Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Trickster


I always celebrate April 1st by writing a letter full of lies and sending it to the people I know best – in other words, those who won’t immediately call the guys with the butterfly nets to come take me away. I write about tsunamis in the mountains, blessings from the pope, runaway Supreme Court justices, floating taxis, alien visitations, talking squirrels, and that sort of thing.  I usually start out in the realm of the probable and get more and more outlandish, hoping to lull my hapless readers into swallowing the whole thing. It used to work, but now I very rarely fool anybody, probably because these letters show up on the same date every year.  


I like to impersonate the Trickster during that one day in the year. As a mythological figure, the Trickster is the one who reminds us that there are always sneaky ways around the rules and regulations that bind us. He/she is a rebel, a shape-shifter.


Astrologically, April is uneven, a Trickster month. There are a few stretches of relative inactivity, but these are suddenly punctuated by high-octane days in which a lot happens all at once. All the planets are direct until the end of the month, when Pluto retrogrades, so everything is moving forward.  People are not much invested in reviewing the past, but rather pushing towards their goals and ambitions, and in the process, coping with new conditions.


Jupiter, moving quickly this month, has an expansive effect in many people’s lives, so that everyone is busier, as well as more excited and expressive. Whatever people are into, they’re more into it now, and wherever they’ve put their energy, they’re seeing results, adding extra enthusiasm. As plans come into fruition, it’s heady. Jupiter goes through the otherworldly, imaginative sign Pisces, keeping those creative juices flowing. At the same time, there are people who getting carried away, losing contact with the ground altogether. Jupiter in Pisces is magical, it’s heady, but it’s also shaky, changeable, confusing and unreliable.


The Trickster is not always a benign figure, as we see by looking at Neptune, the Trickster planet, the planet of imagination, hypnosis, addiction and illusion. Neptune rules all trance states, some of them blissful (like falling in love, or feeling a religious calling), and some awful (like drinking oneself to death, or being taken in by a conman). Neptune takes you away from the ordinary, into a realm which has no borders. This could be pure emotion, or an absolute belief, or a powerful dream, or a delusion.  


On April 12, expansive Jupiter and imaginative Neptune will meet up. This conjunction happens about every twelve years, and the last time was in 2009, in the sign Aquarius.  That was the year that Barack Obama was sworn in as president, causing lots of people to swear that racism was over. (It wasn’t.) 2009 was also the year the bitcoin was established, an economic sleight of hand if there ever was one. There was also a pandemic in 2009, called the swine flu, although people argued a lot about the name, and never really decided what to call it. It wasn’t as deadly as our current pandemic, but there were major outbreaks, especially in Asia. Here in the US, it helped that the government took swift action, with no particular political opposition to vaccines or any other preventative measures.


The current Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in Pisces brings a lot more oddball conspiracy theories than we saw the last time, as well as the strange resistance to public health measures. That’s largely because of Trump, the trickster figure who came along halfway between the conjunctions. A liar and a thief, he tried his best to corrupt every person and institution he touched, and often succeeded.  


We live in a time in which many people are afraid, and this makes them especially vulnerable to trickster characters like him. Our habitat is degrading quickly, but people want to ignore all this, to pretend it doesn’t exist, to stay hypnotized. Trump had the meaningless but hypnotic patter, the ability to misdirect the public attention. His vigorous insults to the press meant that his followers had no clear source of commonly held truths. This echoes the way abusive partners cut off their victim’s access to the outer world.  


The Jupiter/Neptune opposition which produced the trickster Trump was the low point, and the new Jupiter/Neptune conjunction both ends the cycle which began in 2009, and begins a new one. Every Jupiter/Neptune conjunction contains the seeds of a new spiritual vision, and we saw this when Barack Obama was elected. Some people were afraid, but many others were joyful and inspired. His election didn’t put an end to racism – and in fact, the backlash has been considerable – but it made it more transparent. Racism itself involves a certain sleigh-of-hand. It originated as a successful ruse to convince some people to participate in the abuse of others, and, as the trick is revealed, the fog clears away. The trickster Trump may have obscured this truth, but only temporarily.  


The pandemic, so terrible in so many ways, now seems to be ending. This is another ending and beginning, a reset. Structures that faded away during the pandemic don’t come back unless people want them to, and there are some things about the old world that no longer appeal to the citizens of the new world. Cutthroat capitalism no longer seems quite as inevitable as it did back then. It was always a trick. It was never the only way, but a lot of folks were fooled into believing it was.


So how do we make the best use of this Jupiter/Neptune conjunction? At its core, Neptune is holistic consciousness, pure spiritual awareness, and Jupiter can amplify and spread that. When we feel the unity of all people and all things, it’s very hard for malevolent tricksters to find a foothold. They can only climb using the cracks in our psyches, the places where we feel disconnected and powerless.


Imagine a different kind of world. Imagine that we all could live together in peace, helping each other freely, finding ways to rescue our habitat from the degradations of the past, acknowledging each other’s beauty, creativity and tenderness.  Remember that John Lennon/Yoko Ono song, Imagine? It was first published during a Jupiter/Neptune conjunction.  There are many other songs like that, still coming from the hearts of the people. There’s an endless flow of them.


We can’t close our eyes and wish another world into immediate existence, but we can put our dreams and visions into the work of our hands and our minds, and bring them forth. This is a good time to take the first steps, towards what feels true.

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