Friday, April 30, 2021

The Novelty of Sanity

 


A couple of nights ago, my wife and I snuggled together in bed for the evening’s entertainment, mainly watching the president give a speech to Congress. This is definitely not something we would’ve done in the last administration, not unless we wanted nightmares.

 

And afterwards, we turned to each other and commented, “He’s so normal!” “So sane!” This is still a novelty, a hundred days into Biden’s presidency. We just can’t get over it.

 

Biden wasn’t my first choice, back in the days when we had a whole roster of Democratic candidates to pick from. But I have to say I’m happy with him now. It’s clear that he’s working on what he promised to do. He’s gotten one constructive bill passed, and is putting forward others that are good for workers and the environment. Just the fact that he’s working, of course, is the most dramatic contrast between him and the previous occupant, who spent his days playing golf, watching TV, and vigorously massaging his own ego.

 

With Jupiter and Saturn now in Aquarius, social progress continues. Derek Chauvin’s conviction on a murder charge was ground-breaking, even though it left a lot of people exhausted and wondering what it would really change. After all, it’s just one man going to jail, while there are no doubt still a thousand white bullies out on the street, wearing guns and acting out their fear of brown skin.

 

But I’ve seen a lot of changes happening in this long life of mine. And even when there’s a definite victory, nothing changes right away. A law that passes, a good person that’s elected, a verdict that’s fair  – these things are celebrated and then forgotten. And then change seeps through, years pass, and you wake up one morning, and realize that it’s different. And it’s never different now. Now is just now. What you realize is that it used to be different.

 

Of course, there are also cataclysmic moments, when things take a sharp turn in an unexpected direction. These are the traumas carried for generations, never forgotten, only healed by years of peace and security. I think it’s easier to heal when you’re brought down by the elements, by fire or flood or a shaking earth, and much harder when you’re betrayed by other human beings.  These cataclysmic moments are often the impetus for the years of hard work that culminate in an election, a law, or a trial.

 

Aquarius is an air sign, cerebral, idealistic, and systematic, and its focus is on the wellbeing of the community. So this is an ideal time to move forward, to make as much progress as we can. This doesn’t heal all the traumas of the past, but it could help prevent some new ones from developing.

 

And yes, there continue to be blockages. Pluto is still in Capricorn, and Uranus is moving through the fixed earth sign Taurus. Uranus’ job is to keep us off balance, and lately it mostly seems to be taking the form of right-wing shock tactics. Uranus in Taurus is a contradiction, the rebel planet in the most change-resistant sign.

 

Will we be able to keep up the momentum on social reform, given these fierce pockets of resistance?  Will we be able to make change that lasts, change that heals?  Will we be able to create a new normal, in which people can wake up, stretch, and forget that it was any other way?

 

Jupiter is moving very quickly these days, and halfway through May, it enters a new sign, Pisces. It will only be here for a couple of months before retrograding back to Aquarius in late July and staying there the rest of the year. But it’s a little glimpse of the future, a look at what 2022 will be like.

 

I have two minds about Jupiter in Pisces, and that figures, since this sign is represented by two fish swimming in different directions. On the one hand, it’s the most spiritual and emotionally sensitive sign in the zodiac, and it could be deeply healing. It could foster a spirit of compassion that we haven’t seen in a while. It’s the nature of Pisces to dissolve the walls between people, to blur the differences, to see through to the soul.  

 

On the other hand, Pisces is also a sign that moves quite easily into a wholly different reality. It’s a sign that gives a particularly vivid imagination. Neptune has been there for the last decade, and during this time, strange conspiracy theories have sprouted up like mutant dandelions. Will this increase when Jupiter is in Pisces?  Yes, probably.  

 

What can we do about it?  Well, it will help that Saturn is still in Aquarius for another couple of years. Saturn gives a little bit more intellectual ballast. It asks you to run your beliefs through a rigorous line of questioning, and some people will be daunted by a few undeniable facts. But when people really, really want to believe something, it doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. All that matters is that it makes them feel better or more important, or it justifies something they grew up believing.   

 

And remember, it’s not just on the right that Neptune’s fantasies can proliferate. On the left too, we can be seduced by a patina of holiness, a tendency to over-idealize singular charismatic figures. We have to be careful not to turn into true believers.

 

We’ve got some wonderful, inspiring people on the left, and we can appreciate the work done by all kinds of people, elected and unelected.  But no one person is going to magically turn this thing around.  Let’s just hope for ordinary people who want to devote their energy to the common good. Let’s just hope for continued sanity.





Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Going Somewhere

 


Spring is officially here, but it’s not yet warm enough to open the windows and feel the breeze, at least not here in Maryland.  It’s a transitional time. We’re all in the middle of a seasonal shift. We’re going somewhere, but we’re not there yet.

 

On the evening news, I hear that there are new surges of Covid-19. I see young people partying in Florida without masks or social distancing. At the same time, I hear of more friends getting vaccinated every day. I’ve gotten my two shots, without anything much in the way of side effects, and my wife is supposed to be vaccinated this weekend.

 

So I feel safer. But I also feel like someone who has just sidled past a sleeping lion, and is just lucky that it didn’t blink awake at that crucial moment. I’ve never been so aware of being mortal. That’s partly because I’ve lost loved ones this past year, and others are still in danger. Not everyone has made it past the lion.

 

We who are still upright on this planet look at each other, check each other out, breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of each other’s faces. It won’t be too long before we’ll be able to appear to each other in three-dimensional form, wonderfully solid. It will be strange, as if a bunch of cartoons suddenly came to life, but I daresay we’ll get used to it!

 

This is the thing about spring. During the winter, everything is theoretical. Trees are reduced to bones, and flowers occupy a niche in our memory. In spring, all that theory becomes reality. There are buds everywhere. They’re alive, exuberant, immediate, and right on time. Every time I go outside, I see more of them, and I know that pretty soon my study window, now grey and flecked with rain, will be a mass of green.   

 

In April, there’s more momentum than we’ve seen in a while. It’s not just the drive to get everyone vaccinated. We also have this new Democratic muscle in Congress, and we just saw the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Today Biden unveiled a new infrastructure plan, full of great, practical initiatives. What kind of legs does it have? We’ll have to see.  

 

An abundance of new ideas are circulating. Aries is the sign of new beginnings, and the sun and Venus in Aries give fiery energy to every new possibility. And Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all in air signs – verbal, thoughtful, idealistic, socially aware. All these influences are excellent for problem-solving, studying, planning, debating, and working out agreements. It looks like something can happen, right? All these forces point to movement and manifestation.  

 

And yet there are also those static forces, holding everything back. The Covid bill was passed without a single Republican vote. And then there’s the voter suppression bill that was passed in Georgia a few days ago. There is a whole phalanx of people who are digging their feet in, putting all their energy (and lots of money) into resisting the forces of change.  

 

And I can’t say that these people won’t be in power again. It’s true that the political tide ebbs and flows, even though I believe that the long-range trend is towards freedom, justice and equality.  

 

The thing is that none of the outer planets are in particularly revolutionary signs these days. The overall energy is still conservative, for at least a few more years. And with Uranus, the rebel planet, in the fixed earth sign Taurus, there is a cadre of revolutionary conservatives, as contradictory as that sounds.

 

These folks want the world to freeze into a particular configuration that favors them. They want a world in which white people have all the power (and no ownership of their past actions), women know their place, gay people are hidden away, and there are definitely no trans people.  In fact, they don’t want anybody around who makes them feel uncomfortable. And they are willing to turn the world upside down and shake it to the point of apoplexy, to make it this way.

 

So, yes, grab on to something solid. Because we may see a lot of these people when Mercury, Venus and then the sun all meet Uranus during the last week of April. The full moon of April 26 is turbulent, and a lot of survival issues could come up around that time.

 

Still, I believe that, on some etheric level, the world’s minds are working together to solve all the world’s problems. This is a matter of faith, not evidence, because our species has knotted things up quite often, and sometimes in spectacular ways. Still, sometimes I tune into that buzzing network of hopes, dreams, illusions, breakthroughs, and expertise, and I’m suitably impressed. I’m not sure exactly where we’re going. But it’s not static.    




Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Great Balls of Fire

 




The sun’s out today and it’s glorious. In case you’ve forgotten what the sun is, it’s this big round ball up in the sky that makes everything glow. The earth turns slowly, soaking it up from every angle, enjoying all those rays crunching along its spine like a good massage. As the earth turns, the glow changes color, going from pure brightness to old gold. And we earthly creatures are charged, enlightened, and healed.

 

And I hear it’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow too.

 

I know there are still plenty of problems in the world. The Covid Relief bill is still being wrangled through Congress as I speak, and people are very ticked that the $15 minimum raise won’t be included. And of course, they’re right to be angry that a bunch of millionaires are making it tougher for working people to feed their families.   

 

Still, the idea of Congress doing anything at all – passing an actual bill – seems like a miracle to me, at this point. For the last few years, the House has been busy sending bills to languish and die in the Senate. So now that Congress is about to pass something that will aid actual people, I can’t help but cheer.   

 

And yes, I know how slim the Democratic majority is, how it’s hanging on by a thread, even though it represents the will of the people. I know that the Republicans are responding to their losses by coming up with voter suppression bills. But I’m still optimistic, especially when I think of how the demographic in this country is changing.   

 

There’s an astrological reason to be hopeful, too. The fixed Saturn/Uranus square, which was strong all last month, is at last breaking up. This aspect has manifested as a tense stand-off between the past and the future, between rigidity and revolution, between order and chaos. On the one side was fear, and on the other, wild restlessness. And many of us could feel both at once, in our personal lives and in the political sphere.  

 

The political parties have been so divided, especially since the Republicans – formerly a bunch of conservatives – took such a wild swing into Crazytown, following their fearless leader, the champ of delusion. Meanwhile, the Dems have become more moderate, and are focused on science, the rule of law, the Constitution, and a basically realistic approach.

 

The Democratic leadership has also become more responsive to its large Black voting base, and I think this helps a lot with the realism. Survival is all about strategy, and Black people in this country have had a lot of years to master this. Picking your battles carefully, learning from both failures and successes, you live to fight another day, and your children’s children survive as well.  

 

Whatever is driving this new, more grounded approach, it means that a lot of us are tentatively exhaling, for the first time in a while. Things can change for the better, even though that means constant negotiating and compromising. There’s progress, even if it’s inch by inch. There are some safeguards, even if they just consist of a few more sane people in higher positions.

 

Yes, I know that the Saturn/Uranus square will come back twice more this year, once in June and once in December.  So we will be dealing with some very stubborn conflicts all through 2021, whenever we move forward. I know that there will be young white guys slinging guns on themselves, looking at the mirror, and thinking they can get away with anything. And there will be old white guys who will be crafting lies to feed them.

 

And even though things improve in March, there will still be plenty of activity in Crazytown, since there will be strong Pisces and Neptune influences. Neptune is the planet of delusion and illusion, fantasy and mirages, tricksters and con artists. So some folks will really ramp it up, using their amazing creative gifts to convince other people that Democrats have a gigantic sucking space ray that will seize their guns, and probably their grandmother’s china as well. And people who are afraid of something, but aren’t sure what, will leap at the chance to put a face on their fears.

 

But Neptune is also the planet of spiritual growth, and so people will be praying, and meditating, and trancing themselves out in various ways, and many of these people will happen across a cavity somewhere in their chest area. And when they investigate, they may find it’s overflowing with this amazing, beautiful energy. They'll feel the love pouring forth -  for their neighbor, for the planet, for all people, even those they thought were their enemy.

 

It could happen. In March, some shutters could open wide, and some people lean out their windows, and feel the heat of the sun. We could all forget our differences, and just let it pour down on us.  

 

 



Monday, February 1, 2021

A Changing Landscape

 


There’s so much going on, so many changes. Last month, I couldn’t write, though. Just as 2020 came to an end, my only brother died, and I was flattened into silence. It’s still hard to believe, but it’s time to climb out of this hole and look around again.

 

There are some things that are the same about this landscape. Covid-19 is even more lethal, but now there are vaccines, and they’re being distributed, if slowly and imperfectly. It was the promise of Saturn and Jupiter both going into Aquarius, that science would once again be respected.

 

Science, truth, information – these things comprise the home turf of Aquarius. As a fixed air sign, Aquarius’ role in the zodiac is to pin down what’s true, and to promote it. This involves experimentation, research, and a willingness to consider every possible idea, which is why Aquarians are often seen as wild, different, far-out, or outrageous.  

 

And of course, many Aquarians are harassed or persecuted during their lives, because they’re several steps ahead of everyone else.  People with the sun in Aquarius like Charles Darwin, Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan, Huey Newton, and Angela Davis. Or people with Aquarius rising like Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, Emmeline Pankhurst, Thoreau, Ralph Nader, or Barack Obama.

 

Of course, not all Aquarians are progressives. Their most common trait is a willingness to argue everybody else into the ground, based on the truths that they have determined. Most Aquarians are open-minded enough to take new evidence into account, and change their minds if necessary. But if they held their positions lightly, they wouldn’t be as effective in making change in the world.

 

February is a very Aquarian month. It begins with the sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn all in this sign. Mercury spends the whole of February in Aquarius, mostly retrograde. The old order is represented only by Pluto in Capricorn.  

 

When the Capitol was stormed, on January 6, this Aquarian surge had only just begun, with Jupiter and Saturn there. Capricorn was still the dominant influence.  You can see that event as a threshold event between the old and the new. As the face of the old order, Trump was holding on to the past with everything he had. But Democracy itself is an Aquarian phenomenon, and we were moving inexorably into the new Aquarian phase.

 

Of course, what we know in this country as democracy is not a purebred beast, any more than all those Aquarians I mentioned were wholly dedicated to a progressive vision. There is no purity, except in the dreams of idealists. Everything on this earth is mixed – every person, every idea, every manifestation.  

 

And yet, mixed as all manifestations are, there is always something that predominates and that gives things their shape. And so the democracy that we have, here in the US, flawed as it is, has a rock-hard concept at its core. It’s fixed, just like the fixed air sign Aquarius. It’s a stubborn belief that people should choose their leaders, and it took more than Trump’s scattered and ill-organized power plays to upend it.

 

And now that democracy has shown itself strong enough for another go-around, now that Aquarian principles have prevailed, where do we go from here?  Joe Biden has gotten a good start in the two weeks since taking office, getting rid of some of Trump’s most damaging mandates, via executive orders. Correcting old injustices is an excellent use of a Mercury retrograde. McConnell tried a feint, which didn’t work. And now there’s a Covid-19 relief bill being wrangled in Congress.

 

Joe Biden, by the way, has no planets in Aquarius, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. We all knew he wasn’t a trailblazer. He does have his sun and moon in fixed signs, however, and so he has the ability to stick to a position, once he’s taken it. Kamala Harris, on the other hand, has Saturn in Aquarius right at the top of her chart, forming a great trine with her sun and ascendent, so she is very much attuned to this moment in history, and she has both the forward vision and the determination to make things happen. Of course, she has a more pivotal role than most vice-presidents, as the deciding vote in Congress.  

 

I wish I could say that it will all be smooth sailing from here on out, but there’s a very sharp, divisive aspect affecting us all this month: the square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus. Saturn is generally the rigid, conservative planet, but now it’s in a progressive, enlightened sign. Uranus is the rebel planet, but now it’s in a solid, earthy sign. What this means is that the progressives are the mature, grown-up ones these days, while the conservatives are the ones acting wild and crazy.  

 

It’s easy to become fascinated with Q-Anon and their ilk, just because they’re so strange. On Inauguration Day, I was mesmerized by the stories about them sitting around their TVs, just like I was. But where I was admiring Michelle Obama’s outfit, and enjoying Lady Gaga’s voice, and getting all excited about Kamala being sworn in by Sonia Sotomayor, they were on the edge of their seats, expecting all the Democrats to be arrested and dragged away any minute. Then they were all disillusioned that it didn’t happen.

 

The cruelty of the Trump era is what I see reflected in his followers, including the ones who are inhabiting their own alternative realities. And these are strange times we live in, when the headwinds of change have to blow so strongly, and overcome so much resistance, just to promote policies that aren’t cruel. The bottom line is that we all have the right to live, to love each other, and to vote.  Why is that so controversial?