I love listening to my daughter ‘mother’ on our long-distance marathon chats each weekend. The grands are big kids now — 10 and 13 — but she still uses the basic commands from their earlier years: “Be kind. Inside voice, please. Use your words.” Lately, I’ve been hearing her advice in my head — an improved version of my own imperfect ‘momming’ — urging for the higher vibration of conflict resolution. Why?
I’m five planets in fire signs; if you add as number six my recently discovered Eris in Aries, I have a grand trine in enthusiastic, inspirational and occasionally scorching fire. I do not, as they say, suffer fools gladly and lately, I’d like to “slap the stupid” out of just about everybody I meet. Still, I learned early that solar flares followed by woeful contemplation of the cooling ashes left behind was not productive. In order to change that pattern, I’ve had to acquire patience with myself and everyone else: hard duty for fire people. My continuing challenge is to continually refill that hard-earned well of gentle allowance so I can dip out of it generously.
In the still waters of Eric’s “boring astrological week,” we’ve been given a clear picture of our current condition and possible future. The oxygen was sucked away in great gasps by the antediluvian commentary of the Tea Bagger candidate from Missouri, Todd Aiken. Talk about politics being personal! Thanks to the 2010 sweep that stripped MO of seasoned legislative Blue Dogs and replaced them with wild-eyed wing-nuts, Claire McCaskill is our one remaining Dem Senator facing off against Rep. Aiken, a man who has said a great many ill-informed and stupid things, only one of which has to do with our bodies’ ability to “kill off” unwanted sperm.
He has also said, for instance, that thanks to Obama, the nation is in “stage III cancer of socialism,” and he shares a long list of similarly egregious “facts” with his faithful admirers and contributors. Thanks to the barrage of ads provided by Rove money — along with a dominant retired, religious population in rural areas that has turned this traditionally blue-trending state increasingly red — Aiken was ahead of Claire in the polls before he showed his biological ignorance, and – yes, I’m biting my lip – still is.
You’ve no doubt spun yourself dry in this latest cycle, witnessing the Pub attempt to not only redefine rape but weaken its heinous nature in an attempt to control fully half of the population of the United States. I’m sure you’re aware that this is not so much about sexuality and repression as it is about patriarchy and raw power. We’ve heard that this is yet another front in the ‘war on women,’ but it’s more than that, and we need to clearly recognize the enemy on the other end of this rhetoric.
Enemy is not a word I use lightly, and here’s another, describing their intent: fascism. Each assault that demeans us is calculated to strip us of our humanity and pit us against one another in the name of “religious freedom.” Take heed of the wisdom of Sinclair Lewis and his famous quote: “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Fascism has arrived, my dears, and it wants its place at the head of the table.
We are in more than a culture war, more than a class war: this is a war on children, on the poor and the elderly, on the average worker and the public servant. This is a war on the messy, evolving and progressive American way of life; an attempt to catch it in a strangle hold and take it back into the dark ages where it can continue to be muffled, harnessed and milked as a profitable, exploitable pack animal. This is a war we dare not lose.
The assault is overt. We don’t need a scrying glass to get a glimpse of conservative intent. Their contempt for women is breathtaking, and it puts me, as both female and progressive, directly in the crosshairs of their ideological plans just strolling down the street, waving at neighbors. Given the overt direction of the proposed GOP rules of the road — sexist, racist, repressed and corporatist without apology — it’s difficult not to think of any passerby who might support those plans in my deeply conservative community as anything other than another of the stinging gnats I need to swat: potential “open enemies,” a reference that lumps them together under my 7th House (Leo Moon, Mars, Pluto) umbrella, tempting the Fire dragon at my elemental core to blow flame their way, crisping their edges in no uncertain terms. That is what I used to do when I was afraid. I haven’t blasted that level of heat in decades, which isn’t to say that I’m fearless; I just make other choices. Writing about what I see, getting the word out — that’s one of them. Seeking to understand what makes us tick is another.
Recent studies have shown how the liberal persona is not nearly so cautious, so tribal, as those on the Republican side of the fence. Conservatives startle easier, they defend more quickly, they circle the wagons in knee-jerk fashion, giving them an edge in their united front. In such a deeply divided nation as ours, witnessing their vulnerabilities — think of a stiff and remote Mitt, uncomfortable in his skin — makes them more human, deserving of our compassion. Understanding them, however, does not mean underestimating them. We need to remember that if we think of Aiken as an ignorant, callous, threatened/threatening gnat to be swatted — and he is all of those things — we blindside ourselves to the dangers of the gnat-swarm waiting just out of sight. In that regard, I’m going to let others do the heavy lifting with reminders on the basics of this issue. First, the smaller picture:
Other Republicans are trying to cover up their true identity to get elected. Even as party leaders attempted to lock the crazy uncle in the attic in Missouri, they were doing their own crazy thing down in Tampa, Fla., by reiterating language in their platform calling for a no-exceptions Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother.
—Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
As far as the violent crime of rape, there is no greater gender control than to dehumanize a woman into a receptacle for a man’s sexual urges, and to force her to accept the semen of any man if it leads to fertilization. […] But more than that, Akin symbolizes the entire white male assault on the notion of equality in a democracy. All of the “others” are a threat: women who seek to have careers; blacks who take positions formally only held by white males; non-Christians who believe in other values besides money; the poor who seek a share of the economic pie; the elderly who seek to stay out of poverty in their senior years – and of course a black president of the United States.
—Mark Karlin, Editor of Buzzflash at TruthOut
And as regards what I firmly believe is Pub overreach in this instance, we have a tongue-in-cheek New Rule:
Next week in Tampa the Republicans must admit that the difference between a GOP convention and Comic-Con is that the people at Comic-Con have a much firmer grasp of reality.
—Bill Maher, Real Time on HBO
Why overreach? Because too many of us are awake, too many of us have felt the personal politics of repression and victimization — the roots of which may remain as yet hazy and unformed in our growing consciousness despite the tutorial impact of heavy-weight transits of Chiron and Neptune, and echoes of the grand mutable cross — to fail to search out cause, coming to us in a healing instant of clarity. And we can’t deny that light bulbs are switching on over people’s heads every day, every hour, every moment. I’ve been surprised all week at changes in opinion I’ve heard from life-long right-wingers — surprised and heartened. The work is being done and what has become glaringly obvious will soon be the stuff of decision-making:
When the Sun enters Virgo […] it will complete a grand mutable cross with the Gemini-Sagittarius axis of the lunar nodes and the asteroid Lilith (not to be confused with the Black Moon Lilith, which is a hypothetical point), fresh to Pisces. Rarely will a solar ingress have such meaning. If your eyes, mind and heart are open to them, profound recognitions will become evident. There is even an intriguing indication that the Divine Feminine may manifest more plainly.
—Len Wallick, Planet Waves
What is obviously calculated to maintain an outdated white male Christian power structure must meet the test of America’s opening heart-chakra, squinting across the political chasm at the powerful ascent of the Divine Feminine. Want to bet on who will blink first? We seem to have fought one another to an ideological stand-still at this point, some suggesting a new civil war is not far off. There is some energy behind that notion, in that the racism of the opposition party has shown itself in levels of extremism, hostility and paranoia — a trifecta of upheaval — reminiscent of the 1960s but without the solid underpinnings of intellect.
Texas, always a petrie dish for wild imaginings, gives us extreme examples of what such a war might look like, complete with desires to secede from the Union and judges willing to arm their communities against crazed socialists and their minions. Without losing that vacant Cheshire cat smile of his, Romney has embraced the worst of conspiracy himself. Headlines today declare that seven birthers will be speaking at this week’s Republican convention, one of them another gent from Texas who believes George Soros and the UN are trying to rid us of golf courses and make us live in “hobbit homes.” (I’m anticipating some fabulous sound bites from the convention, unless Hurricane Isaac takes it out completely; and then Gawd alone knows what kind of press we’ll get from Pat Robertson!)
I’d like to tell you there aren’t millions of similar believers out there, but I can’t. I can only ask you to put your faith in the glimmering light bulbs and the millions just like you who have already made a decision for Light. There are hopeful signs such as approval for the Republican Party at a mere 10%, the same as that of our do-nothing Congress. The justifiable fear of what the Pubs would do to our earned entitlements and the havoc they’d wreak with an austerity budget have made even their own think twice, especially the elders. With just weeks to go, the emotional charge of suspected deprivations ahead may be a powerful deterrent.
And as much as the Ayn Randians wallow in their selfish ‘individualism’ — whining that the ‘parasites’ who believe in compassion and equity must be forced to take responsibility for themselves — their dedication to Rand’s cold-blooded theories are bogus at the core: these people are not accountable. They’re the first to shift blame, stepping back from accepting the consequences of their actions. Their flirtation with the icy isolationism of pure creative power falls back at the first growl of authority — Gawd, money, peer pressure, elitism — rather than seeking out the true authority of a heart-felt spiritual epiphany. They need “rules” — the more the better — and they need all of US to follow them, lest our threat to the old paradigm shake apart their perceived safety. Take comfort that the light bulbs beginning to glow over the heads of even their own seem destined to give a clearer picture of that hypocrisy by the hour.
It’s not as if we don’t know what to do. As Peter Michaelson quoted, this week:
The deepest spiritual instinct in man is that urge of inner truth which demands that he be faithful to himself: to his deepest and most original potentialities. Yet at the same time, in order to become oneself, one must die. That is to say, in order to become one’s true self, the false self must die. In order for the inner self to appear, the outer self must disappear; or at least become secondary, unimportant.
—Thomas Merton, Catholic monk
This is the time of purging long spoken of; the time of testing, the dregs of mundane ego-self and miscreation coming clear to be sorted and discarded. I know many of us are suffering a sense of hopelessness. I know the indicators look dire, and I won’t soften the message from that instinctual goad — talk you down from the ledge — because I agree that we are at a very dangerous crossroads, but we must not summon our fear as a fellow traveler on this road. We are, instead, called to substitute our determination to rebalance what is off kilter, renew what is still valuable and remediate what is not. We either step into the Light as our brother’s keeper or we are in it for ourselves, destined to remain isolated in a hellish state of unenlightened Maya.
Those of us who know that loving our neighbor as our self is the only way forward have our work cut out for us but the template is not new business; it’s what we came to do. Some of us put daisies in gun barrels, back in the day. We can do it again. We must find our own reflection in the clear waters of this moment, chart a true course toward the love we know can heal the planet and allow it to lift us from our discouragement.
We must not indulge ourselves in a blast of anger and dismay at those who oppose our understanding of life and celebration of love, but instead find a way to defuse the dark nihilism of their fear and self-judgment. They don’t know it, but they’re looking to us to lead them — you don’t know it, but you’re the one with that power. Our calm, our reason, our inclusion and compassion lead us to shine brightly in the gloom. At this dangerous turn of the road, if we can put our fear aside and let love lead the way, we have it within us to defy the darkness, change history and usher in the Light.
I hope I’ve used my indoor voice today, that I was kind, despite my impulse to slap good sense into my brother/sister. Lord knows, I used my words; that’s never a problem for fire-types. I’m so grateful to be able to face the challenges without believing that our current stilted life-expression is all there is, or buy the projections that an austere world is all we can expect. If we open ourselves to the incoming energy, 2012 can be remembered as a year of wonder and needed purge, of darkness giving way to illumination, of fear becoming courage, of awaited transition. The waters churn, the picture muddies — but the Light is ever with us, if we embrace it.
If you don’t have one yet — especially under a Virgo Sun given to hyper-critical inclination — let me give you a permission slip to feel whatever is there to feel. It’s OK to be afraid, just don’t live there. It’s OK to be angry, but let it motivate your activism, move you to good works. It’s OK to be discouraged if you remember that encouraged is a more productive path and it’s available in the company of those who lift you, like those you’ll find at Planet Waves and other high-resonance spots on the map. There’s no one right way to move into this new energy, no list of shoulds or have tos — just offer your willingness to be of service to the Shift of Ages and watch the light bulbs blink on everywhere you look!