Collateral Damage

Dear Friend and Reader:

With Mercury stationing retrograde, a Full Moon passing through town and Venus getting ready to station direct, it’s been a rough week in the public sphere.

Let’s see: there was Sean Spicer, Trump’s spokesman, claiming — during Passover — that Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons. Then he bungled his various “apologies,” at one point calling the concentration camps “Holocaust centers.”

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam in 2013. She was the first black woman to serve on New York State’s highest court. She was found floating in the Hudson River Wednesday. Photo by Mike Groll.

He added that he did not want his comments on Hitler to distract from Trump’s attempts “to destabilize the region.” Hey, at least this shows he’s capable of telling the truth.

United Airlines dragged one of its bumped passengers screaming from an overbooked plane, because he was picked by a computer to give up his seat and refused to do so, explaining that he was a doctor who had to get back to see his patients.

The first Muslim and African American woman judge on New York State’s highest court was found Wednesday floating in the Hudson River. Police are saying there’s no evidence of a crime. The chart suggests we may never know the cause of death. The New York Times is now reporting that it was suicide.

Turnarond on Syria — and Supposedly Russia

And in a policy turnaround that’s been likened to inducing whiplash, Trump ordered an attack on a Syrian air base, purportedly in reprisal for Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad allegedly gassing civilians with sarin nerve gas. (I have not seen the fact of sarin independently verified; that is, by results of controlled sampling at the scene, and we have reasons to question its veracity.)

Because Russia is an ally of al-Assad, the White House and news reports are claiming that this has thrown a wedge into U.S.-Russian relations, which the Donald says have never been worse. This supposed foreign policy achievement does not square with how the White House says it contacted the Kremlin in advance, warning them to get their airplanes out of the way of incoming American cruise missiles.

To me this whole incident looks more like pyrotechnics to distract attention from the ties between the Russian government and nearly every official in the Trump administration. It’s an established fact that the Trump campaign had numerous contracts with the Russians before and during the election process, that the Russians manipulated both the primaries and the general election, and that Trump openly called for the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s email (which they did).

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said of his comments favorably comparing Hitler to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria: “I made a mistake; there’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have, and I screwed up.” Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick.

It’s now an open secret that the Trump campaign was involved: we’re merely waiting for confirmation on paper that there was collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin, or we were until Trump became a war president and Russia became the enemy.

What’s so outrageous is that anyone at all is falling for this 1984-style ruse, with the enemy changing mid-sentence during a newscast.

Meanwhile Trump has an aircraft carrier strike group heading for the Korean peninsula, just in case he needs to explain things to Kim Jong-Un, whom he is threatening out loud in televised statements. It’s now accepted that North Korea has developed a working nuclear bomb, and is testing ballistic missiles. (We’d be safer if he went back to his old hobby of early-morning tweeting.)

SCOTUS Game Over: Neil Gorsuch Confirmation

However, I am verging on livid at the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as a justice on the Supreme Court. The chart for his confirmation describes what’s going on, in case anyone has missed the point. The 9th house, which rules the higher courts, is loaded with many planets, beginning with Nessus in Pisces on the South Node. It would be charitable to describe this as ancient values promoting abusive conduct coming home to roost in a new era.

Neptune in Pisces is even more troubling. Placed in the 9th, this describes how the Supreme Court is now a safe-haven for delusional fundamentalist Christian values. We’re looking right at the full-on merger of religion and the state, which includes the values that the Dominionists are attempting (and largely succeeding) to foist on the rest of us; as well as the religion of corporatism, which means capitalism, which (in Gorsuch’s own words) all translates to “fascism forever.”

But with Neptune, you can look right at something and not see it. People rarely see or want to acknowledge the obvious, especially something so blatantly wicked. It’s easier to get away with big lies than small ones.

Wreckage of Syrian military jet, ostensibly bombed by Trump. The missile strike served no useful military objective, and the Russians were warned to move their airplanes out of harm’s way.

Finally, Venus occupies the 10th house cusp, and is retrograde moving toward Chiron. In this context that tells us two things: women will pay for this; and women need to wake up, so their daughters are not imprisoned for miscarriages.

Trump has openly said that women should be punished for having abortions. What any woman knows is that miscarriages happen, more often than most men know; but what they don’t seem to understand is that any one of those miscarriages could instantly become a crime scene.

This is an instance where the failure to honestly address sex is being used as a political lever to shut down what little protection women have. The discussion might happen, if not for shame.

To have this discussion, women would need to openly claim their sexuality as a positive thing, not merely as a “reproductive right.” Here’s perhaps the boldest instance of how the personal is political and, conversely, how the lack of a personal discussion leads to the failure of a political discussion.

An important purpose of abortion (and of birth control in any form) is to recognize that sex has a purpose other than reproduction. And what life would that be? Relating and pleasure. It would also be the life of the woman herself: her choice to live her chosen destiny, instead of being at the mercy of biology.

Female Equality = Control Over Reproduction

In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir explains that there is no feminism or female equality without women having control of their own fertility. “Conservatives” all understand this, and use it as a weapon; most “liberals” do not, or they act like they don’t, or don’t care.

Wreckage of Syrian military jet, ostensibly bombed by Trump. The missile strike served no useful military objective, and the Russians were warned to move their airplanes out of harm’s way.

First-wave feminism of the early 20th century vindicated itself by being puritanical: women should be entitled to vote, but only if they dignified themselves by being anti-libertine (meaning anti-sex and masturbation) and prohibitionist (against the serving or selling of beverage alcohol, which in turn translated into being anti-dancing, anti-jazz and so forth).

Second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s was also built on a political foundation with its own form of Puritanism. Exceedingly few of its leaders openly claimed their sexuality in a sexual rather than political context; the only one I can think of is Betty Dodson. The big achievement was Roe v. Wade, followed by a backlash: the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Third-wave feminism, emerging in the 1990s, has a split: some of its leaders more openly speak about sexuality (Tristan Taormino, for example) while others (particularly many academic feminists) are obsessed with rape, sexual transgression and defeating pornography.

Yet there has been some gradual progress: woman-centered sex shops are now understood to exist, and do a brisk business. There are many women porn directors. Female masturbation is (at least many places) considered normal and moral. (Some feminists complain that it’s been “fetishized” for men.) Yet those focused on pleasure-centered feminism seem to be drowned out by those who politicize sexual transgression and porn.

It seems to me that this latest version of political feminism is more about the issue of rape and rapists, and much less about women in general healing from centuries of oppression, and individual women healing from what they’ve experienced. This in turn provides cover for shame, pain and the lingering results of injury that, together, are politically paralyzing.

Pioneering third-wave feminist Tristan Taormino.

And notably, I’ve heard very little discussion about what to actually do about the problem of rape, which is both personal and cultural.

Who exactly are these rapists, how did they get to be that way, and what are we going to do about them? The silence is deafening.

The result, basically, is a frozen conversation that allows the “conservative” agenda to proliferate. By replacing sex education with abstinence-only indoctrination, the “conservative” movement has bullied, cheated, shamed and abused its way to victory.

And the impeccably charming Neil Gorsuch is the grand prize, the gold medal and the trifecta all at once. The Republicans pulled the plug on the supermajority for SCOTUS judges, approving Gorsuch by fewer than 60 votes, because they know they won the game.

With Gorsuch, there’s still a 5-4 “conservative” majority on the court, just like under Antonin Scalia, but it’s more than that. Gorsuch, who is just 47, buys a lot of time to build up a more solid “conservative” majority, which may come down to one or two token “liberal” judges on the court before long.

It’s Time to Personalize the Political

If the personal has been politicized, the political must be personalized: claimed back, and taken on the individual level. Our society and nearly everyone in it has a profound healing need for an ongoing genuine conversation about sex in its many dimensions.

If rape is a problem, we need to talk about trust, situational awareness and negotiation of consent. And not to sound too prohibitionist, but there’s not much negotiation or consent possible when the parties to the discussion are both drunk — so they can avoid having a discussion.

With legal abortion on the way out in many states, and criminalized miscarriage on the way in, we need to have a long conversation about pregnancy prevention.

But even these two subjects miss the primary point, that what we’re really talking about are pleasure, intimacy and honest relating to one another. In its final form, this is all about what humans do when they’re alone behind a closed door. We need places where both women and men can go to talk about what they’ve experienced, how they feel about it; and what they want, and how they feel about it.

We need to devote ourselves to pleasure, love and healing.

The way things are going, there’ll be an app for that any time now.

with love,

Weekly Horoscope for April 13, 2017 #1147 | By Amy Elliott

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You seem to be undergoing something of a renewal or rebirthing process. This is especially likely to center around your relationships, but in any case looks to be a major step for you — on the scale of a rite of passage, much like leaving your parents’ home for the first time. While it might seem impulsive to outsiders, this is in fact something you’ve been preparing for gradually. You’ve gained sufficient knowledge of the general environment; at this stage, it’s worth doing some final checks and taking a steady pace. You’ve come too far along to rush things now. — by Amy Elliott.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There’s been a quiet revolution taking place in the depths of your psyche; the tectonic plates in your mental landscape appear to have shifted. You have now hopefully reached a point at which you are ready to apply those changes externally, as the next phase of development. This is especially true on the career front. Don’t be afraid to go public with your new ideas: you are likely to receive a response that, whether ostensibly positive or not, will be affirming. Continued reflection will assist you now only if it is focused and directed. The time for action has arrived. — by Amy Elliott.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Love and creativity are linked in astrology. Eric has said more than once that relationships need a job. The key word here is passion. You might use this Mercury retrograde phase to consider how that’s working for you in your major relationships; it’s probable that to a certain extent you’ve been doing precisely that. It could be worth discussing collaborative projects with a partner; they may already have ideas. Use your intelligence, plan ahead, and be prepared to fine-tune and tweak those plans until your ruling planet gets back up to speed. — by Amy Elliott.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — How much has changed in your life within the last year? Externally, it might seem like a lot, especially where your public status is concerned. In reality, you know this is because you’ve been working consistently and diligently. Now is probably a good time to step back and really take in the results of your labor, especially if you’re having trouble seeing them clearly. A lover or close friend who knows you well may be able to provide some perspective. Be open and trusting in communicating with them, and allow yourself to receive the refreshment they offer. — by Amy Elliott.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — A breakthrough on your current project appears to be imminent, though there seems to be at least one issue remaining to tackle. This can be done, though it will likely require time and patience, as well as devotion to the task for its own sake. Keep in mind your initial vision regarding the public service element of this work. Ultimately, it’s this alone that will carry you through when you feel you’re at a sticking point. Don’t dwell on personal accolades or rewards: these will come at the right moment. It’s vital that you leave this dish in the oven till it’s done. — by Amy Elliott.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You’ve been working pretty much non-stop on a healing process that involves building (or rebuilding) your self-esteem on your own terms. Your independence seems to have increased substantially. Now you’re almost ready to share these changes with others, and to explore your newfound desires in a more open setting. There may be a little more digging to do before you find the well. Keep at it; you’re almost certainly on the right track. Remember, true validation comes solely from within: avoid any temptation to seek it elsewhere. You’ve made it this far. — by Amy Elliott.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — It might seem as if you’re facing a difficult challenge in a close relationship. Actually, you’re probably moving forward. This is a growth process for both you and your partner(s). Keep practicing total honesty and openness in communications. This is no time for fears or mistrust. Speak the truth and listen intently to what you hear in response. The more effort you put in, the more transformative the healing is likely to be. One other thing: make sure as far as possible that your living space is adequately conducive to everyone’s comfort, including your own. — by Amy Elliott.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Which habits are beginning to hamper your path? There’s often a fine line between maintaining your rhythm and getting in your own way, and it’s not always easy to realize when the limit has been crossed. Check your memory for signs of boredom and a desire for greater spontaneity in your daily life. A sincere discussion with loved ones could produce some ideas for change, or serve to remind you of ideas you’ve forgotten or suppressed. You might be surprised at how approachable someone is in terms of injecting freshness into your routine. Be open and bold. — by Amy Elliott.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Your ongoing project seems really to be taking shape, and you’re starting to see the finish line. A little cooperation just now will likely go a long way. Don’t balk at either asking for help or lending it. People need one another. The presence of a suitable support network can only enrich your work as it develops, especially in terms of bouncing ideas around. What you’re doing certainly has great personal significance and is perhaps almost cathartic for you; but it has also expanded beyond that. Take appropriate precautions by all means, but you need to let someone in. — by Amy Elliott.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may feel inclined, lately, to spend more time than usual in the place you consider to be your home. This can include any actual venue; the point is that you feel comfortable and relaxed, and refreshed in the same way as a good night’s sleep nourishes the body and fosters recuperation. Just like with sleep, you also need enough time in your home space that you feel properly equipped to step outside it at the right moment. You may find that allowing yourself that time helps you feel stronger and firmer as a person, better able to stand your ground. — by Amy Elliott.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Changes in your immediate environment may be pushing you to adapt quickly. To all appearances you’re managing well, and your success is judiciously bolstering your self-belief. What you’re learning will likely be useful for the future: you’re acquiring some skills for life. Only be sure to keep in mind the cause for which you set out in the beginning. Eventually you should once again be free to rededicate yourself to your usual daily work, supported by the more rounded perspective you’re gaining now. For the moment, keep your eyes peeled and your ears pricked. — by Amy Elliott.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — The transformative process now underway sees you viewing yourself and your relationships — and in some way almost every aspect of your life — with new eyes. This is a part of your human inheritance that’s been a long time coming. As you emerge from the chrysalis, be sure to keep your generous spirit at the forefront of your thoughts and actions: there are people who need what you can provide. You can learn a good deal from how your gifts are received. You might also gain a few insights by noticing your feelings and responses when someone is kind to you. — by Amy Elliott.

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