I am not always fond of reality, and yet one of the first things I do every morning is read the news on my phone. This is an abrupt switch from hugging my pillow and dreaming of beaches.
This morning, I was reading about Ajay Kumar, a victim of torture by the US government. He asked for asylum here because he was subjected to political persecution in India, and the response has been to lock him up in ICE detention for almost a year. When he (and others) went on a hunger strike to protest these conditions, he was force-fed.
Force-feeding has no relation to nutrition or sustenance at all, and in fact it’s the antithesis of nurturing. It’s brutal and painful, and it’s a stripping away of the last vestige of bodily agency. It’s almost always used to silence political prisoners who are trying to make a statement. It was used a hundred years ago – in Britain, to persecute suffragettes, and in the US, to torture a woman whose crime was distributing birth control to other women. It’s been used in Guantanamo, and probably still is.
I’m writing this at the tail-end of August, on the first day of a new lunar cycle. This morning’s new moon was very concentrated, with the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars all together, all within 9° in Virgo. It’s as if the sun and moon have surrounded themselves with all their helpers – the Messenger, the Diplomat, the Warrior – and they are gathered together to craft a statement to the world. In addition, they have a great trine going with Saturn and Uranus, representing the Old Guard and the New Wave. So they are fortified, definite, clear.
And what is this message? I would say it’s about getting ourselves together, getting healthy, and tossing out the old power imbalances, before it’s too late. These power imbalances are the toxins in the world we live in.
Virgo is the sign of health, work, analysis and discrimination. Discrimination doesn’t mean arbitrary judgments against people, but rather a considered investigation into what makes sense and what doesn’t, in terms of one’s recognized objective. If the objective is to survive as a species on this planet, then there are things that waste our time and effort, and other things that yield the preferred results. This may sound cold, but Virgo is a practical sign, and practical people are survivors.
Maybe power imbalances benefited the species once upon a time. There’s a whole “survival of the fittest” argument, although this leaves out the fact that cooperative efforts have added easily as much to human development as individual ingenuity or bravery. Most individual acts of heroism take place in a family, community, or some other support system. Support systems work, raising people just a little higher than they can manage on their own. And they are natural to people. We are really more like bees than wolves.
But we have these toxins, these pockets of corruption and cruelty. Imagine a hive with a whole wing full of non-worker bees who spend their time harassing and abusing the ones who work, and torturing any bees who object. This is what our society is like these days, and it’s not favorable for our survival.
As I write this, there’s a storm approaching the US coast, a storm called Damian. My friends in Florida are worried about what the next few days will bring, and so am I.
There’s something of a cleansing effect about this Virgo new moon, but it will take more than a few storms to clear the toxins out of our society. It may take a level of desperation that we haven’t seen yet, before we say, “No more!” When will we be ready? It will be hard work, but this new moon shows an advantageous time to begin a new phase. Now is the time to flush out the toxins and create a healthy world community.
It won’t happen overnight, because these toxins are buried deep inside all the structures we’ve built. But if we are going to hang on to our niche on this planet, it has to be done. We have to learn how to nurture ourselves and each other, as well as the eco-systems that support us. We have to learn how to get rid of the poison.