Friday, May 29, 2020

The State of the Nation: George Floyd

This is a sorrowful time for the country, in so many ways. 100,000 people have died from the corona virus, a mass exodus of souls from our planet. But it’s a single death, the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, that has triggered a particular outcry. 

A virus doesn’t have a face, but Derek Chauvin does, and so everyone has seen his cool, bland expression, as he cut off George Floyd’s breath with a knee on his neck. Most of us have never seen a person committing murder, except on TV shows. And now it’s clear that they aren’t necessarily grimacing with rage. Probably more often than not, murderers just don’t care, as long as their hair is combed.   

I didn’t know George Floyd, but, looking at his natal chart – even a rough version, without the time of birth – I can get a sense of who he was.  He was born on December 21, 1960, a little over a month before my wife.  In his chart, there were Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius elements, so I would describe him as a free spirit with a keen interest in other people, but also someone with a strong sense of responsibility. He had a Cancer/Capricorn opposition, showing tension between his sense of duty and his emotional needs. 

Capricorn is the most disciplined and responsible sign in the zodiac, and its archetypal images are the Old Man, the Crone, and the Mountain.  We are living in a crusty time, and that’s largely because of the current confluence of planets in Capricorn. This crust is made up of self-sufficiency, of toughness, of endurance. It’s designed to protect, but what is it protecting?

Capricorn’s opposite sign, Cancer, is vulnerable and emotional, and its archetypal image is the innocent child.  This innocent child exists in all of us, and we see it in each other. Unless this child is protected and nurtured, then that toughness is just a hard shell, a calcified status quo that sacrifices everything to the rules. 

The US chart also has a Capricorn/Cancer opposition.  On the one hand, there’s the basic conservatism, the emphasis on hierarchies, the flourishing businesses, the hard work. That’s the Capricorn side.  On the other, there’s all the overflowing sentiment and tender feelings of Cancer. Cancer gives strong sympathies, but when these interfere with business as usual, there is always some repression.   

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, emotions come flooding out.  People are mourning not just this death, but many other Black deaths, some of them children, going back years.  And that mourning comes on top of centuries spent dealing with various levels of social abuse, going back to the original trauma of kidnapping and slavery.  It’s all encapsulated too well in that image of Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck. (The knees, by the way, are ruled by Capricorn.)  

We’ve built a constrictive society here in the US, starting with the genocide of the indigenous people.  We’ve cut off the airways of too many people on this land, so that others could move more freely through corridors of power. 

At the moment, we’re all feeling the limitations of this pandemic.  Nature makes its own demands on us, and it bears down harder on non-white people, and all those who are othered by society. It would seem that we white people – and all those with privilege - could use this to understand how it feels to be hemmed in, limited, unfree.  But for that to happen, we have to tear down some of those barriers and recognize the pain of other people. 

And when it comes to the pandemic, rising numbers are likely throughout June. Late in the month, Jupiter and Pluto come together for the second time in Capricorn, and that could signal an important milestone.  

And although we’re all weary of counting the abuses of power coming from this administration, we may also see more of this. Media and communication outlets are particular targets, since Jupiter/Pluto is opposing Mercury in Cancer in the US chart.  We’re already seeing this in Twitter’s decision to flag some of Trump's false or inflammatory posts, and his threatening response to this.

But whatever he does, communication will become sharper, more acerbic, more truthful. More and more people are using well-pointed words to take on powerful interests. Of course, there are a lot of ways to communicate, and images of a police station in flames send a definite message too.  

At the same time, people are learning from history.  Mercury in Cancer slows down this month, and then goes retrograde about halfway through June, and that focuses people’s attention on the past. Many folks will be spending extra time with their ghosts, each one a whole vanished world, and these ghosts may have their own messages to convey.

For us all to get through this, we will need to nurture ourselves and each other. Some people will need to escape, and all of you should do whatever you need to do. But be careful, since Mercury in Cancer, especially retrograde and without any aspect activity, is a day-drinking kind of influence. If you’re hurting, find a non-judgmental aunt, or an old roommate, and reach out to her instead.   

As a nation, this is a time when the basic intellectual scaffolding is being torn down and redone, but this is a slow process. What we believe, what we see, what we acknowledge – all that is changing. People are telling their stories, and listening to the stories of others.  There is mourning in all these memories, but we are also blessed by the love we share. Rest in peace, George Floyd.