in a person, this could signal a sense of inferiority.  This country has a tendency to posture, to praise ourselves, and to feel defensive about our actual advantages.  There’s a constant battle between our ideals and our appetites.

In order for the US to develop, we need a healthier and more realistic sense of who we are.  And this is one of the things that this first solar eclipse could do.  It’s not an easy passage. It’s humbling and restrictive.  It could also presage some crumbling of essential services and infrastructures, perhaps because of climate change. 

And it could intensify the wars we already know.  Even though DT is now making noises about pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan, there is no reason to think he’ll follow through, and an international offensive could be his way of trying to divert attention from his legal troubles.  War is always a bedfellow of poverty, except for the masters of war that Bob Dylan once wrote about. (“You fasten all the triggers for the others to fire/Then you sit back and watch when the death count gets higher.”)

A heavy Capricorn stellium like this, complete with Saturn and Pluto, tends to slow things down, so everything will play out in a heavy, inevitable way.  When it comes to dealing with this corrupt administration, I’m not expecting a quick resolution.  However there is also a powerful element of transformation here.  Minds are being changed, patterns are being altered, and there is some crumbling of long-existing structures.  A lot of it is happening underground, like termites gnawing away at old rotted wood.  

Eventually, I do think DT will be impeached, will resign, and will leave the country for some sunnier clime, where he can play golf all day without fear of being airlifted to a prison cell.  But when?  When? 

Things do change right at the end of 2019, and this is when some of those termite-ridden structures could fall.  There could be a resounding crash of some kind when Saturn and Pluto come together in Capricorn.  It looks like a time of economic and philosophical reckoning.  In fact, I’m getting a day of judgment kind of vibe, looking at these charts.  It’s very unlikely that DT could hang onto power through this, but that might not be the first thing on any of our minds.   

Throughout 2018, we’ve faced a lot of moral thresholds.  And there will be many more in 2019, many opportunities for us to deal with some intrinsic identity questions, as a nation.  What do we really need – for ourselves, for our families, for our cities and fields and mountains?  And what do we need, spiritually?  What can we learn from other countries, from places that don’t have our hubris?  Because they will be the ones to help pick us up after the fall.  And listening first could mean a softer landing.       

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Frenetic Yearnings of December

Days of high wind have blown all the leaves off the trees.  Autumn seemed short to me this year:  just a glimpse of bright red and yellow before it was gone.

And now we’re moving into the most manic season, when people have long lists of emotionally-freighted ritualistic tasks to do.  We are pretty minimal about this in our household.  But, every year, I do haul some ornaments down from the attic and decorate a table-top tree.   I feel compelled to do it because the little figurines are so weighted down with bits of our shared history.  I can’t leave them to languish up there in the attic.

Ritual binds us to our families and our community, and religious ritual does this most of all.  Religion gives us permission to move completely out of our logical minds, and to imagine something greater, wiser and more beautiful than ourselves.  We need this more than ever now, because we’ve been living through a cold, tough year.   

Things are heating up, though.  Jupiter is now moving through Sagittarius, the most zealous and passionate sign in the zodiac, the sign of shared beliefs, of organized religion, of wider philosophies.  The sun is always here at this time of year (until the winter solstice), and Mercury will be here most of the month as well.  And so this year, I expect everyone to celebrate a little more intensely, to believe more earnestly than ever. 

At the same time, the astrological backdrop is still very conservative.  Pluto and Saturn are still moving through Capricorn, the sign of time and structure, a sign that tends towards formality, hierarchy, seriousness, and caution.    

Yes, the Democrats took the House back, and this is something to cheer long and hard about.  But we’ve scrambled up this cliff before.  And conditions are not exactly hospitable up on top, with Trump talking gibberish in the presidency, McConnell squashing progress in the Senate, and a Supreme Court tilting towards the right.  What we’ve won is a little more power to confront this hard wall of established privilege. 

The coming month is very mutable, and mutable signs are sensitive, changeable, and impulsive.  The strongest influence at the new moon (December 7) is a mutable square between sun/moon in Sagittarius and Mars/Neptune in Pisces.  So this is not an easy month to make progress.  The passion and excitement of Sagittarius can easily dissipate in the emotional swamps of Pisces. 

And the Mars/Neptune conjunction is not an easy pairing, since these planets are so different.  Mars is active while Neptune floats aimlessly.  Mars is about individual effort, while Neptune is generational and transpersonal.  Mars is about identifying a desire and doing something about it, while Neptune is about picking up cosmic currents and aligning yourself with them.  When these planets come together, there’s often a little frustration (for Mars), and a little passive resistance (from Neptune). 

Neptune can lift you up, though, and Mars is ever eager to move in some direction or another, so this could be a month full of magical experiences.  People may be more aligned with their intuition, more graceful and responsive, more spiritually aware.  But Neptune is also the planet of fantasy and illusion, so some people could completely check out of reality.  They could go around in circles, chasing lovely chimera. They could find themselves dizzy with celestial longings that never coalesce into anything real. 

There’s a strong current of unreality moving through our body politic here in the US.  Of course, all these elaborate conspiracy theories show some creativity.  I used to laugh admiringly at the crazy stories printed in the Weekly World News -  “Alien baby is implanted in potato!  Nose falls off its owner’s face and walks!” (I may have made those up, but they could easily have been printed there.)  

But the recent trend towards public deception is more sobering.  It’s a shadowy art that feeds on people’s fears.  It’s a vampire.   It’s always been around, but the global communications network has vitalized it, given it lots of new blood to feed on.  And to drain this metaphor further, it has to be killed with the stake of truth. 

Neptune is also a planet that relates to addiction, and that’s always a problem at this time of year, especially combined with Sagittarian impulsiveness.  There are people reaching for opium or alcohol, looking for that crystalline joy that they once felt during the holidays, looking for an end to pain so that they can just enjoy the season.  There are people playing long odds, gambling away whatever they have, hoping to win enough to buy great presents for their kids. 

Some people won’t be able to satisfy their addictions;  they just won’t have the means.  And depression is always a danger, whenever escape is impossible -  especially after the sun moves into Capricorn on the solstice. 

Capricorn is a sign that focuses on the long game.  And even though it tends to support existing hierarchies, it’s also a practical sign.  When something doesn’t work, it dies, sometimes slowly, but inevitably.  There are many things in our society that aren’t really working – national borders, monolithic corporate control, gas and coal addiction, the rule of old white men in America -  and these things are slowly passing away.  It’s a tedious process, and we all sometimes wonder whether our species will still be around by the time it’s over. 

Patience isn’t a word that gets used much at this time of year, with the rush and tumble of the holidays.  I balk at it myself.  But one thing about electing a Democratic House is that they will all now have to work on strategy.  They have power, but only a certain amount of it.  They will have to navigate through a complicated and often stuffy system. They’ll be given great privilege, but asked to beg for money every day.  It’s up to us, the public, to urge, to support, to clamor, to make noise.     

This is where we can combine the passion of Sagittarius and the practicality of Capricorn.  There is no external magic that will save us, but we still have voices to speak up, and our lives and bodies make a statement.  We are the people, the passing generations.  We learn slowly, and we try and fail often.  Sometimes we rest, sometimes we stop to tell each other stories, and then we begin to move forward again.  We know where we’re going.  We know how it will feel.  We recognize how kindness and peace feel in our hearts, and we want that for our world.

Monday, November 5, 2018

On the Verge

I’m writing this on the day before Election Day, so I still don’t know how things will turn out.  After a couple of bright, warm autumn days, today is cold and dark and wet.  Leaves are stuck to the edges of the street, and puddles are growing into small brown lakes.   

And later today, I’m flying to Vienna, to watch my wife give a speech in front of a thousand people at the Council of International Schools’ Global Forum.  I just have a few last-minute things to stuff in my suitcase, and then I’m ready.   

I used to leave the country a lot, and I was almost never here on Election Day.  I always voted by absentee ballot, though, and I did that again this year.  Still, the geographic distance used to give me a kind of psychic distance.  Being an ex-pat is like hovering over a landscape, admiring the lovely colors and the way they blend into each other, but never getting a close-up on the dirt. 

We moved to the U.S. six years ago, a heady time in the Age of Obama.  Marisol and I acquired a panoply of rights we hadn’t had before, culminating in getting married and me being able to sponsor her for a green card. I still had my trust issues with the U.S., but they were fading.  I felt like I could live here.  I saw important social movements – Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter – gain influence and point out a new direction. 

Then came the election of 2016.  There has been an even stronger burst of activism since then, especially relating to feminism and anti-racism.  But we’ve been dealing with retrograde movement at the highest level of government, combined with an official attitude of hostility towards women, Black people, gay people, transgender people, and all ethnic and religious minorities. 

In fact, practically all of us are now in the category of Trump’s chumps, and many of the white people who aren’t in the roll-call are hell-bent on staying out of it, even if it involves a lot of cognitive dissonance.  Like any classic bully, like any typical dictator, Trump keeps himself insulated with a barrier of sycophants, now (but hopefully not for too much longer) comprising the Congressional majority. 

I know that I’m not objective enough to predict tomorrow’s election.  Since I won’t be here in the U.S., I won’t be tempted to glue myself to the television.  I’ll just wait till the next morning to hear the good or bad news, whichever it is.   

But it does look like a time of change.  Jupiter is just on the verge of moving into Sagittarius, where it will stay for a year and a month.  It changes sign on November 8.   

What will Jupiter in Sagittarius bring us?  It’s more optimistic, and more international in scope.  Sagittarius is the sign of world travel.  This xenophobia we see everywhere – could it be a very temporary withdrawal, born of fear?  After all, our world view is constantly widening, since we all communicate with each other (and with strangers) so easily.  Whether we like it or not, we are becoming global citizens – and there are many who don’t like it, and who feel threatened by it.  But this doesn’t change the trajectory.

Meanwhile, however, Pluto and Saturn are still moving through Capricorn, the sign of structure and formality.  This is the sign that is most well-adapted to the status quo, favoring large corporations and capitalism in general.  One of the dangerous trends we see is that, as we become more global in scope, we are sucked up by these large money-making entities.  It’s easier to control people when we’re all exposed to the same influences.  And this could increase with Jupiter in Sagittarius. 

We can hope that, like bees and ants and other social creatures, we’ll have enough sense to break away before these structures become even more unwieldy and monolithic.  But so far we don’t seem to have the same ecological good sense as insects.  We have a tendency to keep growing, using all available resources till they’re gone, generating waste that disfigures our landscapes.  And since Sagittarius is a sign of expansion, I’m not necessarily seeing an end to this.

Polarization could increase with Jupiter in Sagittarius, as well.  Sagittarius is hopeful, in a kind of puppy dog way, while Capricorn tends towards a more cynical and restrained approach.  We already see this division between people who are still expecting positive change, and those who prefer the familiarity of the existing arrangements.  So the hopeful and the hopeless could get into a lot of dogfights over the coming year, each convinced that their viewpoint is right.  Charge ahead, or hunker down?  It’s an existential choice. 

Most states begin Election Day at 6 or 7 am, and on the east coast, the moon will still be void-of-course then.   The void-of-course moon is famous for leading to dead ends.  This could mean that some early voters could have trouble getting to the polls, and some early votes may not be counted (or counted correctly).  After 8:02 am EST, the moon is no longer void-of-course. 

However, another erratic factor shows up as soon as the moon enters the following sign, Scorpio (at 8:02 am).  It’s forming a very tight fixed cross with Uranus and the lunar nodes.  Uranus, the planet of change, is just on the verge of changing signs.  The lunar nodes, which have to do with karmic factors, are also just about to change signs.  It looks to me like the forces of change are much stronger than the force of stasis – and this makes me hopeful that we can change the look and stance of Congress.    

I don’t like to predict, though, as I said.  All that rather unstable energy could go in other ways, such as disrupted voting procedures.  These planets and nodes are on the verge of changing, but they won’t have entered their new signs when people cast their ballots.  Will people vote for a change that they can’t quite see?  A reality that looms in the future, a trade-off where the gains are not clear?  It all may boil down to how afraid people are.  And this administration has been working mightily to instill as much fear of the unknown as possible.

Meanwhile, I’m taking off, for now.  I’ll enjoy being a tourist, someone who roams the streets and marvels at the things she sees.  For a little while, I’ll taste the air outside this country.  But then I’ll be back – impassioned, accountable, daunted one minute and hopeful the next.   

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Anger of Women

Women are angry over the Kavanaugh hearings.

We’re a generally ticked-off group, for well-documented reasons, but nobody can live with anger as their dominant emotion.  We dissipate a lot of energy in trying to stay alive, to maintain love affairs, to work at something that doesn’t sap the spirit, to get educated, to stay healthy – and beyond all this, we are the family caregivers, responsible for the small children and the older people.

It’s amazing that, periodically, we still have enough energy to come together and agitate for our rights.  But it’s happened before, and it’s happening now.  The “Me too” movement is still going strong, because it’s composed of years of buried shame, fermented into anger.  And the Kavanaugh hearings are like the putrid miasma of all our experiences, all the times we’ve blamed ourselves instead of hunting down our attackers.

Most of us have absolutely no doubt he did it, because his tone and words echo every man who glories in his impenetrable male privilege.  Women know the type.  His moods shift like quicksilver, he’s manipulative, and he’s the victim whenever he doesn’t get exactly what he wants.  

A lot of women have been triggered by these hearings, remembering experiences we’ve bundled away in the darkest closets of our memories.  Is it time to look at these memories, to ask ourselves why we didn’t call the police, or even tell our families?  Why were we so paralyzed? How do women learn so young that we have such meager rights, even over our own bodies?

In October, Venus is in Scorpio, the sign that most strongly connects to buried trauma, and to everything tucked away in the caverns of our psyche.  And as the month begins, Venus is already slowing down to go retrograde.  It will spend October going over old ground, excavating graves, mourning what is dead, looking for signs of life, finding forgotten truths and abandoned emotions. 

I’ve been predicting that Kavanaugh would be confirmed because Pluto is trining his Jupiter, and to me that looks like an influential new position.  Of course, he’s already influential, against his will, as a springboard for a cultural shift.  Venus retrograde looks like it might delay things, and that’s already happened.  But will it be enough to keep him off?  I doubt it.

But there’s one thing we know, even if Kavanaugh manages to plant his beer-loving butt on the Supreme Court.  The people may seem easily distracted, but we all have a long memory.  When something isn’t fair – like that stolen Supreme Court seat – we remember. 

And we women remember every time a man has harassed us, chased us, threatened us, or humiliated us.  Most women can count dozens of occasions like this.  We’ve learned to ignore, to laugh it off, to swallow our discomfort, to weigh the consequences of reporting these crimes.  Maybe we won’t be doing as much of that, now that we’ve all seen this ugliness in broad daylight. 

It will take a huge social transformation.  After all, why did Thelma and Louise go over that cliff?  It’s because Louise knew she wouldn’t get a fair trial, after she shot the man who was trying to rape Thelma.  So it’s not just that men have to stop assaulting women, it’s that there has to be justice for any woman who responds with equal force.  If there isn’t justice, then there’s just some form of self-sacrifice, and most of us have generally figured that the safest course is silence.   

Whenever women surge forward, there’s fierce pushback.  Mercury and the sun begin the month in Libra, the sign of balance and justice, so questions of right and wrong are in the forefront.  Many good people want to do right.  But this month both Mercury and the sun square Pluto, the planet that rules Scorpio.  And so there’s tension between the outward tidiness of law and order and the raw emotion of the deep psyche.  On one side, there’s what we know, believe, and subscribe to.  On the other side, there’s what we would rather deny, avoid or forget. 

But with every woman who speaks out, what is forgotten lives again.  We women have spent our lives alienated from our bodies, our anger, our agency.  This is a month for reclaiming all of that.  Our power lives deep within us, and, at this moment in history, it’s driving the forces of change.