Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Message from Venus

Here on the east coast of the US, we’ve had a strange surge of summer weather.  It’s been nice to shed the coats and scarves and gloves, even though we know this is not such a benign phenomenon.

In all of human history, there’s never been a time when humans felt responsible for the weather.  No wonder climate change denial is so prevalent, besides the fact that it’s well-funded by the businesses that contribute to it.  Beyond that, this new way of understanding the world is hard.  It’s burdensome. 

The weather has always been vast, powerful, a region populated by gods.  From Zeus snippily hurling his thunderbolts, there was always a capricious quality about it.  It was Fate, it was something that humans had to submit to, and this capacity to submit was a key ingredient in religious devotion.   Even when the weather ruined your life, even when it starved you and killed your loved ones, you had no choice but to bow to it.

And now we know that, as much as the weather influences us, we also influence it.  The trees we chop, the color of our rooftops, the particles we manufacture, it’s all us, swaying and converting and influencing those ferocious weather gods.  But we can’t just demand that the weather do our bidding, any more than we can point our fingers at an electric outlet and demand that the electricity flow.  No, we have to learn its language.  We have to speak the language of our former gods. 

We’ve always suspected that we could influence those weather gods through prayer and sacrifice.  I think we were on the right track, and if we had kept up these rituals, we might have noticed the earth’s distress much earlier.  And now we have to do a lot of praying and sacrificing in a hurry.  Praying that a ray of light enter the thick brains of the country’s current leaders.  Sacrificing some old conveniences for new ways of living. 

In March, we get a chance to backtrack, and to work on this relationship, because Venus, the planet of love, will be retrograde.  Starting on March 4, she’ll be going in apparent backward motion for about six weeks.  And so this is a time to look at everything we love:  the ideas, the things, and the people.  How do we love?  How do we connect?   

The relationship between the human race and the earth can tell us something about our patterns of loving.  First, we were subservient, at the mercy of these fierce gods of lightning and rain and sunlight.   Then we gained a bit more independence, harnessing the powers of warmth and light, and at that point, we could’ve had an equal relationship.  But fear was still driving humans, and we chose domination. 

At its root, domination is always fear.  Dominating the weather is about trying to rise above those wild, elemental powers.  Dominating women is essentially a fear of women’s unique ability to give birth.  Domination of gay people is based on the fear that patriarchy won’t prevail if people have a choice about their orientation.   Domination of African-Americans is the fear that that cruelty will be answered in kind, and legitimate anger will seek retribution in blood.  And the longer domination goes on, the stronger the fear grows, and the harder it is to root out. 

And domination precludes love.  On writing this, I thought about S & M, and then I realized that that's play domination, not the real thing.  S & M is based on mutual consent and the person at the bottom always has a “stop” signal to reassert control.  True domination doesn’t allow this level of mutual awareness. 

No, in domination, love is crowded out.  And we all know that love is key to survival for our species.  Unloved humans do not thrive.   They die early, as wistful babies, and they die late, as neglected senior citizens. 

It takes great courage to turn fear into love, and this is the challenge of our times.  Venus’ retrograde through Aries will show us something of how this works.  Aries is the fire sign that has most to do with autonomy and independence, and Aries’ keyword is, “I am.” With Venus moving in reverse in Aries, that changes to, “Am I?” and further on, “Who am I?”

The answer for all of us is “a lover”.  All of us love something or someone, but what do we do with this energy? Do we use it to possess, and to feed our addictions?  Do we use it to connect, to celebrate, and to find joy?  Do we truly see the people and things we love, or are they just our mirrors?  Or is it always some combination of these things?  Does love cease when the person or thing or god you’ve loved is ready to shift roles?

We know Trump loves an overcooked steak and the clink of a cash register, but what else does he love?  Looking at his chart, we see Venus in the emotional, affectionate sign Cancer, so we know he is attached to many people, places and objects.  But Venus is also conjunct Saturn, the planet of fear, so he is also very afraid of losing what/who he loves.  The fear leads him to work hard to maintain control, to dominate.   

But this doesn’t work when you’re trying to govern millions of people with various and immediate needs.  And it doesn’t work with the weather gods, who are waiting for us to learn how to communicate with them, to speak the wider languages of wind and rain.  They are waiting for us to be empowered by love, rather than frightened by it. 

Venus is not just the planet of love, but the planet of beauty.  And it seems to me what we need to do is stitch some beauty together – not just in art museums and manicured gardens, but in daily life for all people.  When all people live and work in places that feed the spirit, where there is air and sun and an absence of fear, then we’ll be in a place of balance with the earth.  Everything she has given us is beautiful, and when we learn to echo that beauty, we can be the lovers we were born to be.   

Friday, February 3, 2017

This Land is Our Land

It’s ironic that in the middle of this mess, when so many immigrants find themselves in limbo, that my wife finally got her green card.  So we’re staying.  We’re not running off to Canada, thank you very much. 

Of course, it has nothing to do with Trump, any more than current upticks in employment do.  But it reminds me that there is a momentum that’s already been set.  We’re moving towards a wider and more inclusive future, and we’ll get there.  It’s just that progress will be a bit slower, what with Trump amusing himself with all the shiny knobs in the driver’s seat.

The Women’s March was also encouraging.  Half a million women, a crowd spotted with pink hand-knitted hats, thousands of pithy home-made signs. I felt the enormous power of women like a hand raising me up into an unmarked sky.  I moved above the rumble of dread and fear coming from this new administration.  I knew that growl of thunder was mostly bluster, that there was nothing there that could bend the human spirit. 

There’s an energizing aspect this month -  Jupiter opposing Uranus -  and this will help us avoid resistance fatigue.  But does show that things are not going to settle down in February.  Not for any of us.

So yes, Trump and his minions will probably do all kinds of outrageous things this month.  And the rest of us – people interested in a fairer and more civil society – will stay underfoot, using every tool we can call to hand.  There’s a great deal of creativity in this Jupiter/Uranus opposition. 

This aspect is basically about rules vs. anarchy.  Jupiter in Libra stands for laws, protocols, civility, and moral standards.  And yes, I have to say it.  Even though I’ve seen myself as a rule-breaker most of my life, I’m actually quite invested in the idea of a truly lawful society, one that treats everyone equally, with unhurried deliberation.  One that’s transparent and open to all. One that’s expressed in dignity and courtesy to others. 

And to some extent, we have that here.  Oh, I know the law we have is far from perfect, both in practice and in theory.  But there are some basic ideals that have become enshrined in our law and our system of government, some of them quite precious.  So we’ll be using those, relying on them.  Jupiter in Libra is also about relationships, about compromise and cooperation, and we’ll also need to master this if we are going to make positive changes in this world.   

And then there’s Uranus, planet of sudden shocking changes.  This is Trump’s specialty, mostly because he’s kind of a brat.  He doesn’t believe that any set of rules has any hold over him, and I have a feeling that some of the people who voted for him were kind of fascinated by this unbound, unfettered quality of his.  It’s the same reason we all like to look at videos of little kids and puppies.  Look at what they get away with!  Look how awkward!    

So he’s got the Uranus thing down, as we can also see by the sun/Uranus conjunction in his natal chart.  He’s got people around him trying to handle him, but they’re not generally going to succeed.  He’ll seem docile up to a point, but then he’ll turn around and do something unexpected.  And of course, you know what they say about too many cooks.  There are a lot of people around Trump, pulling strings in all different directions, so this is going to add to the flailing. 

But we have to own Uranus too.  The secret to dealing with an opposition is to find ways to express both sides of it, to bring them together.  We already are pretty good at the law side of things.  We have the ideals, the basic human sense of justice, on our side.  How do we work in the creative excitement of Uranus?  How do we keep them as off-balance as they’ve kept us? 

It’s not easy because we’re used to seeing the office of the presidency of one of authority and dignity.  That goes along with our basic respect for law.  And yes, we’re used to seeing a dignified, intelligent man there.  But Trump is doing his best to show us that the office can become an international laughingstock, and it can happen in a matter of days.  So I think we can adjust.   

So I suggest that this movement, our movement, is going to be two-pronged, in order to succeed.  You could say it’s a juggling act.  One ball is law, one is anarchy, and we need them both in the air.  We need our pinstriped lawyers, working for justice in the courts, and we need the crazy radicals, calling into question all the things we thought we knew. 

So don’t worry if some of your friends have gone completely around the bend, and are spending their time mumbling about the revolutionary things they intend to do.  Encourage them!  We need the wild-eyed ones.  Give them some ambrosia, and let’s get moving.  Let’s give our movement color and sound and excitement.  Let’s take it where we never dreamed we’d go. 

But at the same time, we have to keep our footing.  We need to be able to leap off the high wire and land upright in a world of justice, peace and equality.  We can do it.  Our net is wide.  Our net is as wide as the this land.