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.   

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

This Piece of Earth

I’m living in the US now, the country of my birth.  But I’ve been an ex-pat for a big chunk of my life, living in Germany, Vietnam, Thailand, Venezuela and Ecuador.  These different countries have held me and shaped me.  They’ve gifted me with their air, with the fruit from their trees, with their different customs and assumptions.  I am who I am because of all this.

And I didn’t flee the US because of war, or famine, or gangs threatening to kill me or my loved ones.  I’ve never been homeless or stateless.  I’ve never waded across a river in the hope of deliverance.   

Still, like many of us, my choices haven’t been completely free.  All of us are turned in certain directions, in this world we live in.  Some doors are shut and locked for us, and sometimes we see those same doors standing wide open for other people.  We don’t stand there scratching at what won’t yield;  we go another way. 

My wife and I left the US in the 80s, and returned to a different place in 2012.  Only a few months after we arrived, a statewide referendum in Maryland gave gay people the right to marry.  So we did that, and at last, I was able to sponsor my wife for a green card.  I saw myself symbolically putting out a welcome mat for her.  And of course, it made me feel welcome too, in a way I’d never felt in this country before. 

A few years later, the Supreme Court established the right to marry in every state.  Instead of taking wedding trips up north, my Southern friends could now get married where they lived. 

I’m an old lady now, and when I look back on my life, I see a wandering lesbian, one who chose love above a homeland.  And I would still make that choice, because I’m still madly in love with the same woman.  But why was exile the best choice?  It gave me the world, but it’s also meant that I’ve never felt completely, permanently at home in any one city. 

And now I look around and see people being uprooted, everywhere around me.  I see people afraid to use health clinics because they’ll be picked up and deported.  I see Hispanic people who are treated as aliens because they live close to the border with Mexico.  I see young dreamers who can’t make plans because their futures are so uncertain.  I see green card holders afraid to take the next step and apply for passports.  I see the doorway into this country becoming a constricted space -  not a place where people can breathe free, but rather a place where they lose their dignity, their hope, and sometimes their children.

And I see myself cut loose again, taking to the world once more.  I can see the two of us going off to more hospitable places.  And then, like a split screen, I see myself angry, enraged, standing firm.  This is my country.  If I can, I want to stay here and fight for the rights of my friends and family, gay people and immigrants.

I probably wouldn’t be sitting here – I’d be sitting somewhere quite far away -  if it wasn’t for the women that Barack Obama nominated to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.  And so I take the Supreme Court very personally.  I still see red when I remember the Merrick Garland seat being stolen. It festers.  Thinking of Mitch McConnell’s beady little thieving eyes, I understand why there are Kentucky feuds that go on for years and for generations. 

As I write this, the Kavanaugh hearings are happening, and I’m mostly resigned on this front.  Pluto is currently trining Brett Kavanaugh’s Jupiter, and there couldn’t be a better aspect for an enormous rise in status.  Sorry about that. 

What does his chart look like?  He has the sun in Aquarius, which tends to give pretty definite opinions and principles, and this is certainly what he projects.  But his sun is the middle planet in a T-square involving Jupiter and Neptune, so it seems to me that his ego and ambition will always come first, and his actual philosophy will always be a little shaky and untethered.  He doesn’t quite know what he believes, but he knows what will give him an advantage.

So this is discouraging.  But not everything in September looks like a slide into the Middle Ages. 

Saturn is stationing in September.  This means that it appears to pause in the sky, and very slowly, move forward through the elliptic, instead of reversing.  Saturn is in conservative, traditional sign Capricorn, but it will spend all month making a trine to progressive, future-looking Uranus. 

Because this trine happens in earth signs, it’s about practical solutions rather than yelling and screaming.  It’s about solid foundations which lead to well-established structures.  Like an aide whisking some dangerous paper off the president’s desk before he sees it, it’s about vigilance and care.  And it can be about using the best of old traditions – how did people survive back then?  how does the earth renew itself? – and creating new traditions which put the world in a more stable place. 

Another helpful September aspect is a long sextile between Jupiter and Pluto.  Jupiter is in Scorpio, which tends to root up secrets, so I’m sure we’ll see more of the dank underbelly of this administration.  Pluto signals deep, intrinsic, long-lasting changes.  Again, these are not the kind of aspects that indicate thunder, lightning, and revolution in the streets.  But they can signal a slow turning towards truth and progress.

And this is what we need.  The next new moon (on September 9) has an opposition between Neptune, planet of confusion, and the sun and moon.  Someone is going to pull out all the stops as they try to trick us.  There’s going to be a lot of misdirection, and maybe some really sneaky maneuvers pulled in the dead of night.  But it’s not going to work.  It’s all going to come to light. 

So here I am.  It’s been a few years now, and my wife and I have grown some roots. Roots take a long time to grow, but then they cling.  They take a little piece of earth and make it their own.     


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

World on Fire

Fires in California, in Greece, in Sweden.  Licks of flame heading towards the Arctic Circle.  Heat waves in Japan, in Canada, in Western Europe.   

For me, July was about flooding, but it was just a week or so of inconvenience.  My home hasn’t been swept away by water, and I’m not a refugee.  Still, it’s not hard to see an earth out of balance, a habitat that’s no longer as congenial to the life forms that occupy it.  Which of its life forms will adapt, and which won’t?  How about us? 

I’m writing this on August 1, when the sun, moon and Mercury are all in fire signs.  Fire signs are active, playful, kinetic.  Fire is the sign of the Hero, the valiant individual who rides in and saves the day. 

I’ve seen dozens of disaster movies, and in all of them, there’s somebody – usually a chiseled male actor – who figures out the real danger before everyone else, and tries to warn people about it.  Nobody listens, but the people who scoff most will definitely be killed by the flood/earthquake/volcano before the film is over.  In the end, the hero has to perform death-defying feats, rescuing a lot of people and usually one cute little dog as well.  The final panorama shows him standing soberly over the smoking city, arm in arm with formerly estranged family members.   

Of course, the thing about disaster movies is that the disaster always happens, at least partially.   Sometimes it stops just short of the extinction of the human race.  But it’s not drama unless there are a few crowd shots of screaming, fleeing people. 

So is that what we’re waiting for?  Maybe there was enough of that in July?  Is it time for the hero to show up?  Is it time for skepticism to fall away, and for the skeptics to be bludgeoned by falling rocks?

Our stories always hold a moral at their cores -  for example, our belief that the evil should suffer and the good prevail.  But in truth, those who scoff at climate change are the most protected, the least likely to be swept away in lava tides.  The innocent have already suffered the most, and will suffer more.  When food doesn’t grow in your fields, when fire takes your roof, when the sea covers the atoll where you were born, where do you go?  You become a refugee. 

And we’re already seeing the gates closed against refugees, everywhere we look.  In spite of the fact that all religions preach kindness towards wandering strangers, too many people look at them and say, “We don’t have to save those people; they are not like us.” Until they are us.  

Chiron, the asteroid which represents old wounds, is also in a fire sign now, and this hints that this movie has been played out before.  Perhaps it was the reason for the demise of a civilization we know nothing about.  Maybe people were complacent, and let the scoffers stay in power long past the point of no return.  Maybe it all flashed out in the blink of an eye, while the hero was still brushing his teeth.  And now there’s nothing left at all, except a few anomalies that show up on TV shows about ancient aliens.

But the north node of the moon, another karmic indicator, is also in a fire sign right now.  This points out the path towards balance.  The south node is in the air sign Aquarius, a sign of objectivity and science, and we clearly have a lot of excellent technical solutions.  We have alternate energy sources, innovative ways to grow food and clean the air at the same time, more effective and cleaner ways to move people around, healthier and more efficient ways to distribute resources. 

But we also have stagnation.  And so we do need heroes.  Not just one chiseled movie star to parachute through the air and scoop up a bunch of pre-schoolers hanging onto a cliff.  No, we need a bunch of heroes with the chutzpah to challenge those who are powerful and comfortable, and who are pretty sure that nothing bad will happen to them or their grandchildren, even if the world goes up in flames. 

And we do have heroes like this.  We have many people who have an essential, passionate relationship with the earth under their feet, sometimes because their grandparents lived on that same land.  And these people have voices.  We have craftspeople and elders who know how to live more gently on the land.  We have tribal people who have learned to organize, and journalists who have learned to listen to them.  We have protectors who dedicate themselves to one particular life-form – a bird, a butterfly, or a reef – and others who monitor vast, world-circling winds and currents.   

Many of these are earthy people, who are patient and determined, and who get their strength from the earth’s beauty and fecundity.  And some of them are fiery people, whose role is to inspire, encourage, excite, and energize those who are flagging.  They amplify the voices of the earthy people and of the earth herself.  They embody the dynamic energy of change, pushing for a new paradigm.  

Mercury will be retrograde through the first half of August, and moving slowly for a week or so afterwards.  And a Mercury retrograde is a perfect time to admit mistakes, and to go back and fix things.  And while I’m not holding my breath waiting for the Trumpster to attain humility, there could be a softening in other long-held positions.  Some people will start to listen, and will hear things they haven’t heard before.     

And during August, there’s an earthy great trine happening all month.  Saturn and Uranus – the planet of the past and the planet of the future – will be making a harmonious aspect.  Saturn in Capricorn is about a realistic appraisal of what we’ve done, what we’ve left behind, and where we are now.  Uranus in Taurus is about dealing with the fundamentals in a different way.   

This is auspicious for progress, but it’s slow.  It’s not flashy, it’s not dramatic.  It’s about correcting the damage from the past, while at the same time, locating a more stable stance from which to greet the future.  It doesn’t promise that we will learn a healthy way of living in time to save ourselves.  But if we even give ourselves one extra day to enjoy this green earth, it’s worth it.    

Friday, June 29, 2018

Going I Know Not Where

This afternoon, in my kitchen, there was a guy taking the screws out of the panel at the back of the freezer.  He’s one of those people who can fix anything. 

“Ah,” he says, “There’s your problem.  Ice built up in here.” He fixes it, I pay him, he leaves.  Great, I can eat lunch.  Ten minutes later, halfway through my cheese sandwich,  I go back into the kitchen, and there’s a growing puddle on the floor. 

I call the guy.  “It’s still not fixed.”

He says, “Whaat?  Okay, I’ll be right back.”

He comes back, he shines a light on the back of the fridge, finds a disconnected line, cleans out a pool of accumulated water under the vegetable drawer.  “Okay, now it’s fixed.”

I’m almost afraid to go back down there.  Then there’s my computer.  Acting weird on Tuesday, becoming unresponsive every five minutes.  Less weird yesterday, when I was talking to my brother-in-law, the Computer Whisperer.  Today I turn it on, no problem.  Except after I finish lunch, I come back up to the Black Screen of Death.  I force the computer to turn off, wait ten minutes, turn it on, and now it seems fine.  But is it really?  Or is it just waiting until I relax? 

Mars is retrograde.  Nothing is quite sure if it’s coming or going.  Even my brain seems to be doing a sort of circle dance, clicking on and off, going off on tangents until I can reel it back towards the matter at hand.   It’s exhausting.  And my stomach doesn’t seem happy with the cheese sandwich.

What am I complaining about?  I shouldn’t complain when everything is going to hell all around me.  Trump World is even worse than we thought it would be, in all our moments of heightened dread.  But still, we start where we are – in our bodies, our families, our kitchens, our own worlds.  This is where we feel the dissonance of retrograde Mars, the sense that we’re on a road that’s doubling back on itself and maybe going nowhere after all. 

Panic mode seems to be setting in for many, with Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement.   On my phone, stories show up detailing what it’s like in countries where abortion has remained illegal.  Doctors are pressured to break confidentiality and report any woman whose miscarriage seems suspicious.  Women, especially those who are poor, avoid seeking medical help when their pregnancies become complicated, since a trip to the doctor could mean years in prison.

Some friends are withdrawing, taking sabbaticals from the news.  “I just can’t take any more.  I’m going to reread The Little Prince, and stay away from the phone and the TV for at least a week.  Maybe two.  Maybe forever.”  It’s an understandable urge. 

The sun is gentle, sensitive, empathic, when it’s in Cancer, the sign ruled by the moon.  We’re all feeling a little more tender than usual.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the wheel are Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, representing the craggy face of pragmatic reality.  So this is a month in which the softness of moon and the hardness of Saturn are in conflict. 

The problems of immigrant families became a flashpoint, as Venus moved into Cancer on May 19, Mercury on June 12, and the sun on June 21.  The moon’s heightened empathy brought the issue to the forefront of public consciousness.  Cries of abandoned children were recorded, and some heart-wrenching photos of frightened toddlers taken.  Trump was actually forced to back down, although he did it in his usual half-assed way, forcing immigration officials and courts to basically wing it. 

The word used most often to describe this policy was “cruel”.  And Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn (the sign ruled by Saturn) do seem to point to cruelty.  In mythology, Saturn is associated with the Devil, and most often this is about putting one’s one greed, ambition and appetites above compassion for others.  Maybe this is the basic flaw in humankind, but it’s definitely the central problem in our time. 

Essentially, Saturn is about building structures to anchor us here on this planet, structures that keep us safe, and that ward away hunger and cold and fear.  However, when you build a structure, you have to maintain it, and that also goes for the fixed patterns of law, traditions, beliefs, and privileges.  Anything that threatens the structure needs to be mercilessly suppressed.  Right now, the tears of children are the most potent threat against Saturn’s rigid structures. Water is always a match for rock, as long as it rises high enough.      

The moon is the planet of populism, while Saturn is the planet of authoritarianism.  The moon can be very tribal, because you respond mostly to the people who are right around you.  But in this immigration crisis, these children were right there, on the TV and on our phones.  Many people, especially women, feel the immediate instinct to protect a child whenever they see one in trouble.  It’s not surprising that every living first lady spoke out against the practice of separating children from their parents. 

Jeff Sessions is very Saturnine:  he has the sun and Mars in Capricorn. His moon is also in Capricorn and further hardened by inconjunct aspects to Saturn and Pluto.  For him, having a heart is not as important as holding authority and maintaining tradition. 

But what about Trump?  He has three planets in Cancer.  Why is he not more sympathetic?  I think for him, the tribalism of Cancer prevails, and he only sees his own children and grandchildren as cute.  He’s definitely a sentimental guy with a strong attachment to family, and you may remember that Tony in the Sopranos was like that too.   It didn’t stop him from whacking people. 

There are a couple of other factors in Trump’s chart that overshadow his sympathies, as well, and that strengthen his ego and sense of entitlement.  But he would probably respond to a hurt baby by making goo-goo noises and maybe even picking it up (although probably for a photo op).  Meanwhile, Sessions is more likely to grimace and call for ankle shackles.  The guy is cold. 

So what about Mitch McConnell?  Is he happy now?  Actually, it looks like establishing the McConnell Precedent, blocking Merrick Garland, was a very easy thing for him to do.  But it won’t be so easy to keep it from being used against him.

McConnell has seven planets in fixed signs, so he doesn’t like to budge unless he absolutely has to.  He can hold on to a position practically forever, until the grass grows over the cows.  What he’s not really good at is getting things moving.  He has no cardinal signs at all, which makes me wonder whether the guy has ever initiated anything?  A google search shows me that he has been torpid most of his life, except for running for office.  All his Taurus planets keep him in touch with moneyed interests, and that’s all he needs in order to win. 

So I’m more hopeful than I was when I got the news about Kennedy’s retirement.  I think it may be possible to turn McConnell’s static energy against him, and block this Supreme Court nomination until after the midterms.  And I have to be hopeful about the midterms, I don’t have a choice.  Mars goes direct in August -  and so by September, our plans should come together.  No longer will we be roaming around in ever-widening circles.  Maybe, just maybe, we can pull this train back onto its tracks.  Maybe the tide will do it for us.