Chiron, Nessus, and the Racaille
IN 1954, ALGERIA, one of France’s North African experiments in colonialism, took a turn for the worse, and what began as a guerilla war against the French killed as many as 1.5 million people on both sides through 1962. Terrorism against civilians on both sides, rioting, and many fierce battles characterized the era, and touched French society so deeply that the government was dissolved and a new one begun — something called the Fifth Republic, under Charles De Gaulle.
Skip ahead half a century to the ghettoes outside Paris, theoretically a housing solution for Algerian and other North African immigrants begun in the 1960s. Called the Cités, these prison like housing projects were created as low- and moderate-income housing for the immigrants, but in reality also as a way to get them out of the inner city, so that could be kept secure for the massive tourism industry that is the basis of the Paris economy.
These Cités were the same communities that erupted in flames in late October, set off by the electrocution deaths of two teenage boys who feared they were being chased by police — a typical scene. Every night for weeks, up to 1,500 cars were burned, there were hundreds of arrests, and thousands of police were commandeered in an attempt to hold down the outrage of young men born in France but never included in French society.
France’s tough-guy interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, referred to the youth of the Cités as racaille, which translates to rabble or human scum, and said he would eliminate them with Kärcher, a German air-pressure powered cleaning system, akin to sand blasting. This is the system one would rent if faced with the need to clean a few decades of pigeon shit off of one’s house. Sarko’s comments had the expected results of firing up anger, sparking more riots, and polarizing the country. (Note: He is expected to run for president in 2007 and widely expected to win.)
While his words may seem like so much nasty rhetoric, there is a subtext. As Village Voice writer Doug Ireland pointed out in his blog, the people to whom the words referred are for the most part Muslims, who are considered ethnic outsiders in France. So by Kärcherize, was Sarkozy making a reference to ethnic cleansing? It’s not a big stretch. As he becomes more prominent in French politics, we shall see whether he’s just a talented publicist for hatred (who apparently meets with politicians in the United States for refresher courses), or a kleinhitler — a true miniature of the original.
France does need to ponder this possibility. The apartment I am writing this article in was once Nazi-occupied territory, and all over Paris are memorials to Jews who were arrested, deported, and killed for nothing other than being born.
Here’s what’s interesting: Despite this degree of animosity, the French youth riots have largely been a revolt against property, not life. There is no way to classify the burning of cars with a suicide bomber like the one who blew up a wedding in Jordan last month. As of mid-November, only one shot had been fired in the course of the entire situation.
As a result of the prolonged protests, the government has restored budgets for social programs in the Cités. This is a minor conciliatory gesture; in many ways, it is beyond the power of French society to heal the deep wounds of the Cités.
That these events are a throwback to the Algerian War of Independence has astrological significance. The planet with a half-century cycle is Chiron, which at the time the Algerian war broke out was in late Capricorn, and soon changed signs to Aquarius. This month, Chiron again changes signs from Capricorn to Aquarius, a transition that has been developing all year and is in many ways an indicator of the highly unusual times we’re living through.
Chiron, for those unfamiliar with the name, is a small planet discovered by an American astronomer in 1977: It tends to push things to awareness and is often prominent in times of major transition of both individuals and history. It is typically strong in the charts of healers. Chiron has a long orbit and acts with the intensity of Pluto, affecting all of society and entire generations of people, as well as manifesting powerfully in the charts of certain individuals.
Chiron is kind of like Planet Gestalt, drawing one’s attention in a clear way to what needs to be addressed here and now. Note that Capricorn is the sign of governments, corporate structures, and the institution of the church. To get a sense of how distinct the Chiron-in-Capricorn era has been, consider that it began shortly after the September 11 attacks and within days of Enron declaring bankruptcy. Since then, we have seen scandal after scandal rock government, corporations, and the Catholic Church. Chiron in Capricorn has had a way of lighting up the dark halls of power and exposing more dirty secrets than we’ve seen in all of American history combined.
In addition to changing signs, throughout this year Chiron has been in a rare conjunction with another newly discovered planet, called Nessus (discovered in 1993). Nessus is a little like Chiron from the dark side, and is often prominent in charts of situations and people where psychological or sexual abuse is a key factor. I have also noticed that Nessus has a theme of “the return of karma.” My colleague Melanie Reinhart gives it the key phrase, “The buck stops here.”
The Chiron-Nessus conjunction has been walking across the Capricorn-Aquarius border all year. This movement toward Aquarius is a shift of focus. The energy moves from a kind of interior, dense, and earthy sign associated with structure (Capricorn), to an open, highly energetic sign associated with people, groups, communities, and society (Aquarius).
The conjunction will help define the current generation and the phase of history much like the Uranus-Pluto conjunction defined the 1960s. You’re not likely to read about Chiron-Nessus today, just like you were not likely to read about Uranus-Pluto 40 years ago; Pluto was still ignored. But the parallel is striking, with Chiron often resembling Uranus and Nessus having the properties of Pluto. The two ignite each other.
The result could well be a distinct Power to the People phase of history, with a slow building of on-the-ground uprisings and resistance (which we are already witnessing), and a sense of awakening spreading through our communities (evident, in part, in a growing, broad-based peace movement). Because Aquarius is involved and is such a deeply underlying part of our culture — the media — this would be a conduit for the awareness, particularly the Internet. With any luck at all, that is. History may be instructive. The last time Chiron was in Aquarius, in the late 1950s, was a momentous time for the civil rights movement, and in literature, and there were many waves of revelation that prepared the way for the social consciousness of the 1960s.
And this is what we witnessed the first real stirrings of in France. Why were there riots? For the people who live in the Cités, there was no other way to express themselves. For those of us who do have access to technology, community, or organizations, we can have the experience of Aquarian reality on what actually feels like a productive level that begins to restore some of what has been taken from us. For example, if we’re angry about or frustrated with the quality of “news” on television, those with access to technology can get their information from the Internet, and do a lot besides. And small though the gesture may seem, it really does help.
Whatever the mode of rebellion, we are all the racaille, with the right to reclaim what is rightfully ours — namely, the awareness that there is strength not just in numbers, but in sticking together and doing what we must to get the message across.
Planet Waves by Eric Francis
Weekly Horoscope 589 – Dec. 16, 2005
Happy Birthday Sagittarius!
The idea that you’re developing is not going to come to fruition overnight. Indeed, it may take from three to six months to even rise above the surface of its foundations. During that time, you may be involved in the practicalities and the securing of resources, at first, more than you’re involved in the actual development of the idea. But an idea there is, and resources there will be, if you will have a little faith and commit to seeing this through. Though at some points you may come to doubt the value of this concept or project, over time its value will become quite apparent and demonstrate that it was worth the time and effort.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
It suddenly seems that the world is much more willing to give you what you need, desire or deserve (as you prefer to think of it). What has really happened is that your inner bank accounts, that is, your sense of your own resources and talents, have suddenly come un-frozen. In the time you’ve been spending less and, perhaps, earning a bit more, you’ve come to certain specific understandings of how your personal economy does indeed function and the extent to which this is based on your self-perception. It is remarkable how people notice you when you see yourself in a good light.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You can, if you want, have a look at how your life can be in the future. This is rare enough; most people stand facing history, turning their backs on their own potential. For a moment, you can have as clear a vision as you like. You may be able to enter the experience and get some sense of how it feels. The vision and the feeling will both contribute to the process of making what you desire the most into something real and tangible. The most important factor is suddenly discovering your innate understanding of where you actually fit into the big picture. You will not forget so easily.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Finally, you’re able to direct your attention at the real issues, and to establish communication with a close partner or associate in ways you’ve long awaited. You would be wise to monitor, internally, the source of distance or discord, because if you can head it off within yourself, much more of your energy will be available for creative purposes in the world around you. The Gemini New Moon will, at least, bestow you with some ultra high-beam intuition, so there’s little that will escape your perception, if you turn your sight toward it and look.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Particular arrangements that you establish this week will have a blessed quality, and though you may want the arrangement to last permanently, it’s not as transient as you think. The interval between the current breakthrough and a durable new stage of your life will take some time to arrange, but you are being granted this time to do precisely that. Certain specific negotiations, hashing out of mutual arrangements, and deciding on the extent of your commitment are all on the agenda. Take every step; leave nothing to guesswork. What you discern and arrange today will have implications tomorrow.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Often the most important professional advances come through personal contacts, or within an organizational framework, you are simply favored for the strength and integrity of your character. Events this week and next are determined to prove, beyond any doubt, that you have the necessary ingredients to succeed in some unusual and direct way. Remember that the fixings for a cake don’t just jump into the mixing bowl, however. You will need to put them together in the right order, and take the time to do it right — but someone is noticing, and wants what you’ve got cooking.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
It seems that life is one constant and never-ending experience of getting in touch with your feelings. Really, it’s that you have so many of them to make contact with, and it seems that your soul won’t rest until you acknowledge them all. But herein is the catch: there can be no perfectionism in this exercise. There is no doing it right, there is no feeling the right way, and there is no need to drive yourself right to the edge of madness with any form of insecurity. Easier said than done; but while you’re on the hunt for inner sensations, look for your actual, true and real sense of safety — and you’ll find it.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Creative process always involves a confrontation with yourself, and some level of shock to your reality. This is why it’s so commonly avoided, and so effectively, by so many. Paint by numbers is safe; actual painting is an encounter with blankness and the potential of uncharted meaning or inspiration. At this point, you don’t really need to be inspired, you just need the experience of plunging into yourself with no real awareness of what will happen as a result. This is to say: the feeling I suggest you seek is not “creativity” per se, but rather, the sense of moving in the direction of the unknown and at least slightly daring.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
The complex knot of a relationship situation that seems only to have grown more tangled in recent months is suddenly coming undone. There is a boundary issue to be resolved, or perhaps many; everyone involved needs to claim their projections, beginning with yourself. There may be things you’ve said that you want to take back; there may be things that were said to you that you want to give back; you may, at this point, have things to say that you’ve held back for a long time, not feeling prepared to admit. It would seem that the time is right. But this window of communication will not stay so wide open — unless you use it.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
This week, the Sun passes the Galactic Core, the heart of our island in space. This is joined by a Full Moon in your opposite sign Gemini; the Sun is conjunct Pluto. The result of all this astrology is that a full-on wave of Sagittarian energy will vibrate rocks, plants and all the critters that crawl the surface of the Earth. Not everybody is going to like it. And not everyone has to. But you have the sensitivity to rise up on the energy, to turn anger into passion, curiosity into knowledge and fear into light. Your intuition will be guiding you, but you may discover an urgent desire to write a few notes to yourself. Put them on paper, where they belong.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
A set of circumstances dating back to early August are rearranging themselves in your life and have offered you another opportunity to make lasting personal changes. You more than most people need to make incremental steps toward any goal, in part because you strongly favor lasting progress over temporary changes of scene. The situation that you’re working out will lead to precisely that, and help you open yourself to what I can only describe as heart energy. Yes, on one level, the heart is gentle and receptive. And there are times when you need a strong push in the right direction; that seems to be about the shape of things.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Jonathan Cainer wrote recently that Aquarius is a much less passionate sign than Pisces. Normally I would agree — but not, however, this week. Indeed, if astrology means anything at all, passion is in you and around you; emotional magnetism has turned itself to the on position and the result is that you’re making a visit to a rather different world than the one in which you usually live. Like any altered experience of consciousness, this will have the effect of demonstrating what is possible. If you find the experience humbling, let it be because your fixed beliefs have been shaken, and another vision of life revealed to you.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
For quite some time, you’ve lived with part of your perception in a blind spot. This has at times been annoying and a source of uneasiness, and at others, has been the inspiration for needing to see so badly that you really have been able to see through a wall. Certain rare factors that are assembling in the heavens now suggest that you will be able to walk through the wall that seems to surround you. There was a time in your life when this was much easier than it typically is now, and if you follow this particular thread of experience, you’ll be given a chance to reconnect with a quality of being. Don’t push — just be guided.