An Excellent Moral Crisis
Slowly, I am assembling the pieces of Chiron in Aquarius. I recognize that this is a speculative venture; the transit starts Monday and spans about six years. I’ve written quite a bit already, in the annual horoscope, in Thursday’s column on Jonathan’s site, and in some earlier essays. I’ve made a few predictions, like a ‘really interesting spring’ (nice and Aquarian, seemingly detached and noncommittal) and the upsurge of a hot debate over a military draft. But astrology can beg the question: So what’s really going on here? When a transit or other planetary event is forming, the ‘world’ is vibrating with that information; personal events run parallel; the tone of the news changes; the mental plane behaves a certain way; people seem to respond physically.
At the moment, written information is coming into my life from four main sources. One is that I’ve been persisting with my morning reading project, a book by one of the early pioneer psychiatrists, Dr. Wilhelm Reich. Reich was particularly concerned with the whole issue of freedom, and the ability of people to be happy. I’ve also been reading and pondering some of the poetry of the Beat Generation writers, whose movement emerged just after World War II, and which really got going just after Chiron arrived in Aquarius the last time around, in 1955. These were writers who reached for freedom of expression and even found it. They broke the patriarchal, oppressive language of past generations and developed truly original voices; voices that always seemed to speak for the collective.
And I read a lot of news articles. Jude, who moderates the free Political Waves list, keeps a steady stream of well-chosen reports coming in; someone assisting her, Eileen, does the same; and readers are quite dedicated at sending me news they think I need to know about — thank you all. I also keep an eye on http://truthout.org for their take (the nightly audio is excellent, as is the excellent Red State Road Trip video series, and anything written by Will Pitt and many other of their in-house writers). Then I track CNN.com to follow the crude mainstream propaganda/trivia flow. (I have a few other favorite web pages on other obscure topics as well.)
What I see astonishes me every day. Once again today reading CNN, it seemed like we are in the midst of the Cold War, the Korean War, Vietnam War, the McCarthy Era, World War II, World War III and the War on Terra all at the same time. Can I blame anyone for running and hiding in church, asking for God’s help? Well, when I put it that way, no.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, part of the discussion I’m involved with among my friends and colleagues is how to handle the seeming facts of war, politics or the environmental crisis when you’re also aware of the seeming facts of metaphysics and spirituality. One of the razor’s edge issues is that it’s ‘not spiritual’ to spread fear; we must only spread love. Then, there is the reality that it’s impossible to do honest journalism without ‘making’ some people afraid of what is happening.
There are various theories for how to handle this dilemma. One that has served many journalists well is to ‘call ’em like you see ’em’. That is, state clearly what you observe and think, let people deal with it, and let that be a loving gesture. There are other theories, such as you must focus only on what you want, emphasize the positive, and not resist, of which I’m reminded frequently. I’ll give you an example; this came in right after the presidential election:
“I’ve discovered Esther Hicks and ‘Abraham’ – are you familiar with them? What ‘Abraham’ (a non-physical group of teachers) says seems to touch something deep inside of me that I feel like I’ve always believed or been coming to believe for several years. It’s about how our energy is vibrated into the world. It’s about not putting up a fight, but only allowing good things into our lives. It’s about how when one being pushes another pushes back even harder…(being, nation, whatever), and how the only true way to end fighting is to not push against, but to allow. I teach this to my kids at school all the time, especially using a take-off on the story ‘The Three Little Pigs’ entitled, ‘The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig’, where the stronger and harder the houses the wolves build, the stronger and harder the methods the pig uses to destroy them.
“I keep applying it to everything, including my objection to this war and killing other human beings. My vote was against Bush because, as you said, of my values. I don’t believe in killing and I think it’s great when anyone loves someone else, be they the same sex or not. To put it another way, I thought God didn’t care who loved whom, but he probably wasn’t too happy about who was killing whom. But if I push against this war, and killing, and Bush, am I not continuing this problem of our world of not getting along? Everyone in this world has a right to their opinion, including all of those whose opinion differs from my own.”
There is a lot in here. There is, mainly, a sense that the writer’s personal views, choices and experiences have an effect on the wider world, and the attempt to do what’s right in the face of that. I think the specific philosophy comes second to the attempt to live in an ethical way, which is an obvious concern she has. I am familiar with the work of Hicks and Abraham, though I have not adopted it into a political theory yet; it seems to work fine in the most personal ways, when all I’m concerned about is straightening out a personal problem, or creating something that I personally want.
I wonder, though, what would happen if we apply the idea, “when one being pushes another pushes back even harder,” to the children who have died from US bombing runs. Did they resist something and then suddenly find themselves being resisted even harder? As well, we have seen many examples, particularly in the history of the Civil Rights movement, when resistance and refusing to obey was exactly what was called for at the time, and it worked brilliantly. But those moments of resistance were filled with deep love, passion and dedication.
I think that an epiphany in this letter appears in the last line: “Everyone in this world has a right to their opinion, including all of those whose opinion differs from my own.” This is a wholesome way of life. But I would differ if the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, or the attempt to ban gay marriage or end the Social Security program, are thought of as someone merely expressing their opinion. They are expressions of power.
War as we’ve witnessed it has been an expression of military might and brutally applied political resources. In truth, there was no real discussion or exchange of opinions before these wars were started by a small group of people who did so mainly by deceiving the public and the political community, pulling every lever, and using just about every trick in the book, including, from what I gather, stolen elections in Ohio and Florida. Social Security ‘reform’ is a fraud from the first sentence, and will cost trillions and ‘save’ nothing.
Ah: but note that this very paragraph presents everyone who reads it with a choice, in the form of a question: Is it true?
Yet the question is loaded. If one chooses to believe it’s not true, they have avoided an inner ethical crisis. Because if one chooses to believe it is true, they have a potential crisis on their hands, because it’s a painful reality, there are great implications, and the next logical question involves just what to do in the face of the deception, or the lack of a real democracy or honest elections. So there’s another set of values biasing the question: the answer could be influenced by wanting to have a nice day.
Let’s go back one sentence. “If I push against this war, and killing, and Bush, am I not continuing this problem of our world of not getting along?”
What I learn reading this is that there exists an idea that the only way to contribute one’s energy in a productive way to this particular situation involves pushing against, or some form of contention. When we think of anti-war, we think of marches in the streets and students getting shot at Kent State, yes? But we forget that the ‘anti-Vietnam War movement’ was also about a lot of people facing a national crisis and, in the process, getting together, and in the process, creating many other useful, loving social movements which spanned from feminism to rock music.
So, I can see not wanting to “push against” or resist — but life is an exercise in creating, as is the Abraham material. In my long life as an activist, I’ve noticed there are two kinds of movements: the ones driven by love, brotherhood and the desire to make a better world; and ones driven by power or a fighting spirit. How you wage any particular campaign, or what you do with your energy, is a choice, and it is a creative choice.
The creative potential of life has never been greater, or more accessible to more people (in Western society and many others). We live in a different age than any other. The interconnectivity of the Internet is a metaphor for what is happening on the level of spirit or the non-physical realm. In this time, what we know and how we respond to it are vitally important. How we feel and what we put out to the world are vitally important. I suggest that the most important form of activism we can practice right now is being aware, being informed, and being in communication. In essence, we need to give reality a home, and deal with it together. If we use ‘resist’ as a verb, one can also resist by refusing to know, and cease to resist by agreeing to know.
Here is the catch. Becoming personally informed or aware often presents an inner confrontation. This is not always pleasant. Often we feel we ‘know too much’ or wonder what in God’s name to do with that information we just learned. The struggle then is not against something outside ourselves, something ‘out in the world’ like a politician or a war.
It is a struggle within, because when we face certain facts about the times we live in, or humanity, or ourselves, we can become quite uncomfortable. Yet to suppress those facts leads to deeper despair, though it may come later. So, as far as I can see, what we need to create as both personal commitment and a cultural movement is a revolution of awareness and creative expression. We need to know and make some peace with the truth. Not resist the truth of the events of the world, but be aware of them, and cope with the reactions that we have, and do something productive or creative with the energy. As part of this process, we need to be supportive of one another’s opening up, because it’s clearly easier for some people and harder for others.
Let’s bring this back around to astrology. Since 1998, we’ve been living through the transit of Neptune through Aquarius. This transit, which lasts about 5,100 days, is exactly half over. Aquarius is an extraordinarily important part of everyone’s horoscope. Aquarius is the dimension of thought and reality that embraces systems, science, social patterns, the media, computer networks, and the process of developing one’s individuality in the context of these things. Aquarius is about expressing one’s gift to the culture. Such individuality does not happen alone. It happens within the framework of community. Aquarius is also about the process of becoming free by becoming psychologically free, which we must always do in the context of our peers.
Then there is the shadow side to of all this. That which deals with freedom and individuality can also be applied to conformism and fascism, that is, the direct control of one person or group by another. It works out that the main means of pushing people to conform and give up their freedoms are the most Aquarian of devices: social patterns, the media, and the abuse of science and even more popular ‘scientism’ — that is, mock science: religion dressed in a lab coat, or a scientist in a frock.
Neptune in Aquarius has opened the way to a few rather challenging situations, with which we’re now living. One is that it has given certain system-makers a kind of metaphysical license, or at least the ability, to lie all the time about everything.
Second, it has inoculated many people against noticing, and most of those who do notice against feeling like they can do anything about this. This response is partly based on a pre-existing social pattern that is dominated to a large measure by avoiding psychological pain and struggle and some serious — but unasked — questions about what our lives mean. Turn up the pain and many people find it increasingly necessary to tune out; this is perfectly understandable. Right now many of our Aquarian systems are pumping out a lot of pain and misery and very little in the way of creative prospects.
This experience of pain and tuning out has given many people the license to ‘make their own reality’ as a means of coping. More than ever, I see people making up their own version of the truth and clinging to it. We have some leaders in Washington who have brilliantly given language to this, calling themselves ‘faith based’ and describing their detractors ‘reality based’, but as an insulting term of derision!
My sense is that Chiron in Aquarius is going to call these questions to front and center. Chiron applies tremendous focusing power to Neptune; it can turn that foggy, mysterious light into a laser beam. Chiron can turn denial to affirmation; sleep to awareness. Given that Aquarius is like this filter that stands between the individual and their society, or social group, our roles as individuals within these systems will have easy opportunities to come into focus, and we’ll be able to make some decisions about who we are and what that means.
I am not saying this is going to be easy, particularly for anyone who has been looking away, or making sacrifices for the good cause, and then suddenly needs to look towards the situation and make big decisions. It is harder if you have deep regrets or are grieving a loss. But the opportunities to be aware will be there, and they are here now.
To me, the most important issue Aquarius raises is that of freedom, and Chiron — ever the maverick — will certainly stir the pot. I watched parts of the State of the Union address with great concern, because the word ‘freedom’ was mentioned too many times for my comfort. It wasn’t just that the word is becoming synonymous with getting bombed, or with the freedom of corporations to steal. Freedom is a very deep need in just about all people; it is a longing as deep as love, food or sex.
Generally, as we know too well, that need is suppressed, compromised or surrendered. But it’s still there on some level, like a mystical yearning. And we can, if we want, reach toward it and take steps to free ourselves. Yet authentic freedom is a tremendous, even daunting responsibility. One must give up on the hope that some authority figure is going to keep everything in order. One must make choices and live with the consequences, or keep creating till you get somewhere better. These choices almost always seem to cut two ways. There are risks involved. In living freely, there is the need to cut loose from old moorings and live outside the safe bounds of our prior lives. This can be deeply disorienting.
Here are some words of caution from Wilhelm Reich, which seem to be written exclusively for us today, but were actually set down in the late 1930s. They are, incidentally, from his book about orgasm theory. “Intense longing for freedom, plus fear of the responsibility of freedom, results in a Fascist mentality, no matter whether it is found in a Fascist or a Democrat.” In case you missed the point, he explains it again a different way. “Sermonizing about freedom, without the constant, resolute struggle to set the responsibility involved in freedom into operation in the occurrences of everyday life, together with the social prerequisites of that freedom, leads to Fascism.”
One of those responsibilities is that of being informed about the affairs of your world and your country. One of those responsibilities is being clear about your role as an individual, and its corresponding place in society. One is the responsibility, not merely the privilege, to create the life you want. Otherwise, we may find ourselves not with a democracy or freedom on our hands, but rather with a very uncreative experience.
So, as Chiron enters Aquarius, we have the setup for an excellent moral crisis, one that we will experience as individuals, as a society, and in the sacred place where the two meet. It’s an excellent crisis because it comes with the opportunity for an excellent creative mission or journey. Right now we have the freedom to push back and take our space — and it’s not freedom anyone elected today has given us. Right now, we have the freedom to know, to communicate and to understand. Right now, we have resources, and the power to get together, and to speak to one another openly. More to the point, we have the ability to see, feel, experience, choose and create.
What will we do with these things? What are we willing to receive? What are we willing to risk? ++
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Planet Waves Horoscope By ERIC FRANCIS
Friday, Feb. 18, 2005
Happy Birthday, Pisces!
The Sun has now entered your birth sign, and I would imagine that you feel a whole lot better. A long, or was it a short, year is coming to a close, and another is beginning. This happens for you at a momentous time. Within a few days from now, Chiron makes its ingress into Aquarius for the first time since 1955 (Chiron was last in Aquarius between 1955 and 1961). In the words of William Butler Yates, “Surely some revelation is at hand.”
For years now, Neptune, the planet often associated with Pisces, has been in Aquarius, your 12th solar house. This is a potentially nerve-racking position because when something reaches the 12th house, it can push us to the edge; and with Neptune, it can feel like being near an edge you cannot see. Yet Chiron seems poised to reveal what has, until now, been invisible. And I think it will reveal how much of what you knew in advance was actually true.
This is a point of beginning for you, a time of focusing your mind and your life; a time of heightened awareness; a time of developing the most intense self-understanding you’ve ever known. At this point, you stand on the brink of who you truly are. Are you ready? I think you are. Are you willing? You have no choice, because the time is upon you. There will be moments when you will look at the world and see it as a different place; many times, as well, when you will look at yourself and see an entirely different person.
The extended presence of Uranus in your birth sign suggests that a long revolution is underway in your perceptions, consciousness and experience of life. Often Pisces has quiet revolutions, ones that occur deep in the misty Yin world of dreams, poetry, music and pleasure. More often, Pisces merely dreams of what can be. Many, many factors point to time of action and an experience of creativity. Many factors will help you transcend the fear and hesitancy so often associated with your sign. Something about you now has the power to push others to be a little more free.
If there is a revolution happening in your relationships, it is about developing a clear understanding of who is who, and what is what. A stunning conjunction in your anniversary chart between the Sun, Uranus and Juno, the planet of relationships and marriage, suggests strongly that if you have the creativity and the nerve to set the terms of your own relationships, based purely on what you need, want and can live with, you are more likely than ever to have those terms be met by people who want little other than to see you happy.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
We have many ideas of what it means to be good, and I think that most people carry some serious injuries about whether they are acceptable to others or not. As an Aries, you can always compensate for this by emphasizing your individualism and taking strong initiative with the people around you; you are certainly one who can make your own posse if you need to. But that does not really fill in for the deep need you have to be accepted as the individual you are. As Chiron makes its way into Aquarius, you embark on a new project of understanding your relationship to your peers. Just remember to let them speak for themselves.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Chiron in the 10th house has been described as the ‘mantle of power’. You now take on this role, which will be an opportunity to actually express, apply and manifest so much that you have contemplated in theory. I am fairly certain this will be easier than you think, and that certain long-overdue changes to your professional life will come with less resistance than you are expecting. The only thing you have to remember is to be what is often referred to as ‘in your power’. I cannot tell you what this will feel like for you — but I can tell you that it will feel different than you’ve known before.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
If you’re not already feeling some serious urges to explore the world beyond the one you know, I would be quite surprised. You may not, at this time, feel like you have the resources to act on the desire to travel, but in reality you have very likely developed the skill, discipline and ability to manage your finances that you need to make some long-term and long-distance plans. It is worth mentioning, though, that Chiron’s journey through your 9th house is mostly an inner one. As you reach inside yourself, you will see that you’re taking a trip on the power of ever-more-honest motivations and clear sense of yourself.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You’ve had a taste of how powerful you let other people become in your life. It may be that you hold too limited an opinion of yourself, and it may be that others have at times treated you aggressively. In any event, both you and they are about to experience a re-shuffling of the power arrangements. In practical terms, this will come through a series of re-negotiations of all situations involving sex, money and partnership. One by one, it’s now your job to get a better deal for yourself. In astrology, this is called ‘8th house work’, and in the world, it is called the path to freedom from false expectations.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Chiron now takes its place in your opposite sign, Aquarius, or your 7th solar house. Stunning clarity is possible between you and the people around you, as are new, improved opportunities to get hurt. Chiron always has the power to cut two ways. You can help protect yourself and others, and turn any potential harm into an opportunity for growth, by being the one who is monitoring every situation for clarity. You must know your own doubts, and speak up about them sooner rather than later. Not only won’t you get hurt, but you will experience the truly rare benefits of equality with your peers.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
For a number of reasons, the long and short term agendas of your life have included what you may feel is excess focus on other people. You would probably agree that you’ve needed the energy of others to lure, pull, or blast you out of stuck patterns, and to have the example of people who are less afraid of life than you are. Now that you have their example to learn from, you have an opportunity to define your relationships as a healing process where you are truly a focal point. You will benefit from the attention, and if I may offer a word of caution, will languish if you choose not to accept it.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You’ve certainly been inspired to take some chances the past month or so, lured by the prospect of a fuller life, greater prosperity, and mostly by the simple need to express human curiosity. This process is about to kick into hyperspeed as Chiron moves into your sympathetic air sign, Aquarius. Of all the factors associated with your 5th solar house, three may lead the way. First and most important is curiosity. Second is the need to take risks, no matter what you can say about the past. Last is the need to acknowledge and act on your desire for honest sex. Sex is not about morality. It is about being alive. But to this, we had best add a fourth factor: compassion, for yourself and for others.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
As Chiron crosses over the security and home angle of your chart in the next few days, I suggest you stop and examine any feelings of fear, and see if you can get to the root of the problem. I’m going to propose that it’s got something to do with your father, or perhaps his father. These people grew up and lived through a very different time than you did. Ideas of past generations are handed down like heirlooms. They are not worth the old newspapers in which they are wrapped — but you may want to throw away the antiques and scan those yellowed pages for the reminder that you live in another day, and another place.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Chiron has close associations to Sagittarius, as this mythical creature guards the gates to heaven through which you passed at the time of your birth. Now Chiron changes signs, and picks up the vibration of Aquarius, which has near-perfect compatibility with Sagittarius. Because this is your 3rd solar house, you’re in for something of a blazing celebration when it comes to new ideas, new ways of looking at the world, and many changes in your circle of friends and colleagues. I would suggest that you begin surrounding yourself with people who you consider absolute equals — and devote yourself to lending a hand to those who aspire to your level in life.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
If I’ve been dwelling on the topic of self-esteem in my various horoscope columns, it’s because Chiron is moving into your 2nd solar house, where these matters are discussed. Capricorn is often accused of being conformist, but what you’re about to learn is that you boldly blossom as an individual when you are surrounded by people to whom you can truly relate. In fact, your individuality is by far your most precious asset, and Chiron’s presence in Aquarius over the next seven years will bring this out in many, many ways. One thing to remember is that to the extent that you make money, you’re going to do it in a unique way. Just watch.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Few people can go through Chiron traveling through their sign without some kind of crisis — often a crisis of identity. You’re so accustomed to handling large volumes of raw energy that Chiron may prove to be a stabilizing influence on you, providing you with the insight and perception to see just what it is about yourself that you need to change. You are being blessed with the ability to actually be anyone you want to be; in recent years, you’ve learned more about camouflage than you have about creating or expressing yourself. You will soon find that you have nothing to hide, which will put a lot of energy and light back into your life.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
What, exactly, have you been afraid of? You might want to make an inventory. For a long time, Neptune in your 12th solar house, Aquarius, has provided an influence of constant uncertainty. It’s almost as if you cannot remember a time when you were ever truly solid, and have grown accustomed to living with some kind of great mystery about existence. Chiron beginning its long journey across this highly sensitive angle of your chart will show you what you’ve been missing. Pisces is the sign of dreams, and you have in many ways been too overwhelmed to do even that. Help is on the way. Slip not.